Eclectic Book Club

Eclectic Book Club: The Da Vinci Code

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, May 25, 2004 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Brown's latest thriller (after Angels and Demons) is an exhaustively researched page-turner about secret religious societies, ancient coverups and savage vengeance. The action kicks off in modern-day Paris with the murder of the Louvre's chief curator, whose body is found laid out in symbolic repose at the foot of the Mona Lisa. Seizing control of the case are Sophie Neveu, a lovely French police cryptologist, and Harvard symbol expert Robert Langdon, reprising his role from Brown's last book.

Eclectic Book Club: Among Schoolchildren

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2002 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm

Christine Zajac teaches fifth grade in a racially mixed school in a poor district of Holyoke, Mass. About half of her students are Hispanic; many come from broken homes. Through Kidder's calmly detailed re-creation of Zajac's daily round, we come to know her students' fears and inmost strivings; we also share this teacher's frustrations, loneliness and the rush of satisfaction that comes with helping students learn. It's a tough job: in one social studies class, half the pupils can't name the country they live in.

Eclectic Book Club: All over But the Shoutin'

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, November 27, 2001 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm

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.

Eclectic Book Club: Cold Comfort Farm

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, August 28, 2007 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm

In Gibbons's classic tale, first published in 1932, a resourceful young heroine finds herself in the gloomy, overwrought world of a Hardy or Bronte novel and proceeds to organize everyone out of their romantic tragedies into the pleasures of normal life. Flora Poste, orphaned at 19, chooses to live with relatives at Cold Comfort Farm in Sussex, where cows are named Feckless, Aimless, Pointless, and Graceless, and the proprietors, the dour Starkadder family, are tyrannized by Flora's mysterious aunt, who controls the household from a locked room.

Eclectic Book Club: The Bluest Eye

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm

Morrison's debut novel, The Bluest Eye, explores the impact of racism and poverty on adolescent Pecola Breedlove. Surrounded by images of white icons--Shirley Temple, Mary Jane, and the classic family from Dick and Jane readers--Pecola is tormented by both her family and peers. Alcoholism, rape, and humiliation drive her into the relative safety of madness where she finally finds the only bit of self-worth, believing her eyes are truly the bluest.

Eclectic Book Club: The Secret Life of Bees

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, June 29, 2004 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Lily Owens, 14, is an emotionally abused white girl living with her cold, uncaring father on a peach farm in rural South Carolina. The memory of her mother, who was accidentally killed in Lily's presence when she was four, haunts her constantly. She has one of her mother's few possessions, a picture of a black Madonna with the words, Tiburon, South Carolina, written on the back. Lily's companion during her sad childhood has been Rosaleen, the black woman hired to care for her.

Eclectic Book Club: All the King's Men

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm

A classic novel about American politics. Set in the 1930s, this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel traces the rise and fall of demagogue Willie Stark, a fictional character based on the real-life Huey Long of Louisiana.

Eclectic Book Club: Fahrenheit 451

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, December 18, 2001 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm

Guy Montag is a book-burning fireman undergoing a crisis of faith. His wife spends all day with her television "family," imploring Montag to work harder so that they can afford a fourth TV wall. Their dull, empty life sharply contrasts with that of his next-door neighbor Clarisse, a young girl thrilled by the ideas in books, and more interested in what she can see in the world around her than in the mindless chatter of the tube. When Clarisse disappears mysteriously, Montag is moved to make some changes, and starts hiding books in his home.

Eclectic Book Club: A Thousand Splendid Suns

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Afghan-American novelist Hosseini follows up his bestselling The Kite Runner with another searing epic of Afghanistan in turmoil. The story covers three decades of anti-Soviet jihad, civil war and Taliban tyranny through the lives of two women. Mariam is the scorned illegitimate daughter of a wealthy businessman, forced at age 15 into marrying the 40-year-old Rasheed, who grows increasingly brutal as she fails to produce a child.

Eclectic Book Club: Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff...

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm

The birth of Jesus has been well chronicled, as have his glorious teachings, acts, and divine sacrifice after his thirtieth birthday. But no one knows about the early life of the Son of God, the missing years -- except Biff, the Messiah's best bud. Verily, the story Biff has to tell is a miraculous one, filled with remarkable journeys, magic, healings, kung fu, corpse reanimations, demons, and hot babes. Even the considerable wiles and devotion of the Savior's pal may not be enough to divert Joshua from his tragic destiny.

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