Items tagged with Book clubs

History Book Discussion: "The Killer Angels"

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Amateur historian and Westporter J. Bruce McGuirk leads a discussion of The Killer Angels by Michael Sharra.

On June 15 the first troops of the Army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee commanding, slip across the Potomac at Williamsport and begin the invasion of the North.

It is an army of seventy thousand men. They are rebels and volunteers. They are mostly unpaid and usually self-equipped. It is an army of remarkable unity, fighting for disunion. It is Anglo-Saxon and Protestant. Though there are many men who cannot read or write, they all speak English. They share common customs and a common faith and they have been consistently victorious against superior numbers. They have as solid a faith in their leader as any veteran army that ever marched. They move slowly north behind the Blue Ridge, using the mountains to screen their movements. Their main objective is to draw the Union Army out into the open where it can be destroyed. By the end of the month they are closing on Harrisburg, having spread panic and rage and despair through the North.For copies of the book, phone 203.291.4821.

 


ARE YOU UP TO THE CHALLENGE?
Summer Reading Challenge 2017.

Weeks Seminar Room
Book Groups

PageTurners Discuss "The Memory of Running"

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Join PageTurners for a discussion of The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty. By all accounts, especially his own, Smithson "Smithy" Ide is a loser. An overweight, friendless, chain-smoking, forty-three-year-old drunk, Smithy’s life becomes completely unhinged when he loses his parents and long-lost sister within the span of one week. Rolling down the driveway of his parents’ house in Rhode Island on his old Raleigh bicycle to escape his grief, the emotionally bereft Smithy embarks on an epic, hilarious, luminous, and extraordinary journey of discovery and redemption.

PageTurners Book Club page

For copies of the book, phone 203.291.4821. New participants always welcome. Information on more Library book groups.

Sheffer Reading Room
Book Groups

PageTurners Discuss "Submission"

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Join PageTurners for a discussion of Submission by Michel Houellebecq. This political satire imagines a situation in which a Muslim party upholding traditionalist and patriarchal values is able to win the 2022 presidential election in France with the support of the Socialist Party. The book drew an unusual amount of attention because, by a macabre coincidence, it was released on the day of the Charlie Hebdo shooting.

Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker has said of Submission that "Houellebecq is not merely a satirist but—more unusually—a sincere satirist, genuinely saddened by the absurdities of history and the madnesses of mankind." Michel Houellebecq's book may be satirical and melancholic, but it is also hilarious, a comic masterpiece by one of France's great novelists.

PageTurners Book Club page

For copies of the book, phone 203.291.4821. New participants always welcome. Information on more Library book groups.


ARE YOU UP TO THE CHALLENGE?
Summer Reading Challenge 2017.

Sheffer Reading Room
Book Groups

PageTurners Discuss "The Scarlet Letter"

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Join PageTurners for a discussion of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The book is considered to be his "masterwork". Set in 17th-century Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony, during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin and guilt.

PageTurners Book Club page

For copies of the book, phone 203.291.4821. New participants always welcome. Information on more Library book groups.


ARE YOU UP TO THE CHALLENGE?
Summer Reading Challenge 2017.

Sheffer Reading Room
Book Groups

Sybil Steinberg's New Book Picks

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Sybil Steinberg Westporter Sybil Steinberg, contributing editor and former book review section editor for Publishers Weekly, returns with more ideas for your summer reading with her ever-popular talk on the best new reads.


ARE YOU UP TO THE CHALLENGE?
Summer Reading Challenge 2017.

McManus Room
Talks & Readings

History Book Discussion: "Custer's Trials"

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Amateur historian and Westporter J. Bruce McGuirk leads a discussion of Custer's Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America by T. J. Stiles.
This winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for History paints a portrait of Custer both deeply personal and sweeping in scope, proving how much of Custer’s legacy has been ignored. Stiles demolishes Custer’s historical caricature, revealing a capable yet insecure man, intelligent yet bigoted, passionate yet self-destructive, a romantic individualist at odds with the institution of the military (court-martialed twice in six years) and the new corporate economy, a wartime emancipator who rejected racial equality. Stiles argues that, although Custer was justly noted for his exploits on the western frontier, he also played a central role as both a wide-ranging participant and polarizing public figure in his extraordinary, transformational time—a time of civil war, emancipation, brutality toward Native Americans, and, finally, the Industrial Revolution—even as he became one of its casualties.

“If anyone could make a reader forget Custer’s last stand, at least for a few hundred pages at a time, it would be T.J. Stiles… Stiles is a serious and accomplished biographer, but he is more than that. He is a skilled writer, with the rare ability to take years of far-ranging research and boil it down until he has a story that is illuminating and, at its best, captivating.” —The New York Times Book Review

For copies of the book, phone 203.291.4821.


ARE YOU UP TO THE CHALLENGE?
Summer Reading Challenge 2017.

Weeks Seminar Room
Book Groups

PageTurners Discuss "Middlesex"

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Join PageTurners for a discussion of Pulitzer Prize-winning Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. The story of Calliope Stephanides and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City, and the race riots of l967, before they move out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction.

PageTurners Book Club page

For copies of the book, phone 203.291.4821. New participants always welcome. Information on more Library book groups.


ARE YOU UP TO THE CHALLENGE?
Summer Reading Challenge 2017.

Sheffer Reading Room
Book Groups

PageTurners Discuss "The Man in the Wooden Hat "

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Join PageTurners for a discussion of The Man With the Wooden Hat by Jane Gardam. The New York Times called Sir Edward Feathers one of the most memorable characters in modern literature. A lyrical novel that recalls his fully lived life, Old Filth has been acclaimed as Jane Gardam’s masterpiece, a book where life and art merge. And now that beautiful, haunting novel has been joined by a companion that also bursts with humor and wisdom: The Man in the Wooden Hat. It is the history of his marriage told from the perspective of his wife, Betty, a character as vivid and enchanting as Filth himself. 

PageTurners Book Club page

For copies of the book, phone 203.291.4821. New participants always welcome. Information on more Library book groups.


ARE YOU UP TO THE CHALLENGE?
Summer Reading Challenge 2017.

Sheffer Reading Room
Book Groups

History Book Discussion of "Destiny of the Republic"

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Presidential history buff Mike Shaw leads a discussion of Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard. This New York Times bestseller is an account of James Garfield's rise from abject poverty. He rose to become a scholar, a Civil War hero, and a renowned and admired reformist congressman. Nominated for president against his will, he engaged in a fierce battle with the corrupt political establishment. But four months after his inauguration, a deranged office seeker tracked Garfield down and shot him in the back.

For copies of the book, phone 203.291.4821.

Weeks Seminar Room
Book Groups

The Usual Suspects Mystery Book Discussion: The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories

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Discuss The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories by P. D. James  Four previously uncollected stories from one of the great mystery writers of our time--swift, cunning murder mysteries (two of which feature the young Adam Dalgliesh) that together, to borrow the author's own word, add up to a delightful "entertainment."

The newly appointed Sgt. Dalgliesh is drawn into a case that is "pure Agatha Christie." A "pedantic, respectable, censorious" clerk's secret taste for pornography is only the first reason he finds for not coming forward as a witness to a murder ... A best-selling crime novelist describes the crime she herself was involved in fifty years earlier ... Dalgliesh's godfather implores him to reinvestigate a notorious murder that might ease the godfather's mind about an inheritance, but which will reveal a truth that even the supremely upstanding Adam Dalgliesh will keep to himself. Each of these stories is as playful as it is ingeniously plotted, the author's sly humor as evident as her hallmark narrative elegance and shrewd understanding of some of the most complex—not to say the most damning—aspects of human nature. A treat for P. D. James's legions of fans and anyone who enjoys the pleasures of a masterfully wrought whodunit. 

For copies of the book, phone 203.291.4821. New participants always welcome.

Weeks Seminar Room
Book Groups