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Literary Giants Book Club

Literary Giants: I am Malala : the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai

Date: 
Monday, August 25, 2014 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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ISBN: 
9780316322409
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Author: 
Malala Yousafzai
Title: 
I am Malala : the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

I AM MALALA will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world. Read more about Literary Giants: I am Malala : the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai

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Literary Giants: Moby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman Melville

Date: 
Monday, July 28, 2014 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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ISBN: 
0142000086
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Author: 
Herman Melville
Title: 
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale

 "Call me Ishmael."

With this famous first line begins a novel that Melville himself called "a romance of adventure." Set sail with Captain Ahab as he deftly maneuvers the Pequod across the ocean, hunting his prey. He is a man bent on revenge against the ever-elusive white whale that took his leg. Blineded by his ego-maniacal illusions of invincibility, he recklessly pursues Moby Dick, dragging an ill-fated crew in his wake—men bound to him by awe and terror alike. Relentless in his quest, Ahab believes Moby Dick to be the incarnation of evil and will not rest until that evil is extinguished. Will he triumph? Can Moby Dick, the monster of the sea and the embodiment of man's never ending struggle against nature, be destroyed?

Narrated by Ishmael, a member of the Pequod crew, readers are given intimate details of the excitement of whale hunting, the quirks of the ship crew, the mystery of Ahab and the grandeur of Moby Dick. Brought to life with beautiful prose and a wealth of interesting historical facts, and blended with nonstop action adventure, Moby Dick is sure to deliver a thrill ride that won't soon be forgotten. Read more about Literary Giants: Moby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman Melville

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Literary Giants: The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

Date: 
Monday, June 30, 2014 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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ISBN: 
9780140449150
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Author: 
Niccolo Machiavelli
Title: 
The Prince

As a young Florentine envoy to the courts of France and the Italian principalities, Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) was able to observe firsthand the lives of people strongly united under one powerful ruler. His fascination with that political rarity and his intense desire to see the Medici family assume a similar role in Italy provided the foundation for his "primer for princes." In this classic guide to acquiring and maintaining political power, Machiavelli used a rational approach to advise prospective rulers, developing logical arguments and alternatives for a number of potential problems, among them governing hereditary monarchies, dealing with colonies and the treatment of conquered peoples. Refreshing in its directness, yet often disturbing in its cold practicality, The Prince sets down a frighteningly pragmatic formula for political fortune. Starkly relevant to the political upheavals of the 20th century, this calculating prescription for power remains today, nearly 500 years after it was written, a timely and startling lesson in the practice of autocratic rule that continues to be much read and studied by students, scholars and general readers as well. Read more about Literary Giants: The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

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Literary Giants: King Lear by William Shakespeare

Date: 
Monday, April 28, 2014 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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ISBN: 
0321107225
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Author: 
William Shakespeare
Title: 
King Lear

One of Shakespeare's finest tragedies, the work displays a pessimism and nihilism that make it a 20th-century favorite. The aging King Lear decides to divide his kingdom among his three daughters, allotting each a portion in proportion to the eloquence of her declaration of love. The hypocritical Goneril and Regan make grand pronouncements and are rewarded; Cordelia, the youngest daughter, who truly loves Lear, refuses to make an insincere speech to prove her love and is disinherited. The two older sisters mock Lear and renege on their promise to support him. Cast out, the king slips into madness and wanders about accompanied by his faithful Fool. He is aided by the Earl of Kent, who, though banished from the kingdom for having supported Cordelia, has remained in Britain disguised as a peasant. Kent brings Lear to Cordelia, who cares for him and helps him regain his reason. The Earl of Gloucester likewise spurns his honest son, Edgar, and believes his conniving illegitimate son, Edmund. Edmund allies himself with Regan and Goneril to defend Britain against the French army mobilized by Cordelia. He turns his father over to Cornwall--who gouges out Gloucester's eyes--then imprisons Cordelia and Lear, but he is defeated in battle by Edgar. Jealous of Edmund's romantic attentions to Regan, Goneril poisons her and commits suicide. Cordelia is hanged. Lear, broken, dies with her body in his arms. Read more about Literary Giants: King Lear by William Shakespeare

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Literary Giants: Nineteen Eighty-Four

Date: 
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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ISBN: 
9780452284234
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Author: 
George Orwell
Title: 
Nineteen Eighty-Four

Portrays a terrifying vision of life in the future when a totalitarian government, considered a "Negative Utopia," watches over all citizens and directs all activities, becoming more powerful as time goes by.. Read more about Literary Giants: Nineteen Eighty-Four

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Literary Giants: A Good Man Is Hard To Find And Other Stories

Date: 
Monday, February 24, 2014 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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ISBN: 
9780156364652
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Author: 
Flannery O'Connor
Title: 
A Good Man Is Hard To Find And Other Stories

In 1955, with this short story collection, Flannery O'Connor firmly laid claim to her place as one of the most original and provocative writers of her generation. Steeped in a Southern Gothic tradition that would become synonymous with her name, these stories show O'Connor's unique, grotesque view of life-- infused with religious symbolism, haunted by apocalyptic possibility, sustained by the tragic comedy of human behavior, confronted by the necessity of salvation. Read more about Literary Giants: A Good Man Is Hard To Find And Other Stories

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Literary Giants: The Secret Keeper

Date: 
Monday, January 27, 2014 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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ISBN: 
9781743117408
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Author: 
Kate Morton
Title: 
The Secret Keeper

During a party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the road and sees her mother speak to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy. Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress, living in London. She returns to the family farm for Dorothy's ninetieth birthday and finds herself overwhelmed by questions she has not thought about for decades. From pre-WWII England through the Blitz, to the fifties and beyond, discover the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds--Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy--who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined. The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams, the lengths people go to fulfill them, and the consequences they can have. It is a story of lovers, friends, dreamers, and schemers told--in Morton's signature style--against a backdrop of events that changed the world. Read more about Literary Giants: The Secret Keeper

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Literary Giants: Unbroken

Date: 
Monday, November 25, 2013 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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ISBN: 
9781400064168
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Author: 
Laura Hillenbrand
Title: 
Unbroken

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane's bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War. The lieutenant's name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he'd been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and hum∨ brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will. In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit . Telling an unforgettable story of a man's journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit. Read more about Literary Giants: Unbroken

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Literary Giants: Great House

Date: 
Monday, September 30, 2013 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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ISBN: 
9780393340648
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Author: 
Nicole Krauss
Title: 
Great House

For twenty-five years, a reclusive American novelist has been writing at the desk she inherited from a young Chilean poet who disappeared at the hands of Pinochet's secret police; one day a girl claiming to be the poet's daughter arrives to take it away, sending the writer's life reeling. Across the ocean, in the leafy suburbs of London, a man caring for his dying wife discovers, among her papers, a lock of hair that unravels a terrible secret. In Jerusalem, an antiques dealer slowly reassembles his father's study, plundered by the Nazis in Budapest in 1944. Connecting these stories is a desk of many drawers that exerts a power over those who possess it or have given it away. As the narrators of Great House make their confessions, the desk takes on more and more meaning, and comes finally to stand for all that has been taken from them, and all that binds them to what has disappeared. Great House is a story haunted by questions: What do we pass on to our children and how do they absorb our dreams and losses? How do we respond to disappearance, destruction, and change? Nicole Krauss has written a soaring, powerful novel about memory struggling to create a meaningful permanence in the face of inevitable loss. "This is a novel about the long journey of a magnificent desk as it travels through the twentieth century from one owner to the next. It is also a novel about love, exile, the defilements of war, and the restorative power of language."-National Book Award citation Read more about Literary Giants: Great House

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Literary Giants: Reading Lolita in Tehran

Date: 
Monday, August 26, 2013 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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ISBN: 
9780375504907
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Author: 
Azar Nafisi
Title: 
Reading Lolita in Tehran

We all have dreams--things we fantasize about doing and generally never get around to. This is the story of Azar Nafisi's dream and of the nightmare that made it come true. For two years before she left Iran in 1997, Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. They were all former students whom she had taught at university. Some came from conservative and religious families, others were progressive and secular; several had spent time in jail. They were shy and uncomfortable at first, unaccustomed to being asked to speak their minds, but soon they began to open up and to speak more freely, not only about the novels they were reading but also about themselves, their dreams and disappointments. Their stories intertwined with those they were reading--Pride and Prejudice, Washington Square, Daisy Miller and Lolita--their Lolita, as they imagined her in Tehran. Nafisi's account flashes back to the early days of the revolution, when she first started teaching at the University of Tehran amid the swirl of protests and demonstrations. In those frenetic days, the students took control of the university, expelled faculty members and purged the curriculum. When a radical Islamist in Nafisi's class questioned her decision to teach The Great Gatsby, which he saw as an immoral work that preached falsehoods of "the Great Satan," she decided to let him put Gatsby on trial and stood as the sole witness for the defense. Azar Nafisi's luminous tale offers a fascinating portrait of the Iran-Iraq war viewed from Tehran and gives us a rare glimpse, from the inside, of women's lives in revolutionary Iran. It is a work of great passion and poetic beauty, written with a startlingly original voice. Read more about Literary Giants: Reading Lolita in Tehran

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