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Book Group meetings occur every two months usually on site here at the Episcopal Day School conference room. Masks and vaccines are encouraged.

Dear Readers,
The ECSM Book Group has selected Lessons in Chemistry for our upcoming meeting and conversation.  This best-selling novel by Bonnie Garmus is set in the 1960s.  It follows the story of Elizabeth Zott, a chemist by training, who works with an all-male team at Hastings Research Institute until she is offered the opportunity to host a cooking show on television. The New York Times Book Review described Lessons in Chemistry as “Irresistible, satisfying, and full of fuel. It reminds you that change takes time and always requires heat.”

The Book Group will meet on Wednesday, May 24, at the Burlingame home of Jenny Mathes to discuss Lessons in Chemistry. Please contact the Church Office or me for Jenny’s address. Our meetings start at 7:00 pm and usually conclude between 9:00 and 9:30.

We will also select a book to read over the summer at the meeting. We usually meet in September. In the past we have sometimes chosen longer books for our summer reading.  We already have some nominations, including the following (descriptions are mostly excerpted from Amazon):
The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish. Set in London of the 1660s and of the early twenty-first century, The Weight of Ink is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history. Electrifying and ambitious, The Weight of Ink is about women separated by centuries—and the choices and sacrifices they must make in order to reconcile the life of the heart and mind.  
And There Was Light by Jon Meachem. Published in 2022, this biography of Abraham Lincoln illuminates the origins of his commitment to ending slavery. It addresses both the limitations and the possibilities of the presidency during a period of division and dissension.
The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri. This novel tells the stories of Nuri and Afra—a long-married couple who are forced to flee Syria when war is raging and all they love has been destroyed. This novel puts human faces on the Syrian war with the immigrant story of a beekeeper, his wife, and the triumph of spirit when the world becomes unrecognizable.
The Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhader.  This novel tells the story of two young Syrian girls. Nour and Rawiya travel similar paths across the Middle East and North Africa, both of them hoping to reach home, but they are separated by 800 years.  
Charlotte Sophia by Tina Andrews. Charlotte Sophia was the wife of “mad” King George III of England. Charlotte Sophia and King George were joined in marriage for political reasons, even though each of them was in love with someone else. Did her king, her country, or her lover discover she was of African descent? This historical novel (by the award-winning author of Sally Hemmings: An AmericanScandal) spans 50 years in the life of a formidable queen whose history collides with lust, betrayal, politics, murder…and madness.
Horse by Geraldine Brooks: A discarded painting in a junk pile, a skeleton in an attic, and the greatest racehorse in American history: from these strands, a Pulitzer Prize winner braids a sweeping story of spirit, obsession, and injustice across American history. Based on the remarkable true story of the record-breaking thoroughbred Lexington, Horse is a novel of art and science, love and obsession, and our unfinished reckoning with racism.
SPQR by Mary Beard. Published in 2016, SPQR recounts the history of Rome “with passion and without technical jargon” and demonstrates how “a slightly shabby Iron Age village” rose to become the “undisputed hegemon of the Mediterranean” (Wall Street Journal). This “highly informative, highly readable” work examines not just how we think of ancient Rome but challenges the comfortable historical perspectives that have existed for centuries. With its nuanced attention to class, democratic struggles, and the lives of entire groups of people omitted from the historical narrative for centuries, SPQR will shape our view of Roman history for decades to come.
That is quite a list! They all sound intriguing to me. We will choose one book to read and discuss in September, but the others are readily available to read on our own.
Hope to see you at the May 24 meeting of the ECSM Book Group.