'57 Reunion Common Reading Book List

March 5, 2012 at 2:15 pm
By Nancy "Bumble" Adams Cogan

Bumble's BOOK LIST for 1957s


On Saturday morning we will have breakfast discussion tables where we discuss the following books - we'd love to see you there.

1. It seems that Turkey interests many of us, so...

BASTARD OF ISTANBUL by Elif Shadak pursues issues of the Armenian “exile” through stories and interactions of two families - one Turkish and the other Armenian-American. Turkish and Armenian cuisine are regular features, along with customs and urban life.

GARDEN OF WATERS by Alan Drew follows a Kurdish family living near Istanbul, in the aftermath of an earthquake, illuminating their culture displaced and the influence of well-meaning NGO missioners. Alan Drew, Random House Youngbloods add another Turkish author, Orhan Pamukʼs SNOW and Nelson Mandelaʼs CONVERSATIONS WITH MYSELF.

2. Minnesota Cultural Tune-Up may be accomplished through exploration of Garrison Keillorʼs LAKE WOBEGON novels. He does have a touch with affection, imagination, humor and philosophical musings. PONTOON is crazy funny. Iʼm in the middle of WOBEGON BOY and will get back to LAKE WOBEGON DAYS. We know the characters.

3. Carleton/Northfield/Kathmandu are featured in Mary Ellen Frameʼs collection of stories and letters of her (class of ʼ61) brother Mikeʼs work in Nepal during and after his time with the Peace Corps, published by Larchill Press and available through the CC bookstore or Mary Ellen herself. A STONE HOUSE AT POKHARA is about building.

4. Parker Palmer, class of ʼ61, now a Quaker and a retreat leader, has written several books connecting education, vocation and spiritual development. His latest in 2011 is HEALING THE HEART OF DEMOCRACY, published by Jossey-Bass. I have read his books, especially TO KNOW AS WE ARE KNOWN, and enjoyed his presentation at their 50th reunion last June.

Please feel free to add your comments and suggestions in the comments section.


  • March 8 2012 at 11:58 am
    Ruth Waterbury

    Re: The Bastard of Istanbus, I suggested this book because of the place of memory in the story: both personal memory relating to family, personal identity, etc., and cultural memory as it consitions how groups identify and relate to each other.  Turkey and Armenia, the two cultural protagonists in this story, are examples which particularly caught my attention because our minister is of Armenian descent and very aware of this the genocide in the early part of the 20th century. It is a fasinating book on many levels.



  • May 1 2012 at 12:04 pm
    Bumble again
    One need not have read ALL the suggested books. Perhaps a table per cluster 1,2 and 3? With questions suggested by source of original suggestion, please. And discussion need not be confined to table talk. Observations and comments welcomed 6/14-17 and beyond. Naja asks that we refrain from competing with the Parade Band, confusing the beat with our drums etc. Perhaps at another juncture - or just" in house" racketing. OK I have been reading Palmer's HEALING THE HEART OF DEMOCRACY. Good Work.
  • May 23 2012 at 1:28 pm
    Bumble again

    I'm in the middle of SNOW, written by Orhan Pamuk (Turkish) - a very invasive omnicient narrator, but full of history and politics. Characters do not yet tug at my heart strings. Worth plowing through for views of Turkey - at the edges of East and West. Next THE INN AT POKHARA - assigned to Rod in case I'm stymied.

  • May 23 2012 at 2:40 pm
    Barbara Gossow

    I really found "In the Garden of Beasts" by Eric Larson fascinating. It is an examination of the period in Germany from 1933, through the eyes of the American ambassador, William Dodd, and his family. The sources are original. I guess seeing Hitler's inner circle as a guest at their parties was the most chilling aspect.

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