ACOM Book Club Meeting on May 21, 2020 by Zoom
The ACOM Book Club held its second Zoom meeting on May 21st, 2020. The book under discussion this month was "Armenian Crisis of Identity" by Ruth Charchian. In attendance this month were Tom, Kass, Jim, Margaret, Cynthia, Tashina, Peter, Azad & me, plus Ruth and Aram. If you include the brief appearances by Agni, Mitchell, Sarah & Bradley, that easily makes it the best attended book club meeting yet.
The ACOM Book Club met on Thursday, April 16, 2020, ... well, kind of. We held a virtual meeting using the Zoom meeting software. Since nobody had to leave their homes, we had the largest group attendance in a long time, if not ever. Thirteen members joined in using their computers or cell phones. Attendees were Tom, Joan, Jim and Margaret, Andrea, Joe, Kass, Cynthia, Azad, Francis, Peter, Tashina and me. While most of us were at our homes, one attendee connected in from San Francisco and actually had a fourteenth attendee, 2-year old Agni, sit in for awhile.
The ACOM Book Club met on Thursday, February 20, 2020, at Mim's Cafe in St. Paul next to the U of M St. Paul campus. In attendance were Andrea, Jim, Margaret, Francis, Joe, Azad, Peter and me. Some of us ordered supper (schwarma, falafel), others ordered snacks (pita & hummus) or dessert (paklava). Margaret also passed around some nuts to share.
The ACOM Book Club met on Thursday, January 16, 2020, at the Bulbulian house. In attendance were Francis, Jim, Margaret, Kass, Tom, Andrea, Lowell and me. (Barb was around, too, but didn't take part in the discussion.) This month's book was "Mr Five Per Cent" by Jonathan Conlin, a biography of Calouste Gulbenkian.
This month's discussion was a little bit different than normal because the book by Conlin was difficult to get a copy of other than by buying the kindle edition. Because of this a couple of members read a previous biography of Gulbenkian by Ralph Hewins, also called "Mr. Five Per Cent." Kass got copies of both books from the library (distant libraries) and had a short time to compare them. He said that the Hewins book was much easier to read but that the Conlin book had a lot more detail.
The ACOM Book Club met on Thursday, October 17, 2019, at the St. Anthony Park library in St. Paul. In attendance were Azad, Tom, Al, Andrea, Joe and me. For snacks, Azad provided date cookies and Andrea provided dates. The book for this month was "Nowhere a Story of Exile" by Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte.
We all were of the opinion that it was a very worthwhile book to read. Azad was very impressed that the author was able to turn her diary pages, which were written when she was about 11 to 13 years old, into such a powerful account of her experiences.
The ACOM Book Club met on September 19, 2019, at the Merriam Park library in St. Paul. In attendance were Tom, Peter, Azad and me.
One reason for the low attendance might be the book selection for the month: "The Making of Nagorno-Karabagh: From Secession to Republic" edited by Levon Chorbajian. While it is definitely a worthwhile book and contains a lot of information on an area that none of our other books has covered, it was very difficult to obtain copies of. Neither the Ramsey County nor Hennepin County libraries have copies. Three Minnesota university libraries have copies, but they are a bit more difficult to get (but that's how I got a copy to read). Copies are available from Amazon or some used book stores, but are quite expensive (more than $60.) Because of this, only Azad and I had read the book.
The ACOM Book Club met on June 20, 2019, at the St. Anthony Park library in St. Paul. In attendance this month were Tom, Lowell, Andrea, Azad and me, a reasonably sized group for June.
Nibbles this month were ... nothing? Well, meeting in the library tends to suppress the red wine and chocolates tendency. Although, nobody ever checks on us. Maybe in September ?
The book for this month was by Lou Ureneck, alternately titled "The Great Fire" and "Smyrna 1922". (Honestly, the soft cover and hardcover editions have different titles but the identical contents.)
The five of us all agreed that we really thought that it was a very good book. The author wrote with a style that drew us in and made us want to continue reading, even though the content was, in many cases, making us absolutely sick to our stomachs.
The ACOM Book Club met on May 16, 2019, at the St. Anthony Park library in St. Paul. In attendance this month were Francis, Jim, Margaret, Azad, Joe, Peter, Andrea and me (a nice, large group). Nibbles this month included date filled pastries from Azad, fruit coated walnuts from Margaret (Sujuk? Rijok? Western Armenian? Eastern Armenian? Who knows, I'm Swedish!!!), and a mix of almonds & raisins from Andrea.
This month's book was "Three Kisses of the Cobra" by Z. T. Balian. Everyone seemed to like the book to different degrees and in different ways. Many of us had objections to different areas of the book, too.
The ACOM Book Club met on March 21, 2019, at the St. Anthony Park library in St. Paul. We had a nice sized group meeting this month. In attendance were Azad & Karen, Tashina, Al, Francis, Peter, Tom & me. The book for this month was Chris Bohjalien's "The Light in the Ruins". If you're searching for the connection with Armenia in this book, it's simply the racial identity of the author.
The ACOM Book Club met on Thursday, January 17th, 2019, at Francis Bulbulian's house. In attendance this month were Francis, Azad, Jim & Margaret, Tashina and me. Francis provided drinks and munchies, Azad brought some nice brownies.
The book for this month was "Not a Creature Was Stirring" by Jane Haddam, a murder mystery in which the primary character is Gregor Demarkian, a retired FBI agent.
The ACOM Book Club met on Thursday, November 15, 2018, at Francis Bulbulian's house. In attendance this month were Francis, Azad, Peter, Kassian (Natasha) and me. The book under discussion was
"Archeology of Madness: Komitas, Portrait of an Armenian Icon" by Rita Soulahian Kuyumjian.
The ACOM Book Club met on Thursday, October 18, 2018, at Leroy Erickson's house. It was a small group this month with only Francis, Azad and Leroy in attendance. We shared an apple pie, fresh apples and pistachios.
The book for this month was "Arshile Gorky: His Life and Work" by Hayden Herrera.
The ACOM Book Club met on Thursday, June 21, 2018 at Judy Ohanessian's house. Judy provided pita bread and hummus, a salad and a nice dessert, along with red and white wine.
Attendees this month were Tashina, Judy, Andrea, Francis, Al, Joe and me. The book for this month was "Mayrig" by Henri Verneuil
The question was asked as to why Henri Verneuil changed his name from the Armenian one, Ashot Malakian. Nobody had a ready answer.