To arrange to visit a book club, please call (207) 621-3551
or send a message.

UMASC BOOK CLUBS

Winter 2021-2022

Discussions are currently held on Zoom.

MONDAY BOOK CLUB

Group Leader: Patrice Wehner
Third Monday of the Month
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

UPCOMING MEETINGS :
November 15, 2021
December 20, 2021
January 17, 2022
February 21, 2022
March 21, 2022
April 18, 2022

UPCOMING BOOKS:
Nov: Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
Dec: The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
(2022 books are chosen at November meeting.)

THURSDAY BOOK CLUB

Group Leader: Norma Blazer
Fourth Thursday of the Month
(earlier date in December)
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

UPCOMING MEETINGS:
No meeting in November
December 9, 2021
January 27, 2022
February 24, 2022
March 24, 2022
April 28, 2022

UPCOMING BOOKS:
Dec: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Jan: This Boy’s Life: A Memoir by Tobias Wolff

Join the Club!

 

Peter Rosenberg

BooksGraphicBW

The UMASC is blessed with not one but two book clubs that are easily identified as the Monday or the Thursday Book Club. I am a member of the Thursday group that usually meets on the fourth Thursday at 1 pm. For the past oneandahalf years, we have been meeting by Zoom—you know why. Some of our group have been members for several years, and we have become friends as we have learned more about each other when critiquing each book. Our next meeting will take place on December 9th, maintaining a distance between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The December selection is A Gentleman in Moscow (2016) by Amor Towles.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

This novel centers on Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, a member of the Jockey Club, Master of the Hunt, who lived at Suite 317 of the Metropole Hotel, a luxury hotel in the center of Moscow. In 1922 he was arrested for writing an inflammatory poem and was given an unusual sentence—confinement to the hotel, subject to being shot on sight if found outside the hotel. I have no room to describe the plot of this 462-page novel in this short note but, for me, the joy is the language that one can enjoy, chew on, savor and digest. There are vivid portraits of those who work at the hotel or are guests, and there are numerous literary allusions, making this book a must for English lovers. Does our hero leave the Metropole Hotel alive? The exciting conclusion awaits the reader.

Did I whet your appetite? Are you intrigued? Would you like to attend one of our meetings, learn what books we have lined up, meet fellow book lovers, and join in the discussion?  If you would like more information or would like to join either book club, please contact the UMA Senior College office by phone (207-621-3551) or by email (office@umasc.org) with “UMASC Book Club” in the subject line. 

This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff.The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip WilliamsHamnet by Maggie O'FarrellMONDAY BOOK CLUB
The November book is Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell; and the December book is The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams.
THURSDAY BOOK CLUB
The December book is A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles and the January book is This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff.

To arrange to visit a book club, please call (207) 621-3551
or send a message.

UMASC BOOK CLUBS

Winter 2021-2022

Discussions are currently held on Zoom.

MONDAY BOOK CLUB

Group Leader: Patrice Wehner
Third Monday of the Month
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

UPCOMING MEETINGS :
January 17, 2022
February 21, 2022
March 21, 2022
April 18, 2022

UPCOMING BOOKS:
Dec: The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

Jan: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek 
by Kim Michele Richardson
(2022 books TBA)

THURSDAY BOOK CLUB

Group Leader: Norma Blazer
Fourth Thursday of the Month
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

UPCOMING MEETINGS:
January 27, 2022
February 24, 2022
March 24, 2022
April 28, 2022

UPCOMING BOOKS:
Jan: This Boy’s Life: A Memoir by Tobias Wolff
(2022 books TBA)

Join the Club!

Norma Blazer

THURSDAY BOOK CLUB
January book:
This Boy’s Life: A Memoir
by Tobias Wolff
BooksGraphicBW

This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff.The UMASC Thursday Book Group will meet at 1 PM on Zoom, Thursday, January 27, to discuss This Boy’s Life: A Memoir by Tobias Wolff. We first encounter Toby and his beautiful, but flakey, mother shortly after the boy’s 10th birthday and follow him through escapades that include theft, vandalism, fistfights, drinking, and poor grades to his expulsion from an elite boys’ school ten years later. This coming-of-age story, told with remarkable candor, is non-fiction that reads like a novel. In fact, critics have compared Wolff’s memoir to coming-of-age classics such as Huckleberry Finn and The Catcher in the Rye. If you are not familiar with Tobias Wolff or what he is doing today, try reading his memoir first, as I did. Google him afterward for a nice surprise.  

The UMASC Thursday Book Group currently has room for new members. If you would like more information or would like to join our group, please contact the UMA Senior College office by phone (207-621-3551) or by email (office@umasc.org) with “Thursday Book Club” in the subject line.

 
MONDAY BOOK CLUB
December book:
The Dictionary of Lost Words
by Pip Williams.
January book:
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek 
by Kim Michele Richardson
 

To arrange to visit a book club, please call (207) 621-3551
or send a message.

UMASC BOOK CLUBS

2022 Season

Discussions are currently held on Zoom.

MONDAY BOOK CLUB

Group Leader: Patrice Wehner
Third Monday of the Month
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

UPCOMING MEETINGS :
• January 17, 2022
February 21, 2022
March 21, 2022
April 18, 2022

UPCOMING BOOKS:
January:

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
by Kim Michele Richardson
February:
The Shape of Night
by Tess Gerritsen
March:  
Caste
by Isabel Wilkerson
April:
Emily’s House 
by Amy Belding Brown
May:
State of Terror
by Louise Penny & Hillary Clinton
June:
Cloud Cuckoo Land
by Anthony Doerr

(July-December books TBA)

THURSDAY BOOK CLUB

Group Leader: Norma Blazer
Fourth Thursday of the Month
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

UPCOMING MEETINGS:
• January 27, 2022
February 24, 2022
March 24, 2022
April 28, 2022

UPCOMING BOOKS:
January:
This Boy’s Life: A Memoir

by
Tobias Wolff

(February-December books TBA)

Join the Club!

Patrice Wehner

MONDAY BOOK CLUB

January book:
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek 
by Kim Michele Richardson
BooksGraphicBW

“One of the best things about being part of this group is reading titles that I never would have explored on my own.”    This is a common refrain among our UMASC Monday Book Group members!   The joy of discovering books outside our “comfort zones” and sharing our personal favorites with each other are the magnets that draw us together the third Monday afternoon of every month.   

Our 2021 reading list was diverse:  “whodunit” novels featuring unfamiliar cultures and unconventional detectives; novels and non-fiction set in locations across Maine, by Maine authors; and historical fiction that took us to England in Shakespeare’s time, the late 1800’s and the 20th century.  Even as we stayed home reading and meeting on Zoom this year, we traveled  through time, across Maine and around the world!

Our January, 2022 title is The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson.  Set in Eastern Kentucky during the 1930s, this novel tells the story of Cussy Mary, one of the “Packhorse Librarians,” whose courage and belief in the power of literacy were her weapons against hate, bigotry and fear.    

If you would like more information about our group, please contact the UMA Senior College office by phone (207-621-3551) or by email (office@umasc.org) with “Monday Book Club” in the subject line.

Norma Blazer

THURSDAY BOOK CLUB

January book:
This Boy’s Life: A Memoir
by Tobias Wolff

This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff.The UMASC Thursday Book Group will meet at 1 PM on Zoom, Thursday, January 27, to discuss This Boy’s Life: A Memoir by Tobias Wolff. We first encounter Toby and his beautiful, but flakey, mother shortly after the boy’s 10th birthday and follow him through escapades that include theft, vandalism, fistfights, drinking, and poor grades to his expulsion from an elite boys’ school ten years later. This coming-of-age story, told with remarkable candor, is non-fiction that reads like a novel. In fact, critics have compared Wolff’s memoir to coming-of-age classics such as Huckleberry Finn and The Catcher in the Rye. If you are not familiar with Tobias Wolff or what he is doing today, try reading his memoir first, as I did. Google him afterward for a nice surprise.  

The UMASC Thursday Book Group currently has room for new members. If you would like more information or would like to join our group, please contact the UMA Senior College office by phone (207-621-3551) or by email (office@umasc.org) with “Thursday Book Club” in the subject line.

 
 
BooksGraphicBW

Join the Club!

2022 SEASON — UMASC BOOK CLUBS 

BooksGraphicBW

Discussions are currently held on Zoom.  •  To arrange to visit a book club, please call (207) 621-3551 or send a message.

Join the Club!

BooksGraphicBW
  • All Book Club discussions are currently held on Zoom.
  • To arrange to visit a book club, please call (207) 621-3551 or send a message.
BookGroupsLogo3
  • Discussions are currently held on Zoom.
  • To arrange a visit, please call (207) 621-3551 or send a message.
By Patrice Wehner

MONDAY BOOK GROUP

January book:
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek 
by Kim Michele Richardson

“One of the best things about being part of this group is reading titles that I never would have explored on my own.”    This is a common refrain among our UMASC Monday Book Group members!   The joy of discovering books outside our “comfort zones” and sharing our personal favorites with each other are the magnets that draw us together the third Monday afternoon of every month.   

Our 2021 reading list was diverse:  “whodunit” novels featuring unfamiliar cultures and unconventional detectives; novels and non-fiction set in locations across Maine, by Maine authors; and historical fiction that took us to England in Shakespeare’s time, the late 1800’s and the 20th century.  Even as we stayed home reading and meeting on Zoom this year, we traveled  through time, across Maine and around the world!

Our January, 2022 title is The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson.  Set in Eastern Kentucky during the 1930s, this novel tells the story of Cussy Mary, one of the “Packhorse Librarians,” whose courage and belief in the power of literacy were her weapons against hate, bigotry and fear. 

By Norma Blazer

THURSDAY BOOK GROUP

January book:
This Boy’s Life: A Memoir
by Tobias Wolff

This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff.The UMASC Thursday Book Group will meet at 1 PM on Zoom, Thursday, January 27, to discuss This Boy’s Life: A Memoir by Tobias Wolff. We first encounter Toby and his beautiful, but flakey, mother shortly after the boy’s 10th birthday and follow him through escapades that include theft, vandalism, fistfights, drinking, and poor grades to his expulsion from an elite boys’ school ten years later. This coming-of-age story, told with remarkable candor, is non-fiction that reads like a novel. In fact, critics have compared Wolff’s memoir to coming-of-age classics such as Huckleberry Finn and The Catcher in the Rye. If you are not familiar with Tobias Wolff or what he is doing today, try reading his memoir first, as I did. Google him afterward for a nice surprise.

MONDAY BOOK GROUP INFORMATION

The Monday Book Group meets the third Monday of the month from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Group Leader: Patrice Wehner

2022 UPCOMING BOOKS:
January 17:
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
February 21: The Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen
March 21: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
April 18: Emily’s House by Amy Belding Brown
May 16: State of Terror by Louise Penny & Hillary Clinton
June 20: Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

July-December: TBA

 

THURSDAY BOOK GROUP INFORMATION

The Thursday Book Group meets the fourth Thursday of the monthfrom 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Group Leader: Norma Blazer

2022 UPCOMING BOOKS:
January 27: This Boy’s Life: A Memoir by Tobias Wolff
February 24: Oh William! A Novel by Elizabeth Strout
March 24: The Duke of Deception: Memories of My Father by Geoffrey Wolff
April 28: The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston
May 26: Guests of the Sheik
by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea
June 23: Life is So Good
by George Dawson
July 28: The Alice Network: A Novel by Kate Quinn
August 25: Anxious People: A Novel by Fredrik Backman
September 22: Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
October 27: A Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
November: No Meeting
December: TBA

If you would like more information about either book group, please contact the UMASC office by phone (207-621-3551) or send a message.

BookGroupsLogo3
  • Discussions are currently held on Zoom.
  • To arrange a visit, please call (207) 621-3551 or send a message.
By Patrice Wehner

MONDAY BOOK GROUP

February book:
The Shape of Night 
by Tess Gerritsen

Pandemic or not, books transport us to many places.  Since there’s no place like home, every year we select a few titles by Maine authors, often set in Maine.  Our February book, The Shape of Night, is by Tess Gerritsen, a Camden resident. She’s well-known for her Rizzoli and Isles books and other best-selling suspense novels. The Shape of Night takes us to DownEast Maine, where food writer Ava Collette arrives from Boston to rent a historic house for the summer. There, she hopes to escape some personal troubles, and to focus on completing her latest cookbook (already behind schedule).  She quickly discovers that the serene home, friendly locals and idyllic town have many secrets, including a series of “accidental” deaths and paranormal experiences. It’s definitely a departure from Gerritsen’s other novels, and makes for a suspenseful escape from winter snowstorms! If you’re looking for a reading “staycation” set in Maine, check out some of the titles the Monday Book Group has read over the past few years:
  • Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Again (and of course, its predecessor, Olive Kitteridge)
  • Kerri Arsenault’s Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains (a memoir of her Rumford hometown, and investigation of the paper mill in Mexico)
  • Matt Cost’s Mainely Power (a murder mystery set in Brunswick)
  • Sarah Perry’s After the Eclipse (a daughter’s memoir of her mother’s murder in Bridgeton)
By Jane Paxton

THURSDAY BOOK GROUP

February book:
Oh William! A Novel
by Elizabeth Strout

I have a confession to make: I suggested: Oh William!: a novel by Elizabeth Strout to our Thursday Book Group before I had finished it. In my defense, I had previously read her novels Olive Kitteridge, My Name Is Lucy Barton and The Burgess Boys. Oh William! is a kind of sequel to My Name Is Lucy Barton. In addition, Oh William! received fulsome reviews from two of my favorite authors, Ann Patchett and Hilary Mantel.

William is Lucy’s ex-husband, and she has just lost her second husband. Even after all these years, Lucy and William still have a bond. He asks her to help investigate a family secret. Mysteries and secrets are irresistible to me. So far so good. I look forward to the discussion on February 24th on Zoom.

Consider joining us. We always have a variety of opinion that leads to lively discussions. Others’ choices have expanded my comfort zone. I now even (sometimes) look forward to nonfiction! The greater diversity of participants, the greater variety of genres and the more interesting our conversations. We still have places available in this senior college book club. Please join us.

 

MONDAY BOOK GROUP INFORMATION

The Monday Book Group meets the third Monday of the month from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Group Leader: Patrice Wehner

2022 BOOK LIST:

January 17: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

February 21: The Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen

March 21: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

April 18: Emily’s House by Amy Belding Brown

May 16: State of Terror by Louise Penny & Hillary Clinton

June 20: Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

July-December: TBA

THURSDAY BOOK GROUP INFORMATION

The Thursday Book Group meets the fourth Thursday of the month from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Group Leader: Norma Blazer

2022 BOOK LIST:

January 27: This Boy’s Life: A Memoir by Tobias Wolff

February 24: Oh William! a novel by Elizabeth Strout

March 24: The Duke of Deception: Memories of My Father by Geoffrey Wolff

April 28: The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston

May 26: Guests of the Sheik by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea

June 23: Life is So Good by George Dawson

July 28: The Alice Network: A Novel by Kate Quinn

August 25: Anxious People: A Novel by Fredrik Backman

September 22: Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

October 27: A Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

November: No Meeting

December: TBA

MEETING DATEBOOK TITLEAUTHOR
January 17This Boy’s Life: A Memoirby Tobias Wolff
February 24Oh William! a novelby Elizabeth Strout
March 24The Duke of Deception: Memories of My Father by Geoffrey Wolff
April 28The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Storyby Douglas Preston
May 26Guests of the Sheikby Elizabeth Warnock Fernea
June 23Life is So Goodby George Dawson
July 28The Alice Network: A Novelby Kate Quinn
August 25Anxious People: A Novel by Fredrik Backman
September 22Herlandby Charlotte Perkins Gilman
October 27A Gift from the Seaby Anne Morrow Lindbergh
NovemberNo Meeting
DecemberTBA

If you would like more information about either book group, please contact the UMASC office by phone (207-621-3551) or send a message.

MEETING DATEBOOK TITLEAUTHOR
January 17This Boy’s Life: A Memoirby Tobias Wolff
February 24Oh William! a novelby Elizabeth Strout
March 24The Duke of Deception: Memories of My Father by Geoffrey Wolff
April 28The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Storyby Douglas Preston
May 26Guests of the Sheikby Elizabeth Warnock Fernea
June 23Life is So Goodby George Dawson
July 28The Alice Network: A Novelby Kate Quinn
August 25Anxious People: A Novel by Fredrik Backman
September 22Herlandby Charlotte Perkins Gilman
October 27A Gift from the Seaby Anne Morrow Lindbergh
NovemberNo Meeting
DecemberTBA
By Patrice Wehner

MONDAY BOOK GROUP

February book:
The Shape of Night 
by Tess Gerritsen

Pandemic or not, books transport us to many places.  Since there’s no place like home, every year we select a few titles by Maine authors, often set in Maine.  Our February book, The Shape of Night, is by Tess Gerritsen, a Camden resident. She’s well-known for her Rizzoli and Isles books and other best-selling suspense novels.

The Shape of Night takes us to DownEast Maine, where food writer Ava Collette arrives from Boston to rent a historic house for the summer. There, she hopes to escape some personal troubles, and to focus on completing her latest cookbook (already behind schedule).  She quickly discovers that the serene home, friendly locals and idyllic town have many secrets, including a series of “accidental” deaths and paranormal experiences. It’s definitely a departure from Gerritsen’s other novels, and makes for a suspenseful escape from winter snowstorms!

If you’re looking for a reading “staycation” set in Maine, check out some of the titles the Monday Book Group has read over the past few years:

  • Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Again (and of course, its predecessor, Olive Kitteridge)
  • Kerri Arsenault’s Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains (a memoir of her Rumford hometown, and investigation of the paper mill in Mexico)
  • Matt Cost’s Mainely Power (a murder mystery set in Brunswick)
  • Sarah Perry’s After the Eclipse (a daughter’s memoir of her mother’s murder in Bridgeton)
By Norma Blazer

THURSDAY BOOK GROUP

March book:
The Duke of Deception: Memories of My Father
by Geoffrey Wolff

On March 24 we will meet on Zoom to discuss The Duke of Deception: Memories of My Father by Geoffrey Wolff.

In January, we discussed This Boy’s Life, Tobias Wolff’s 1989 memoir describing the antics of Toby, a bad-acting kid, as he came of age under the loose tutelage of his loving but flakey mother in the 1950s. Maybe you have read the book or watched the movie on Netflix. In the movie, Robert De Niro plays Dwight, Toby’s unscrupulously manipulative stepfather—a portrayal guaranteed to make you squirm. If you have read This Boy’s Life, maybe you, like many of us, wondered if the presence or influence of Toby’s father or brother would have been a game-changer in his young life. His father, Duke, was a Yale graduate who had achieved success as an aeronautical engineer. Toby’s brother Geoffrey, who lived with Duke and his new wife in Connecticut, was already Princeton-bound.

Well, at just the right moment, book group member Peter Rosenberg discovered the older brother’s memoir, The Duke of Deception by Geoffrey Wolff (1979). I cannot wait to hear what the group has to say about this book on March 24. We learn that Geoffrey had to survive his own situation, which was the opposite of Toby’s. Toby’s challenges were “street” challenges. Geoffrey, on the other hand, lived in and out of elite privilege under the guidance of a brilliant and loving father, Duke.

The writing is meticulous and just the right challenge for brains reawakening, post-Covid. By the time I reached page 34, I had googled eleven words: shootingstick, arsy-turvy (which I did not find), confidence man, Micawberism, alrightnik, threnodic, cadged, Triangle Club and Cottage Club, popinjay, and putatively. By then I might have tossed any other book, but not one of these was just a pretty word used for effect. Every word in this book is the perfect word, and every sentence has a purpose.

Both books are memoirs, and (spoiler alert!) both men are successful writers. The books complement one another. I would suggest you read This Boy’s Life first, if you can, even though Geoffrey Wolff wrote The Duke of Deception earlier. These are books I might not have selected, except for Book Group. Yet, they are two of the best books I have read in a long time.

By Patrice Wehner

MONDAY BOOK GROUP

February book:
The Shape of Night 
by Tess Gerritsen

Pandemic or not, books transport us to many places.  Since there’s no place like home, every year we select a few titles by Maine authors, often set in Maine.  Our February book, The Shape of Night, is by Tess Gerritsen, a Camden resident. She’s well-known for her Rizzoli and Isles books and other best-selling suspense novels.

The Shape of Night takes us to DownEast Maine, where food writer Ava Collette arrives from Boston to rent a historic house for the summer. There, she hopes to escape some personal troubles, and to focus on completing her latest cookbook (already behind schedule).  She quickly discovers that the serene home, friendly locals and idyllic town have many secrets, including a series of “accidental” deaths and paranormal experiences. It’s definitely a departure from Gerritsen’s other novels, and makes for a suspenseful escape from winter snowstorms!

If you’re looking for a reading “staycation” set in Maine, check out some of the titles the Monday Book Group has read over the past few years:

  • Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Again (and of course, its predecessor, Olive Kitteridge)
  • Kerri Arsenault’s Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains (a memoir of her Rumford hometown, and investigation of the paper mill in Mexico)
  • Matt Cost’s Mainely Power (a murder mystery set in Brunswick)
  • Sarah Perry’s After the Eclipse (a daughter’s memoir of her mother’s murder in Bridgeton)

THURSDAY BOOK GROUP

April book:
The Lost City of the Monkey God
by Douglas Preston


By Joan Meehan

This book will meet your expectations if you enjoy adventure stories. It will keep you entertained, and you will learn some history, new technology, information on new tropical diseases, and more. It is a gripping tale of the years explorers spent looking for the Lost City of the Monkey God in the uninhabited, impenetrable jungle of the La Mosquitia rainforest of Honduras.

It is a true story narrated by Douglas Preston, which is his story. It includes history, archeology, space-age technology (LIDAR), legends of a lost civilization, the jungle, tropical rains, tropical diseases, medical mystery, insects, venomous snakes, jaguars, drug cartels, ancient curses, and suspense. Some say it is the most dangerous place on earth. Most native Hondurans know of the tales of the existence of this ancient Pre-Columbian city, but up until a few years ago, no one knew precisely where it is. The story gives some insight into the indigenous people and government of Honduras.

Doug Preston tells of the background of the many failed searches in the 19th and 20th centuries as explorers, adventurers, looters, prospectors, gold hunters all hoped to find The Lost City of the Monkey God. The site is also called the La Cuidad Blanca (The White City). Many were looking for gold or artifacts that could be sold on the black market. The area was also a haven for drugsmuggling cartels.

The Lost City of the Monkey God is in the La Mosquitia area of Honduras and was mapped in 2012 using LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranginga laser imaging technology) and GPR (ground penetrating RADAR). LIDAR with GPR can map the terrain under the densest jungle canopy; it can find the smallest space in the canopy to look through and penetrate the ground and put the information together in a topographic map with subterranean infrastructure.

A joint Honduran and American team made a ground expedition in 2015. The City of the Monkey God ruins were visited and documented by Doug Preston and his team of archeologists, anthropologists, filmmakers, a chronicler, guides, Honduran soldiers for protection, and others. They helicoptered into the site. The city was pristine, with nothing touched or looted. The people seemed to have vanished about 1000 years ago. Nothing was taken but photos and documentation of what is there. They reported that the rain forest site seemed very primeval. The explorers said the animals at the site seemed unafraid of humans and appeared never to have seen humans before. Their on-the-ground visit to the City of The Monkey God was a harrowing one. They had an encounter with the deadly Fer-de-lance snake. Several of the group contracted a mysterious disease that Douglas Preston still has today. These are just a few of the problems they encountered when on the ground. Several more expeditions were made by Doug Preston and his team in 2016 and 2017. The location of the site is not being revealed to protect it from looters.

When I read, it is great to learn something and be entertained. So, because I had read this book, I was already aware of the LIDAR technology when I visited UMaine. The University received a grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation to research the following:

The grant supports the design, engineering, and deployment of a fully-autonomous, ground-based glacier-monitoring system, also known as the Atlas System. The system integrates state-of-the art Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) laser technology, an innovative solar power system, and satellite communications to remotely scan glaciers in unprecedented detail. The LiDAR technology is a unique 3D imaging survey that uses a pulsed laser to illuminate a target and analyze the reflected light.

Measurements from the Atlas System will yield insights into the physics behind dynamic changes in glacier topography, allowing scientists to better predict future rates of glacier loss and its associated sea level rise. The equipment is deployed on the Helheim glacier, Greenland’s largest and fastest-moving glacier.

 

By Patrice Wehner

MONDAY BOOK GROUP

April book:
Emily’s House 
by Amy Belding Brown

Our book for April, Emily’s House by Amy Belding Brown, provided us an opportunity to peer into life at the Dickinson family Homestead in Amherst, Massachusetts, in the latter half of the 19th century, from the perspective of Margaret (Maggie) Maher, the Dickinson’s maid for nearly 30 years. Brown initially set out to write about the life of Emily Dickinson. However, as she pursued her usual meticulous research prior to writing the novel, she became fascinated by Maggie, and ultimately, Brown reconstructed life inside the Homestead through the eyes of this strong-willed Irish immigrant who became a trusted member of the household, growing into a compassionate companion and fiercely protective advocate of the reclusive Emily, “the Myth of Amherst.”

Emily’s House is an engaging tale of Maggie’s reflections on her life with the Dickinson family, from being sought for employment by the influential Edward Dickinson, to navigating the complicated relationships of Emily’s siblings, and to preserving Emily’s writing and legacy as well as the actual Dickinson homestead itself. At the same time, she must balance her loyalty to Emily with her own personal allegiances to her family, her faith, and her native Ireland.

Whether you are a follower of Emily Dickinson or know little about her, Amy Belding Brown has provided a well-researched and engaging story that educates and entertains. Fans of historical fiction set in New England may also want to check out Brown’s other novels, Mr. Emerson’s Wife and Flight of the Sparrow.

THURSDAY BOOK GROUP

April book:
The Lost City of the Monkey God
by Douglas Preston


By Joan Meehan
By Norma Blazer

THURSDAY BOOK GROUP

May book:
Guests of the Sheik
by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea

The UMASC Thursday book group meets on Zoom at 1 PM the fourth Thursday each month. We still have room for two or three new members. If you think you might be interested in joining our group, please call the UMASC office at (207) 621-3551 and someone will reach out to answer any questions you have.

On May 26 we will be discussing Guests of the Sheik: An Ethnography of an Iraqi Village by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea. This book is the author’s account of two years beginning in 1957 when she and her husband lived in a small mud-brick hut in southern Iraq. The couple was newly married, and Robert Fernea was in Iraq to complete graduate studies in anthropology. They both struggled to understand the language, fit in, make friends, and conduct their lives without offending anyone. To make matters worse for Elizabeth, Robert was gone much of the time. Fortunately, the Shiite women took pity on their young guest who had no children, no mother for companionship, and—worst of all—no gold of her own (which they cautioned was a grave mistake). The village women welcomed her into their culture and, over time, shared what they knew about a woman’s role and her responsibilities.

The subtitle of this book is An Ethnography of an Iraqi Village. Ethnography is the study of a culture from the point of view of the subject of the study. Recent reviewers have criticized this book written in 1965 for its lack of relevance 60 years later. However, these Iraqi women are the mothers of our generation and the grandmothers of modern Iraqi women. Haven’t we all seen our mothers in the mirror? Haven’t we each heard our mother’s words in our own voice? I am looking forward to reading what the village women of El Nahra chose to share with the young American in 1957 and wondering, too, who the real student in the experience turned out to be–the doctoral candidate or his young bride.