Book Club Meetings

Literary Giants: The Handmaid's Tale

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

Highly respected Canadian poet and novelist Atwood presents here a fable of the near future. In the Republic of Gilead, formerly the United States, far-right Schlafly/Falwell-type ideals have been carried to extremes in the monotheocratic government. The resulting society is a feminist's nightmare: women are strictly controlled, unable to have jobs or money and assigned to various classes: the chaste, childless Wives; the housekeeping Marthas; and the reproductive Handmaids, who turn their offspring over to the "morally fit" Wives.

Literary Giants: All the King's Men

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, August 25, 2003 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

The rise and fall of Willie Stark, a southern political boss, graphically told by his right-hand man, Jack Burden, an idealist and a cynic. Willie rises from a decoy candidate, who sincerely wants to help the people of the state, to a successful governor who admits that a little graft is necessary to make the wheels go round and that every man has his price, until he is shot down by the outraged brother of his mistress..... a vital, compelling narrative. (Club Rating: 6.7)

Literary Giants: The Tortilla Curtain

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, August 25, 2008 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

Los Angeles liberals Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher lead an ordered sushi-and-recycling existence in a newly gated hilltop community: he a sensitive nature writer, she an obsessive realtor. Mexican illegals Candido and America Rincon desperately cling to their vision of the American Dream as they fight off starvation in a makeshift camp deep in the ravine. And from the moment a freak accident brings Candido and Delaney into intimate contact, these four and their opposing worlds gradually intersect in what becomes a tragicomedy of error and misunderstanding.

Literary Giants: Housekeeping

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, July 31, 2006 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

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.

Literary Giants: Crossing to Safety

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, November 22, 2004 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

Beginning in the 1930s and finishing in the 1980s, this is a tale of a friendship of enormous beauty and power between two couples of widely different backgrounds. Called a "magnificently crafted story...brimming with wisdom" (Howard Frank Mosher in The Washington Post Book World), Crossing to Safety has, since its publication in 1987, established itself as one of the greatest and most cherished American novels of the twentieth century.

Literary Giants: The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

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

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency tells the story of Precious Ramotswe, a delightfully cunning and a profoundly moral woman who is drawn to her profession to "help people with problems in their lives." Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by evil witchdoctors. (Club Rating: 6.4)

Literary Giants: Magic Time

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, September 29, 2008 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

After a terrorist bombing, New York Examiner columnist Carter Ransom returns to his Mississippi hometown. Carter's father has just retired there; his most famous case was presiding over Troy's national disgrace: the Shiloh Church bombing, in which four civil rights activists died in 1965, including a woman Carter loved. One man was convicted, but the instigator, KKK wizard Samuel Bohanon, went free.

Literary Giants: The Remains of the Day

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, June 26, 2006 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

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.

Literary Giants: A Prayer for Owen Meany

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, October 25, 2004 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

In the summer of 1953, two eleven-year-old boys - best friends - are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen, after that 1953 foul ball, is extraordinary and terrifying.

Literary Giants: Seabiscuit

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, June 9, 2003 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

One of the greatest legends of the 20th century, Seabiscuit was a discarded, bottom-level runner who became a champion with the help of three men: a trainer, an owner, and a jockey. This is the spellbinding tale of how they did it. (Club Rating: 7.9)

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