"A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle provoked strong discussion for the Nostalgia Book Club. What would your book group recommend?
The Nostalgia Book Club-eight residents of the Realife 55+ cooperative apartment complex in St. Peter, Minn.-began meeting last summer. The members gather every two weeks, bring their own coffee and discuss books they've recently reread from their "school days."
What are some of the books you've reread? We began by rereading "Heidi" by Johanna Spyri. Other choices have included: "Little House in the Big Woods" by Laura Ingalls Wilder, "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle, "Betsy-Tacy" by Maud Hart Lovelace, "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott and "Anne of Green Gables" by Lucy Maud Montgomery.
What have you discovered by rereading books from your younger years? We found that some of our choices have led to reading other books by the same authors. Several of us read more in the Laura Ingalls Wilder and Maud Hart Lovelace series. We discovered that Louisa May Alcott also wrote romance novels and that led to some additional reading. We discovered the book "March" by Geraldine Brooks, the winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize, which gave us a new look at the family Alcott had created. For some of our group, "A Wrinkle in Time" prompted a new interest in sci-fi or fantasy.
For all of us, the reading has given rise to memories. We discuss what we remember from the time when we first read those books and the influence they had on us then. Or we remember stories told by our parents or grandparents, similar stories to the ones told by Wilder or Lovelace. At any rate, we become better acquainted with each other and more appreciative of our life experiences through sharing these reminiscences.
What book that you've reread would you most recommend? "Anne of Green Gables." We enjoyed Anne's "spunk" and watching Marilla's love for Anne grow. Everyone found reminders of situations in their own lives-a sister who was spunky and fun; how we learned to understand and love someone over time. And, remembered someone who loved us-just for us.
Which of the books you've reread caused the deepest discussion? "A Wrinkle in Time." We needed to stretch our minds to find in this alien culture the good and the bad. It was difficult for some to simply accept the reality that L'Engle portrayed.
What else has grown out of your book rereading? Our book selections have led us to other media. We watched the 1932 movie "Little Women." We took a field trip to the Betsy-Tacy home in Mankato, Minn., just 10 miles down the road but a new experience for most of us.
What's next? The possibilities are endless -"Jane Eyre"? "To Kill a Mockingbird"? We don't expect to run out of choices.