Book Club Meetings

Eclectic Book Club: The Bookseller of Kabul

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm

After living for three months with the Kabul bookseller Sultan Khan in the spring of 2002, Norwegian journalist Seierstad penned this astounding portrait of a nation recovering from war, undergoing political flux and mired in misogyny and poverty. As a Westerner, she has the privilege of traveling between the worlds of men and women, and though the book is ostensibly a portrait of Khan, its real strength is the intimacy and brutal honesty with which it portrays the lives of Afghani living under fundamentalist Islam.

Eclectic Book Club: Uncle Tom's Cabin

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Harriet Beecher Stowe was appalled by slavery, and she took one of the few options open to nineteenth century women who wanted to affect public opinion: she wrote a novel, a huge, enthralling narrative that claimed the heart, soul, and politics of pre-Civil War Americans. It is unabashed propaganda and overtly moralistic, an attempt to make whites - North and South - see slaves as mothers, fathers, and people with (Christian) souls. In a time when women might see the majority of their children die, Harriet Beecher Stowe portrays beautiful Eliza fleeing slavery to protect her son...

Eclectic Book Club: Slaughterhouse-Five

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm

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.

Eclectic Book Club: In a Sunburned Country

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, October 31, 2000 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm

Bryson tackles Australia, basing his views of this unique continent on a tour he took of the entire country--something few people, including Australians, have ever done. It's all here: the convict history, the love/hate affair with England, the vastness, and Australia's most fascinating inhabitants (apart from koalas)--its colorful, quirky people. Bryson has a gift for making common things seem exceptional; everything from cricket to politics to place names is described in a manner that both educates and entertains. (Country of focus: Australia)

Eclectic Book Club: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, November 27, 2007 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm

When Kingsolver and her family move from suburban Arizona to rural Appalachia, they take on a new challenge: to spend a year on a locally produced diet, paying attention to the provenance of all they consume. "Our highest shopping goal was to ... know the person who grew it. Often that turned out to be ourselves as we learned to produce what we needed, starting with dirt, seeds, and enough knowledge to muddle through. Or starting with baby animals, and enough sense to refrain from naming them."

Eclectic Book Club: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm

A poignant tale of childhood and the ties of family, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn will transport the reader to the early 1900s where a little girl named Francie dreamily looks out her window at a tree struggling to reach the sky.

Eclectic Book Club: Reading Lolita in Tehran

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Every Thursday morning for two years in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a bold and inspired teacher named Azar Nafisi secretly gathered seven of her most committed female students to read forbidden Western classics. As Islamic morality squads staged arbitrary raids in Tehran, fundamentalists seized hold of the universities, and a blind censor stifled artistic expression, the girls in Azar Nafisi's living room risked removing their veils and immersed themselves in the worlds of Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, and Vladimir Nabokov.

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.

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