We’ve read all kinds of books so far this year in our Pfister Book Club; the only common thread between the titles I’ve selected has been that I think it will spark lively discussions. This month’s title, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah was clearly the most well-received book we’ve discussed so far. The whole crowd found it hilarious, unsettling, informative, well-written, compellingly readable and important. If you weren’t able to join us this month, please do read this book! Those of us who listened to the audio version loved it even more because Trevor’s delivery and differing accents and languages for his friends and family enriched the story so much.
Executive Pastry Chef Travis Martinez whipped us up a Born A Crime-inspired dessert: Malva pudding cake that originated in South Africa with a cardamom-vanilla rice pudding, guava gel, grand mariner anglaise and cocoa nibs. It tasted refreshing, tropical and cheery. Since I’ve watched Travis’s creativity every month, I have a whole new mindset about the delectable potential of book and dessert pairings!
Trevor Noah was born in post-apartheid South Africa to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother, thus classified as Colored. This mixing of races was literally a crime, and Trevor grew up partially hidden and always resourcefully navigating between many racial groups in South Africa with wit and humor. His memoir is a fascinating look at what it feels like to always be an outsider and the strength that can build in someone. It was a story of a tremendous mother who clung to her faith despite all odds and the amazing relationship she built with her son. This book helped us talk with each other about charged topics like racism and domestic abuse in a way that didn’t feel perilous; Trevor leveled these subjects with his characteristic humor so somehow our discussion of such heavy things was always shot through with laughter.
Next month’s meeting will be on March 8 at 7 pm, when we will be discussing Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. This novel was chosen as the Amazon Book of the Year, along with many other awards in the past few months, and I couldn’t stop reading it. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but it’s a story of family, motherhood, identity, and secrets. It will give us much to discuss in March!
Please note that April’s meeting will be on the third Thursday of the month (April 19) instead of our regularly scheduled second Thursday!
Until we come together around more pages at the Pfister, enjoy the sweet coziness of winter reading!
Just the knowledge that a good book is awaiting one at the end of a long day makes that day happier. -Kathleen Norris