Just Books to Meet Virtually

St. Mary’s Social Justice committee is presenting our fourth annual summer book club, Just Books.  As is the case in other parts of our lives, our 2020 summer gatherings will take place virtually, via Zoom.  We will begin at 7:00 pm and run until about 8:30 pm.  Get your calendars ready–here are the dates of the conversations and the books we will read:

Wednesday, June 17, Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli. Named one of the five best books in fiction of 2019 by the New York Times, this novel centers on a couple and their two children who are taking a road trip from New York City to the Mexican border. “A breathtaking feat of literary virtuosity, Lost Children Archive is timely, compassionate, subtly hilarious, and formally inventive–a powerful, urgent story about what it is to be human in an inhuman world.” (Vintage Press)

Lost Children Archive Discussion Questions:

  1. How do you see the relationship among the four members of the family?
  2. Maps play a big part in the novel. How have maps informed your travels?
  3. The son says, “officially, Pa was a documentarist and Ma was a documentarian…both of them did basically the same thing: they had to find sounds, record them, store them on tape, and then put them together in a way they told a story.”  Have you been a part of a sound documentary?  Have you heard one?  What was unique to that form of art?
  4. As you consider lost children in general, what comes to mind?
  5. How does the novel treat time?

Wednesday, July 15, Staring Down the Tiger, Pa Der Vang, editor.  Pa Der Vang, is an associate sociology professor at St. Catherine University and has collected stories and poetry written by contemporary Hmong women.  The title refers to a Hmong folktale which tells of a tiger who wanted to possess the people’s skills and killed every Hmong person to consume their talents. “The women in this book have turned that metaphor on its head,” writes Pa Der Van. “They are reclaiming the metaphor of the tiger.  While they may fear the tiger, they have chosen to face it.” (Pioneer Press)


Wednesday, August 19, Walk In a Relaxed Manner by Joyce Rupp.  Joyce Rupp, a prolific author and member of the Servite Community, tells the story of the pilgrimage she took, along with her friend Tom, a retired priest, on the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain.  Her memoir is filled with life lessons for us all.  As she states in the book, “the Camino inspired me to allow the ups and downs of daily life to be the pilgrimage and adventure it really is.  My desire in sharing this story with you is to have these life lessons stir up fresh enthusiasm for your life as they have for mine.”

Each of these books highlights the common bond we share as wanderers and seekers, moving beyond our own comforts into a place of compassion and solidarity with our fellow travelers.  Please join the conversation, there will be plenty of room!  You will need to register, so we can contact you with the Zoom link.  To register,  or for more information, please contact Kathryn Lien at kathrynannlien@gmail.com.

June 17th, 2019