Book Club Meetings

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: Shadow Divers

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, August 29, 2005 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

This superlative journalistic narrative tells of John Chatterton and Rich Kohler, two deep-sea wreck divers who in 1991 dove to a mysterious wreck lying at the perilous depth of 230 feet, off the coast of New Jersey. Along the way, Chatterton's diving cost him a marriage, and Kohler's love for his German heritage helped turn him into a serious U-boat scholar. The two lost three of their diving companions on the wreck and their mentor, Bill Nagle, to alcoholism.

Literary Giants: The Bluest Eye

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, February 23, 2004 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

The Bluest Eye is the story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove -- a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others -- who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning and the tragedy of its fulfillment.

Literary Giants: We Need To Talk About Kevin

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, February 18, 2008 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

Eva never really wanted to be a mother, and certainly not the mother of the boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his 16th birthday. Two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with Kevin's horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklyn. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for his actions.

Literary Giants: The Kite Runner

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, March 26, 2007 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

"Taking us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the present, The Kite Runner is the unforgettable, beautifully told story of the friendship between two boys growing up in Kabul. Raised in the same household and sharing the same wet nurse, Amir and Hassan nonetheless grow up in different worlds; Amir is the son of a prominent and wealthy man, while Hassan, the son of Amir's father's servant, is a Hazara, member of a shunned ethnic minority. Their intertwined lives, and their fates, reflect the eventual tragedy of the world around them.

Literary Giants: My Sister's Keeper

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, July 25, 2005 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

Imagine that you were conceived to be the donor of bone marrow and platelets for your older sister, who has a rare form of cancer. Imagine what it would be like to grow up in a family where everyone is constantly aware of one child's deadly illness, so that all decisions must be filtered through what will work for her treatment or her most recent medical emergency. How can a 12-year-old decide against donating a kidney to her older sister?

Literary Giants: When Good Men Do Nothing

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Sunday, January 25, 2004 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

During the 1940s and '50s, Phenix City, located in Alabama just across the state line from Columbus, Georgia, was considered to be "the most corrupt city in America." Known as "Sin City," the town's economy was based on prostitution, gambling, and bootlegging. In June of 1954, a time of great change in the state, Albert Patterson, the Democratic Party's Nominee for state attorney general, was assassinated as he was leaving his law office in Phenix City. Making the cleaning up of Phenix City his primary campaign promise had not endeared him to locals.

Literary Giants: Snobbery

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, April 28, 2008 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

This readable but serious work examines the nature and place of snobbery and its various manifestations in America. Epstein defines snobbery as the practice of making oneself feel superior at the expense of others. He writes of snobbery in the workplace, and of its presence in evaluating education, taste, dress, wealth, and race as factors in determining "class" inclusion. He compares his own snobberies with those he discerns in others, and overviews Americans' interactions with the cultures of England and the European continent.

Literary Giants: The March

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, February 26, 2007 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

Sherman's march through Georgia and the Carolinas produced hundreds of thousands of deaths and untold collateral damage. In this powerful novel, Doctorow gets deep inside the pillage, cruelty and destruction as well as the care and burgeoning love that sprung up in their wake. William Tecumseh Sherman ("Uncle Billy" to his troops) is depicted as a man of complex moods and varying abilities, whose need for glory sometimes obscures his military acumen.

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