Book Club Meetings

Eclectic Book Club: Kaffir Boy

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, July 31, 2001 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Mathabane describes his life growing up in a non-white ghetto outside Johannesburg--and how he escaped its horrors. Hard work and faith in education played key roles, and Mathabane eventually won a tennis scholarship to an American university. This is not, needless to say, an opportunity afforded to many of the poor blacks who make up most of South Africa's population. And yet Mathabane reveals their troubled world on these pages in a way that only someone who has lived this life can.

Eclectic Book Club: The Handmaid's Tale

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm

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.

Eclectic Book Club: The Alchemist

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2006 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm

This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasures found within.

Eclectic Book Club: A Bend in the River

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm

V.S. Naipaul takes us deeply into the life of one man -- an Indian who, uprooted by the bloody tides of Third World history, has come to live in an isolated town at the bend of a great river in a newly independent African nation. Naipaul gives us the most convincing and disturbing vision yet of what happens in a place caught between the dangerously alluring modern world and its own tenacious past and traditions.

Eclectic Book Club: Girl With a Pearl Earring

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm

Chevalier transports readers to a bygone time and place in this richly imagined portrait of the young woman who inspired one of Vermeer's most celebrated paintings. Girl with a Pearl Earring is the story of 16-year-old Griet, whose life is transformed by her brief encounter with genius, even as she herself is immortalized in canvas and oil.

Eclectic Book Club: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, August 28, 2001 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Fair and long-legged, independent and articulate, Janie Crawford sets out to be her own person -- no mean feat for a black woman in the '30s. Janie's quest for identity takes her through three marriages and into a journey back to her roots.

Eclectic Book Club: Like Water for Chocolate

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm

The youngest daughter of a well-born rancher, Tita has always known her destiny: to remain single and care for her aging mother. When she falls in love, her mother quickly scotches the liaison and tyrannically dictates that Tita's sister Rosaura must marry the luckless suitor, Pedro, in her place. But Tita has one weapon left--her cooking. Esquivel mischievously appropriates the techniques of magical realism to make Tita's contact with food sensual, instinctual and often explosive. (Country of focus: Mexico)

Eclectic Book Club: Gilead

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Reverend John Ames of Gilead, Iowa, a grandson and son of preachers, now in his seventies, is afraid he hasn't much time left to tell his young son about his heritage. And so he takes up his pen, as he has for decades--he estimates that he's written more than 2,000 sermons--and vividly describes his prophetlike grandfather, who had a vision that inspired him to go to Kansas and make himself useful to the cause of abolition, and the epic conflict between his fiery grandfather and his pacifist father.

Eclectic Book Club: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, April 27, 2004 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. Routine, order, and predictability shelter him from the messy wider world.

Eclectic Book Club: In Cold Blood

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, February 26, 2002 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm

With the publication of this book, Capote permanently ripped through the barrier separating crime reportage from serious literature. As he reconstructs the 1959 murder of a Kansas farm family and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, Capote generates suspense and empathy.

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