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Eclectic Book Club

Eclectic Book Club: A Bend in the River

Date: 
Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm
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Author: 
V. S. Naipaul
Title: 
A Bend in the River

V.S. Naipaul takes us deeply into the life of one man -- an Indian who, uprooted by the bloody tides of Third World history, has come to live in an isolated town at the bend of a great river in a newly independent African nation. Naipaul gives us the most convincing and disturbing vision yet of what happens in a place caught between the dangerously alluring modern world and its own tenacious past and traditions. Read more about Eclectic Book Club: A Bend in the River

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Eclectic Book Club: The Color Purple

Date: 
Tuesday, February 24, 2004 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm
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Author: 
Alice Walker
Title: 
The Color Purple

Winner of the American Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, this unforgettable portrait of a young black girl, her friends, family, and lovers is rich with passion, pain, inspiration, and an indomitable love of life. Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate, and continuing over the course of her marriage to "Mister," a brutal man who terrorizes her. Celie eventually learns that her abusive husband has been keeping her sister's letters from her and the rage she feels, combined with an example of love and independence provided by her close friend Shug, pushes her finally toward an awakening of her creative and loving self. Read more about Eclectic Book Club: The Color Purple

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Eclectic Book Club: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

Date: 
Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm
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Author: 
Betty Smith
Title: 
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

A poignant tale of childhood and the ties of family, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn will transport the reader to the early 1900s where a little girl named Francie dreamily looks out her window at a tree struggling to reach the sky. Read more about Eclectic Book Club: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

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Eclectic Book Club: The Bookseller of Kabul

Date: 
Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm
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Author: 
Åsne Seierstad
Title: 
The Bookseller of Kabul

After living for three months with the Kabul bookseller Sultan Khan in the spring of 2002, Norwegian journalist Seierstad penned this astounding portrait of a nation recovering from war, undergoing political flux and mired in misogyny and poverty. As a Westerner, she has the privilege of traveling between the worlds of men and women, and though the book is ostensibly a portrait of Khan, its real strength is the intimacy and brutal honesty with which it portrays the lives of Afghani living under fundamentalist Islam. Seierstad also expertly outlines Sultan's fight to preserve whatever he can of the literary life of the capital during its numerous decades of warfare (he stashed some 10,000 books in attics around town). Read more about Eclectic Book Club: The Bookseller of Kabul

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Eclectic Book Club: The Club Dumas

Date: 
Tuesday, October 25, 2005 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm
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Author: 
Arturo Perez-Reverte
Title: 
The Club Dumas

Lucas Corso, an itinerant rare-book hunter who'd gladly sell his grandmother for a first edition. When a wealthy cookbook publisher and bibliophile is found hanged in his study, leaving behind an original handwritten chapter from Alexandre Dumas's The Three Musketeers, antiquarian book dealer Flavio LaPorte asks his friend Corso to authenticate the manuscript. What begins as a straightforward assignment soon complicates into a bewildering tangle of literary gamesmanship as the book detective finds himself swept into a real-life adventure-serial and crime novel rolled into one. Read more about Eclectic Book Club: The Club Dumas

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Eclectic Book Club: The Dogs of Babel

Date: 
Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm
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Author: 
Carolyn Parkhurst
Title: 
The Dogs of Babel

Paul Iverson's life changes in an instant. He returns home one day to find that his wife, Lexy, has died under strange circumstances. The only witness was their dog, Lorelei, whose anguished barking brought help to the scene -- but too late. In the days and weeks that follow, Paul begins to notice strange "clues" in their home: books rearranged on their shelves, a mysterious phone call, and other suggestions that nothing about Lexy's last afternoon was quite what it seemed. Reeling from grief, Paul is determined to decipher this evidence and unlock the mystery of her death. But he can't do it alone; he needs Lorelei's help. A linguist by training, Paul embarks on an impossible endeavor: a series of experiments designed to teach Lorelei to communicate what she knows. Read more about Eclectic Book Club: The Dogs of Babel

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Eclectic Book Club: Ender's Game

Date: 
Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm
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Author: 
Orson Scott Card
Title: 
Ender's Game

The alien Buggers threaten humanity with extinction, and Earth's ultimate savior may be one small boy. Andrew "Ender" Wiggins thinks he is only playing computer games, but he is really commanding Earth's last great fleet. Read more about Eclectic Book Club: Ender's Game

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Eclectic Book Club: When the Emperor Was Divine

Date: 
Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm
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ISBN: 
0375414290
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Author: 
Otsuka
Title: 
When the Emperor Was Divine

This heartbreaking, bracingly unsentimental debut describes in poetic detail the travails of a Japanese family living in an internment camp during World War II, raising the specter of wartime injustice in bone-chilling fashion. After a woman whose husband was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy sees notices posted around her neighborhood in Berkeley instructing Japanese residents to evacuate, she moves with her son and daughter to an internment camp, abruptly severing her ties with her community. The next three years are spent in filthy, cramped and impersonal lodgings as the family is shuttled from one camp to another. They return to Berkeley after the war to a home that has been ravaged by vandals; it takes time for them to adjust to life outside the camps and to come to terms with the hostility they face.
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Eclectic Book Club: The Time Traveler's Wife

Date: 
Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm
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Author: 
Audrey Niffenegger
Title: 
The Time Traveler's Wife

This clever and inventive tale works on three levels: as an intriguing science fiction concept, a realistic character study and a touching love story. Henry De Tamble is a Chicago librarian with "Chrono Displacement" disorder; at random times, he suddenly disappears without warning and finds himself in the past or future, usually at a time or place of importance in his life. This leads to some wonderful paradoxes. From his point of view, he first met his wife, Clare, when he was 28 and she was 20. She ran up to him exclaiming that she'd known him all her life. He, however, had never seen her before. But when he reaches his 40s, already married to Clare, he suddenly finds himself time travelling to Clare's childhood and meeting her as a six-year-old. The book alternates between Henry and Clare's points of view, and so does the narration. Read more about Eclectic Book Club: The Time Traveler's Wife

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Eclectic Book Club: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight

Date: 
Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm
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Author: 
Alexandra Fuller
Title: 
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight

The British-born Fuller grew up in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), losing three siblings to disease as her father fought in the Rhodesian civil war and her mother managed the farm. She approaches her childhood with reserve, leaving many stories open to interpretation while also maintaining a remarkable clarity about what really transpired in her homeland, in her own home, and in her head. The narrative seems complicated, weaving together war, politics, racial issues, and alcoholism, but its emotional core remains honest, playful, and unapologetic; it hardly seems possible that this 32-year-old has so much to say and says it so well. Read more about Eclectic Book Club: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight

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