Literary Giants Book Club

Literary Giants - Slaughterhouse-Five

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, September 28, 2009 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes 'unstuck in time' after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.

Literary Giants - Run

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, August 31, 2009 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

Boston lawyer and ex-politician Bernard Doyle has nurtured his three sons -- Sullivan and adopted brothers Tip and Teddy -- since the death of his wife 15 years ago. Then, one snowy evening, Tip is pushed out of the way of an oncoming vehicle by a woman, herself hit and badly injured, who turns out to be the boys' birth mother and who's been watching the boys for years, along with her 11-year-old daughter, Kenya. The drama of a single day is given an unreal quality by the snow that curtails normal activity, as these vividly portrayed characters struggle with their circumstances.

Literary Giants: The Great Gatsby

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, March 27, 2006 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan has been acclaimed by generations of readers. Many consider The Great Gatsby the closest thing to the Great American Novel ever written. First published in 1925, it is the timeless story of Jay Gatsby and his love for Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby seeks to keep his illusion of Daisy as perfect alive. He uses his money, gained through illegal means, to do so, and uses his neighbor, Nick Carroway, to try to reach Daisy. The love of money as the root of evil is a pervading theme.

Literary Giants: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

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

"Uproariously funny" doesn't seem a likely description for a book on cadavers. However, Roach, a Salon and Reader's Digest columnist, has done the nearly impossible and written a book as informative and respectful as it is irreverent and witty. In her droll, intimate voice, Roach conducts an oddly compelling, often hilarious forensic exploration of the strange lives of bodies postmortem.

Literary Giants: The Lovely Bones

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, April 28, 2003 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

On her way home from school on a snowy December day in 1973, 14-year-old Susie Salmon ("like the fish") is lured into a makeshift underground den in a cornfield and brutally raped and murdered, the latest victim of a serial killer--the man she knew as her neighbor, Mr. Harvey. (Club Rating: 6.5)

Literary Giants: Suite Française

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, January 26, 2009 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

Beginning in Paris on the eve of the Nazi occupation in 1940. Suite Française tells the remarkable story of men and women thrown together in circumstances beyond their control. As Parisians flee the city, human folly surfaces in every imaginable way: a wealthy mother searches for sweets in a town without food; a couple is terrified at the thought of losing their jobs, even as their world begins to fall apart.

Literary Giants: The Color Purple

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, February 27, 2006 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

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.

Literary Giants: The Emperor of Ocean Park

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

In his triumphant fictional debut, Stephen Carter combines a large-scale, riveting novel of suspense with the saga of a unique family. The Emperor of Ocean Park is set in two privileged worlds: the upper crust African American society of the Eastern seaboard -- families who summer at Martha's Vineyard -- and the inner circle of an Ivy League law school.

Literary Giants: House of Sand and Fog

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, March 31, 2003 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

In this page-turning, breathtaking novel, the characters will walk off the page and into your life. House of Sand and Fog is a narrative triumph in which a traditional immigrant success story and a modern love story are turned upside down with brutal, heartrending consequences. It is an American tragedy, and a shockingly true picture of the country we live in today. (Club Rating: 8)

Literary Giants: Manhunt

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, February 23, 2009 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

The murder of Abraham Lincoln set off the greatest manhunt in American history - the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth. From April 14 to April 26, 1865, the assassin led Union cavalry and detectives on a wild twelve-day chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia, while the nation, still reeling from the just-ended Civil War, watched in horror and sadness.

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