Madison Public Library

Literary Giants: Nickel and Dimed

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, September 29, 2003 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

Millions of Americans work for poverty-level wages, and one day Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that any job equals a better life. But how can anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 to $7 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich moved from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, taking the cheapest lodgings available and accepting work as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide, and Wal-Mart salesperson.

Literary Giants: The Wife

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, July 28, 2008 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

Joan Castelman is en route to Finland to watch her husband win the Helsinki Prize when she decides to leave him. What follows is Joan's recollection of their marriage, his career, and her fading dreams. Starting with the beginning of the couple's professor-student relationships she continues through to the present, stacking up the unspoken regrets that lead to Helsinki. The story of what Joan sacrifices to support her husband and his illustrious career is just as astounding. Complete with a staggering twist ending, this is not one to miss.

Literary Giants: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Monday, August 28, 2006 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

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.

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.

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