Enjoying the Classics (06/15/2022): Angle of Repose

Angle of Repose (cover)

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

Wallace Stegner’s uniquely American classic centers on Lyman Ward, a noted historian who relates a fictionalized biography of his pioneer grandparents at a time when he has become estranged from his own family. Through a combination of research, memory, and exaggeration, Ward voices ideas concerning the relationship between history and the present, art and life, parents and children, husbands and wives. Like other great quests in literature, Lyman Ward’s investigation leads him deep into the dark shadows of his own life. The result is a deeply moving novel that, through the prism of one family, illuminates the American present against the fascinating background of its past.

Set in many parts of the West, Angle of Repose is a story of discovery—personal, historical, and geographical—that endures as Wallace Stegner’s masterwork: an illumination of yesterday’s reality that speaks to today’s.


Next Meeting:
June 15th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual

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Enjoying the Classics (05/18/2022): A Good Man Is Hard to Find

A Good Man Is Hard to Find (cover)

A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor

In 1955, with the title story and others in this critical edition, 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 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. These classic stories—including “The Life You Save May Be Your Own,” “Good Country People,” and “The Displaced Person,” among others, are sure to inspire future generations of fans and remind existing readers why she remains a master of the short story.


Next Meeting:
May 18th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual

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Enjoying the Classics (04/20/2022): Life of Pi

Life of Pi (cover)

Life of Pi by Yann Martell

Pi Patel is an unusual boy. The son of a zookeeper, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior, a fervent love of stories, and practices not only his native Hinduism, but also Christianity and Islam. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days lost at sea.

When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them “the truth.” After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional-but is it more true?

Life of Pi is at once a realistic, rousing adventure and a meta-tale of survival that explores the redemptive power of storytelling and the transformative nature of fiction. It’s a story, as one character puts it, to make you believe in God.


Next Meeting:
April 20th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual

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Enjoying the Classics (03/16/2022): The Clan of the Cave Bear

The Clan of the Cave Bear (cover)

The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel

Through Jean M. Auel’s magnificent storytelling we are taken back to the dawn of modern humans, and with a girl named Ayla we are swept up in the harsh and beautiful Ice Age world they shared with the ones who called themselves The Clan of the Cave Bear.

A natural disaster leaves the young girl wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by a woman of the Clan, people very different from her own kind. To them, blond, blue-eyed Ayla looks peculiar and ugly—she is one of the Others, those who have moved into their ancient homeland; but Iza cannot leave the girl to die and takes her with them. Iza and Creb, the old Mog-ur, grow to love her, and as Ayla learns the ways of the Clan and Iza’s way of healing, most come to accept her. But the brutal and proud youth who is destined to become their next leader sees her differences as a threat to his authority. He develops a deep and abiding hatred for the strange girl of the Others who lives in their midst, and is determined to get his revenge.


Next Meeting:
March 16th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual

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Enjoying the Classics (02/16/2022): The Daughter of Time

The Daughter of Time (cover)

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

Josephine Tey recreates one of history’s most famous–and vicious–crimes in her classic bestselling novel, a must read for connoisseurs of fiction, now with a new introduction by Robert Barnard.

Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, recuperating from a broken leg, becomes fascinated with a contemporary portrait of Richard III that bears no resemblance to the Wicked Uncle of history. Could such a sensitive, noble face actually belong to one of the world’s most heinous villains–a venomous hunchback who may have killed his brother’s children to make his crown secure? Or could Richard have been the victim, turned into a monster by the usurpers of England’s throne? Grant determines to find out once and for all, with the help of the British Museum and an American scholar, what kind of man Richard Plantagenet really was and who killed the Little Princes in the Tower.

The Daughter of Time is an ingeniously plotted, beautifully written, and suspenseful tale, a supreme achievement from one of mystery writing’s most gifted masters.


Next Meeting:
February 16th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual

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Enjoying the Classics (01/19/2022): L’Assommoir

L'Assommoir (cover)

L’Assommoir by Émile Zola

L’Assommoir (1877) is the seventh novel in Émile Zola’s twenty-volume series Les Rougon-Macquart. Usually considered one of Zola’s masterpieces, the novel—a harsh and uncompromising study of alcoholism and poverty in the working-class districts of Paris—was a huge commercial success and established Zola’s fame and reputation throughout France and the world.


Next Meeting:
January 19th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual

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Enjoying the Classics (12/15/2021): The Leopard

The Leopard (cover)

The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

The Sicilian prince, Don Fabrizio, hero of Lampedusa’s great and only novel, is described as enormous in size, in intellect, and in sensuality. The book he inhabits shares his dimensions in its evocation of an aristocracy confronting democratic upheaval and the new force of nationalism. In the decades since its publication shortly after the author’s death in 1957, The Leopard has come to be regarded as the twentieth century’s greatest historical fiction.


Next Meeting:
December 15th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual

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Enjoying the Classics (11/17/2021): The Haunted Bookshop

The Haunted Bookshop (cover)

The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley

This classic story of romance and intrigue in a Brooklyn bookstore is one of the most beloved mysteries of all time.

Aubrey Gilbert stops by the Haunted Bookshop hoping to sell his services as an advertising copywriter. He fails to accomplish his goal, but learns that Titania Chapman, the lovely daughter of his most important client, is a store assistant there. Aubrey returns to visit Titania and experiences a series of unusual events: He is attacked on his way home from the store, an obscure book mysteriously disappears and reappears, and two strange characters are seen skulking in a nearby alleyway. Aubrey initially suspects the bookstore’s gregarious owner, Roger Mifflin, of scheming to kidnap Titania, but the plot he eventually uncovers is far more complex and sinister than he could have ever imagined.

A charming ode to the art of bookselling wrapped inside a thrilling suspense story, The Haunted Bookshop is a must-read for bibliophiles and mystery lovers alike.


Next Meeting:
November 17th @ 7:00 PM at Hybrid at Harnish (in-person or online participation are both available)

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Enjoying the Classics (10/20/2021): The Chosen

The Chosen (cover)

The Chosen by Chaim Potok

Though they’ve lived their entire lives less than five blocks from each other, Reuven Malter and Danny Saunders exist in very different worlds. Reuven blends easily into both his secular Jewish faith and his typical American teen life, while Danny’s conservative Hasidic clothes and appearance make him stick out in any crowd. Their improbable friendship teaches them that the differences separating people through cultures and generations are never as great as they seem.

It is the now-classic story of two fathers and two sons and the pressures on all of them to pursue the religion they share in the way that is best suited to each. And as the boys grow into young men, they discover in the other a lost spiritual brother, and a link to an unexplored world that neither had ever considered before. In effect, they exchange places, and find the peace that neither will ever retreat from again….


Next Meeting:
October 20th @ 7:00 PM at Hybrid at Harnish (in-person or online participation are both available)

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Enjoying the Classics (09/15/2021): The Waves

The Waves (cover)

The Waves by Virginia Woolf

“I am made and remade continually. Different people draw different words from me.”
Innovative and deeply poetic, The Waves is often regarded as Virginia Woolf’s masterpiece. It begins with six children—three boys and three girls—playing in a garden by the sea, and follows their lives as they grow up, experience friendship and love, and grapple with the death of their beloved friend Percival. Instead of describing their outward expressions of grief, Woolf draws her characters from the inside, revealing their inner lives: their aspirations, their triumphs and regrets, their awareness of unity and isolation.


Next Meeting:
September 15th @ 7:00 PM at Hybrid at Harnish (in-person or online participation are both available)

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