American Gods by Neil Gaiman

About the Book

Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.

But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.

Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined—it is a job that takes him on a dark and strange road trip and introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own. Along the way Shadow will learn that the past never dies; that everyone, including his beloved Laura, harbors secrets; and that dreams, totems, legends, and myths are more real than we know. Ultimately, he will discover that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and that he is standing squarely in its path.

 


Chocolate Pots de Crème

Sweet, rich, and creamy dessert that is easier than you would expect to make. Only the finest desserts served to your deserving book club members!

Ingredients
  • 9 ounces high-quality semisweet and/or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar (add an extra tablespoon if using bitter chocolate)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Directions
  1. Place the chocolate in a food processor and chop until fine.
  2. Whisk the milk, cream, egg yolks, granulated sugar and salt in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook approximately 5 to 6 minutes, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spatula and almost boiling—bringing the temperature up to 160°F - 175°F.
  3. Immediately pour the milk mixture over the chocolate in the processor. Blend until combined and smooth.
  4. Divide the chocolate mixture among ramekins or small cups and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Top with whipped cream if desired.

Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine

Pairing Suggestions

This classic French dessert pairs well with feminine, luxurious, and romantic novels like Beautiful Ruins by Jess WalterAn Inconvenient Wife by Megan Chance, The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro, and A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff.


The Aviator's Wife Discussion Questions

The following discussion questions for “The Aviator's Wife” were created by our member Heather. We freely share our original discussion questions, but please consider including a credit and link to our website.

  1. What did you find most surprising about Charles Lindbergh? Were you shocked about the affairs and the other children that Charles Lindbergh had? What surprised you about Anne Lindbergh?
  2. This book talks a lot about heroes. Do you think Charles was a hero? How was Anne a hero? The book begins with Anne, hero worshipping Charles. How does Anne’s impression of Charles change as she gets to know him better? Did your opinion of Charles Lindbergh change as you read this story?
  3. How did fame and the paparazzi influence Charles’ and Anne’s lives? Do you think Charles wanted the fame?
  4. Anne says to Charles right before he dies, “I didn’t need a hero. I never needed a hero. I needed to be loved.” (p. 387). Do you think Charles loved Anne? How did he express his love to her?
  5. The Lindberghs' lives span decades of major changes in American life. Women getting the right to vote. World War II. The feminist movement. How does their marriage change or not change as women gain more rights?
  6. Women of this era were often defined by the men in their lives. Anne says, “I wondered who they saw when they looked at me. The ambassador’s daughter? The aviator’s wife? Or the lost boy’s mother” (p. 239).
  7. There are many examples of wives throughout this book…Anne’s mom, Anne, Anne’s sister, Elisabeth. How did these women define their role as wives? Were they similar or different? How did The Aviator’s Wife depict the experience of being a wife? Was Anne a good wife to Charles?
  8. Silence is a theme throughout the book. “Silence, I was learning—another thing to add to my syllabus!—was the response with which my husband felt most comfortable.” (p. 95) How does silence impact the lives of Charles and Anne? How else does silence impact Anne’s family? (her brother, Dwight; her sister, Elisabeth)
From the author’s website, melaniebenjamin.com:
  1. Anne seems to think of herself as an outsider —someone too shy and too plain and insular to make a big impression on someone else. Do you think Charles saw through this or do you think that this is what drew him to her? Do you think this was an accurate description of Anne?
  2. Do you think you could keep the secrets that Anne keeps from her children? Why or Why not?”
  3. What do you think flying represents to Anne? How does it compare to her with writing? Which do you think is more important to Anne?

 


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Creative Commons License

The Aviator's Wife discussion questions are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.