Literary Giants Book Club

Literary Giants: The Voice at the Back Door

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, August 27, 2007 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

In the mid-1950s, the town of Lacey in the Mississippi hill country is a place where the lives of blacks and whites, though seemingly separate, are in fact historically and inevitably intertwined. When Lacey's fair-haired boy, Duncan Harper, is appointed interim sheriff, he makes public his private convictions about the equality of blacks before the law, and the combined threat and promise he represents to the understood order of things in Lacey affects almost every member of the community.

Literary Giants - Three Cups of Tea

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, June 29, 2009 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

One day in 1993, high up in the world's most inhospitable mountains, Greg Mortenson wandered lost and alone, broken in body and spirit, after a failed attempt to climb K2, the world's deadliest peak. When the people of an impoverished village in Pakistan took him in and nursed him back to health, Mortenson made an impulsive promise: He would return one day and build them a school.

Literary Giants: God of Small Things

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, July 30, 2007 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

Set in Kerala, India, in 1969, The God Of Small Things is the story of seven-year-old twins Rahel and Estha, born of a wealthy family and literally joined at the soul. Rahel and Estha are cared for by a host of compelling characters: their beautiful mother, Ammu, who has left a violent husband; their Marxist uncle, Chacko, still pining for his English wife and daughter who left him; their prickly grandaunt, Baby Kochamma, pickling in her virginity; and the volatile Veluth, a member of the Untouchable caste.

Literary Giants: Andersonville

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, October 31, 2005 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

Kantor's classic title is credited as the best Civil War novel ever written. This magnificent work is about a prison in Georgia - a facility that actually existed - where Confederate soldiers consigned Union prisoners, and what grimness took place there is established in graphic detail by the author's circling through and among a wide range of characters, from the jailer to those who are jailed, from inside the prison and from without. 1956 Pulitzer Prize/Literature

Literary Giants: Saving Grace

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, April 26, 2004 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

Florida Grace Shepard, named for the state in which she was born and for the grace of God, is the daughter of a charismatic serpent-handling preacher. She is content with her early life in Scrabble Creek, North Carolina -- no easy task when her family moves whenever her father is arrested for conducting services with live snakes. With Southern style, Smith takes Grace from a young girl struggling with her own identity, though marriage, motherhood, and an adulterous affair that changes her very way of life.

Literary Giants: The Children's Blizzard

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, October 29, 2007 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

The morning of January 12, 1888, dawned so unseasonably mild that many children in the Midwest walked to school without heavy coats or gloves. That afternoon, the quiet skies broke suddenly into a raging chaos of hurricane-force winds and blinding snows. Thousands of people, many of them schoolchildren returning home from class, were stranded in this bone-numbing blizzard. By the next morning, more than 500 people lay dead, many of them children caught just a few yards from shelter.

Literary Giants - Cannery Row

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, July 27, 2009 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

Unburdened by the material necessities of the more fortunate, the denizens of Cannery Row discover rewards unknown in more traditional society. Cannery Row is just a few blocks long, but the story it harbors is suffused with warmth, understanding, and a great fund of human values. First published in 1945, Cannery Row focuses on the acceptance of life as it is-both the exuberance of community and the loneliness of the individual.

Literary Giants: To Kill a Mockingbird

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, April 30, 2007 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

Set in the small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird follows three years in the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, her brother, Jem, and their father, Atticus--three years punctuated by the arrest and eventual trial of a young black man accused of raping a white woman. Though her story explores big themes, Harper Lee chooses to tell it through the eyes of a child. The result is a tough and tender novel of race, class, justice, and the pain of growing up.

Literary Giants: One True Thing

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, September 26, 2005 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

This novel by the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist follows the psychological travails of Ellen Gulden, who against all personal inclinations returns home to care for her dying mother, Kate, and eventually finds herself accused of mercy-killing. Ellen, an intelligent though not particularly warm person, has spent her life earning her professor father's approval. After achieving high school valedictorian and Harvard honors, she aspires to advance her New York career. At her father's insistence, however, she leaves her job and takes on the role of nurse and homemaker.

Literary Giants: A Bend in the River

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, March 29, 2004 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

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.

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