adults

Literary Giants: When Good Men Do Nothing

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Sunday, January 25, 2004 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

During the 1940s and '50s, Phenix City, located in Alabama just across the state line from Columbus, Georgia, was considered to be "the most corrupt city in America." Known as "Sin City," the town's economy was based on prostitution, gambling, and bootlegging. In June of 1954, a time of great change in the state, Albert Patterson, the Democratic Party's Nominee for state attorney general, was assassinated as he was leaving his law office in Phenix City. Making the cleaning up of Phenix City his primary campaign promise had not endeared him to locals.

Literary Giants: Snobbery

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, April 28, 2008 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

This readable but serious work examines the nature and place of snobbery and its various manifestations in America. Epstein defines snobbery as the practice of making oneself feel superior at the expense of others. He writes of snobbery in the workplace, and of its presence in evaluating education, taste, dress, wealth, and race as factors in determining "class" inclusion. He compares his own snobberies with those he discerns in others, and overviews Americans' interactions with the cultures of England and the European continent.

Literary Giants: The March

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, February 26, 2007 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

Sherman's march through Georgia and the Carolinas produced hundreds of thousands of deaths and untold collateral damage. In this powerful novel, Doctorow gets deep inside the pillage, cruelty and destruction as well as the care and burgeoning love that sprung up in their wake. William Tecumseh Sherman ("Uncle Billy" to his troops) is depicted as a man of complex moods and varying abilities, whose need for glory sometimes obscures his military acumen.

Literary Giants: My Brilliant Career

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, May 23, 2005 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

In this ironically titled and riotous first novel by Miles Franklin, originally published in 1901, Sybylla tells the story of growing up passionate and rebellious in rural NSW. where the most that girls could hope for was to marry or to teach. Sybylla will do neither, but that doesn't stop her from falling in love, and it doesn't make the choices any easier.

Literary Giants: Hell at the Breech

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, January 5, 2004 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

In 1897, in the rural southwestern area of Alabama known as Mitcham Beat, an aspiring politician is mysteiously murdered. Seeking retribution, his outraged friends - mostly poor cotton farmers - form a secret society, Hell-at-the-Breech, to punish the townspeople they believe are responsible. The hooded members of this gang wage a bloody year-long campaign of terror that culminates in a massacre, where the innocent suffer alongside the guilty.

Literary Giants: The Polished Hoe

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, March 31, 2008 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

A tragic, complex story of postcolonial Barbadian life following World War II. Oppression still flourishes on Bimshire, an island controlled by "the Plantation." Mary, the kept woman of Mr. Bellfeels, the powerful plantation manager, is not accepted into the island's upper echelon nor accepted among her childhood friends. Her status isolates her from common folk like Sgt. Percy Stuart, her childhood friend. The story begins after Mary has murdered Mr. Bellfeels and Percy must record her all-night confession, an obligation complicated by his lifelong love for Mary.

Literary Giants: All Over But The Shoutin'

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, January 15, 2007 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

This haunting, harrowing, and gloriously moving recollection of a life on the American margin tells the story of Rick Bragg, who grew up dirt poor in Alabama, and who became a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for "The New York Times".

Literary Giants: Excellent Women

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

An unqualifiedly great novel from the writer most likely to be compared to Jane Austen, this is a very funny, perfectly written book that can rival any other in its ability to capture the essence of its characters on the page. Mildred Lathbury, the narrator of Pym's excellent book is a never-married woman in her 30s--which in 1950s England makes her a nearly-confirmed spinster. Hers is a pretty unexciting life, centered around her small church, and part-time job.

Literary Giants: Bel Canto

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, November 24, 2003 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening -- until a band of gun-wielding terrorists breaks in through the air-conditioning vents and takes the entire party hostage.

Literary Giants: What Was She Thinking

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, May 19, 2008 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

When Sheba Hart arrives to be the new art teacher at the school where Barbara teaches history, solitary Barbara is immediately taken with her. Soon, she invites Barbara over to her house to have meals with her family. Barbara is shocked to learn that Sheba is being pursued by a 15-year-old student and scandalized to find that Sheba has given in to his romantic overtures. The novel's ending ultimately reveals Barbara's true character as much as it shows the depths to which Sheba has fallen. Both a penetrating character study and a sharp examination of voyeurism.

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