Saturday, February 28, 2009

Final Three Books For 2010

I’m pleased to announce the Galveston Reads Book Selection Committee has selected three finalists for the 2010 Galveston Reads Selection. Committee members and interested members of the community are encouraged to read all three books and vote for the title they think would best serve the Galveston Reads community. To cast a vote please email me at by April 24. Happy Reading!

The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh
Rocket Boys by Homer Hickman (Paperback may be under October Sky which is the name of the movie.
Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer

These books are, of course, available for check-out at your Rosenberg Library.

Karen Stanley
Head of Children's Services
Rosenberg Library

Readers Choose Short List for 2010

Short List Decided- Feb 26, 2009

The Readers’ group, part of Galveston Reads, under chair, Glennda, met and decided on the final three:

The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh
Rocket Boys by Homer Hickman (Paperback may be under October Sky which is the name of the movie)
Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer

We met at Emmy’s home on Sealy Avenue, and shared food, wine and appetizers aplenty. For Bernice’s benefit, and food lovers, will list some: chick pea and red pepper(hummus type of dip), cheese crostinis, garlic chips, chocolate coated almonds, fruit plate, and lots of wines. One was a Shiraz, aptly chosen for the book, Septembers of Shiraz.

Once we’d had our fill, each of us cast votes, 3 points for #1 choice, 2 points for # 2 choice, and 1 point for # 3 choice. We did cast an absentee ballot for Bernice, as she emailed her vote to us, prior to her departure for DC, I believe.

Tally was as follows:

Rocket Boys/October Sky – 13 points

A Land So Strange, The Epic Journey of Cabeza de Vaca – 9 points

The Hungry Tide - 10 points

Septembers of Shiraz – 15 points

Mister Pip - 3 points

Film Club – 9 points

A very pleasant evening was had by all, thanks to our hostess, Emmy!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Glass Castle Discussion at Mosquito Café

Six people attended the Glass Castle book discussion at Mosquito Café Wednesday evening, February 19. The question of whether Jeannette Wall’s parents were negligent was examined. The consensus was no. Although participants agreed the mother and father were not average parents they were not considered neglectful because the children turned out all right (or at least three of the four did). One participator said she admired Rosemary, the mother, for being creative and following her heart for art sake and not to make money.
Facilitator, Bernice Terregrossa, found it interesting that the opinions of the discussion group differed so much from the book’s selection committee and commented that the selection committee must have done a good job of finding a book that lent itself to divergent interpretations.
The program lasted one and a half hours with everyone in attendance saying they plan to be present for the Resilient Child Panel Discussion on March 25th. This is the last of book discussions for this Galveston Reads season 2009.
Submitted by Barbara Arnold

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Galveston Reads will hold a discussion of the 2009 book, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, on February 18, 2009, at the Mosquito Café, 628 14th St. in Galveston at 7 pm. The program is free and open to the public.

In cooperation with Rosenberg Library, Galveston Reads, a “One City, One Book” project, is now in its sixth year of encouraging everyone in town to read and discuss the same book.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Movie and Discussion at Galveston College

The movie, SURFWISE, an amazing true odyssey of the Paskowitz family is a documentary by Doug Pray. Members of the Galveston community gathered to watch the movie and participate in the discussion following the film. After the movie, Alan Griffin led an animated discussion about the movie, covering parallels and contrasts of the lives of the Paskovitz family versus the Walls family, from the Galveston Reads book, Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls.

Thanks to Gracie Otin, Galveston College librarian for coordinating with her colleagues in publicizing the book and the movie; specifically, Dr. Dale Taylor for incorporating the book in her classes, and Michael Berberich for being part of Galveston Reads; Henry Newkirk for organizing the participation of the African American student club to provide pop corn and cold bottled water. Special thanks to Paul Mendoza , Culinary Arts Academy instructor, responsible for making the cookies, and coffee. He and his students provided a delectable treat, including biscuits with apricot jam, mint, chocolates and cakes, as well as Mr. Jose, in facilities for setting up the room, and Robert Taylor for setting up the multimedia. Thank you to Lynn Burke for the program and her painting, and our chair, Karen Stanley, along with the Galveston Reads Committee for their support.

The movie was a documentary portraying the many different ways the Paskowitz family used to drop off the grid. The unusual style and urgency Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz, the paterfamilias of what is lovingly, and at times, enviable described as the first family of surfing. It was an intensity in part born of his passionately felt engagement with history as a Jew, which took him from Stanford Medical School in the 1940s to button-down respectability in the 1950s and, thereafter, on the road and into the blue yonder with a devoted wife, nine children, a succession of battered camper trailers and the surfboards that were by turns the family’ cradles, playpens, lifelines and shields, featuring archival film footage.

The controversial method of child rearing in an isolated environment without the benefits of a formal education provided for good discussion. There was discourse regarding when the children left their bohemian/gypsy “just another beach boy” anti-establishment family pod to strike out on their own. The lack of society’s graces created an incredible culture shock when the adult children immigrated to live in the “real” world. What seems normal to many of in the audience, such as having a formal education, being able to manage households in a “modern” fashion, work, pay bills, formal public education, were examples of things they had to “learn”. The daughter even said that she felt like a fish out of water when she integrated into society as we know it. They were taught that life outside of the core family was something to be very careful of. Doc believed that you gain wisdom from life (not from Stanford). The children were reared, it seemed to some in the audience, in a Buddhist philosophical way. The children were not encouraged to have an attachment to material wealth, They had been being taught that money was the root of all evil.

The issue of survivor’s guilt for many Jews was discussed, regarding the scene of the famous photograph of the Nazi soldier in the field aiming his gun at a woman and child. How, from seeing that visual, with no sound, some people seemed to sense what happened next.. Doc Pascowitz felt personally responsible for her death, and the death of Jews. However this could have been a product of his time, and that many of the audience members who also were born after the depression era seem to feel that same guilt.

There was great discussion about the mother of these 9 children having breast fed all her children for as long as she could. Doc told her: If an ape breast feeds their young for two years, you will breast feed our children as long. “I won’t have a monkey being a better caretaker than my wife”. Doc believed that health is the key.

There was further discussion of how the family evaded Social Services. At one point Juliet (Mrs. Paskowitz) mentioned ‘if you don’t go into the system, they don’t know you exist.’ And so it was, that the children dropped off the educational grid.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Galveston Reads Rebounds in 2009

Galveston Reads, a “One City, One Book” program selected Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls for 2009. After Hurricane Ike, the Galveston Reads Committee quickly reassembled to plan the spring 2009 schedule of programming. Reading programs prevail on Galveston, with many programs and book discussions in February and March of 2009.

The next program in the series, a movie discussion programs featuring the movie Surfwise, will be shown at 6:00 p.m. February 11, 2009, at Galveston College, Room FA-207. “Surfwise: The Amazing True Odyssey of the Paskowitz Family” , a 2007 documentary by Doug Pray, of a family that lives outside the norm, is another depiction of what could be termed dysfunctional family or perhaps one that just defies the usual expectations in our culture regarding child rearing, responsibility, and schooling. The father, Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz, who was born in Galveston, drops out of life as a Stanford trained physician to live in a camping trailer and travel around to surfing locations with his wife and nine children. The movie features archival footage of the family surfing, as well as interviews with the father and children. The movie is rated R for nudity and language and will be followed by a discussion comparing the book to the movie led by Allan Griffin, a retired psychologist. This program is free and open to the public.

The kick-off program for Galveston Reads, the Four Professor Panel Discussion, was held on January 6th at Galveston Colleges with over 50 people in attendance. The kickoff panel featured Drs. Taylor, Gorman, Curley and Delancey, and facilitator, Ms. Joel-Reich. The panel provided a very interesting, varied panel on this book. Dr. Taylor is an associate professor of English and Journalism at Galveston College, where she teaches writing and literature classes. Dr. John Gorman, is an island resident and teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. He is involved with Poets Roundtable and the Osher Life Long Learning Institute; he has been part of Galveston Reads since its inception. Dr. Dayle DeLancey is an Assistant Professor of the History of Medicine in the Institute for the Medical Humanities at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. She received her Ph.D. in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine from the University of Manchester, Manchester, England. Dr. Stephen J. Curley is a professor of English at Texas A&M University in Galveston who received his Ph.D. from Rice University in 1974. Currently is the Area Chair for the Sea Literature, Popular Culture Association; serves on the Advisory Board of the Journal of American Culture and is also a member of the American Culture Association. His interests are anything having to do with sea literature, including chanteys (work songs at sea); Jean Lafitte and Texas culture.

The professors brought up various themes, such as the archetypical early American point of view, the autodidactic father, Rex Walls, the resilient child, free spirits from the 1960s, counter culture parenting, conscientious non-conformist parents, choosing to be lower class, no safety net such as health insurance or a regular income for the family, the narcissistic father and mother, forgiveness and redemption, the doppelganger/double personality effect on Jeannette, the Joshua tree symbolism of resilience to the wind and elements as are the children, the glass castle as a fragile symbol of hope, mental illness, and eventual homeless status.

Galveston Reads has encouraged reading by offering programs held at various locations throughout Galveston County for the past six years. Past selections include Tortilla Curtain, by T.C. Boyles; Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team , and a Dream, by H. G. Bissinger; A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, by Mark Haddon; Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, by Barbara Ehreinreich and A Lesson Before Dying, by Ernest J. Gaines. The programming has included local discussion groups, theatrical presentations, author visits and panel discussions, including the ever popular evening with local English professors.

The next book selection for 2010 is under consideration by the committee, and to be selected by the community later this spring.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

2009 Glass Castle Program, Movies and Discussions

Book Discussions

2/9/09 Westminster Presbyterian Church.5127 Ave. U. 7 pm.
2/10/09 Moody Methodist First United Methodist Church.
2803 53rd St. Noon.
2/11/09 Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. 502 Church St. 7pm.
2/18/09 Mosquito Café. 628 14th St. 7 pm.


1/6/09 Five Professors Book Discussion. Galveston College, Rm. FA207. 4015 Ave. Q. 7 pm. Featuring Michael Berberich, Dale Taylor, Stephen Curley, John Gorman and Dayle DeLancey. Facilitated by Ms. Joel-Reich.
2/11/09 Screening of “Surfwise” movie. Galveston College, Rm. FA207. 4015 Ave. Q. 6-8:30 pm. Facilitated by Allen Griffin.
2/17/09 American Dissenters and The Glass Castle. Westminster Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 5127 Ave. U. 7 pm. Featuring John Gorman and Dale Taylor.
2/28/09 Lifestories I: A Journaling workshop with The Glass Castle. Westminster Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 5127 Ave. U. 2:00-4:00 pm. With Michelle
3/11/09 Lifestories II: A Journaling workshop with The Glass Castle. Westminster
Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 5127 Ave. U. 5:30-7:30 pm. With Michelle
3/25/09 Resilient Child Panel Discussion. Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. 502 Church. 6:30—8 pm. Featuring Dwight Wolf, Karen Smith and Trudy Deen Davis.