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Literary Giants Book Club

Literary Giants: The Dovekeepers

Date: 
Monday, October 29, 2012 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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ISBN: 
9781451617474
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Author: 
Alice Hoffman
Title: 
The Dovekeepers

Over five years in the writing, Alice Hoffman's most ambitious and mesmerizing novel ever, a triumph of imagination and research set in ancient Israel. The author of such iconic bestsellers as Illumination Night, Practical Magic, Fortune's Daughter, and Oprah's Book Club selection Here on Earth, Alice Hoffman is one of the most popular and memorable writers of her generation. Now, in The Dovekeepers, Hoffman delivers her most masterful work yet--one that draws on her passion for mythology, magic, and archaeology and her inimitable understanding of women. In 70 CE, nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on a mountain in the Judean desert, Masada. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic historical event, Hoffman weaves a spellbinding tale of four extraordinary, bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path. Yael's mother died in childbirth, and her father never forgave her for that death. Revka, a village baker's wife, watched the horrifically brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her twin grandsons, rendered mute by their own witness. Aziza is a warrior's daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and expert marksman, who finds passion with another soldier. Shirah is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power. The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege, as the Romans draw near. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets--about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love. This novel is Alice Hoffman's masterpiece. Read more about Literary Giants: The Dovekeepers

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Literary Giants: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Date: 
Monday, September 24, 2012 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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ISBN: 
9780486278070
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Author: 
Oscar Wilde
Title: 
The Picture of Dorian Gray

Written in his distinctively dazzling manner, Oscar Wilde's story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author's most popular work. The tale of Dorian Gray's moral disintegration caused a scandal when it first appeared in 1890, but though Wilde was attacked for the novel's corrupting influence, he responded that there is, in fact, "a terrible moral in Dorian Gray ." Just a few years later, the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde's liaisons, which resulted in his imprisonment. Of Dorian Gray's relationship to autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter, "Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be-in other ages, perhaps." Read more about Literary Giants: The Picture of Dorian Gray

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Literary Giants: Year of Wonders

Date: 
Monday, August 27, 2012 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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ISBN: 
9780670910212
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Author: 
Geraldine Brooks
Title: 
Year of Wonders

This gripping historical novel is based on the true story of Eyam, the "Plague Village", in the rugged mountain spine of England. In 1666, a tainted bolt of cloth from London carries bubonic infection to this isolated settlement of shepherds and lead miners. A visionary young preacher convinces the villagers to seal themselves off in a deadly quarantine to prevent the spread of disease. The story is told through the eyes of eighteen-year-old Anna Frith, the vicar's maid, as she confronts the loss of her family, the disintegration of her community, and the lure of a dangerous and illicit love. As the death toll rises and people turn from prayers and herbal cures to sorcery and murderous witch-hunting, Anna emerges as an unlikely and courageous heroine in the village's desperate fight to save itself. Exploring love and learning, fear and fanaticism, and the struggle of science and religion to interpret the world at the cusp of the modern era, Year of Wonders is at once a story of unconventional love and a richly detailed evocation of a riveting moment in history.

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Literary Giants: The Thirteenth Tale

Date: 
Monday, July 30, 2012 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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ISBN: 
9780743298032
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Author: 
Diane Setterfield
Title: 
The Thirteenth Tale

Sometimes, when you open the door to the past, what you confront is your destiny. Reclusive author Vida Winter, famous for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself. Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long. Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good. Margaret is mesmerized by the author's tale of gothic strangeness -- featuring the beautifu land willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess,a topiary garden and a devastating fire. Together, Margaret and Vida confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves. Read more about Literary Giants: The Thirteenth Tale

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Literary Giants: The Greater Journey

Date: 
Monday, June 25, 2012 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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ISBN: 
9781416571766
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Author: 
David McCullough
Title: 
The Greater Journey

From two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough comes the inspiring, enthralling--and until now, untold--story of the American painters, writers, sculptors, and doctors who journeyed to Paris between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work, fell in love with the city, and changed America with what they achieved. After risking the hazardous journey across the Atlantic, these Americans embarked on a greater journey in the City of Light. That they achieved so much for themselves and their country profoundly altered American history. As David McCullough writes, "Not all pioneers went west." Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in America, was one of this intrepid band. Another was Charles Sumner, who enrolled at the Sorbonne because of a burning desire to know more about everything. There he saw black students with the same ambition he had, and when he returned home, he would become the most powerful, unyielding voice for abolition in the U.S. Senate, almost at the cost of his life. Writers Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, and Henry James were all "discovering" Paris, marveling at the treasures in the Louvre, or out with the Sunday throngs strolling the city's boulevards and gardens. "At last I have come into a dreamland," wrote Harriet Beecher Stowe, seeking escape from the notoriety Uncle Tom's Cabin had brought her. Sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens and painters Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent, three great American artists, flourished in Paris, inspired by French masters and the city itself. McCullough tells this sweeping, fascinating story with power and intimacy, bringing us into the lives of remarkable men and women. The Greater Journey is itself a masterpiece. Read more about Literary Giants: The Greater Journey

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Literary Giants: South of Broad

Date: 
Monday, April 30, 2012 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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ISBN: 
9780385344074
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Author: 
Pat Conroy
Title: 
South of Broad

Leopold Bloom King has been raised in a family shattered-and shadowed-by tragedy. Lonely and adrift, he searches for something to sustain him and finds it among a tightly knit group of high school outsiders. Surviving marriages happy and troubled, unrequited loves and unspoken longings, hard-won successes and devastating breakdowns, as well as Charleston, South Carolina's dark legacy of racism and class divisions, these friends will endure until a final test forces them to face something none of them are prepared for. Spanning two turbulent decades, South of Broad is Pat Conroy at his finest: a masterpiece from a great American writer whose passion for life and language knows no bounds.

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Literary Giants: In the Garden of Beasts

Date: 
Monday, May 21, 2012 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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ISBN: 
9780307914576
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Author: 
Erik Larson
Title: 
In the Garden of Beasts

In this readable narrative, author Larson (The Devil in the White City, Thunderstruck) offers a real-life, eyewitness perspective inside the Nazi hierarchy as Hitler came to power. William E. Dodd, a mild-mannered professor from Chicago, became the first US ambassador to Hitler's Germany in 1933. Dodd, his wife, their son, and their 24-year-old daughter Martha lived in Germany for about five years. Drawing on Martha's diaries and letters, much of the book centers on Martha's romantic affairs with high-ranking Nazi officials and her eventual heroism as she realized Hitler's true character. Meanwhile, her father William Dodd informed the US State Department of increasing Jewish persecution, with little response from the State Department. The book sheds light on why it took so long for the world to recognize the threat posed by Hitler. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Literary Giants: A Visit from the Goon Squad

Date: 
Monday, March 26, 2012 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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ISBN: 
9780307477477
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Author: 
Jennifer Egan
Title: 
A Visit from the Goon Squad

Working side-by-side for a record label, former punk rocker Bennie Salazar and the passionate Sasha hide illicit secrets from one another while interacting with a motley assortment of equally troubled people from 1970s San Francisco to the post-war future. Read more about Literary Giants: A Visit from the Goon Squad

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Literary Giants: The Warmth of Other Suns

Date: 
Monday, February 27, 2012 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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ISBN: 
9780679763888
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Author: 
Isabel Wilkerson
Title: 
The Warmth of Other Suns: the epic story of America's great migration

Presents an epic history that covers the period from the end of World War I through the 1970s, chronicling the decades-long migration of African Americans from the South to the North and West through the stories of three individuals and their families. Read more about Literary Giants: The Warmth of Other Suns

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Literary Giants: The Imperfectionists

Date: 
Monday, January 30, 2012 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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ISBN: 
9780385343664
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Author: 
Tom Rachman
Title: 
The Imperfectionists

Preoccupied by personal challenges while running a struggling newspaper in Rome, an obituary writer confronts mortality, an eccentric publisher obsesses over his dog, and other staff members uncover the paper's founding by an impulsive millionaire. Read more about Literary Giants: The Imperfectionists

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