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Eclectic Book Club

Eclectic Book Club: Thread of Grace

Date: 
Tuesday, July 31, 2007 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm
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Author: 
Mary Doria Russell
Title: 
Thread of Grace

"It is September 8, 1943, and fourteen-year-old Claudette Blum is learning Italian with a suitcase in her hand. She and her father are among the thousands of Jewish refugees scrambling over the Alps toward Italy, where they hope to be safe at last, now that the Italians have broken with Germany and made a separate peace with the Allies. The Blums will soon discover that Italy is anything but peaceful, as seemingly overnight it becomes an open battleground among the Nazis, the Allies, resistance fighters, Jews in hiding, and ordinary Italian civilians trying to survive."

Mary Doria Russell sets her first historical novel against this dramatic background, tracing the lives of a handful of characters - a charismatic Italian resistance leader, a priest, an Italian rabbi's family, a disillusioned German doctor. Through them, she tells the little-known but true story of the vast underground effort of the Italian citizens who saved the lives of 43,000 Jews during the final phase of the war. The result of five years of meticulous research, A Thread of Grace is a novel of ideas and history. Read more about Eclectic Book Club: Thread of Grace

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Eclectic Book Club: Trial of True Love

Date: 
Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm
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Author: 
William Nicholson
Title: 
Trial of True Love

The acclaimed author of The Society of Others returns with a beautifully crafted and intellectually stimulating novel about the nature of love, its elusiveness and, most of all, the universal human need to find it. Bron is a thirty-year-old writer living in London, a seemingly incurable heartbreaker and dodger of commitment. He is fascinated by the symbolist painter Paul Marotte and has made the artist the centre of a book he is writing about love at first sight. On a visit to a friend’s country house, Bron encounters the beautiful, enigmatic Flora, and suddenly his book takes on a completely new, intensely personal dimension. His pursuit of Flora takes him to Amsterdam, where a mysterious art collector offers to help him find the object of his desire, and the search for “true love” takes surprising twists. Read more about Eclectic Book Club: Trial of True Love

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Eclectic Book Club: Like Water for Chocolate

Date: 
Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm
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Author: 
Laura Esquivel
Title: 
Like Water for Chocolate

The youngest daughter of a well-born rancher, Tita has always known her destiny: to remain single and care for her aging mother. When she falls in love, her mother quickly scotches the liaison and tyrannically dictates that Tita's sister Rosaura must marry the luckless suitor, Pedro, in her place. But Tita has one weapon left--her cooking. Esquivel mischievously appropriates the techniques of magical realism to make Tita's contact with food sensual, instinctual and often explosive. (Country of focus: Mexico) Read more about Eclectic Book Club: Like Water for Chocolate

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Eclectic Book Club: The Handmaid's Tale

Date: 
Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm
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Author: 
Margaret Atwood
Title: 
The Handmaid's Tale

Highly respected Canadian poet and novelist Atwood presents here a fable of the near future. In the Republic of Gilead, formerly the United States, far-right Schlafly/Falwell-type ideals have been carried to extremes in the monotheocratic government. The resulting society is a feminist's nightmare: women are strictly controlled, unable to have jobs or money and assigned to various classes: the chaste, childless Wives; the housekeeping Marthas; and the reproductive Handmaids, who turn their offspring over to the "morally fit" Wives. The tale is told by Offred (read: "of Fred"), a Handmaid who recalls the past and tells how the chilling society came to be. (Country of focus: The Republic of Gilead) Read more about Eclectic Book Club: The Handmaid's Tale

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Eclectic Book Club: In a Sunburned Country

Date: 
Tuesday, October 31, 2000 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm
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Author: 
Bill Bryson
Title: 
In a Sunburned Country

Bryson tackles Australia, basing his views of this unique continent on a tour he took of the entire country--something few people, including Australians, have ever done. It's all here: the convict history, the love/hate affair with England, the vastness, and Australia's most fascinating inhabitants (apart from koalas)--its colorful, quirky people. Bryson has a gift for making common things seem exceptional; everything from cricket to politics to place names is described in a manner that both educates and entertains. (Country of focus: Australia) Read more about Eclectic Book Club: In a Sunburned Country

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Eclectic Book Club: Girls at War & Other Stories

Date: 
Tuesday, September 26, 2000 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm
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Author: 
Chinua Achebe
Title: 
Girls at War & Other Stories

Twelve stories by the internationally renowned novelist which recreate with energy and authenticity the major social and political issues that confront contemporary Africans on a daily basis. (Country of focus: Nigeria) Read more about Eclectic Book Club: Girls at War & Other Stories

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Eclectic Book Club: Bicycle Days

Date: 
Tuesday, August 29, 2000 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm
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Author: 
John Burnham Schwartz
Title: 
Bicycle Days

When Alec Stern arrives in Japan, he discovers a land of opportunity. For only in Tokyo could an impressionable young man fresh out of college find, in one stroke, a new job, a new family, and a society that lavishes attention on Japanese-speaking gaijin. Yet, even as Alec claims a place in this new world, he is haunted by memories of the one he left behind—a world once infinitely secure but which disintegrated with the breakup of his parents' marriage. (Country of focus: Japan) Read more about Eclectic Book Club: Bicycle Days

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Eclectic Book Club: God's Snake

Date: 
Tuesday, July 25, 2000 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm
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Author: 
Irini Spanidou
Title: 
God's Snake

God's Snake reveals the drama of an inventive, courageous young girl and her parents -- a tyrannical army officer and his beautiful, unyielding wife -- as it unfolds with the intensity of a classical myth, one that demonstrates both the power of love and the terrible inevitability of its betrayal. As Anna indefatigably tries to claim her parents' affections, she encounters people and animals that suggest the figures of a revelatory dream: murdered snakes, a poetry-loving general, a beautiful girl with a tubercular mother, a loving dog that dies of cruelty and neglect, a frozen crow that comes back to life. Filled with passion, magic, and terror, God's Snake is a triumph by a writer of visionary authority. (Country of focus: Greece) Read more about Eclectic Book Club: God's Snake

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Eclectic Book Club: A Year in Provence

Date: 
Tuesday, June 27, 2000 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm
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Author: 
Peter Mayle
Title: 
A Year in Provence

An amusing account of an English couple's first year as residents of rural Provence, from the unpleasantness of the winter mistral to the transgressions of summer tourists. Since the old farmhouse they purchased needed repairs, they were immediately beset with problems in dealing with the foibles of local craftspeople and officialdom, not to mention the neighbors--human and animal. Nowhere in France is the consumption of food and drink taken more seriously, and food preparation, dining, and wining anecdotes are prominent in virtually every chapter. (Country of focus: France) Read more about Eclectic Book Club: A Year in Provence

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Eclectic Book Club: Under the Tuscan Sun

Date: 
Tuesday, May 30, 2000 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm
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Author: 
Frances Mayes
Title: 
Under the Tuscan Sun

Frances Mayes entered a wondrous new world when she began restoring an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. There were unexpected treasures at every turn: faded frescos beneath the whitewash in her dining room, a vineyard under wildly overgrown brambles in the garden, and, in the nearby hill towns, vibrant markets and delightful people. She brings the lyrical voice of a poet, the eye of a seasoned traveler, and the discerning palate of a cook and food writer to invite readers to explore the pleasures of Italian life and to feast at her table. (Country of focus: Italy) Read more about Eclectic Book Club: Under the Tuscan Sun

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