Emma S. Clark Library
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We read to know we are not alone.
        ~ C. S. Lewis~

~~Evening Book Discussions

Emma S. Clark Memorial Library~~

The Evening Book Discussion meets from 7:30-9 p.m., the 4 th Wednesday in the Meeting Room, *except for November and December, when it meets the 3 rd Wed. in the Board Room. Copies of the books are provided for cardholders. They are available at the preceding discussion or at the Reference Desk, unless noted. Members of the group lead the discussions.

Books are presented by members of the group. Background materials
are available for each book at the Reference Desk.


 

~~2013-2014~~

Wed. September 25
The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal
The Ephrussis were a grand banking family, who “burned like a comet” in nineteenth-century Paris and Vienna society. Yet by the end of World War II, almost the only thing remaining of their vast empire was a collection of 264 wood and ivory carvings, none of them larger than a matchbox. The renowned ceramicist Edmund de Waal became the fifth generation to inherit this small and exquisite collection of netsuke. Entranced by their beauty and mystery, he determined to trace the story of his family through the story of the collection. 354 pp; nonfiction *Pick up on August 28 at Reference Desk

Wed. October 23
My Life in France by Julia Child

The captivating story of Julia Child’s years in France, where she fell in love with French food and found her “true calling.” From the moment she and her husband Paul arrived in 1948, Julia had an awakening that changed her life. Soon this tall, outspoken gal from Pasadena, who knew no French, nor anything about the country, was steeped in the language, chatting with purveyors in the local markets, enrolled in the Cordon Bleu cooking school. She teamed up with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle to help them with a book on French cooking for Americans. Filled with her husband’s photographs, as well as family snapshots, the memoir is laced with wonderful stories about the French character, particularly in the world of food, and the way of life that Julia embraced so wholeheartedly. 317 pp; nonfiction

Wed. November 20
After This by Alice McDermott

After This evokes the social, political, and spiritual upheavals of its time through the experiences of a working-class couple, John and Mary Keane and their four children, and the changes radiating through their Catholic community on Long Island. While Michael and Annie Keane taste the alternately intoxicating and bitter first fruits of the sexual revolution, their older, more tentative brother, Jacob, lags behind, until he find himself on the way to Vietnam. Clare, the youngest child of their aging parents, seeks to maintain an impossible, almost saintly innocence. 279 pp

Wed. December 18
Daisy Miller by Henry James *pick up at Circulation Desk

The young Daisy Miller, an American on holiday with her mother on the shores of Switzerland's Lac Léman, is one of James's most vivid and tragic characters. Daisy's friendship with an American gentleman, Mr. Winterbourne, and her subsequent infatuation with a passionate, but impoverished Italian bring to life the great Jamesian themes of Americans abroad, innocence versus experience, and the grip of fate. 83 pp

Wed. January 22
The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro

Filled with delightful twists, turns, and ruminations on what constitutes truth in art. Broke and painting copies of famous artists' work for a reproduction site, artist Claire Roth is enticed by gallery owner Aidan Markel's request to forge a painting by Degas that was stolen from the Isabella Gardner Museum in 1990 (in the largest unsolved art heist in history). As Claire works, she wonders if the painting she's forging is legitimate. When her blocked artist lover can’t finish his work for a deadline, Claire steps in, essentially painting what becomes something of an art world sensation. 360 pp

Wed. February 26
The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory

This historical novel focuses on Mary, Queen of Scots’ exile in England from 1568-1587. The story is told from three points of view: that of Mary and her “jailers,” George Talbot, Earl of Shrewesbury, and his wife, Bess of Hardwick. Each of these characters struggles with his or her assigned role. Bess is horrified at the expense of housing a monarch; her husband is alarmed at his infatuation with the beautiful young queen. Mary tries to plot her way out of exile and back to her rightful place on the throne of Scotland. In her usual absorbing style, Gregory uses historical detail and palpable tension to re-create the drama as it unfolds. 438 pp

Wed. March 26
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby… 345 pp

Wed. April 23
Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey ed. by Lillian Schlissel

More than a quarter of a million Americans crossed the continental United States between 1840 and 1870, going west in one of the greatest migrations of modern times. The frontiersmen have become an integral part of our history and folklore, but the Westering experiences of American women are equally central to an accurate picture of what life was like on the frontier. Through the diaries, letters, and reminiscences of women who participated in this migration, Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey gives us primary source material on the lives of these women, whose nitty-gritty tasks in the wilderness were a far from the homes they had kept back east. Still (and often under the disapproving eyes of their husbands) they found time to write brave letters home or to jot a few weary lines at night into the diaries
that continue to enthrall us. A part of history that wasn’t in your history textbooks. 262 pp; nonfiction

Wed. May 28
Round House by Louise Erdrich

In 1988 in an Ojibwe community in North Dakota, the tribal enrollment expert Geraldine Coutts is viciously attacked. Her ordeal is made even more devasting by the legal ambiguities surrounding the location and perpetrator of the assault—did the attack occur on tribal, federal, or state land? Is the aggressor white or Indian? As Geraldine becomes enveloped by depression, her husband, Bazil(the tribal judge), and their 13 year-old son, Joe, try desperately to identify her assailant and bring him to justice. Growing frustrated with the slow pace of the law, Joe and three friends take matters into their own hands. But revenge exacts a tragic price, and Joe is jarringly ushered into an adult realm of anguished guilt and ineffable sadness. Through Joe’s narration, which is, by turn, raunchy and emotionally immediate, Erdrich perceptively chronicles the attack’s disastrous effect on the family’s domestic life, their community and Joe’s own premature introduction to a violent world. 321 pp

Wed. June 28
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

India may have a thriving economy and expansive future, but Boo shows us the lives excluded from those attainments as she follows members of a ragged Mumbai slum improvised on the edge of the city's 21st-century expansion. With character studies so eloquent that readers may forget these are realities, Boo charts how Abdul, Fatima, Kalu, and others assert power and hope in the midst of their calamitous existence. 256 pp; nonfiction


 

 

 

 

~~2012-2013~~

Wed. September 12 
Caleb’s Crossing
by Geraldine Brooks  
*Pick up Aug. 15 at the Reference Desk
Bethia Mayfield is a restless and curious young woman growing up on Martha's Vineyard in the 1660s amid a small band of pioneering English Puritans. At age twelve, she meets Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a secret bond that draws each into the alien world of the other. Bethia's father is a Calvinist minister who seeks to convert the native Wampanoag, and Caleb becomes a prize in the contest between old ways and new, eventually becoming the first Native American graduate of Harvard College. 306 pp
 

Wed. October 24   
Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland

It’s 1893, and at the Chicago World’s Fair, Louis Comfort Tiffany makes his debut with a luminous exhibition of innovative stained-glass windows which he hopes will earn him a place on the international artistic stage. Behind the scenes in his New York studio is the freethinking Clara Driscoll, head of his women’s division, who conceives of and designs nearly all of the iconic leaded-glass lamps for which Tiffany will long be remembered. Never publicly acknowledged, Clara struggles with her desire for artistic recognition and the seemingly insurmountable challenges that she faces as a professional woman.  305 pp

Wed. November 28      
Alexander Hamilton
by Ron Chernow
 
Chernow here recounts Hamilton’s turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States. (B&N) 296 pp

Wed. December 19 
The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuke 
*meet in the Board Room
A novel that tells the story of a group of young women brought over from Japan to San Francisco as ‘picture brides’ nearly a century ago. In eight sections, Otsuke traces their extraordinary lives, from their arduous journey by boat, to their arrival in San Francisco, to their backbreaking work picking fruit in the fields and scrubbing the floors of white women; to their struggles to master a new language and a new culture, and more…  129 pp
 

Wed. January 23 
The Warmth of Other Suns
by Isabel Wilkerson

In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, the Pulitzer Prize winner Wilkerson chronicles the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves. 622 pp  

Wed. February 27 
Persuasion by Jane Austen  
Eight years ago, Anne Elliot fell in love with poor, but ambitious, naval officer Captain Frederick Wentworth --- a choice not approved by Anne's family.  Lady Russell, friend and mentor to Anne, persuaded the younger woman to break off the match. Now, on the verge of spinsterhood, Anne re-encounters Frederick Wentworth as he courts her spirited young neighbour, Louisa Musgrove.  260 pp  

Wed. March 27 
The Tiger’s Wife
by Téa Obreht
In a Balkan country mending from war, Natalia, a young doctor, is compelled to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. Searching for clues, she turns to his worn copy of The Jungle Book and the stories he told her of his encounters over the years with “the deathless man.” But most extraordinary of all is the story her grandfather never told her—the legend of the tiger’s wife. (Random House)  337 pp  

Wed. April 24 
Lethal Legacy
by Linda Fairstein
 
When Assistant District Attorney Alex Cooper is summoned to Tina Barr’s apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, she finds a neighbor convinced that the young woman was assaulted. But the terrified victim, a conservator of rare books and maps, refuses to cooperate with investigators. Then another woman is found murdered in that same apartment with an extremely valuable book, believed to have been stolen. As Alex pursues the murderer, she is drawn into the strange and privileged world of the Hunt family, major benefactors of the New York Public Library and passionate rare book collectors.  373 pp 

Wed. May 22 
Chango’s  Beads and Two-tone Shoes
by William Kennedy
 *At Circulation Desk
When journalist Daniel Quinn meets Ernest Hemingway at the Floridita Bar in Havana, Cuba, in 1957, he has no idea that his own affinity for simple, declarative sentences will change his life radically overnight. So begins Pulitzer Prize winner William Kennedy's latest novel. Quinn's epic journey carries him through the nightclubs and jungles of Cuba and into the newsrooms and racially charged streets of Albany on the day Robert Kennedy is fatally shot in 1968. The odyssey brings Quinn, and his exotic but unpredictable Cuban wife, Renata, a debutante revolutionary, face-to-face with the darkest facets of human nature and illuminates the power of love in the presence of death.  328 pp   

Wed. June 26
Travels with My Aunt
by Graham Greene
*Pick up at Circulation Desk
Described by Graham Greene as "the only book I have written just for the fun of it, this is the story of Henry Pulling, a retired and complacent bank manager, who meets his septuagenarian Aunt Augusta for the first time at what he supposes to be his mother's funeral. She soon persuades Henry to abandon his dull suburban existence to travel her way—to Brighton, Paris, Istanbul, Paraguay. Through Aunt Augusta, one of Greene's greatest comic creations, Henry joins a shiftless, twilight society; mixes with hippies, war criminals,  and CIA men; smokes pot; and breaks all currency regulations. (Penguin)  254 pp

 

 

 

 

 

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