The Buddha Reads Book Club is Five Years Old!

The Buddha Reads Book Club embarked on its literary journey in March 2019 with the inaugural gathering. The chosen book was "American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War," a book that unfolded its narrative over six months. Since that time, our reading pace has evolved, and from March 2019 to March 2024, our members have collectively delved into 29 diverse books.

Our selections span a wide array of genres, ranging from classics such as "For Whom the Bell Tolls" to science fiction gems like "Parable of the Sower." We've explored recent bestsellers like "Lessons in Chemistry: A Novel," delved into

historical narratives like "Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America’s First Imperial Venture," and immersed ourselves in Maui-related tales such as "The Three-Year Swim Club: The Untold Story of Maui’s Sugar Ditch Kids and Their Quest for Olympic Glory." Additionally, our literary journey has embraced works with a Buddhist theme, exemplified by "The Dalai Lama: An Extraordinary Life."

Over the past five years, our book club has weathered the challenges of a global pandemic and witnessed the turbulence of the world. Adapting to the circumstances, we transitioned to Zoom meetings during

the pandemic, a change that proved valuable and will persist, considering three of our members reside on the mainland. As we navigate the literary landscape, the Buddha Reads Book Club remains vibrant and resilient. We've recently selected the next three books to delve into, and a fresh list of candidate books awaits the democratic choice of our members for subsequent readings. If you share a passion for reading and discussing books, we extend a warm invitation to join our community. For more information, reach out to Danny Topp at Buddha.Reads@ Happy reading!

On a cozy Sunday, February 4th, a virtual gathering via Zoom transported Sandy, Bob, Joan, Gary, and Danny into the rugged landscapes of A. B. Guthrie, Jr.'s "The Big Sky." This gripping Western novel unfolds the tale of Boone Caudill, a free-spirited adventurer who sets out into the untamed West in 1830. His journey, entwined with the companionship of Jim Deakins and Dick Summers, leads them through the mountainous terrains of present-day Wyoming and Montana, navigating the Missouri River, and living the life of trappers, traders, guides, and explorers.

Opinions on the book were as diverse as the characters themselves. Gary, a discerning Western aficionado, mused that while he'd recommend it to fellow enthusiasts of Westerns and American frontier history, it might not be everyone's cup of tea. Bob found the narrative vibrant, though the accents, like "buffler" for buffalo, added an extra layer of challenge. The ending, he noted, was both predictable and surprising. Sandy drew parallels to the group's previous read, "This Tender Land," highlighting how "The Big Sky" provides a unique perspective on Native Americans pre-dominance upheaval.

The treatment of indigenous tribes in the frontier west, from Flathead to Blackfeet, Crows, Assiniboine, and Sioux, caught Gary's attention for its even-handed portrayal. Boone, the central figure, emerged as an enigmatic, if not entirely likable, character. The tantalizing glimpse into the lives of supporting characters left a hunger for more.

"The Big Sky" kicks off a six-book series chronicling the opening of the Western frontier, with "The Way West" featuring Dick Summers as a guide for an Oregon-bound wagon train. Danny cleverly connected the dots to a past read, "The Indifferent Stars Above," revealing a timeline where the actions in "The Big Sky" seamlessly led to those in the harrowing tale of the Donner Party in 1849.

Eight votes were cast for the next literary adventure, and the three books on the horizon are:
• "Lock In" by John Scalzi
• "The Wager" by David Grann
• "The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store" by James McBride

Get ready to delve into "Lock In" as we reconvene on March 3rd, 5:00 pm Hawaii time, to unravel the mysteries of Scalzi's creation via Zoom. Happy reading!

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