Book Review: The Lady and the Highwayman, by Sarah M. Eden

Every now and then I write a review that can’t be published elsewhere because it doesn’t fit the site or because the book has been reviewed already or because the stars forbid it. Here’s one of those reviews!

The Lady and the Highwayman is three books in one. It involves a romance between two writers of penny dreadfuls, so we get the romance between the writers as well as peeks at each of their books. I found this story to be enjoyable but bland. 

The plot: Elizabeth Black is a writer of respectable literary fiction and the headmistress of a girl’s school. Both jobs depend on her maintaining an appearance of propriety. However, in secret she writes extremely popular penny dreadfuls, using the name Mr. King.

Fletcher Walker is not respectable at all, having grown up on the streets. He has financial success as a penny dreadful author and is a member of a club of other penny dreadful authors. This club is devoted to aiding the poor children of London through action as well as alms. They rescue children from abusive masters and find better placements for them, which is sometimes illegal (depending on the work status of the children) and always dangerous (due to furious masters). 

Fletcher is very annoyed when his popularity as an author is eclipsed by that of Mr. King and he is determined to discover Mr. King’s identity. This puts him in Elizabeth’s orbit although he does not suspect her. The two end up collaborating on saving some children while Elizabeth agrees to help Fletcher in his search so that she can throw him off her trail.

There’s a glaring, horrible problem with this book, and that is that Fletcher is the most obtuse man on the face of the planet. He does not suspect Elizabeth of being Mr. King even when he finds that, among many other clues, the following:

  1. Mr. King’s stories begin to echo conversations Fletcher has with Elizabeth (Fletcher assumes Elizabeth must know Mr. King and has reported the conversations to him).
  2. Fletcher finds a manuscript of a penny dreadful in Elizabeth’s drawer, in her handwriting (Fletcher assumes she helps him with dictation and transcription).

Lord Jesus, give me strength. This parade of obtuseness by Fletcher, and for matter by Elizabeth who might as well have “I’m Mr. King” tattooed on her face despite wanting to keep King’s identity a secret, makes an otherwise enjoyable book drop dead in its tracks. It’s a shame since the book is otherwise pleasant though not life-changing.

While Fletcher and Elizabeth are both oblivious when it comes to, respectively, detecting and hiding secrets, they are otherwise intelligent and I enjoyed seeing them work together. Both have a great sense of compassion and empathy for others and an enormous amount of mutual respect. They are both level-headed in an emergency and sweet with each other as their romance develops. The on-page physicality doesn’t go beyond kissing, and there’s not a great deal of steamy lust in the air, but it’s easy to picture them as an old married couple with a combination of birth children and adopted children and piles of manuscripts all over their house. The only conflict between them is that Elizabeth doesn’t trust him to know that she’s an author until the very end of the book, and he’s too dim to figure it out. 

Of course, the penny dreadful excerpts are the best parts of the book, and I wish we got more of them. Fletcher’s story, The Vampire’s Tower, is about a pair of street urchins who try to save a larger group of urchins from a menacing kidnapper. Mr. King is the author of The LAdy and the Highwayman, in which a woman must find courage to protect her ward and to discover the true motives of a dashing and polite highwayman. These stories aren’t nearly lurid enough to be true penny dreadfuls. Where’s the gore? Where’s the sex? However, the stories are suspenseful – much more so than the romance between Elizabeth and Fletcher.

The lack of conflict between Fletcher and Elizabeth, not to mention a fairly low-key level of sexual tension, makes for a book that is soothing but not gripping. The concept of love between penny dreadful authors is a fun one, but again the lack of rational deduction on Fletcher’s part and the tame nature of the penny dreadfuls themselves makes for bland reading. I’m fine without sex and gore on the page, but a little more tension, story expansion, and consistent character behavior would have elevated this tremendously.

Thanksgiving, by Kate Seymour Maclean

This beautiful poem was written by Kate Seymour Maclean, a Canadian poet who lived from 1829 – 1916.

 The Autumn hills are golden at the top,
        And rounded as a poet’s silver rhyme;
    The mellow days are ruby ripe, that drop
        One after one into the lap of time.

    Dead leaves are reddening in the woodland copse,
        And forest boughs a fading glory wear;
    No breath of wind stirs in their hazy tops,
        Silence and peace are brooding everywhere.

    The long day of the year is almost done,
        And nature in the sunset musing stands,
    Gray-robed, and violet-hooded like a nun,
        Looking abroad o’er yellow harvest lands:

    O’er tents of orchard boughs, and purple vines
        With scarlet flecked, flung like broad banners out
    Along the field paths where slow-pacing lines
        Of meek-eyed kine obey the herdboy’s shout;

    Where the tired ploughman his dun oxen turns,
        Unyoked, afield, mid dewy grass to stray,
    While over all the village church spire burns–
        A shaft of flame in the last beams of day.

    Empty and folded are her busy hands;
        Her corn and wine and oil are safely stored,
    As in the twilight of the year she stands,
        And with her gladness seems to thank the Lord.

    Thus let us rest awhile from toil and care,
        In the sweet sabbath of this autumn calm,
    And lift our hearts to heaven in grateful prayer,
        And sing with nature our thanksgiving psalm.

Between the Lines Book Club: Virginia Hall

This month in Between the Lines Book club, we are reading A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell. We will meet over zoom to discuss this book, at 10:30AM Saturday November 21, 2020. A zoom link will be shared closer to the date.

For information about more female spies in WWII, try these articles:

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/11/allied-world-war-2-female-spy-movies

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/06/female-spies-world-war-ii/588058/

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-52574750

And here are two videos about Virginia Hall. The first one includes and interview with her niece.

In this third video, Helen Taylor Thompson talks about her experiences with the SOE, a fascinating first-person account:

Fun News

I’m not blogging much in November or December because despite my best efforts Thanksgiving, Christmas, and my daughter’s finals aren’t cancelled. But here’s a link to an article I wrote for Clarkesworld Magazine! I love writing these English Major Nerd pieces. Well, actually, to quote Dorothy Parker, “I hate writing, but I love having written.” So here’s something I have written!

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/sessarego_11_20/

Between the Lines Book Club: A Woman of No Importance, by Sonia Purnell

This month in Between the Lines Book club, we are reading A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell. We will meet over zoom to discuss this book, at 10:30AM Saturday November 21, 2020. A zoom link will be shared closer to the date.

A Woman of No Importance is a non-fiction biography of Virginia Hall, a spy who helped the French Resistance during WWII. Here are some discussion questions to consider:

1. A charismatic woman of great intelligence and resourcefulness, Virginia Hall is an inspiration from the very first page of A Woman of No Importance. She clearly had a similar magnetic pull in person, drawing people from all walks of life to stand for freedom, their country, and the Allied effort, often at great peril to their families and themselves. 

Did the book change your ideas about what one person can accomplish? In what ways did her grit and courage inspire you? 

2. Since birth, Virginia was expected to marry well and become a society wife; instead, she chose a male-dominated career path in which she constantly found herself either underestimated or overlooked, even after the end of her illustrious war career. Do you feel like views on where “a woman’s place” is have changed? In what ways do you feel society has progressed when it comes to gender equality—and in what ways has it not?

3. Did you (or anyone you know) have a course set for you since childhood that you were expected to follow? Have you (or they) since rebelled from that course? If so, what obstacles did you (or they) have to face, if any? Was it worth it?

4. At the young age of twenty-seven, Virginia lost a leg to gangrene after a devastating hunting accident. She somehow found the resilience to not only survive but thrive, both for herself and for her beloved France. She mentions that she had a spiritual experience on her sickbed, seeing a vision of her father that told her she must survive, she must go on.

How do you feel this experience shaped the rest of her life and her adventures? What drives you to keep going in the face of hardships, great and small? 

5. Sonia Purnell asks a pressing question: “One of my great interests is motivation—why did Virginia take insane gambles with her own life for the sake of another country?” 

Why do you think she did? Would you do the same in her place?

6. During the war, Virginia was often a rebellious figure, known not only for her courage but often for her disregard of directives, accurately believing herself capable of playing a larger role than she was given. Still, in her personal life, rather than cause a possible family upset, she hid her continuing relationship with Paul from her mother for many years. 

What did you think of her decision to do so? What does it tell us about the Virginia hidden behind all her many disguises and bravery?

7. Virginia was wise, discerning, and perceptive beyond belief—her life depended on deciding whom to trust and how much. Against all odds, it seems she always made the right choice—except for Alesch. Given the skepticism that others around her had about him, why do you think she trusted him as she did?

8. Virginia had to put on many personas during the war, from the journalist she played during her first foray into France to the elderly peasant woman she pretended to be when she returned. She played all her roles with finesse and, apparently, very convincingly. 

Do you think her ability to commit to character was innate or a carefully acquired skill? What do you think are the key characteristics of a spy?

9. Virginia and her compatriots all across France faced heavy losses during the war. Some were tortured to the point of death, others faced the firing squad, and still others suffered from injuries incurred in battle for the rest of their lives—including Virginia herself. 

Were these sacrifices worth it? What did Virginia’s life teach you about the importance of fighting for your beliefs? And against tyranny? Do you have a cause that you would be willing to die for? 

10. Virginia Hall was a very private person, whether because she had noted what happened when her fellow spies had loose lips or because of her nature. If you could meet Virginia, what is the foremost question you’d want to ask her?

11. Talk about the good-old-boy office politics underlying some of the decisions to place under trained personnel in the field, and some of the fatalities those decisions led to.

12. What about Hall’s post-war life in which she had to fight another type of tyranny: sexism? Discuss the offer of a low-level clerkship at the CIA despite Hall’s brilliant performance in the field. Or recall the man who referred to Hall as a “gung-ho lady left over from OSS days overseas.” Talk about the other women who made untold (literally) sacrifices for the Allied forces during the war. For examples:

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/11/allied-world-war-2-female-spy-movies

Poem for Halloween, Courtesy of A.E. Houseman

assorted pumpkins

Her Strong Enchantments Failing, by A. E. Houseman

Her strong enchantments failing,
 Her towers of fear in wreck,
Her limbecks dried of poisons
 And the knife at her neck, 

The Queen of air and darkness
 Begins to shrill and cry,
"O young man, O my slayer,
 To-morrow you shall die."

O Queen of air and darkness,
 I think 'tis truth you say,
And I shall die tomorrow;
 But you will die to-day.

Book Review: A Night in the Lonesome October

A Night in the Lonesome October was brought to my attention by io9, which has an excellent review of it here. Since I know we have both animal lovers and Lovecraftian horror people in our midst, I read it and I absolutely intend to add myself to the ranks of those who read it one chapter a day every October. It’s horror, not romance, although there’s a bit of a romance, sort of, and a lot of comedy.

The setting is a village outside of London in the late 19th century. Our narrator and sole point-of-view is Snuff, a dog. Snuff is the companion of a man named Jack. Jack suffers from a curse that makes him have to “do much of his work at night to keep worse things from happening.” Here’s Snuff on page one:

We are the keepers of several curses and our work is very important. I have to keep watch on the Thing in the Circle, the Thing in the Wardrobe, and the Thing in the Steamer Trunk-not to mention the Things in the Mirror. When they try to get out I raise particular hell with them. They are afraid of me. I do not know what I would do if they all tried to get out at the same time. It is good exercise, though, and I snarl a lot.

Snuff and Jack are players in The Game. We are dropped into The Game when it is already well underway, and the purpose and rules of the Game and its players gradually come into focus, some early on and some not until the very end. All of the human players have animal companions, and these companions are the focal points of the story. They are introduced little by little, but I think it fair to say that the characters, but not necessarily the players, are:

Jack and Snuff (a dog)

Crazy Jill and Graymalk (a cat)

The Vicar and Tekela (a albino raven)

Rastov the Mad Monk and Quicklime (a snake)

Morris and McCab and Nightwind (an owl)

The Count and Needle (a bat who is a Vampire Bat in the sense of the company he keeps but  Fruit Bat in the since that fruit is his preferred food)

The Good Doctor and Bubo (a rat)

Owen the Druid and Cheeter (a squirrel)

The Great Detective and a male human companion

Larry Talbot

The Good Doctor

The experiment man

Watching these characters emerge and play their roles with twists and turns and alliances and betrayals is remarkably delightful, especially since almost everything is revealed through the interactions of the non-human animals who make their own alliances. 

There are 31 chapters in the book, leading up to the 31st chapter in which All is Revealed. Thus the tradition of commencing the book on October 1 and reading one chapter a day until October 31. I was too impatient for that last year and I read the entire book in one day. Doubtless all first time readers will want to do the same. However, I rather look forward to this year, and to the slow unfolding of who is doing what and why, and the development of the pace and tone of the book as the chapters progress. Opening chapters are very short and generally humorous. Final chapters are longer and have more explicit, as opposed to implied, horror. 

While the animals are often in danger, no lasting harm comes to them. There’s a very scary chapter that animal lovers may wish to simply skip (October 23). The book develops a strange bittersweet poignancy as friendships between human and human (Jack and Jill are quite fond of each other) and animal and animal (Snuff and Graymalk become good friends). Because of the nature of The Game, people on opposing sides, such as Jack and Jill, can become close before they have to take serious antagonistic action – but it is well known that whoever loses The Game suffers.

I adored this book so much that it would qualify for Squee did it not have some outdated, offensive tropes. The word “Gypsies” is lavishly used, and they are not associated with the good guys. Snuff likes to hang out with them for the music. Also one villain and one hero cross-dress which may once have added to the general weird tone of the book but now just seems bewildering in a “what were they thinking?” way. No one ever makes much of it, it’s just there. The association of albino coloration with evil is also problematic, and there are only two female characters. The book was written in 1993 and while that seems like a million years ago one hopes that even back then we knew better.

I recommend this with reservation for animal lovers who are also fans of Lovecraftian-inspired horror and the Victorian horror classics. People who like a mystery with a slow build, very dry humor, and point-of-view characters who have a limited point of view may also enjoy this book. It can be hard to find but my library came through and Amazon has some copies.

Between the Lines Book Club: Copy Boy Discussion Questions

Our book club this month will be held over zoom (link pending) on October 24 at 10:30AM. We are reading Copy Boy, and will be joined by the author, Shelley Blanton-Stroud.

Here are some discussion questions (they can also be found in the back of the book):

  1. Scientists suggest that our experiences and those of our ancestors live on in our DNA, affecting our and our children’s health and behavior. Is that true for Jane? Can she escape biology? Can any of us?
  2. What influence does Daddy have on Jane? What explains the way she circumscribes her loyalty to him? How do you feel about their reconciliation and his disappearance afterward?
  3. What do you think about Momma after learning what happened when she delivered the twins at fifteen years old? Does this sufficiently explain the way she treats Jane? Should Jane continue to tie herself to such a parent? Why or why not?
  4. Jane says the voice in her head belongs to her dead brother, Benjamin. What do you think? How else can the voice be explained? How does this voice affect what she does and who she becomes?
  5. What do you think about Jane choosing to raise Elsie? What kind of mother would Jane make? Would it have been better to leave Elsie with Momma?
  6. Does Jane really have to pretend to be a boy to succeed? Could she have earned the same opportunities as a girl? Why or why not? Does any part of her situation seem familiar today, or does it live in the past?
  7. What do you expect a masculine character to do and be? What do you expect a feminine character to do and be? How do the characters in the novel match or diverge from these expectations?
  8. Jane becomes a skillful liar about her parents generally, the fight that sends her to San Francisco, and her very identity. These lies lead to her lifelong career success. What do you think about her lying habit and skill? How does it help her, and how might it hurt?
  9. Grete Wright crosses boundaries to make the best, most moving, most powerful photographs, arguing that facts are less necessary than truth. Are documentary photographs or stories more useful with or without artistic framing? What do you think about the relationship between fact and truth?
  10. Some characters in the book concern themselves with basic survival in a time of poverty and hunger. Others work for worldly success. How do they get what they want? What are they willing to discard to win? Is it necessary? Is it worthwhile?
  11. Vee may be the only character who risks herself solely on behalf of others, trying to report the death of the hungry man. How do you explain what makes one person altruistic when others focus only on protecting themselves and their family?
  12. The Okies living along the side of the road are generally despised and blamed for local problems. How might ongoing generations of such families feel about field-working migrants today, and why?
  13. Though the active story ends in 1937, we learn that Jane will write for many decades, becoming an iconic San Francisco gossip columnist. In what way is someone like Jane particularly suited to weather the decades in such a field? What do you imagine for the stories she writes under a different name?
  14. How are the lessons of 1930’s California applicable today?

October Events: Find me on Zoom!

Photo by GEORGE DESIPRIS on

October is a busy month! I have several events happening, so please join me on zoom for these fun events!

October 10, 1PM: Romance Book Club!

Our book this month is Strange Love, by Ann Aguirre. This club is sponsored by the Sacramento Public Library and facilitated by myself and librarian Brendle Wells. Click below for login information!

https://www.saclibrary.org/Event/Special-Events/Book-Clubs

October 17, 2PM: Trivia of Terror: The Weird Lives of Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, and H.P. Lovecraft

Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, and H.P. Lovecraft were not only the creators of some of the most famous horror stories ever. They were also eccentric people who lived scandalous and complicated lives. Join us to get all the dirt on who slept with who at the famous party that led to Frankenstein, why Poe kept writing about pale women with bloody faces, and why H.P. Lovecraft hated dogs. What did Shelley think of Lord Byron? What did Poe die of? And was Lovecraft actually a vampire? Find out in this presentation!

https://saclibrary.evanced.info/signup/EventDetails?eventid=346802

October 24, 2PM: Introduction to Tarot

In this hour, Tarot Consultant Carrie Sessarego will introduce you to the Tarot, a system of divination using symbols and archetypes. You’ll learn a little bit of history and the structure of the deck, and have access to a suggested reading list. We will cover a couple of layout ideas and make sure you leave with plenty of tips so that you can start your own tarot journey!

https://saclibrary.evanced.info/signup/EventDetails?eventid=346803

October 24: 10:30 AM: Between the Lines Book Club

Our book this month is Copy Boy, by Shelley Blanton-Stroud. The author will be joining us for this special book club! Zoom Link will be posted nearer to the book club date on my Friday Between the Lines Book Club posts.

Between the Lines Book Club: Copy Boy by Shelley Blanton-Stroud

Happy October, Book Clubbers! My daughter and my husband both have October birthdays plus we get super excited about Halloween, so it’s a busy time at our house.

Our book this month is Copy Boy, by Shelley Blanton-Stroud. Set in Sacramento, San Francisco, and other locations in California, this exciting novel follows the life of a girl who left the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma with her family and who reinvents herself as a boy, working for a newspaper in San Francisco.

We will be discussing the book via zoom on October 24 at 10:30AM. I’ll be posting a zoom invite closer to the date. Happy reading, and stay healthy!

Book Review: The Regency Years, by Robert Morrison

Here’s a short book review for my Regency Readers!

Historical romance fans, the Regency years were LIT. They were tumultuous and complicated, and they set the stage for so many ideas and values that we hold today. In The Regency Years: During Which Jane Austen Writes, Napoleon Fights, Byron Makes Love, and Britain Becomes Modern, author Robert Morrison makes the case that modern life started not with the Victorian Era but rather with the Regency, the period between 1811-1820 when Prince George ruled on behalf of his father, King George III.

This book is great at looking at different aspects of Regency life and breaking it down in a way that is accessible (not written in High Academinese) but also meticulous. Some chapters get a bit repetitive but for the most part they are informative and entertaining. Romance readers will be especially interested in the section on “Sexual Pastimes, Pleasures, and Perversities,” which addresses sexual mores including same-sex relationships. 

Morrison talks a great deal about women in society, politics, and the arts, but the book deals in wide scope rather than exhaustive detail about any one person or event. Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, and Maria Edgeworth get quite a bit of page time, especially Austen. This book name drops an incredible number of people, so I suspect that any reader who is also a Regency fan is going to be annoyed that their favorite person didn’t get enough attention. I was deeply annoyed with the lack of attention to Anne Radcliffe before I realized that most of her work, including The Mysteries of Udolpho, were written just prior to the Regency. So, I learned something today (and was forced to adjust this grade up accordingly!). If you know of a historical personage from the Regency Era, they probably appear in this book,

History nerds, I highly recommend this book. I’ve read a lot about the Regency but I still learned a great deal and I was entertained as well. On the other hand, if you pick it up looking for a lot of information about a specific person, place, or event, you probably won’t find it here given how quickly the author moves from topic to topic. This is a great overview that puts the Regency period into a broader historical perspective. If all these people could survive the Regency years, surely we can get through the rest of 2020!

Between the Lines Book Club: Discussion Questions

between the lines book club logoI hope all my Book Clubbers have been safely indoors, running their air conditioning and reading under a fan! We will have a Zoom meeting on Saturday, September 26, 2020, at 10:30AM to discuss An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.

Here are some discussion questions (pulled from Oprah’s Book Club and from Book Riot)

  1. Jones named her novel An American Marriage, a title which suggests this novel has something specific to say about marriage in America. What do you think this novel is saying about marriage? What makes the events of this novel specifically American?

2. For Celestial, it seems as if certain behaviors are expected of her as a woman and, even more specifically, as Black woman. What sort of expectations do we see her family and Roy place on her? Are these expectations fair? Do you agree with how she responded to them?

3. This story is told in three alternating perspectives: Celestial, Roy, and Andre. Was there a certain perspective you responded more positively towards? How do you think you would view these characters differently if the story was told only from Celestial’s point of view? Or Roy’s?

4. This novel’s pacing is interesting in that it focuses in on specific moments of time for an extended period, speeds through others through the exchange of letters, and skips over periods of time entirely to move on to the next important moment. Why do you think Jones chose the moments she did to write about in detail? What effect did the fast passage of time have on the narrative?

5. When Celestial asks Roy if he would have waited for her for more than five years, he doesn’t answer her question but reminds her that, as a woman, she would not have been imprisoned in the first place. Do you feel that his response is valid? Do you believe that he would have remained faithful if Celestial had been the one incarcerated? Does this really matter, and if so, why? 

6. You may not have noticed that Tayari Jones does not specify the race of the woman who accuses Roy of rape. How did you picture this woman? What difference does the race of this woman make in the way you understand the novel’s storyline? 

7. Andre insists that he doesn’t owe Roy an apology for the way his relationship with Celestial changed. Do you agree? Why or why not? 

8. There are two father figures in Roy’s life: Big Roy is the one who shepherded him into adulthood and helped him grow into a responsible, capable person, but Walter is the one who taught Roy how to survive. Do you feel these men deserve equal credit? If not, which was the more important figure in Roy’s life and why? 

9. When Roy is released from prison, he first goes to his childhood home and almost immediately makes a connection with Davina. Do you feel that given the tenuous relationship he has with Celestial—who is still legally his wife—he is cheating? Why or why not? And when Roy announces to Davina his intention to return to his wife, do you feel that her anger is justified? 

10. Roy is hurt when Celestial, in discussing her career as an artist, doesn’t mention him or the role he played in giving her the encouragement and freedom to follow her dreams, but Walter argues that she is justified in her silence. Do you agree? Do you think her silence is due to shame, or is she just being practical in how she presents herself to advance her career? 

11. It is obvious that Andre is different from Roy in many ways. Do you feel that he is a better match for Celestial? If so, why? Also, why do you think Celestial and Andre decide against formally marrying? Do you think that as a couple they will be good and nurturing parents? Do you feel that as a couple, they will be better at parenting than Celestial and Roy would have been? If so, why? 

12. Toward the end of the novel, Celestial does a complete about-face and returns to Roy. What do you think her emotions were in coming to that decision? Do you feel that it was the right decision?

13. There are so many beautiful insights about love and the nature of love in this novel. For instance, Jones writes, “Love is the enemy of sound judgment, and occasionally this is in service of the good.” Do you agree with this sentiment? How does love affect characters’ decisions in this novel?

14. How did you feel about the ending of this novel? Was it hopeful at all? Did you want things to turn out differently for these characters, and if so, how? Would the marriage have survived if Roy had not gone to jail?

For more reading, compare this book to James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk. Also read The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander

A Poem For September

Words of wisdom from Walt Whitman, or, as fans of Dead Poet’s Society call him, Uncle Walt. Life is still happening, we are still here – and we still may contribute a verse.

O Me! O Life!

BY WALT WHITMAN

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

  Answer.
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

Between the Lines Book Club: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

between the lines book club logoHello Dear Book Clubbers! Our September selection is An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones. Here is the info for the zoom meeting, which will be held on Sept 26 at 10:30AM:

Carrie Sessarego is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Between the Lines Book Club

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4630495746?pwd=MWNjYm55Mkg5Z1NwRjZsSDhzVE9HQT09

Meeting ID: 463 049 5746
Passcode: 423652

Meeting ID: 463 049 5746
Passcode: 423652

An American Marriage is about the repercussions on a family when the husband is sentenced to prison for a crime he did not commit. For more on this topic, try reading If Beale Street Could Talk, a novel by James Baldwin, or see the movie of the same name. You might also read the non-fiction book The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander!