Friday, March 28, 2008

Thoughts on Beloved

I have been having contractions over the past week and I am getting nervous that the baby will come before the book deadline and then I will miss out on the whole discussion! For those of you who have not read past the first about 50 pages don't read on or I will spoil it for you. I went to a play last night called "Civil War" and the whole time I was thinking of how much that story correlates to Beloved that we are reading. In the book Sethe thinks that the Master has shown up at her house, so she takes her children out to the wood shed to kill them because she is so passionate about protecting her children and not alllowing them to be put into slavery like she was. It would be better for them to die than to live that life. I cannot imagine, as a mother myself, how Sethe must have felt to get to the point that she was willing to take the life of her children to protect them from the life of a slave. In the play last night it talked about the war our country went through all in the name of freedom for the Negros. There were 240,000 white men that died fighting for the cause of an equal rights for all men. Sethe decided to take matters into her own hands and stop slavery in her family. I cannot imagine living in fear of being taken back to Sweet Home, or of getting turned in for a cash reward since you escaped from your Master. ALways looking over your shoulder and never knowing if you were going to be safe. There are so many things that living in this country at this time, I know I take for granted. Waling down the street by myself, giving birth to my children in a hospital and not in a field. I don't have to worry about being traded as a slave to someone and having to succomb to all their needs and whims they desire. I guess as I am reading this, I am realizing that this life is so much more than just myself. We are so connected to the past. I have such a greater appreciation for our freedom and for those who went before and fought for the rights that we enjoy everyday, but at times forget they were even fought for becuase they are so commonplace now. Anyhow, that is enough of my soapbox for now. I am interested to know what others have to say...
--Michelle Jamison

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Beloved Deadline

Hello Everyone!

I know we are all super busy with everything that we have going on and since Beloved tends to be a little bit more on the heavier side of reading, what are your thoughts on extending the deadline? Maybe just a couple of extra weeks? I love what Sarah did with the links. I know they will definitely help me to get through the book.

I typically enjoy reading just for escape reading. Which is why books like Twilight, Angels and Demons and Harry Potter are great books to read. But I joined this book club to help expand my reading choices. So books like Beloved are perfect for what I'm trying to accomplish. Sarah, I promise to read the book and have some good discussion about as we go along!

Some help

Since this is a harder book to read, Mable suggested that I post a couple of websites that will help out. So ... see below:,pageNum-4.html

You can browse around and read about the characters, a synopsis of the story, and chapter by chapter analysis. (I found the Spark Notes site particularly helpful while looking for a summary.) Even if you haven't read the book (or don't plan on reading it), it might be worth reading the synopsis to get a feel for the book and the themes. You can still participate in the online discussion having just read the synopses. Good luck with the reading and feel free to post stuff as you go along - like if you are having a hard time with a particular section, you can post your thoughts and see if anyone else has any comments. Posting doesn't have to wait until you get to the end of the book for you to write some thoughts or feelings. You can post as you go along. Happy reading!


Monday, March 24, 2008

How we doing?

People in the book club are telling me that they are having a hard time getting through Beloved. Or they are telling me that they haven’t read it all and don’t plan on it. Has anyone finished it? Or is anyone having any success in reading it?

Also – once again, I am looking for book suggestions for April. Let me know (or post a comment) if you have any ideas. Thanks!


Thursday, March 13, 2008

News on Harry Potter

Hey, I read on CNN that the producers are going to split the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movie into 2 separate movies. (see

So … anyone have any thoughts on where they will split the movie? What’s going to be in part 1 and what will be in part 2? Do you like the idea of splitting the book into 2 movies? Or not? Thoughts anyone? November 2010 does seem rather far away … but it’s never too early to speculate when it comes to Harry Potter!!


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

About "Beloved"

Just a small bit of warning -- this book is about slavery and other weighty topics -- it is definitely not considered “light” reading. I don’t want anyone saying they didn’t know what they were getting into -- so for a synopsis of the book, check out:

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Thoughts on Angels and Demons

Okay, so I was really looking forward to see what everyone would have to say about the book and I checked 3 times yesterday to see with no luck! So I guess that I will have to start. ( I finished the book and returned it to the library about 2 weeks ago, so I apologize that I can't give you page numbers or references and will probably be spelling names wrong. )
There was a discussion about Religion that really got me thinking. Robert and Vittoria were on the plane and she asked if he believed in God. And his response was one that I thought was perfectly acceptable, and yet she turned it around to more of a hands on "God". It got me thinking about what I believe and how God is truly into everything in my life. Even if I don't understand particle seperation, antimatter, is all such a complex networking of life that all connects and just works, I don't have to think about it, it really just happens.
But I do have one thing that just pushed me over the edge and made me think...ummm you had me until that! So Robert is all over the city all in one day and night, running, solving all the clues (those made my brain hurt to try to wrap my mind around all of the info) and doing all of these amazing super human stunts, and then he gets in the helicopter, the only way to survive is to jump...he is falling from a high elevation into the black nothingness of the Vatican and he is using the the shield cover from the helicopter and miraculously he had me until that! Not that I wanted him to die, I really did fall in love with the character and got to the point that one day as I was letting my mind wander I thought; "I wonder if I could take an online course in Symbology from Robert Langdon, I am sure that he is popular enugh that he would be online..." And then I snapped back into reality and remembered that this was a book, a well written book since it became part of my reality.
I have to get to work, so I will stop there for now. But I am loving this whole reading thing. I look forward to what everyone else has to say!
--Michelle Jamison

I'll go first

It seems to me like no one wants to be the first to post anything for discussion. So I guess I'll go. I don't really have anything all that intellectual to discuss - being the mom of three kids under the age of four, I don't have the energy for intellectual. But here are two points that I've been thinking about.

Science vs. Religion: This was a theme running throughout the book. Whether science and religion worked together or opposed each other. I, personally, am in agreement with Galileo. In the book it says that Galileo believed that science reinforced the existence of God, rather than undermining His existence. I believe that too. For example, the more I learn about the human body, how it functions, protects itself, sustains itself, works together with all its systems, creates new life, adapts...the more impossible I find it NOT to believe in God. There is no way all of that occurred by accident. The world too is a testament to the existence of a Supreme Creator. I could cite scriptural references as well, but I'll leave that for now.

Successors: Another thing that interested me was the way in which a new pope is selected in the Catholic Church. The first time I read Angels and Demons was just before Pope John Paul II died - when was that, 2005? It was interesting to watch the news coverage of a conclave and see how political a process that was, in spite of people saying that it was "God's choice." It really is an election and political ritual, as described by Dan Brown. On page 123, he writes that a conclave is a politically charged atmosphere and that "over the centuries they had turned deadly; poisonings, fist fights, and even murder had erupted within the sacred walls."

Compare that with the ease in the change of leadership of the LDS church. As we just experienced at the beginning of February, there is no political discussion, no vying for position, no campaigning, no disagreement, no ballotting or election at all. As outlined by revelation from the Lord, the senior-most apostle always becomes the next prophet. And who is the senior-most apostle at the time a current prophet passes away is also dictated by the Lord, as He controls how long any one of the brethren holds his calling. I don't know for certain, but I think it's fairly safe to say that it is a position that is not sought after, a responsibility that any of the brethren would really prefer not to have. There is no disagreement among the leaders about it. Who leads the LDS Church as prophet truly is chosen by the Lord. Isn't that so much easier?

Okay. That's all I have to say at the moment. You can't read this book and expect to not have a religious discussion. I suspect that most of you are also LDS, so you probably feel somewhat the same.


Next book

Our next book assignment is going to be Beloved. It’s written by Toni Morrison. You’ll have until Monday March 31st to finish it – then the discussion can begin. I’m hoping we get a lot of discussion -– this one is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner and was voted by the New York Times as the best works of American fiction of the past 25 years. It’s written by an African-American woman and the theme of the book revolves around slavery. It looks good – and it looks like it will be one that will prompt a lot of stimulating conversation on the blog.

Speaking of the blog –- there is no discussion going on from finishing Angels and Demons. I know that everyone is very busy … but the idea of the book club is to read a book, then discuss it … in our case, by posting something on the blog. So please go in and write something about Angles & Demons. I don’t think everyone is checking the blog nearly enough -– try to check it once a week (or so) for updates, etc. And write some stuff! You can post your feelings about Angels and Demons over the next few weeks, while you are getting started into reading Beloved.

Happy reading!! Thanks everyone!!