Madison Public Library

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: 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: 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: The Color Purple

Location: Madison Public Library
Date: Tuesday, February 24, 2004 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm

Winner of the American Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, this unforgettable portrait of a young black girl, her friends, family, and lovers is rich with passion, pain, inspiration, and an indomitable love of life. Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate, and continuing over the course of her marriage to "Mister," a brutal man who terrorizes her.

Eclectic Book Club: The Corrections

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

The novel follows the delamination of the Lambert family. Alfred, once a rigid disciplinarian, flounders against Parkinson's-induced dementia; Enid, his loyal and embittered wife, lusts for the perfect Midwestern Christmas; Denise, their daughter, launches the hippest restaurant in Philly; and Gary, their oldest son, grapples with depression, while Chip, his brother, attempts to shore his eroding self-confidence by joining forces with a self-mocking, Eastern-Bloc politician.

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: 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: 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.

Syndicate content