"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Thursday, November 2, 2023


Title: The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

Book Beginnings quote:
There was an old Jew who lived at the site of the old synagogue up on Chicken Hill in the town of Pottstown, Pa., and when Pennsylvania State Troopers found the skeleton at the bottom of an old well off Hayes Street, the old Jew's house was the first place they went to.

Friday56 quote: 
Moshe happily complied. He attributed her improvement to the arrival of Malachi, who insisted on dropping by the theater every day to deliver a loaf of his challah for Moshe to carry home to his wife. "This will be part of your wife's healing," he said proudly.
In 1972, when workers in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, were digging the foundations for a new development, the last thing they expected to find was a skeleton at the bottom of a well. Who the skeleton was and how it got there were two of the long-held secrets kept by the residents of Chicken Hill, the dilapidated neighborhood where immigrant Jews and African Americans lived side by side and shared ambitions and sorrows.

As these characters' stories overlap and deepen, it becomes clear how much the people who live on the margins struggle and what they must do to survive at the margins of white Christian America and how damaging bigotry, hypocrisy, and deceit can be to a community. When the truth is finally revealed about what happened on Chicken Hill and the part the town's white establishment played in it, McBride shows us that even in dark times, it is love and community--heaven and earth--that sustain us. (Publisher)
Chicken Hill was where Moshe and Chona Ludlow lived and where Chona ran the Heaven and Earth Grocery Store. The year was 1925. The store served the neighborhood's quirky collection of Blacks and European immigrants. They were Jewish. Chona's husband, Moshe, a Romanian-born theater owner integrated the town's first dance hall. When the state came looking for a deaf Black child, claiming he needed to be institutionalized, the community sought the help of the Ludlows in keeping the child safe. Nate and Addie Timblin were the child's guardians and both worked for the Ludlows in some capacity. Could the Ludlows hide the child for a short time while the inspectors were snooping around? So begins the backstory that leads to the mystery presented at the beginning of the book. Who was the skeleton in the well? What did it have to do with the old Jew living nearby?

I bet Book Club will have a lively discussion with this book.

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City Reader. First Line Friday is hosted by Reading is My Super Power. Share the opening quote from current book.The Friday56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56 to share. Visit these two websites to participate. Click on links to read quotes from books other people are reading. It is a great way to make blog friends and to get suggestions for new reading material. 

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