Book Group

September

Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy Tolan

In 1967, Bashir Al-Khayri, a Palestinian 25-year-old, journeyed to Israel, with he goal of seeing the beloved old stone house, with the lemon tree behind it, that he and his family had fled nineteen years earlier.  To his surprise, he was greeted by Dalia Ashkenazi Landau, a 19-year-old Israeli college student, whose family fled Europe for Israel following the Holocaust.  Dalia and Bashir begin a rare friendship, forged in the aftermath of war and tested over the next thirty-five years in ways that neither could imagine.

October

The Music of Bees by Eileen Garvin

Three lonely strangers in a rural Oregon town are serendipitously brought together on a honeybee farm.  44-year-old Alice Holtzman is reeling from the unexpected death of her husband and subject to panic attacks.  In the grip of a panic attack, she nearly collides with Jake, a troubled, paraplegic teenager with the tallest mohawk in Hood River County, while carrying 120,000 honeybees in the back of her pickup truck.  And then there’s Harry, a 24-year-old with debilitating social anxiety who is desperate for work. An unexpected friendship grows between them as they fight a local pesticide company in order to save the bees.

November

A Secret Gift: How One Man’s Kindness & a Trove of Letters Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression by Ted Gup

Shortly before Christmas 1933 in Depression era Canton, Ohio, a newspaper ad offered $10 to 75 families in distress obtained by submitting a letter describing their hardships to a benefactor called Mr. B. Virdot.  The author’s grandfather Sam Stone placed this ad to help his fellow Cantonians.  75 years later, Ted Gup sets out to unveil the lives and the family sagas behind those letters, and how that gift helped to turn people’s lives around.  In the process, Gup also learned that Sam Stone was more complex than the lovable persona he’d shown his grandson.