To find next month's book, scroll down to the bottom of the post.
At today's meeting we discussed our reading of Remembering Isaac by Ben Behunin. Because one of our members knows the author, she was able to ask him questions about the book (a big Thank You here to Ben, who answered these questions while on a much deserved Spring Break trip with his family). Which served as a great way for us to discuss the book.
These are the questions and his responses:
Rexburg Readers: Who do you relate to more as the author? Isaac or Jake?
Ben Behunin: I often say that Jake is who I am now and Isaac is who I hope to be when I grow up. I like to think I am becoming more like Isaac, but then I get upset and yell at my kids and want to kill someone in my ward, and I realize how far I have to go.
RR: What influenced you to create Niederbipp? Is Niederbipp a real place?
BB: Niederbipp---ahhh. the place we all want to be--a place where everybody knows your name. Niederbipp is a real town in Switzerland, not far from the town in Germany where i apprenticed after my mission. I always liked the name and used to tell my kids stories about a boy named Niederbipp. My mission president told me once when we were driving past the exit sign on the autobahn that if he were to have another son, he would name him Niederbipp.
RR: Niederbipp seems like a pretty idyllic place, why is Jake having such a hard time making up his mind?
RR: We can see how pottery has influenced your writing - How has writing influenced your pottery?
BB: Do I know an Isaac? To me, Isaac is very much a Christ figure, so yes, I suppose I do know an Isaac. In the Old testament, the sacrifice of Isaac was a type for Christ. Isaac knew what he knew because of the sacrifice he made--his will, his wife, his life--It is only after we lay upon the alter of sacrifice our offering that we are able to live the higher life. I know many people who know this from experience--who have lost or given up much in life in order to grow. We all have to sacrifice what we have for the potential of what can be--ie. marriage, children, missions, careers, etc. I am not really answering this question, but I will say that we all know people around us who know great wisdom, gentleness and love because of the sacrifices they have made in life. It seems it all begins with being willing to give up our will to a higher power. that is the hardest step, but from it comes love, wisdom, understanding, peace, happiness--all the good things is life have a cost. So, I don't know how to answer the question as stated, but I hope this is a good substitute. I might also mention that the name of my printing company that I formed when I self-published, Abendmahl Press, is a German word. Literally translated, Abendmahl means evening meal, but it also the word for sacrament in German. The wheat and the grapes are symbols of the sacrament--symbols of the greatest sacrifice the universe has ever known.
RR: Why did you decide to self-publish? What would you tell other aspiring writers about self-publishing?
Overall we all liked the book. We generally agreed that the book made us all want to be better people and we appreciated the themes of positive values, legacy and the general sense of morality of the book. Many of us felt inspired to be more supportive of the local craftsmen around us. We found that we wanted to know more about the back stories for some of the lesser characters. The greatest disappointment for most of us was that there didn't feel like there was a big enough resolution at the end. All of the biggest questions were still left up in the air. We are looking forward to reading book 2, Discovering Isaac.
Thanks to everyone for making our daytime meeting work this time! We will go back to an evening meeting for our next event! :)
For those who wanted the roll recipe...here it is:
Lion House Rolls
2 T dry yeast (2 pkgs)
2 C warm water
1/3 C sugar
1/3 C melted butter (can substitute margarine or shortening)
2 1/2 tsp salt
2/3 C nonfat dry milk
5 - 6 C flour
Combine yeast and water in a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. In mixer - put sugar, shortening, salt, dry milk, 2 C flour, and egg - mix to combine. After yeast has bubbled up, pour into mixer with the rest of ingredients. Beat together until VERY smooth. Add 2 more C flour, one at a time, very slowly and beat until smooth. Start adding 1/2 C increments of flour until it reaches the right texture and is mixed in. Cover and let rise until triple in size. This could take up to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the temp where you are raising the dough.
Once dough has tripled in size remove from bowl and place on a greased, or lightly floured surface. Let dough rest 10 minutes. This will make it easier to roll out (the dough won't keep springing back on you). Roll out dough and cut or mold into desired shapes. Let rise again. Brush tops with melted butter or egg wash before putting in the over (I skip this when doing the orange glaze). Bake at 400 degrees for 10-20 minutes or until browned the way you like.
2 1/2 C powdered sugar
1/3 to 1/2 C orange juice
(you can add some lemon zest to give it an extra zip)
OK...there it is. I have two Lion House cookbooks and the roll recipes in each differ slightly, but both work equally as well - both recipes seem to be pretty forgiving too which is helpful if you are a novice baker like me! Or just use your favorite dinner roll (probably not bread though) recipe and add the glaze.
Next month's book: The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom copies can be found at the Madison Library, B&N, Amazon, Half.com, etc.
Links related to Remembering Isaac:
Ben's Pottery Website
Remembering Isaac Website
This post subject to editing if there are other significant things that need to be added. :)