Book Clubbers (08/06/2020): Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy (cover)

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy by Anne Boyd Rioux

The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters

Since its publication on September 30, 1868, Little Women has been one of America’s favorite stories. While we now think of it as a girls’ book, it was initially read by both boys and girls, men and women of all ages. Professor Anne Boyd Rioux, who read it in her twenties, tells us how Louisa May Alcott came to write the book and drew inspiration for her story from her own life. Its Civil War-era tale of family and community ties resonated through later wars, the Depression, and times of changing opportunities for women, even into the twenty-first century. Rioux sees the novel’s beating heart in its honest look at adolescence and its inspiring vision of young women’s resilience and hope. In gauging its reception today, she shows why it remains a book with such power that people carry its characters and spirit throughout their lives.


Next Meeting:
August 6th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual Library

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Enjoying the Classics (07/15/2020): Under the Volcano

Under the Volcano (cover)

Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry

“Lowry’s masterpiece” about a fateful Day of the Dead in a small Mexican town and one man’s struggle against the forces threatening to destroy him ( Los Angeles Times). In what the New York Times calls “one of the towering novels of [the twentieth] century,” former British consul Geoffrey Firmin lives alone with his demons in the shadow of two active volcanoes in South Central Mexico. Gripped by alcoholism, Geoffrey makes one last effort to salvage his crumbling life on the day that his ex-wife, Yvonne, arrives in town. It’s the Day of the Dead, 1938. The couple wants to revive their marriage and undo the wrongs of their past, but they soon realize that they’ve stumbled into the wrong place and time, where not only Geoffrey and Yvonne, but the world itself is on the edge of Armageddon. Hailed by the Modern Library as one of the one hundred best English novels of the twentieth century, Under the Volcano stands as an iconic and richly drawn example of the modern novel at its most lyrical.


Next Meeting:
July 15th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual Library

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Forever Young (07/13/2020): My Favorite Thing is Monsters, Volume 1

My Favorite Thing is Monsters, Volume 1 (cover)

My Favorite Thing is Monsters, Volume 1 by Emil Ferris

“Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of late 1960s Chicago and narrated by 10-year-old Karen Reyes, Monsters is told is told through a fictional graphic diary employing the iconography of B-movie horror imagery and pulp monster magazines. As the precocious Karen Reyes tries to solve the murder of her beautiful and enigmatic upstairs neighbor, Anka Silverberg, a Holocaust survivor, we watch the interconnected and fascinating stories of those around her unfold”–Front cover flap.


Next Meeting:
July 13th @ 6:30 PM at Virtual Library

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Stranger than Fiction (07/07/2020): Mrs. Sherlock Holmes

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes (cover)

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca

Mrs. Grace Humiston was an amazing lawyer and a traveling detective during a time when no women were practicing those professions. She focused on solving cases no one else wanted and advocating for innocents. The first female U.S. District Attorney, she made groundbreaking investigations into modern-day slavery, and the papers gave her the nickname of fiction’s famous sleuth. One of her greatest accomplishments was solving the cold case of a missing eighteen-year-old girl, Ruth Cruger. Her work changed how the country viewed the problem of missing girls, but it came with a price: she learned all too well what happens when one woman upstages the entire NYPD. In the literary tradition of In Cold Blood and The Devil in the White City, this true-crime tale is told in spine-tingling fashion and has important repercussions concerning kidnapping, the role of the media, and the truth of crime stories. But the great mystery of this book-and its haunting twist ending-is how one woman became so famous only to disappear.


Next Meeting:
July 7th @ 6:30 PM at Virtual Library

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Spinecrackers (07/03/2020): Daisy Jones & The Six

Daisy Jones & The Six (cover)

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

L.A. in the late sixties. Sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, the sex and drugs are thrilling but it’s the rock and roll Daisy loves most. By the time she’s twenty her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things. Another band getting noticed is The Six, led by Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and Billy goes a little wild on the road. Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend. — adapted from publisher info


Next Meeting:
July 3rd @ 10:00 AM at Virtual Library

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Nite Readers (06/18/2020): Aloha Rodeo

Aloha Rodeo (cover)

Aloha Rodeo by David Wolman and Julian Smith

Traces the role of three Hawaiian cowboys who became champions at the 1908 Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo, detailing how their careers influenced post-annexation Hawaiian identity, island ranching, and the rodeo culture of Cheyenne.


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

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Enjoying the Classics (06/17/2020): A House for Mr. Biswas

A House for Mr. Biswas (cover)

A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul

The early masterpiece of V. S. Naipaul’s brilliant career, A House for Mr. Biswas is an unforgettable story inspired by Naipaul’s father that has been hailed as one of the twentieth century’s finest novels. In his forty-six short years, Mr. Mohun Biswas has been fighting against destiny to achieve some semblance of independence, only to face a lifetime of calamity. Shuttled from one residence to another after the drowning death of his father, for which he is inadvertently responsible, Mr. Biswas yearns for a place he can call home. But when he marries into the domineering Tulsi family on whom he indignantly becomes dependent, Mr. Biswas embarks on an arduous–and endless–struggle to weaken their hold over him and purchase a house of his own. A heartrending, dark comedy of manners, A House for Mr. Biswas masterfully evokes a man’s quest for autonomy against an emblematic post-colonial canvas.


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

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Spinecrackers (06/05/2020): Dumplin’

Dumplin' (cover)

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Sixteen-year-old Willowdean wants to prove to everyone in her small Texas town that she is more than just a fat girl, so, while grappling with her feelings for a co-worker who is clearly attracted to her, Will and some other misfits prepare to compete in the beauty pageant her mother runs.


Next Meeting:
June 5th @ 10:00 AM at Virtual Library

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Nite Readers (05/21/2020): The Quintland Sisters

The Quintland Sisters (cover)

The Quintland Sisters by Shelley Wood

The story of the Dionne Quintuplets, the world’s first identical quintuplets to survive birth, told from the perspective of a midwife in training who helps bring them into the world…Reluctant midwife Emma Trimpany is just 17 when she assists at the harrowing birth of the Dionne quintuplets: five tiny miracles born to French farmers in hardscrabble Northern Ontario in 1934. Emma cares for them through their perilous first days and when the government decides to remove the babies from their francophone parents, making them wards of the British king, Emma signs on as their nurse…Over 6,000 daily visitors come to ogle the identical “Quints” playing in their custom-built playground; at the height of the Great Depression, the tourism and advertising dollars pour in. While the rest of the world delights in their sameness, Emma sees each girl as unique: Yvonne, Annette, Cécile, Marie, and Émilie. With her quirky eye for detail, Emma records every strange twist of events in her private journals.


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

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Enjoying the Classics (05/20/2020): The Age of Innocence

The Age of Innocence (cover)

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Winner of the first Pulitzer Prize for literature ever awarded to a woman, The Age of Innocence is Edith Wharton’s elegant portrait of desire and betrayal in old New York. In the highest circle of New York social life during the 1870s, Newland Archer, a young lawyer, prepares to marry the docile May Welland. But before their engagement is announced, he meets the mysterious, nonconformist Countess Ellen Olenska, May’s cousin, who has returned to New York after a long absence. Ellen mirrors his own sense of disillusionment with society and the “good marriage” he is about to embark upon and provokes a moral struggle within him as he continues to go through the motions. A social commentary of surprising compassion and insight, The Age of Innocence toes the line between the comedy of manners and the tragedy of thwarted love.


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

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