Round Rock New Neighbors is a social organization of women welcoming women in the Round Rock area since 1978. Both "new" and "old" neighbors are welcome. For more information: [Barnes & Noble requires that RRNN's book club be open to the public, so you do not need to be an RRNN member to attend book club, and both men and women are welcome and do attend. ]

Literary Events

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Nov 1, 2017 2:00 PM in the Georgetown Public Library.

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The Nobel Prize in Literature was given to author Kazuo Ishiguro.
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Monday, March 19, 2007

Catch the Song

A little long-winded today, but hang in there – you don’t have to have the next book read for a month…

Today we discussed The Songcatcher, by Sharyn McCrumb. Everyone enjoyed the book, and there was plenty to think and say about it. We are becoming such experienced critics! We know how to find the themes that carry through, such as the subtle examples throughout the book of the McCourry curse, where parents slight the firstborn child. We noticed that a couple of things didn’t quite fit, such as the question as to why the spirit of Fred, the pilot of the airplane that had crashed long before the story, still was hanging around, when spirits aren’t supposed to need to stay unless there is unfinished business, and there didn’t seem to be any for Fred. We noticed that some of the characters’ stories didn’t get resolved, such as Lark’s and the relationship between Lark and her father, and also Becky Tilden. There was no indication as to what would happen to Becky later. Did she inherit Lark’s father’s property? Of course, Lark wouldn’t want or need it, but things were left up in the air. Someone suggested that relationships are not always completed in real life, either.

Although we found the weak spots in the book, that didn’t mean that we didn’t also notice stengths. We enjoyed the history and the descriptions of life in this special part of the country both for the time of the modern story as well as for the various historical times. McCrumb covered many generations in this story, weaving them all together with several simple themes. We liked the subtle hints and ideas that were but left to the reader to figure out, eg, that the young lady toward the end whose boyfriend had mentioned the “stained” petticoats suddenly realized that the boyfriend had been the murderer. And the salt that Nora put on the front step…ghosts can’t pass across salt. (I hadn’t known that.)

Several of us had read more than one of Sharyn McCrumb’s novels and told us that the characters Nora, Spencer, and LeDonne are recurring characters…always pivotal but never really main characters. There were a lot of characters in the book! They were all connected, but some more loosely than others. Some of us tried to keep track of the connections and/or genealogy.

Discussion also centered on some of our own experiences traveling through Appalachia or knowing people from there. It always enriches our discussions when some of us tell about their personal connections to what we are reading!

One other author was mentioned who has written some good stories about Appalachia: Lee Smith. Her book that seemed most recommended by our members was Fair and Tender Ladies. If you are interested in this book, you may want to look at it and think about nominating it sometime.

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