Tarentum Book Club Review: The Reach of the Banyan Tree

This blog post is going to be written by my sister whether she likes it or not. She was able to go the Tarentum Book Club meeting they had last week where they reviewed my novel, “The Reach of the Banyan Tree.” I was obviously thrilled and honored to have such a prestigious club (founded in 1901) review my book. As you will see by their preparations, they take their books seriously. I greatly thank them for the kind honor. Here’s my sister’s descriptions of the meeting.

“Hello, the book club meeting seemed to go really well.  I think you would have been pleased.  These ladies really follow protocol.  One of them said that it will be 30 seconds til we start, and sure enough, at 2 pm sharp, they got started.  I believe there were 25 there.  They started off with a traditional prayer that was in their handbook. They had a little business meeting first and then they introduced me, ha, I had to sit up front by the lady who was in charge.  I read the blogpost that you sent and they were all thrilled with that, especially getting a personalized shout out for their club.”

“The lady who chose to review your book, M.K., made a big poster board and wrote all the main characters names and a little about them on it for reference.  I thought that was a good idea.”

Great character descriptions.

“Most everyone in the room raised their hands when she asked who all read it, so I know that many of them bought it.  The response seemed to be very positive, of course at the mention of Vietnam, many older people here have some feeling or relationship to it because of the era that they grew up in with the war.  One lady had a brother who was a green beret, another one lost her brother from the effects of agent orange.  Another lady had lost one of her students to the war.  The theme of the club this year was ’embracing diversity’, so the Banyan Tree fit it just perfect for that.  They  discussed tradition and culture and the role it played in the book, etc.  It would have been so nice if you were there, they would have loved it, but they seemed pleased to have me, they told me to come back.  I brought a big picture that you have of the Maritime University, and they had it sitting up front.  Also, I took some straw mats, a paper fan, some Vietnamese books, a hat, that one of the ladies was wearing haha, and my photo album from Vietnam.  I just left it there so they could all look through the photos.  The lady that was in charge of music, passed around a sheet of paper with the words to ‘where have all the flowers gone?”, all 5 verses we had to sing….  She chose it because it was used as a  protest during the war era.”

Cozy book club set-up

They had only fruit for dessert, since that’s what you said they eat.  I had told her that the yogurt there was the best I ever had, so she put a little spoonful of yogurt in each fruit cup.  They really care about the details. Over all, I would say that it was a great success.  At least you got some new readers, some of them will probably be buying your new book.”

Fruit for dessert. Very Vietnamese of them.

Well, that is simply about the best thing in the world for an indie author. Thank you, Tarentum Book Club!

Marlene, President of the Tarentum Book Club (They even have a Vietnamese flag in the background.)
This is M.K., the one who chose my book for the club. Thank you, M.K.!

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