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#TBT: Book Review of The Underground Railroad

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We’re gearing up to start our new 2018 – 2019 club season and coming up on our agenda is our first Book Club of the year! For throwback Thursday, let’s take a look at one our meet ups from last year.

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by Anne van Oorschot

Our book club met to discuss our latest book, Pulitzer prize winner The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead. It is the story African American slave, Cora, and her flight from slavery on a plantation in Georgia. While most people are familiar with descriptions of slavery on cotton plantations in America in the early 1800s, the author gave a good picture of the horrible conditions and ruthless behavior inflicted on the slaves. Running away should have been an attractive option…but the horrible death you would suffer if you were caught and brought back served as an effective deterrent for most. Caesar, a recent and less battered down addition to her plantation’s slave population, talks Cora into fleeing to a contact of his with ties to the Underground Railroad. The two set off and are initially successful, the book following their escape route through states to the north.

The first surprise was that the Underground Railroad was an actual railroad – built in tunnels under the ground. Why had the author chosen to portray it so literally? If you hear aboutthe Underground Railroad as a child, you do imagine it to be a regular railroad; did Whitehead decide to remain true to his initial image of the secret network of individuals who helped slaves escape? Another aspect that I found surprising was the big difference in attitudes and laws in the different states Cora went through. While there were laws in place to “lift up” colored citizens in South Carolina (with somewhat dubious motives), North Carolina wanted to rid their state of ALL blacks and made entertainment out of hanging any they found + those residents who helped them. After several near misses, things seemed to end well when Cora arrived at the Valentine farm in Indiana, a community made up entirely of colored residents, and found her place in the group. As the small community grew, their white neighbors became increasingly hostile and decided to take matters into their own hands. It remains shocking, the things people feel justified in doing to others who are “different”.

The opinions of our group about the book were quite varied: some found it too slow paced with a confusing story line, others felt it moved along at a good pace and found the story line clear. I really liked the book and found the language used beautiful – such clear images and spot on descriptions. My favorite impression was from a section mid-book that was a bit random to the main story line. A young man is studying medicine at a small Boston college and supplements his income by going on raids to find cadavers that students can practice on. This involves going out in the dead of night and stealing the bodies from new graves. Since white graves were often guarded by family members to prevent removal of the body, that was generally not the case for black graves. Thus, more and more medical cadavers were blacks: “Yet when his classmates put their blades to a colored cadaver, they did more for the cause of colored advancement than the most high-minded abolitionist. In death the negro became a human being. Only then was he the white man’s equal.”

(I was excited to hear that Colson Whitehead would be giving a talk about the book in Amsterdam at the John Adams Institute. Though the tickets were sold out, my daughter managed to find 2, so I’ll be going on December 6th . Come to the next book discussion to hear what I learned… ) We ended our evening with a book exchange and several members brought good books they had already read to share with the group. There were a few of our past reads among the books – good books, but not ones in line to be re-read. Especially nice for new members of our group, but I went away with a couple of books as well.

#expatlife #Tilburg #bookclub #internationalclub #tbt


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Upcoming Events

  • Dordrecht Xmas Market 14 December 2019
  • Xmas Borrel 20 December 2019 at 7:30 pm – 12:00 am Café Bakker, Heuvel 44, Heuvel 45, 5038 CS Tilburg, Pays-Bas
  • Book Club: The Lost Girls of Paris 9 January 2020
  • tíc holiday dinner 11 January 2020 at 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm Anvers Brasserie & Beer Cafe, Oude Markt 8, 5038 TJ Tilburg, Pays-Bas

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Christmas 🎄 time is on its way and tic would like to invite you on an afternoon trip to enjoy one of the largest Christmas Markets ☃️ in The Netherlands. We will go by train 🚆 to the Christmas market in the beautiful, historical city center of Dordrecht. ❄️❄️ 🔺Date: Saturday, December 14th, 2019 🔺Time: Meet 11:10 am at the Tilburg train station at the entrance to the Starbucks. (The same train stops at Tilburg University at 11:22; if you prefer to board there to join us, just let me know). 🔺Location: Dordrecht, historical city center 🔺Register in the link on our bio by December 12 🔺Cost: No cost to join; train ticket and lunch are not arranged by tic ❄️❄️ PS. Our train which leaves at 11:19 am from Tilburg station will bring us to Dordrecht at 12:02 pm. After walking together a while we will stop to enjoy lunch 🍝 at the market around 1:30 pm. You are welcome to browse the market with us or end up taking off on your own. As you take care of your own train ticket you have the freedom to stay as long or as short as as you like. The market lasts until 9:00 pm and is charming in the evening with the twinkling lights. ❄️❄️ For more information on the market visit https://kerstmarktdordrecht.nl/ . We hope to see you there! Jingle Bells, . Tic Events Team #tilburger #tic #tilburginternationalclub #dordrecht #christmastime
Happy birthday Coree! #expats #internationalfriends #tilburg #tilburginternationalclub
#Repost @tilburg_international_club • • • • • • Dear all! You are welcome to join tíc for a "Brabant’s worstenbroodjes"/ "Sausage roll" / "Pigs-in-a-blanket" workshop in the very beautiful Brabant’s bakery, de smaeck van Brabant. 🌭 🔸🔶🔸 Worstenbroodjes are a local delicacy of Brabant in which Tilburg is located. They are great for the cold winter nights. 🔸🔶🔸 The workshop will include the following: ▪️Tea, coffee or a fizzy drink (no alcohol) ▪️Detailed, hands-on explanation for making perfect Brabant’s worstenbroodjes ▪️Appelflap while waiting for the sausage rolls to bake ▪️10 worstenbroodjes to take home! *** 📅Date: Tuesday 26th November ⌚️Time: 18:30 - 21:00 (6:30 - 9:00 p.m.) (90 min. standing while baking) 📍Location: de smaeck van Brabant, Kerkstraat 8, 5056 AC Berkel-Enschot ❗️Register by: 21 November - link on our bio 💶Members: €20 per person (Normal price is €30 euro per person) 💶Guest: €30 per person (READ about how €5,00 can be pro-rated towards your membership fee) *** There are only 12 spaces!! First come first served. *** Disclaimer: If you cancel after the RSVP date and your place remains unfilled you will be required to pay the full amount *** Best Regards, The tíc event team #tilburger #tilburgismooi #tilburginternational #tilburginternationalclub #workshop #worstenbroodjes
Dear all! You are welcome to join tíc for a "Brabant’s worstenbroodjes"/ "Sausage roll" / "Pigs-in-a-blanket" workshop in the very beautiful Brabant’s bakery, de smaeck van Brabant. 🌭 🔸🔶🔸 Worstenbroodjes are a local delicacy of Brabant in which Tilburg is located. They are great for the cold winter nights. 🔸🔶🔸 The workshop will include the following: ▪️Tea, coffee or a fizzy drink (no alcohol) ▪️Detailed, hands-on explanation for making perfect Brabant’s worstenbroodjes ▪️Appelflap while waiting for the sausage rolls to bake ▪️10 worstenbroodjes to take home! *** 📅Date: Tuesday 26th November ⌚️Time: 18:30 - 21:00 (6:30 - 9:00 p.m.) (90 min. standing while baking) 📍Location: de smaeck van Brabant, Kerkstraat 8, 5056 AC Berkel-Enschot ❗️Register by: 21 November - link on our bio 💶Members: €20 per person (Normal price is €30 euro per person) 💶Guest: €30 per person (READ about how €5,00 can be pro-rated towards your membership fee) *** There are only 12 spaces!! First come first served. *** Disclaimer: If you cancel after the RSVP date and your place remains unfilled you will be required to pay the full amount *** Best Regards, The tíc event team #tilburger #tilburgismooi #tilburginternational #tilburginternationalclub #workshop #worstenbroodjes

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