Friday, August 9, 2013

Book Club: August

Serendipitous moments occasionally happen in life, and one such event pleasantly happened to me in the beginning of July.  My book club with the Hoover library meets every second Thursday of the month.  It works out perfectly with my work schedule since I have Thursdays off.  Well the first Thursday of July was the 4th.  The library also has a first Thursday of the month book group but they obviously wouldn’t be meeting on America’s birthday and their meeting got pushed to the following Thursday, what would have normally been reserved for our group.

So on the second Thursday of July, expecting to walk into my meeting, I wandered into the other group’s meeting.  Not realizing the days had been displaced.  It just so happened that the author of their book for July was visiting the group.  And it just so happened that the book was our book for August.

From Michael's Website

I got to meet the author Michael Morris who penned Man in the Blue Moon. I felt bad that I obviously hadn’t read the story, but decided to stay because as a writer, I take any chance I get to ask questions of other authors.  His advice in particular was something that I hadn’t ever considered, which in retrospect was such an obviously silly oversight as a writer.  I’ve always gotten an idea and just started at page one.  My writing would fizzle out quickly and I never knew how to keep with it.  He said he likes to create rich character backstories first and put out a rough outline of where he wants the story to go.  Making me feel silly for never thinking to start there.

So I finally attended my group meeting and this time had actually read the novel.  Michael is incredibly personable and charming.  He hails from Florida originally, offering amazingly in depth information to his setting in the novel which occurs in the panhandle of the state.  The most amazing part of the novel is the authenticity of the stories.  Morris took stories he heard growing up and later interviews with his grandfather and wove them together into a fascinating story.

The Second Thursday Book Group. You can easily spot me. I'm the youngest by an average of 25 years

The story centers on mother Ella, who is struggling to keep her family of four afloat after her husband up and leaves.  Set during WWI, Ella tries to make due with the help of friends but the bank is calling for foreclosure on her land, and she just doesn’t have the money to make the payment.  A mysterious box arrives, seeming to contain a clock.  When a man named Lanier emerges, Ella doesn’t know what to do.  Keeping him at arm’s length, she eventually has to rely on him when he happens to possess a healing gift and her youngest is suffering and close to death.  Once her son is healed, Ella finds this stranger more of a blessing than she realized.  Outbreaks of influenza, a town girl who is addled, and a visiting pastor trying to open a spa provide additional texture to this already rich story.

I would absolutely recommend this author.  I found not only the story engaging, but he writes in a fabulous style that flows like a film inside your head.

Some of my favorite quotes:

“And let me tell you, son, innocence and justice sometimes don’t go hand in hand.” pg. 32

“Somehow it was easier to stay in the shade of doubt rather than give way to the momentary light of wishful thinking.” pg. 134

“My aunt always told me that people were in the world not just to observe but to impact.” pg. 171

“Let the art free your mind.” pg. 313

“He had made the mistake of being an open book once and would not make it again.” pg. 317

Michael is an awesome guy to talk to and an absolutely talented writer.  I cannot wait to read more of his works. I encourage anyone interested to check out his facebook page here.

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