The CCC Book Club is friendly, informal and open to all. At club meetings, the group explores a wide variety of books and interests — fiction and non-fiction, male and female authors, selections old and new. The reading list is determined by a democratic process in which members of the club promote a book of their choosing for addition to the list.
See below for scheduled meetings. Meetings start at 7pm. (Please visit the Calendar for up-to-date schedule changes.)
For more info, please contact the group facilitator, David Brayshaw, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meetings & Book Selections for 2016
January 25 • Nothing Like It in the World by Stephen E. Ambrose
Facilitator: Susan R.
Nothing Like It in the World gives the account of an unprecedented feat of engineering, vision, and courage. It is the story of the men who built the transcontinental railroad—the investors who risked their businesses and money; the enlightened politicians who understood its importance; the engineers and surveyors who risked, and sometimes lost, their lives; and the Irish and Chinese immigrants, the defeated Confederate soldiers, and the other laborers who did the backbreaking and dangerous work on the tracks.
The U.S. government pitted two companies—the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific Railroads—against each other in a race for funding, encouraging speed over caution. Locomotives, rails, and spikes were shipped from the East through Panama or around South America to the West or lugged across the country to the Plains. In Ambrose’s hands, this enterprise, with its huge expenditure of brainpower, muscle, and sweat, comes vibrantly to life.
February 22 • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Facilitator: Marcia E.
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).
March 28 • Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz
Before he died on a storm-wracked night, Jimmy Tock’s grandfather predicted that there would be five dark days in his grandson’s life—five dates whose terrible events Jimmy must prepare himself to face. The first is to occur in his twentieth year, the last in his thirtieth. What terrifying events await Jimmy on these five critical days? What challenges must he survive? The path he follows will defy every expectation and will take all the love, humor, and courage he possesses. For who Jimmy Tock is and what he must accomplish on the five days his world turns is a mystery both dangerous and wondrous.
April 25 • The Cider House Rules by John Irving
Facilitator: Kathy S.
First published in 1985, The Cider House Rules is set in rural Maine in the first half of the twentieth century. The novel tells the story of Dr. Wilbur Larch–saint and obstetrician, founder and director of the orphanage in the town of St. Cloud’s, ether addict and abortionist. This is also the story of Dr. Larch’s favorite orphan, Homer Wells, who is never adopted.
May 23 • Racing in the Rain: My Life as a Dog by Garth Stein
Have you ever wondered what your dog is thinking?
Meet one funny dog—Enzo, the lovable mutt who tells this story. Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: most dogs love to chase cars, but Enzo longs to race them. He learns about racing and the world around him by watching TV and by listening to the words of his best friend, Denny, an up-and-coming race car driver, and his daughter, Zoë, his constant companion. Enzo finds that life is just like being on the racetrack—it isn’t simply about going fast. And, applying the rules of racing to his world, Enzo takes on his family’s challenges and emerges a hero. In the end, Enzo holds in his heart the dream that Denny will go on to be a racing champion with his daughter by his side. For theirs is an extraordinary friendship—one that reminds us all to celebrate the triumph of the human (and canine) spirit.
June 27 • The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
Facilitator: Kathy Smith
Two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize David McCullough tells the dramatic story-behind-the-story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly: Wilbur and Orville Wright.
On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe what had happened: the age of flight had begun, with the first heavier-than-air, powered machine carrying a pilot.
Who were these men and how was it that they achieved what they did?
David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, tells the surprising, profoundly American story of Wilbur and Orville Wright.
Far more than a couple of unschooled Dayton bicycle mechanics who happened to hit on success, they were men of exceptional courage and determination, and of far-ranging intellectual interests and ceaseless curiosity, much of which they attributed to their upbringing. The house they lived in had no electricity or indoor plumbing, but there were books aplenty, supplied mainly by their preacher father, and they never stopped reading.
When they worked together, no problem seemed to be insurmountable. Wilbur was unquestionably a genius. Orville had such mechanical ingenuity as few had ever seen. That they had no more than a public high school education, little money and no contacts in high places, never stopped them in their “mission” to take to the air. Nothing did, not even the self-evident reality that every time they took off in one of their contrivances, they risked being killed.
In this thrilling book, master historian David McCullough draws on the immense riches of the Wright Papers, including private diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks, and more than a thousand letters from private family correspondence to tell the human side of the Wright Brothers’ story, including the little-known contributions of their sister, Katharine, without whom things might well have gone differently for them.
July 25 • Ordinary Heroes by Scott Turow
Stewart Dubinsky knew his father, David, had served in World War II, but had been told very little about his experiences. When he finds, after his father’s death, a packet of wartime letters to a former fiancee and learns of David’s court-martial, Stewart is driven to uncover the truth about this enigmatic, distant man he never knew.Using military archives, old letters, and David’s own notes, he discovers that David, a JAG lawyer, had pursued a maverick U.S. officer in Europe, fallen in love with a beautiful resistance fighter, and fought in the war’s deadliest conflicts. In reconstructing the terrible events and agonizing choices his father faced on the battlefield, in the courtroom, and in love, Stewart gains a closer understanding of his father’s secret past and of the brutal nature of war itself.
August 22 • My Life in Orange by Tim Guest
Facilitator: David B.
At the age of six, Tim Guest was taken by his mother to a commune modeled on the teachings of the notorious Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. The Bhagwan preached an eclectic doctrine of Eastern mysticism, chaotic therapy, and sexual freedom, and enjoyed inhaling laughing gas, preaching from a dentist’s chair, and collecting Rolls Royces.
Tim and his mother were given Sanskrit names, dressed entirely in orange, and encouraged to surrender themselves into their new family. While his mother worked tirelessly for the cause, Tim-or Yogesh, as he was now called-lived a life of well-meaning but woefully misguided neglect in various communes in England, Oregon, India, and Germany.
In 1985 the movement collapsed amid allegations of mass poisonings, attempted murder, and tax evasion, and Yogesh was once again Tim. In this extraordinary memoir, Tim Guest chronicles the heartbreaking experience of being left alone on earth while his mother hunted heaven.
September 26 • The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
For readers of Unbroken, out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.
It was an unlikely quest from the start. With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler. The emotional heart of the tale lies with Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world. Drawing on the boys’ own journals and vivid memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, Brown has created an unforgettable portrait of an era, a celebration of a remarkable achievement, and a chronicle of one extraordinary young man’s personal quest.
October 24 • Nowhere to Run by C.J. Box
t’s Joe Pickett’s last week as a temporary game warden in the mountain town of Baggs, Wyoming, but his conscience won’t let him leave without checking out the strange reports coming from the wilderness: camps looted, tents slashed, elk butchered. What awaits him is like something out of an old campfire tale, except this story is all too real-and all too deadly.
November 28 • Sons by Pearl S. Buck
Sons begins where The Good Earth ended: Revolution is sweeping through China. Wang Lung is on his deathbed in the house of his fathers, and his three sons stand ready to inherit his hard-won estate. One son has taken the family’s wealth for granted and become a landlord; another is a thriving merchant and moneylender; the youngest, an ambitious general, is destined to be a leader in the country. Through all his life’s changes, Wang did not anticipate that each son would hunger to sell his beloved land for maximum profit. At once a tribute to early Chinese fiction, a saga of family dissension, and a depiction of the clashes between old and new, Sons is a vivid and compelling masterwork of fiction. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Pearl S. Buck including rare images from the author’s estate.
See you next year!