Anderson Harp’s Retribution Book Club

Alpha males anyone?  If this question interests you in the slightest, then Anderson Harp’s Retribution is the novel for you.  Protagonist Will Parker, a retired district attorney, takes the occasional deep undercover mission to relieve himself of his predictable life far in the woods and to fuel his adrenaline addiction.  This particular secret operation finds Parker fighting for his life in the mountainous border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

If a fan of visual imagery in writing, look no further:

A man from the village representing the elders went there the following morning and found the walls covered in sprays of blood- the floors as well.  He stepped into a puddle of black, congealed blood, which stuck to his shoes like molasses.  Flies swarmed around the room, occasionally landing on his cheek, even as he brushed them aside.  The bodies had been pummeled by bricks found nearby, covered in the same sticky blood.  (86-7)

Written in a third-person narrative, the political commentary sprinkled throughout is unwavering:  

The Americans have a better chance of breathing life back into those two dead bodies, Yousef thought, than of changing these people [of Pakistan].  (87)

Tears welled in the corners of my eyes as the English teacher within embraced antagonist’s Robert Trantham’s approach of reading in reverse, “The old editorial trick caused one to see things in a different light.  Misspelled words stood out if you read a paragraph backward”  (384).

For the purposes of book club, one may serve “cold kupus and grah”  (111) or Dom Perignon and chilled caviar as served in first class on Qatar Air.  Personally, I would definitely avoid the chewing gum Parker favored, and instead, opt for the “tea and sweet biscuits”  (44).

The Same Birthday Book Club

     Ever wanted to promote the love of reading within your own family and needed a book with the ability to garner the interest of three generations?  Carol Galusha’s The Same Birthday is the novel that meets this criteria. 
     An educator for more than twenty years, Ms. Galusha implements components that draw the young adult reader into the novel such as active-voice sentences which are direct, yet chock-full of details, brief chapters overflowing with discussion material, and themes in which a young adult can relate.  Students will be pleased with the 120 pages when the novel is distributed in class, yet mesmerised by the journey in which the three protagonists take them.
     Interestingly enough, this journey is full of complexities which engage the adult reader also.  Thus, not only an ideal choice for the secondary classroom complete with lesson plans provided by the author, but also a work with the ability to bring multi-generational readers together.  Yes, Grandma, Mom, and Daughter, for example.
     In the case of book club, what brings people together better than food?  In this case, the food acts as a symbol for the lives of each of the three main characters.  To represent Janine, appetizers should be available such as those mentioned on page 23 in The Same Birthday:  pigs in a blanket, vegetables, and chips with elaborate dips.  In the case of Mary Anne, earthy potato soup and rustic ham sandwiches express her backstory.  Without a doubt, the essentials for making a mouthwatering pizza pie will not only coax the adolescent reader to book club, but also create a starting point for discussing the life of Molly.  Looking for the ideal gift for the tween, adult, and seasoned person in your life?  Look no further  . . . you cannot go wrong with the gift of reading.

Carol Galusha