Book Club Meetings

Eclectic Book Club: The Poisonwood Bible

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, January 30, 2001 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm

The novel follows an evangelical Baptist minister's family to the Congo in the late 1950s, entwining their fate with that of the country during three turbulent decades. Nathan Price's determination to convert the natives of the Congo to Christianity is, we gradually discover, both foolhardy and dangerous, unsanctioned by the church administration and doomed from the start by Nathan's self-righteousness. Fanatic and sanctimonious, Nathan is a domestic monster, too, a physically and emotionally abusive, misogynistic husband and father.

Eclectic Book Club: Under the Tuscan Sun

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, May 30, 2000 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Frances Mayes entered a wondrous new world when she began restoring an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. There were unexpected treasures at every turn: faded frescos beneath the whitewash in her dining room, a vineyard under wildly overgrown brambles in the garden, and, in the nearby hill towns, vibrant markets and delightful people. She brings the lyrical voice of a poet, the eye of a seasoned traveler, and the discerning palate of a cook and food writer to invite readers to explore the pleasures of Italian life and to feast at her table.

Eclectic Book Club: Never Let Me Go

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it. Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it's only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is.

Eclectic Book Club: A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm

The swimming pool of the Mille-Collines hotel is a magnet for a motley group of Kigali residents: aid workers, Rwandan bourgeoisie, expatriates and prostitutes. Among these patrons is the hotel waitress, Gentille, a beautiful Hutu often mistaken for a Tutsi, who has long been admired by Bernard Valcourt, a foreign journalist. As the two slide into a love affair and prepare for their wedding, we see the world around them coming apart as the Hutu-led genocide against the Tutsi people begins.

Eclectic Book Club: When the Emperor Was Divine

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm

This heartbreaking, bracingly unsentimental debut describes in poetic detail the travails of a Japanese family living in an internment camp during World War II, raising the specter of wartime injustice in bone-chilling fashion. After a woman whose husband was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy sees notices posted around her neighborhood in Berkeley instructing Japanese residents to evacuate, she moves with her son and daughter to an internment camp, abruptly severing her ties with her community.

Eclectic Book Club: A Girl Named Zippy

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm

In this first book, Kimmel has written a love letter to her hometown of Mooreland, IN, a town with an unchanging population of 300 in America's heartland. Nicknamed "Zippy" for her energetic interpretation of a circus monkey, she could not be bothered to speak until she was three years old, and her first words involved bargaining with her father about whether or not a baby bottle was still appropriate. Her story is filled with good humor, fine storytelling, and acute observations of small town life.

Eclectic Book Club: Holding On

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm

Holding On by David Isay & Harvey Wang
The 50 individuals profiled in this delightful collection all were interviewed by Isay on his National Public Radio series The American Folklife Radio Project. Most of his subjects are older people who are dreamers, devoting themselves to such pursuits as creating religious grottoes, castles, bells and centers for dinosaur sculptures; conducting businesses, such as opera houses or bars, in ghost towns; or following unusual careers, for example, marriage brokering and restoring mannequins. There are those whose lifework has not been exotic, such as a country doctor who still charges a dollar for an office visit, a hat blocker and a sheepherder. But Isay approaches them all open-mindedly and sympathetically, and his warm commentary is supplemented by Wang's superb photos.

Eclectic Book Club: A Year in Provence

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, June 27, 2000 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm

An amusing account of an English couple's first year as residents of rural Provence, from the unpleasantness of the winter mistral to the transgressions of summer tourists. Since the old farmhouse they purchased needed repairs, they were immediately beset with problems in dealing with the foibles of local craftspeople and officialdom, not to mention the neighbors--human and animal. Nowhere in France is the consumption of food and drink taken more seriously, and food preparation, dining, and wining anecdotes are prominent in virtually every chapter.

Eclectic Book Club: Ladder of Years

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, May 27, 2008 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm

At 40, Delia Grinstead seems more likely to have an attack of anxiety, or of whimsy, than to become a runaway wife. Yet Delia's impulse to escape her disapproving physician husband and three surly children turns into an adventure that sweeps her from her staid Baltimore orbit into a new existence as Ms. Grinstead, spinster, in the Delaware community of Bay Borough.

Eclectic Book Club: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

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

Winner of the 1977 Newbery Medal, this moving novel has remained in the hearts and minds of millions of readers. Set in Mississippi at the height of the Depression, it is the story of one family's struggle to maintain their integrity, pride, and independence in the face of racism and social injustice.

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