The 70273 Project

with a side of Jeanne Hewell-Chambers

Author: Stephanie Brown Bowen

SHELF-ISH PURSUITS: Where’s she going with this?

It’s my weekend off and I am up by 3 am thanks, in part, to a wee dachshund’s wee bladder.  We aren’t even going to talk about the Fireball I consumed last night.  No headache, but plenty of sound sleep and snoring (if you believe a dainty dame such as myself actually snores).

Today’s forecast calls for a high in the mid-60s, a welcome change from the cold and wind we’ve experienced over the last several days.  We even had cold temperatures over Christmas which hasn’t happened since I was about eight years old.  A long time ago, indeed.

Today I wanted to touch on something I’ve been getting messaged about.  I assume (yes, I know that’s bad…) that if one person asks, others may feel similarly but haven’t spoken up.

Book selections.

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say I bet, considering the diversity of our group, that we have very eclectic tastes in reading material.  As I’ve said before, I’m a sucker for cozy mysteries, CJ Box, and the WWII genre (fiction or nonfiction).  I also like romance novels.  Not Fifty Shades, but tawdry to say the least.  I had two coworkers who referred to them as “loin-burners” or “he cupped her breast novels”.  I can’t help it; I’m a sucka for luv!  Point being, we all like what we like and reading something outside of our usual fare can be difficult, if not at times, impossible.  I get that.  If you plunked down anything by Dickens, I’d tell you to take a long walk off a short pier. Yuck.  Same with Hemingway and Ayn Rand.

So why is Stephanie picking *these* books?!

As I said about The Accidental Book Club, we aren’t an accident, but we are a club.  Each of the women are different, have different trials, different coping mechanisms.  That’s us!  Can you see us there?  Can you see people in your life, yourself even, in this story?  Are you Jean?  Was your mom Laura?  Was your dad harried and distant?  Is your child like Bailey?  What do these people make you feel?  With the exception of Bailey, who is still a child, albeit a teenager, I dislike them all and it’s making for difficult reading.  I could quit, but I’m soldiering on!

Some have mentioned they’d prefer all nonfiction, T4 or Holocaust centered; those tomes focused on the disabled; something of a more meaty subject.  I get it.  But there’s only so much I can take before I have to fall back to a no-brainer, quick read.

February’s book, The Seamstress, is meatier and I’m sure it’ll be difficult to digest in spots.  I encourage you, if something in there is simply too much to take, to skip a few pages.  But I picked this one because of the feistiness of the author, her willingness to stand up and say “this isn’t right”.  Now, how willing are you?  If you heard about it or saw it with your own eyes, what would you do?  Would you be shamed into silence; stunned by embarrassment, your face flushing bright red; or would you, like Sara Tuvel Bernstein, say “hell, no!”?  Can we even know until it happens to us?  And isn’t that a scary thought?

I am, with Jeanne’s permission and approval, considering posting articles related to T4 to The Campfire page.  More bite-sized than king-sized, so we aren’t overwhelmed and left wrung out.  Thoughts?

I also intend to continue to flip-flop from lighter to weightier topics, but there will always be some connection from the current book to the what-wases and what-ifs of the WWII era.  Please be on the lookout for those.

As for the discussion of January’s book, I’ll post it as an event probably for next weekend.  I’d like everyone to have a chance to delve into it since I know some of you just got your copy.

I hope all of this makes sense.  If you have questions, suggestions, or concerns, please PM me and I’ll get back with ASAP!

Carry on, book dragons!



What Happens in Book Club…

Hello from Texas!  👋🏻  As I type this, it’s the last Friday night of 2017 and the state is anticipating a frigid start to 2018.  Local weathermen are breathlessly calling for snow flurries and the dreaded “I-word”…ice, making the local Walmart teem with shoppers looking to score bread and milk before the next Ice Age commences.  Clearly these people are amateurs as any woman worth her salt stocks up on chocolate and coffee.  Priorities!

Me?  Well, I’m safely ensconced at home, already sporting my comfy pajamas, a dachshund at my side.  And under my feet.  What better way to spend a three-day work sabbatical than with a good book?

Which brings me to why I’m here and why you’re reading this.

As you may already know, Jeanne asked me to spearhead the formation of The 70273 Project Book Club and after mulling it over, I, the-always-a-follower-never-a-leader introvert, said yes.  Y’all, I have no idea what I’m doing.  Be gentle.  Thankfully I’m not a surgeon or mechanic, so it can’t go too terribly wrong.  Right?!

So find a spot on a log, one close to the fire, and enjoy a cup of something warm while I give you the details.

Our main purpose here is to learn more about WHY an atrocity like Aktion T4 came about and HOW we can, individually and collectively, educate others to insure that it never happens again.  Jeanne has mentioned there are very few books dealing directly with Aktion T4; I didn’t come up with a single one myself.  What I did find, however, were a lot of books on my own bookshelves that I think can speak to our hearts.  From them, we can learn lessons that, though they aren’t specific to Aktion T4, definitely have lessons we can learn from or themes that speak to the whys and hows of human nature.

Every month we’ll kick off the start of a new book.  If it sounds interesting, join us on a read-along.  We’ll meet back on the Facebook group- The Campfire  from time to time to discuss our thoughts on what we’ve read.  None of them are particularly lengthy.  They’re fiction and non-fiction; most written for adults with a few culled from the young readers section of a local book store.

I’d like to have everyone at roughly the same spot so there aren’t any spoilers for those who don’t read quite as fast, so I think we should aim to reach a certain number of chapters read by a particular date.  I’ll announce all of it in Campfire and we’ll see how it all plays out.

You may choose to sit it out if a book just doesn’t blow your skirt up.  That’s fine, too.  This isn’t school and I’m not Sr. Brigid forcing Beowulf down your throat.  Who wants to read something that just makes your eyes roll to the back of your head in boredom? Not I!

Read it as a “real” book; an e-book; or listen to an audiobook.  It doesn’t matter.  Just read, enjoy, share, and repeat.  Like eating cookies only without the calories.

As we go along, I hope to post polls you’ll enjoy and  also look to group members for their reading recommendations.  Maybe you’ll see your favorite as the next book club selection!

Let’s have fun, enjoy one another’s company, and maybe read something we’d never have considered picking up otherwise.

Welcome to “Shelf-ish Pursuits”, the official book club of The 70273 Project! 📚


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