Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman

(Book 120) Still under lockdown, we met again via Zoom for Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman. For the record our first meeting was via Go to Meeting provided by Geri, and this month’s Zoom was hosted by Chris though the meeting was hosted by Sharon. Wait, I’m so confused. This was how Sharon started our meeting. She used one of the placemats I’d given as Christmas gifts last year and origamied it into a mask. Such a clever one!

This is lovely Sharon in her blackbird mask. Just the right touch for the meeting.
(The bricks you see around the meeting our from a street in Odessa, for anyone who was wondering.)

All eleven of the Book Club birds met online (a telephone line) for the April meeting to discuss Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman. The meal: cranberry salsa with goat cheese on sweet potato chips, hardy fish soup with potatoes and other vegetables, and oyster crackers, spinach salad and Boston Creme pie, that Sharon was going to make was by far the best meal that anyone has ever planned but not been able to serve! Sharon wore one of the blackbird placemats from her table as a mask and it put all the other masks to shame.
We want to thank both Sharon and Chris for hosting, as it was Chris who brought most of us together on Zoom, though she did leave a few of us in the waiting room as her eyes were taunted by the sight of actual people other than her husband. We’d like to thank Geri, Chris, Melissa’s son and whoever it was who helped Rosalie for getting us to full attendance, everyone seen and heard eventually. The real miracle is not the science/technology behind Zoom, but the notion that 11 women our age (and older) (I don’t know what that means — I just had to type it) can manage to get ourselves connected on such a platform. (I don’t typically connect or stand on platforms for fear of falling.)
Everyone seemed to be in agreement that Alice Hoffman is a very capable writer. Though I disappointed everyone (possibly an exaggeration) by not having any quotes at the ready, the stories were filled with beautiful imagery, and lovely insights into people as well as places. Chris mentioned that the way the stories linked reminded her of the serialization of our last book, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and we were all proud of her for finally finishing the Murakami, particularly because she is one of the few of us still having to work during this. We talked about the short story form and though some of us think of the short story as the perfect bite of literature, two of our former members DID NOT LIKE short stories and didn’t mind telling us so. We also mentioned that even though there were often depictions of very bleak lives/situations, there was also the description of neighbors who helped in usual and unusual ways. This may have been what led to the discussion of the quarantine we find ourselves in. Our hostess, Sharon asked us what our comfort foods are. Karen insulted everyone including God by saying she’s lost 12 pounds, while the rest of us talked about our baking achievements. (Mary made raisin sauce, Chris made bread, Rosalie made a too sweet dessert (?) Marcia’s going to try smoking a chicken, and other girls baked other things but I couldn’t listen because I was too busy muttering about the indignity of losing 12 pounds during a quarantine.) Then Sharon asked about what store we miss being able to visit and Mary told us about how much she misses her fame with the baristas at the local Starbucks. Marcia prompted Linda to talk a bit about having lost her mother in the midst of this and Linda told us that her mother’s memorial may take place in separate visits to her mother’s two remaining siblings which is just about the best idea ever. Melissa’s audio didn’t join us until later in the evening, but she said a few things about the bird-watching she’s been doing on her walks, in this Book Club Year of the Birds.
Rosalie left the meeting a bit early because she was hungry and was not online with us when it was decided we would meet next month on the 19th whether on line or less likely at Susan’s home. Susan and I were very much hoping for being able to meet at her place because as I told Susan a few months ago, May will mark the 10th anniversary of the original book club members being together! And I have Top 10 lists to read!
OK that’s all I’ve got. Please add to this summary with all that I’ve forgotten.
Your Fearless Leader,

The April Bird from our calendar: Don’t Look Back