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 (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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Enjoying the Classics (08/18/2021): The Ox-Bow Incident

The Ox-Bow Incident (cover)

The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tillburg Clark

Set in 1885, The Ox-Bow Incident is a searing and realistic portrait of frontier life and mob violence in the American West. First published in 1940, it focuses on the lynching of three innocent men and the tragedy that ensues when law and order are abandoned. The result is an emotionally powerful, vivid, and unforgettable re-creation of the Western novel, which Clark transmuted into a universal story about good and evil, individual and community, justice and human nature. As Wallace Stegner writes, [Clark’s] theme was civilization, and he recorded, indelibly, its first steps in a new country.


Next Meeting:
August 18th @ 7:00 PM at Hybrid at Harnish (in-person or online participation are both available)

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Enjoying the Classics (07/21/2021): The Rise of Silas Lapham

The Rise of Silas Lapham (cover)

The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells

Howells’ best-known work and a subtle classic of its time, The Rise of Silas Lapham is an elegant tale of Boston society and manners.

After garnering a fortune in the paint business, Silas Lapham moves his family from their Vermont farm to the city of Boston in order to improve his social position. The consequences of this endeavor are both humorous and tragic as the greedy Silas brings his company to the brink of bankruptcy.

The novel focuses on important themes in the American literary tradition—the efficacy of self-help and determination, the ambiguous benefits of social and economic progress, and the continual contradiction between urban and pastoral values—and provides a paradigm of American culture in the Gilded Age.


Next Meeting:
July 21st @ 7:00 PM at Virtual Library

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Enjoying the Classics (06/16/2021): Erewhon

Erewhon (cover)

Erewhon by Samuel Butler

Setting out to make his fortune in a far-off country, a young traveller discovers the remote and beautiful land of Erewhon and is given a home among its extraordinarily handsome citizens. But their visitor soon discovers that this seemingly ideal community has its faults – here crime is treated indulgently as a malady to be cured, while illness, poverty and misfortune are cruelly punished, and all machines have been superstitiously destroyed after a bizarre prophecy. Can he survive in a world where morality is turned upside down? Inspired by Samuel Butler’s years in colonial New Zealand and by his reading of Darwin’s Origin of Species, Erewhon (1872) is a highly original, irreverent and humorous satire on conventional virtues, religious hypocrisy and the unthinking acceptance of beliefs.


Next Meeting:
June 16th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual Library

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Enjoying the Classics (03/17/2021): Lucky Jim

Lucky Jim (cover)

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

Regarded by many as the finest, and funniest, comic novel of the twentieth century, Lucky Jim remains as trenchant, withering, and eloquently misanthropic as when it first scandalized readers in 1953. This is the story of Jim Dixon, a hapless lecturer in medieval history at a provincial university who knows better than most that “there was no end to the ways in which nice things are nicer than nasty ones.” Kingsley Amis’s scabrous debut leads the reader through a gallery of emphatically English bores, cranks, frauds, and neurotics with whom Dixon must contend in one way or another in order to hold on to his cushy academic perch and win the girl of his fancy.


Next Meeting:
March 17th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual Library

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Enjoying the Classics (01/20/2021): A Farewell to Arms

A Farewell to Arms (cover)

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

The definitive edition of the classic novel of love during wartime, featuring all of the alternate endings: “Fascinating…serves as an artifact of a bygone craft, with handwritten notes and long passages crossed out, giving readers a sense of an author’s process” (The New York Times).
Written when Ernest Hemingway was thirty years old and lauded as the best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Set against the looming horrors of the battlefield—weary, demoralized men marching in the rain during the German attack on Caporetto; the profound struggle between loyalty and desertion—this gripping, semiautobiographical work captures the harsh realities of war and the pain of lovers caught in its inexorable sweep.
Ernest Hemingway famously said that he rewrote the ending to A Farewell to Arms thirty-nine times to get the words right. This edition collects all of the alternative endings together for the first time, along with early drafts of other essential passages, offering new insight into Hemingway’s craft and creative process and the evolution of one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century. Featuring Hemingway’s own 1948 introduction to an illustrated reissue of the novel, a personal foreword by the author’s son Patrick Hemingway, and a new introduction by the author’s grandson Seán Hemingway, this edition of A Farewell to Arms is truly a celebration.


Next Meeting:
January 20th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual Library

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Enjoying the Classics (12/16/2020): Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God (cover)

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years—due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist—Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.

A PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick

“A deeply soulful novel that comprehends love and cruelty, and separates the big people from the small of heart, without ever losing sympathy for those unfortunates who don’t know how to live properly.” —Zadie Smith


Next Meeting:
December 16th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual Library

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Enjoying the Classics (11/18/2020): Riders of the Purple Sage

Riders of the Purple Sage (cover)

Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey

In 1871 Utah, young Jane Withersteen is courted by Elder Tull, the leader of her polygamous Mormon church. When Jane refuses, the local Mormons persecute her. Meanwhile, Jane’s friend, Bern Venters, is captured by Tull’s posse and faces a harsh sentence. Jane defends him, causing even more friction with the Mormon populace. Enter Lassiter, a friend to Venters and an infamous gunslinger. His appearance causes Tull and his men to release Venters and flee – sparking a conflict that leaves Jane questioning her loyalties, Venters finding love, and Lassiter seeking revenge.


Next Meeting:
November 18th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual Library

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