Club Strolling in the ‘Garden’

garden.jpgJust a friendly reminder from a guy who needs reminders (friendly or otherwise): The plucky River City Books fiction book club is meeting at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 8, in the store’s cozy downstairs meeting area. Yes, if you haven’t yet purchased a 2008 calendar (they are 50 percent off!) that is tomorrow night.

The book to be read is The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama. Already, club members are singing its praises. And these ladies are not tone deaf!

The club is free and open to the public. Participants receive discounts on selected titles.

Before I depart, here’s a summary of the book:

The daughter of a Chinese mother and a Japanese father, Gail Tsukiyama uses the Japanese invasion of China during the late 1930s as a somber backdrop for her unusual story about a 20-year-old Chinese painter named Stephen who is sent to his family’s summer home in a Japanese coastal village to recover from a bout with tuberculosis. Here he is cared for by Matsu, a reticent housekeeper and a master gardener. Over the course of a remarkable year, Stephen learns Matsu’s secret and gains not only physical strength, but also profound spiritual insight. Matsu is a samurai of the soul, a man devoted to doing good and finding beauty in a cruel and arbitrary world, and Stephen is a noble student, learning to appreciate Matsu’s generous and nurturing way of life and to love Matsu’s soulmate, gentle Sachi, a woman afflicted with leprosy.

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