March 10, 2009

New Book Choice!

Posted in Loving Frank tagged , at 11:53 am by Ms. Davis

Thank you so much for a fun meeting this morning! It seems like we all really enjoyed In the Company of the Courtesan. The characters were very interesting, and there is a lot to think about.

Our next book is Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan. I read this book a few weeks ago, and I am anxious to hear what our group will think about it. This novel is based on a true story, so if you want to keep the ending a surprise, don’t search around on the Internet for more information about Frank and Mamah’s relationship.

Happy Reading! Let me know how it goes!

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February 26, 2009

Courtesan: More Discussion Questions

Posted in Company of the Courtesan tagged at 1:54 pm by Ms. Davis

I don’t know about you, but I got totally sucked into this book! I can’t wait to get together with you and hear what you have to say about it.

Here are some more questions from the back of my book:

8. Do you think Fiammetta was truly in love with Foscari? If you don’t how would you define their relationship? Was Bucino’s anger at this relationship justified?

9. What does sixteenth-century Venetian society have in common with our society today?

10. Why do Bucino and Fiammetta make such a good team? What makes them successful?

11. The picture on the cover of our book is a detail from a painting by Tiziano Vecellio (Titian). When you were reading the novel, did you form an image of Fiammetta that was based on this cover image, or did you make up your own image of her? If your own, can you describe it?

12. What predictions would you make about little Fiammetta’s future life? Do you think she’ll have the same profession as her namesake?

SEE you Friday morning! Bring any ideas for our next choice that you might have!

February 18, 2009

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:40 pm by Gale Carnevale

sounds good to me…… I haven’t reread it yet, but I think that I can contribute to the discussion.

I’ll try to get some reading in this weekend!

Discussion Questions – In the Company of the Courtesan

Posted in Company of the Courtesan tagged , at 1:21 pm by Ms. Davis

Here are a few discussion questions from the back of my book. These definitely helped me to see and think about this book in a new light:

1. In what ways does Courtesan seem historically accurate to you? What details about Renaissance Italy do you think came from the author’s imagination, and what aspects of it do you think are based on her historical research of the period?

2. Do you think a character like Fiammetta could exist in today’s world? What, if anything, is modern about her?

3. What did you think of Fiammetta’s relationship with her mother, and of her mother’s influence on her life?

4. Courtesan is told from Bucino’s perspective. Why do you think the author wrote it this way, rather than from Fiammetta’s point of view? What are the benefits of hearing the story and seeing Venice from Bucino’s standpoint? What are the limitations?

5. We tend to think of Fiammetta’s profession as one that is very hard on women; one that doesn’t make for a happy life. On the whole, do you consider Fiametta to be content or unhappy?

6. Did you find La Draga to be a likeable character? Did your view of her change as your reading progressed?

7. Is is accurate to describe Courtesan as a novel of “rebirth”? What are some other themes of this novel?

**More to follow!**

February 17, 2009

In the Company of the Courtesan

Posted in Company of the Courtesan tagged at 2:49 pm by Ms. Davis

How about a meeting next week – Friday morning, February 27? Or do you want more time? Leave a comment and let me know! 🙂

Hope you are enjoying the book – discussion questions to jumpstart your brains coming soon!

February 3, 2009

Time For a New Book!

Posted in Company of the Courtesan tagged at 6:51 pm by Ms. Davis

Our next book, recommended by Gloria, will be In the Company of the Courtesan, by Sarah Dunant.

From the back of the book:

Escaping the sack of Rome in 1527, with their stomachs churning on the jewels they have swallowed, the courtesan Fiammetta and her dwarf companion, Bucino, head for Venice to start life anew.  In the shimmering city born out of water to become a miracle of east-west trade, the two begin to rebuild their enterprise, and with a mix of courage and cunning they infiltrate Venetian society. Together they make the perfect partnership: the sharp-tongued, sharp-witted dwarf and his vibrant mistress, trained from birth to charm, entertain, and satisfy men who have the money to support her. Venice, however, is a city that holds its own temptations and dangerous secrets.

Sounds exciting, and Gloria says it’s “juicy!” I can’t wait to dive in!

Leave a comment when you get the book – hopefully we can meet in about a month? I will be posting questions for us to think about in a few days. 🙂

Happy Reading! Enjoy!

January 16, 2009

The Almost Moon: The Ending

Posted in The Almost Moon tagged , at 1:14 pm by Ms. Davis

How did you interpret the novel’s ending? Does Helen seek to atone or make amends for what she did? Do you envision some way for her to make things right?

The Almost Moon: Helen’s Parents

Posted in The Almost Moon tagged , , at 1:13 pm by Ms. Davis

In many ways, Helen was closer to her father than to her mother. What does she mean, then, when she says, “My father had been pity to her blame, warmth to her cold, but had he not, in the end, been colder than she?” (page 277). How does her father’s death change the way Helen thinks of her parents’ marriage? Was he right to have stayed with Clair, or should he have left for Helen’s sake, if not for his own?

The Almost Moon: Helen and Jake

Posted in The Almost Moon tagged , , at 1:04 pm by Ms. Davis

When Jake and Helen meet, he is her teacher and she is his muse. What causes them to drift apart and divorce? When he returns, they have very different perspectives on their breakup. Do you think one’s explanation is more accurate that the other’s? How has their relationship changed over the years?

The Almost Moon: Helen and Motherhood

Posted in The Almost Moon tagged , , at 1:02 pm by Ms. Davis

At an early age, Helen willingly gives up her education to be a mother and wife. In what way does Helen’s relationship with Clair inform her choices as a mother? Do you think she is conscious of avoiding or repeating the mistakes of her own upbringing? Would her daughters say that she had been a good mother? Why do you think she is closer to Sarah than to Emily?

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