This book discussion group began in 1996 as the "Books of the Century" book discussion group, choosing books from the New York Public Library's Books of the Century exhibit and book. Beginning in the Fall of 2000, the group expanded its choices. Participants are expected to read at least part of the selected works. The library will help locate copies of the books.
Book discussions occur from 7-8:30 pm on the first Thursday of every month, October through May. Call 215-723-9109 x3 for more information.
October 4, 2012: Our Mutual Friend, by Charles Dickens.
Written in 1864-65, this is the last novel completed by Charles Dickens and is "one of his most sophisticated works, combining psychological insight with social analysis. It centers on, the the words of critic J. Hillis Miller, "money, money, money, and what money can make of life" but is also about human values." (Wikipedia)
November 1, 2012: The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen (2001).
"A symphonic exploration of family dynamics and social conflict and change...set in the Midwest, New York City, and Philadelphia, and focused on the tortured interrelationships of the five adult Lamberts", one of whose "misadventures in Lithuania, where he's been impulsively hired to "produce a profit-making website"...slyly counterpoint the spectacle back home of an American family, and culture, falling steadily apart." (Kirkus Reviews, July 2001).
December 6, 2012: Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn (1992)
"Quinn won the Turner Tomorrow Award's half-million-dollar first prize for this fascinating and odd book - not a novel by any conventional definition...The bulk of the book consists entirely of philosophical dialogues between gorilla and man, on the model of Plato's Republic. Through Ishmael, Quinn offers a wide-ranging if highly general examination of the history of our civilization, illuminating the assumptions and philosophies at the heart of many global problems. (Publishers Weekly, Nov. 1991)
January 3, 2013: Cain, by Jose Saramago (2011)
"Novel Prize winner Saramago's final book (he died in 2010) reimagines the Old Testament story of Cain. This Cain moves through time from the story of Abraham and Isaac to Noah's Flood, forever encountering an unjust God. For all literati." (Library Journal, May 2011)
February 7, 2013: Snow, by Orhan Pamuk (2004)
"Internationally acclaimed Turkish writer Pamuk vividly embodies and painstakingly explores the collision of Western values with Islamic fundamentalism. An omnicient narrator...tells the story of Kerim Alakusoglu, a 40-ish poet known as Ka who returns to Turkey from political exile in Germany. Ka travels to the remote provincial town of Kars in "the poorest, most overlooked corner of Turkey" near the Armenian border, where a seemingly endless snowfall persists, a rash of recent suicides by young women stirs political and ethnic debate - and Kee is reunited with his beautiful former schoolmate Ipek, now estranged from her husband." (Kirkus Reviews, July 2004)
March 7, 2013: The Space Between Us, by Thrity Umrigar (2005)
"Journalis Umrigar (Bombay Time) evocatively describes daily life in two very different households in modern-day Bombay, where the traditions that separate the classes and the sexes still persist. The relationship between Sera Dubash, an upper-class Parsi housewife, and Bhima, her servant, is full of contradictions...While money and class keep these two from fully bridging the gap between them, they remain closer than either of them can fully see, for as women, they suffer equally the abuse of men, the loss of love, and the joys and sorrows of motherhood." (Library Journal, Dec. 2005)
April 4, 2013: The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain (2011)
"Paula McLain's fictionalized study of the starter marriage of Hadley Richardson and Ernest Hemingway, The Paris Wife, is a pleasure for anyone who wonders what it was like to be a broke, ambitious writer in Europe in the 1920s. or, more specifically, a broke, ambitious writer's wife." (Book Page Reviews, March 2011)
May 2, 2013: A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway (1964; also 2009 revision)
"A Moveable Feast is a set of memoirs by author Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) about his years in Paris as part of the American expatriate circle of writers in the 1920s. The book describes Hemingway's apprenticeship as a young writer in Europe (especially in Paris) during the 1920s with his first wife, Hadley...The book was not published during Hemingway's life, but edited from his manuscripts and notes by his widow and fourth wife, Mary Hemingway. It was published in 1964...An edition revised by his grandson Sean Hemingway was published in 2009." (Wikipedia)