Dune, by Frank Herbert

The release of a new movie adaptation of Dune by Frank Herbert in October of 2021 had a lot of people dusting off their old copies of the book and waxing nostalgic about this epic work of science fiction that many had lost themselves in reading years ago. And apparently many others were inspired to read it for the first time, because copies with the newer cover were hard to come by at the library and available in all kinds of special formats on Amazon — from single paperbacks, to deluxe hardcovers, to full sets of books 1-6 and beyond.

Our group tackled it with some trepidation, and in the end, those who liked science fiction and remembered reading it way-back-when still loved it for its elaborate world-building. Those who were not already into the genre seemed to struggle with it, although I think we were all glad to have given it a try. We in the BBB pride ourselves on not shying away from a reading challenge, and Dune was certainly that!

Enough people love this book that its legacy has not only endured but flourished since its original publication in 1956, hence the new adaptation in 2021 starring the VERY popular Timotheé Chalamet. This article from The New Yorker explains some of that unique appeal among its millions of fans: “Dune” Endures

Julie Feirer

Poetry is Brewing

The best part of Books, Brew, and Banter is the brew.  No, not the coffee, though it’s good.  The brew that comes from stirring our backgrounds, interests, and personalities together. And right now, poetry seems to be on the hob.
The first drops fell into the pot when we read poet Maya Angelou’s memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.  Then Ken, blogging about his conversation with Truman Capote, mentioned that his brother Ron was a budding poet in those Capote days.  And at about the same time, Pat happened to be reading Billy Collins’ Aimless Love.  And Ronda, passing through a Barnes and Noble on her winter travels, not knowing poetry was brewing back home, almost bought Billy Collins’ newest volume.
Into this thickening brew, people began tossing names:  Robert Frost, Dorothy Parker, Gertrude Stein, Emily Dickinson, Ronald Johnson, Herbert Scott. 
We began emailing each other poems – for example, this one from Marilyn who wrote that it made her cry when she tried to read it to her professor during her freshman year in college.  (She was forty-five at the time.)
For Hettie
My wife is left-handed, which
implies a fierce determination.  A complete
other worldliness.  It’s WEIRD BABY.
The way some folks are always
trying to be different.
A sin and a shame.
But then, she’s been bohemian
all her life . . . black stockings,
refusing to take orders.  I sit
patiently trying to tell her
what’s right.  TAKE THAT DAMN
such.  But to no avail.  And it shows
in her work.  Left-handed coffee,
left-handed eggs; when she comes
in at night . . . It’s her left hand offered
for me to kiss.  Damn.
And now her belly droops over the seat.
They say it’s a child.  But I ain’t
quite so sure.
                        Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones)
Also, there seems to be a flurry of media attention to poets in the last few weeks. Deborah Garrison (A Working Girl Can’t Win) celebrated a birthday in February.  Krista Tippet (On Being, NPR) interviewed past poet laureate Mary Oliver.  And The New York Times this past weekend ran a story on the death of past poet laureate Philip Levine.
Now, Lent—that season meant for settling in and getting ready for the great, grave mystery of death and resurrection – is upon us.
Maybe this is a good time to consider the religious poetry of T. S. Eliot (Ash Wednesday and The Four Quartets).  Or the poetry of seventeenth century cleric John Donne, who didn’t separate his passion for God from his passion for Anne More (with whom he had twelve children).  Donne’s fusion of the worldly and the spiritual feels particularly serendipitous on the heels of An Altar in the World. 
Or we might read Gerald Manley Hopkins.  Here is a famous Hopkins poem, and one of my favorites, about God’s revelation of Himself in the physical world.
                God’s Grandeur
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
  It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
  And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
  And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
  There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
  Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
  World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

                                               Gerald Manley Hopkins
I’m glad poetry is brewing, that our group is toying with the idea of adding poetry spacers between the book discussions.  We could all use more poetry in our lives.

By Sharelle Moranville

What to eat when, according to Barbara Kingsolver

In today’s discussion of Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, we talked about how the book might change our behavior. Several of us said we would probably get fresh vegetables of farmers’ markets more often. But we weren’t confident, city kids that most of us are, what normally grows when.  So, thanks to Melissa Dunagan for compiling the list below to guide our shopping.

April / May: spinach, kale, lettuce and chard
May / June: cabbage, romaine, broccoli and cauliflower
June: snow peas, baby squash, cucumbers
July:  green beans, green peppers, small tomatoes
July / August: beefsteak tomatoes, eggplant, red and yellow peppers
August / September: cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, pumpkin, winter squash