Monday, April 18, 2011

Book Club Monday

Another Book club Monday, and today's book was The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley. The main character, Flavia de Luce is an eleven year old girl, described as "an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison." From her home in the English countryside around 1950, she studies chemistry and the classics in her personal laboratory in order to solve a murder that has occurred on the property. She uncovers clues and encounters danger as she conducts her investigation aboard her trusty bicycle, Gladys.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is the first novel written by Mr. Bradley, but Flavia has continued to appear solving subsequent mysteries in four more novels. Flavia even has her own website with lots more information about the girl scientist sleuth at

The ladies found young Flavia quite remarkable, possible even unbelievable for a girl her age. We all enjoyed the book, and found it to be an intriguing page turner. Several of the scenes were quite realistic, and created both anxiety and anticipation as we worried about what was to happen next. The book was humorous and sad, poignant and exciting, and we all enjoyed reading it. We felt like it was a different kind of book from those we usually select, but agreed that being in a book club offers us the opportunity to read books we might not otherwise choose. I can see the possibly of meeting Flavia again sometime by reading another book in the series.

As we gathered for lunch and discussion today, the ladies were anxious to discuss last night's airing of 60 Minutes. Featured on the show, was a piece about Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea and Stones Into Schools.

60 Minutes suggests that many of the stories in Mr. Mortenson's books are fabrications, and that some of the funds raised by his Central Asia Institute are not actually being used for the building of schools in the remote areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Our book club had the opportunity to hear Greg Mortenson speak last fall at a church in Indianapolis. We found his presentation to be both inspirational and compassionate, and our group's reaction to this recent report was that of disappointment. We understand that we should not believe everything we hear on television, but as one of the ladies said after watching the piece, "he looked guilty." You can watch the video here, and decide for yourself. It is disappointing to think that the good he has done could be erased by poor decisions and mismanagement of funds. I also find it sad to think that this news may damage the attempts of others working in the area of education for women in this region, and in other impoverished areas of our world.

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