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The Book Club Post Reply     Print Topic    
User Topic: West With the Night Book Group
really trying
♀ Member
Member # 5311
Default  Posted: 6:03 PM, August 30th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

are we still on for discussion today/tonight and if we are, what time zone might that be? I don't want to miss it, my first book club and all.


Me: late 40's
XH: A parasite and that might be a compliment
My S-23, Our D-15
Married 5/93 D-Day: 11/18/03
Divorced 5/19/08

The future's so bright - I got to wear shades

Plant Seeds of Kindness


Posts: 10390 | Registered: Sep 2004 | From: California
punky
♀ Member
Member # 12233
Default  Posted: 6:39 PM, August 30th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I'm ready if you guys are...


Be a lion, not a mowess...
The Cowardly Lion

Posts: 11294 | Registered: Oct 2006 | From: A whole 'nother country
mellowmood
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Member # 2097
Default  Posted: 7:25 PM, August 30th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I'm ready too. Or ready tomorrow, or whenever. I like the book oddly enough (not what I usually read) and am continuing it.

Posts: 2755 | Registered: Aug 2003 | From: oceanside, calif.
waiting2see
♀ Member
Member # 13767
Default  Posted: 7:41 PM, August 30th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Okay, I'll start: First of all I think the book is so easy to get into b/c she is so incredibly descriptive.

Clearly she is a woman working and living in a man's world in terms of both her profession and those venturing into Africa at the time. But, at least in the first section, she is completely accepted.

You don't get the impression that anyone is like "who is this woman flying this plane all over Africa."

So do you think (and maybe this will become more clear over time) it's because it's a sort of solitary, adventure-driven existence out there and if someone flies you in a tank of oxygen you don't ask any questions?

Or maybe, she's proven herself thru reputation and time?

Or is there some hint--by accent, maybe? or other way- that she was raised there and that gives her some inherent credibility?

Thoughts?

Also, I think, thru her writing, it's so easy to imagine her--both sort of "tom-boyish(for lack of a better word)" and rugged and yet very sophisticated, wry, witty, and womanly.

[This message edited by waiting2see at 7:42 PM, August 30th (Monday)]


me: BS
him: XWS

Much of your pain is self-chosen. ~Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, 1923

"It's not livin' that you're doin' if it feels like dyin." Ray Lamontagne


Posts: 1930 | Registered: Feb 2007
NewAttitude
Member
Member # 1030
Default  Posted: 7:57 PM, August 30th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Argh!
Sorry guys, first day of school for my son and he already has homework! And what's worse is that they sent home stuff for me to do as well.
Apparently I have to write an essay about my son.

Discuss and I'll try to get in here.


Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.

Posts: 58732 | Registered: Jan 2003
really trying
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Member # 5311
Default  Posted: 8:01 PM, August 30th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

yeah, she hasn't gone into how she got her respect/creditabilty, just another venture she has like the many other things she has done. I'm curious to hear what trubulations she had to be a respected women pilot, if any.

I get the feeling that with the kind of service she does, that they'll take the help.

I was pleased that the book took off pretty quick, I'm not much for pages of description before I can relate it to what happening.

[This message edited by really trying at 8:37 PM, August 30th (Monday)]


Me: late 40's
XH: A parasite and that might be a compliment
My S-23, Our D-15
Married 5/93 D-Day: 11/18/03
Divorced 5/19/08

The future's so bright - I got to wear shades

Plant Seeds of Kindness


Posts: 10390 | Registered: Sep 2004 | From: California
Skye
Member
Member # 325
Default  Posted: 8:19 PM, August 30th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I've only read the first section as instructed. I'm a very good listener. I am expecting we will find out how she got to be so accepted. I did question that as I was reading.

I found the story about getting the oxygen to the patient, probably way later than he needed it, interesting. It reminds us of how primitive things were back then.

As I was reading about her flying really in the dark, I was reminded of John Kennedy, Jr.'s flying accident It was assumed one reason he lost control the plane was there were no lights for him to see because of the fog. I was imagining how difficult fying with no lights below must be. I felt the description of that made it very scary and very real.


Posts: 5611 | Registered: Jul 2002
woundedby2
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Member # 18522
Default  Posted: 8:43 PM, August 30th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I also was fascinated by her description of flying in the dead of night. Pitch black, you would have to put complete trust in your instruments and in your own skills as a pilot.


Me: BS
2 kids: DD15 and DS18
Him: The Assclown NPD
OW: "friend" of 15 years
Divorced! Feb. 2010

Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences.
~Robert Louis Stevenson


Posts: 7784 | Registered: Mar 2008 | From: SoCal
punky
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Member # 12233
Default  Posted: 8:48 PM, August 30th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I enjoyed the initial descriptive passages so much...especially where she showed her sense of humor. The part about the big and impressive signpost showing the way to Cairo was so well set-up.

I also loved her description of the soul of Africa and its simplicity of wisdom compared to the "tinker's mind of civilization." I've never been one to be "intrigued" about Africa; have never had an urge whatsoever to visit or go on safari. After reading this book, I might feel differently!

My husband is a pilot and several things that I have read so far have so touched me. I always think of the "glamour" of what he does and tend to disregard the negatives--like the loneliness she describes. Although he doesn't fly alone, I can see him feeling this way. Especially loved the way she described how a flight can be "no distance" or "from where you are to the end of the earth" depending on the "things that live in your mind while you swing suspended between the earth and the silent sky." I can imagine that my H has had a lot to think about up there--things that have brought me here to this site.

I was kind of surprised by her reaction to the dying man in Nungwe. I can understand, sure; but was a little surprised that she ran out. I guess it just goes to show that we can't be 100% strong in every area of life.

From what I read, loved Woody. He seems to be a character. Also loved her description of the words that come out of a pilot's mouth--I can tell you that is TRUE. I've hung around pilots for over 20 years now and she pegged that one. Not much has changed since 1935!

Also loved the zebra story--I could just see that little guy tearing after her dad and his beer in my imagination...

One thing that I'd like to hear from all of you about is this: Do you feel she is racist in any way? For the most part, I felt she is very respectful of the African race and its many permutations. But there was one part where she was wondering what Africa would be like if the physical aspects of a particular race of men were coupled with the 'cunning' of their 'white brethren'. At first she said 'intelligence', then changed it to 'cunning'--just want to know what you guys thought about that.

FYI--this is really interesting. My H went to flight training with either Beryl's nephew or great-nephew. My H says Beryl is the real deal--forget Amelia Earhart!

[This message edited by punky at 8:51 PM, August 30th (Monday)]


Be a lion, not a mowess...
The Cowardly Lion

Posts: 11294 | Registered: Oct 2006 | From: A whole 'nother country
punky
♀ Member
Member # 12233
Default  Posted: 8:52 PM, August 30th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I haven't read ahead, but think she is so accepted because she is so NECESSARY and because she is a 'native', as well.


Be a lion, not a mowess...
The Cowardly Lion

Posts: 11294 | Registered: Oct 2006 | From: A whole 'nother country
woundedby2
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Member # 18522
Default  Posted: 8:58 PM, August 30th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Punky, she speaks of having something akin to a phobia about disease. She describes it as "an unaccountable physical repulsion from persons who are sick..."

I think this would explain her running out, and it also explained to me how she was able to provide such vivid and graphic descriptive paragraphs about the sick man and his hut. Her horrific descriptions led me to google Blackwater.

Ugh. What a horrible way to die.


Me: BS
2 kids: DD15 and DS18
Him: The Assclown NPD
OW: "friend" of 15 years
Divorced! Feb. 2010

Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences.
~Robert Louis Stevenson


Posts: 7784 | Registered: Mar 2008 | From: SoCal
waiting2see
♀ Member
Member # 13767
Default  Posted: 9:09 PM, August 30th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Really interesting question about whether or not she seems racist. Because I came away with the overall impression that she wasn't.

In fact, I thought her respect for the native people of Africa was really endearing. We've seen throughout history that the white "landed" people in Africa can be quite racist. And you have to consider how much racisim there would have been in the U.S. and likely Britain at the time.

But now that you mention that she used the word "intelligence" b/f she switched to "cunning" it raises a question.

But she consciously corrects herself and makes the change in wording so maybe she "caught" herself making value-judgments she didn't really want to make. She's clearly more self-aware in that regard that many would have been.

I don't know if I'd say "racist." Maybe she is a bit paternalistic toward the Africans--or maternalistic, as the case may be.

Also, wanted to agree with the descriptions of flying at night and how it can be a quick flight or a forever flight depending upon your state of mind--I guess that's a lesson we ultimately learn about every life experience.


me: BS
him: XWS

Much of your pain is self-chosen. ~Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, 1923

"It's not livin' that you're doin' if it feels like dyin." Ray Lamontagne


Posts: 1930 | Registered: Feb 2007
punky
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Member # 12233
Default  Posted: 9:12 PM, August 30th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

But she consciously corrects herself and makes the change in wording so maybe she "caught" herself making value-judgments she didn't really want to make. She's clearly more self-aware in that regard that many would have been.

I like that. I like to think that is what happened.


Be a lion, not a mowess...
The Cowardly Lion

Posts: 11294 | Registered: Oct 2006 | From: A whole 'nother country
punky
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Member # 12233
Default  Posted: 9:14 PM, August 30th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

WB2--I almost googled Blackwater. Maybe I have a phobia about seeing gross pictures on the internet...

Even with her phobia, she is probably stronger than I am about stuff like that.


Be a lion, not a mowess...
The Cowardly Lion

Posts: 11294 | Registered: Oct 2006 | From: A whole 'nother country
waiting2see
♀ Member
Member # 13767
Default  Posted: 9:15 PM, August 30th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I googled Blackwater too.

I also felt like she left the hut b/c he had sort of slipped back into delirium and so he wasn't really "present" at that point.

It reminds me of an argument I had with a family member about whether visiting with a family member who has dementia and doesn't even know who you are is worthwhile to the person you are visiting.

I think as long as your presence is soothing to the person or comforting for the moment it is absolutely a worthwhile visit. But, of course, she was also preoccupied with finding Woody. I think she indicated that she felt her time was better spent looking for a man that might still be alive rather than sitting with the one who had no chance.


me: BS
him: XWS

Much of your pain is self-chosen. ~Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, 1923

"It's not livin' that you're doin' if it feels like dyin." Ray Lamontagne


Posts: 1930 | Registered: Feb 2007
woundedby2
♀ Member
Member # 18522
Default  Posted: 9:33 PM, August 30th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

she felt her time was better spent looking for a man that might still be alive rather than sitting with the one who had no chance.

Yes, this too. I wonder if she actually felt the anxiety of a panic attack when she was standing looking down at the sick man. Then the thought of Woody would have given her the absolute impetus to run from the hut.


Me: BS
2 kids: DD15 and DS18
Him: The Assclown NPD
OW: "friend" of 15 years
Divorced! Feb. 2010

Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences.
~Robert Louis Stevenson


Posts: 7784 | Registered: Mar 2008 | From: SoCal
really trying
♀ Member
Member # 5311
Default  Posted: 10:11 PM, August 30th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My time is up for tonight.

I liked hearing others thoughts. Can't wait until next time.


Me: late 40's
XH: A parasite and that might be a compliment
My S-23, Our D-15
Married 5/93 D-Day: 11/18/03
Divorced 5/19/08

The future's so bright - I got to wear shades

Plant Seeds of Kindness


Posts: 10390 | Registered: Sep 2004 | From: California
punky
♀ Member
Member # 12233
Default  Posted: 10:14 PM, August 30th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Nighty night.

Hoping we'll get more comments throughout the week.


Be a lion, not a mowess...
The Cowardly Lion

Posts: 11294 | Registered: Oct 2006 | From: A whole 'nother country
Skye
Member
Member # 325
Default  Posted: 8:46 AM, August 31st (Tuesday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

As far as her being a racist is concerned, I think by today's standards, she would be considered a racist, but not by the standards of the day.

I had to chuckle when I read her statement as she was flying over a wild herd:

You know then what you had always been told--that the world once lived and grew without adding machiens nd newsprint and brick-walled streets and the tyranny of clocks.

Imagine what she would think of the world today!

I also love the way she writes. I love how she uses description and words. In one place she talked about silence.

There is the silence of emptiness, the silence of fear, the silence of doubt. There is a certain silence that can emanate from a lifeless object as from a chair lately used, or from a piano with old dust upon its keys, or from anything that has answered to the need of a man, for pleasure or for work. This kind of silence can speak. Its voice can be melancholy, but it not always so; for the chair may have been left by a laughing child or the last notes of the piano may have been raucous and gay.

I thought that was so beautiful. How many times have I tried to express myself and just plain sound silly. What a gift she has.


Posts: 5611 | Registered: Jul 2002
punky
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Member # 12233
Default  Posted: 3:25 PM, August 31st (Tuesday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Skye--I thought the same thing. She WOULD be shocked by today's world.

And you are right about her way with words, that bit of the qualities of silence was great.


Be a lion, not a mowess...
The Cowardly Lion

Posts: 11294 | Registered: Oct 2006 | From: A whole 'nother country
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