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Book Club Meetings

Literary Giants: One True Thing

Date: 
Monday, September 26, 2005 - 7:30pm to 8:30pm
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Author: 
Anna Quindlen
Title: 
One True Thing

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. Through long hours as companion to Kate, she discovers the real value of her mother's life. Read more about Literary Giants: One True Thing

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Literary Giants: Andersonville

Date: 
Monday, October 31, 2005 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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Author: 
Mackinlay Kantor
Title: 
Andersonville

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 Read more about Literary Giants: Andersonville

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Literary Giants: Fast Food Nation

Date: 
Monday, November 28, 2005 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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Author: 
Eric Schlosser
Title: 
Fast Food Nation

Schlosser's incisive history of the development of American fast food indicts the industry for some shocking crimes against humanity, including systematically destroying the American diet and landscape, and undermining our values and our economy. The first part of the book details the postwar ascendance of fast food from Southern California, assessing the impact on people in the West in general. The second half looks at the product itself: where it is manufactured (in a handful of enormous factories), what goes into it (chemicals, feces) and who is responsible (monopolistic corporate executives). Given the estimate that the typical American eats three hamburgers and four orders of french fries each week, and one in eight will work for McDonald's in the course of their lives, few are exempt from the insidious impact of fast food. Throughout, Schlosser fires these and a dozen other hair-raising statistical bullets into the heart of the matter. Read more about Literary Giants: Fast Food Nation

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Literary Giants: The Time Traveler's Wife

Date: 
Monday, January 30, 2006 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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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. (Publisher's Weekly) Read more about Literary Giants: The Time Traveler's Wife

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Literary Giants: The Color Purple

Date: 
Monday, February 27, 2006 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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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 Literary Giants: The Color Purple

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Literary Giants: The Great Gatsby

Date: 
Monday, March 27, 2006 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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Author: 
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Title: 
The Great Gatsby

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. Read more about Literary Giants: The Great Gatsby

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Literary Giants: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Date: 
Monday, April 24, 2006 - 7:30pm to 8:30pm
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Author: 
John Berendt
Title: 
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty, early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction. Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case. Read more about Literary Giants: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

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Literary Giants: The Remains of the Day

Date: 
Monday, June 26, 2006 - 7:30pm to 8:30pm
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Author: 
Kazuo Ishiguro
Title: 
The Remains of the Day

This Booker Prize-winning novel is a compelling portrait of the perfect English butler, who, at the end of his career in postwar England, reviews his life and secretly questions the "greatness" of the nobleman he served. Read more about Literary Giants: The Remains of the Day

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Literary Giants: Housekeeping

Date: 
Monday, July 31, 2006 - 7:30pm to 8:30pm
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Author: 
Marilynne Robinson
Title: 
Housekeeping

This modern classic is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their grandmother, then of two comically bumbling aunts, and finally of Sylvie, their eccentric and remote aunt. Their struggle toward adulthood beautifully illuminates the price of loss and survival. Read more about Literary Giants: Housekeeping

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Literary Giants: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

Date: 
Monday, August 28, 2006 - 7:30pm to 8:30pm
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Author: 
Anne Fadiman
Title: 
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

When three-month-old Lia Lee arrived at the county hospital emergency room in Merced, California, a chain of events was set in motion from which neither she nor her parents nor her doctors would ever recover. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down moves from hospital corridors to healing ceremonies, and from the hill country of Laos to the living rooms of Merced, uncovering in its path the complex sources and implications of two dramatically clashing worldviews. Read more about Literary Giants: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

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