Items tagged with Book clubs

The Usual Suspects Mystery Book Discussion: Random Violence

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Discuss Random Violence by Jassy McKenzie. In Johannesburg prosperous whites live in gated communities; when they exit their cars to open the gates, car-jackings are common. But seldom is the victim killed, much less shot twice, like Annette Botha. Piet Botha, the husband of the wealthy woman, is the primary suspect in his wife's murder.

P.I. Jade de Jong fled South Africa ten years ago after her father was killed. Now back in town, she offers to help her father's former assistant, Superintendent David Patel, with his investigation of this case. Under apartheid, Patel, of Indian descent, could never have attained his present position. But he is feeling pressure from his "old line" boss with respect to this investigation and fears lingering prejudice is at work.

As Jade probes into this and other recent car-jacking cases, a pattern begins to emerge, a pattern that goes back to her father's murder and that involves a vast and intricate series of crimes for profit.

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


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

Weeks Seminar Room
Book Groups

PageTurners Discuss "Did You Ever Have a Family"

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Join PageTurners for a discussion of Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg. The debut novel from bestselling memoir author and literary agent Bill Clegg is a powerful story about a circle of people who find solace in the least likely of places as they cope with a horrific tragedy. Hailed as “masterly” by The New York Times Book Review, “a brilliantly constructed debut set in the aftermath of catastrophic loss” (2015 Man Booker Prize Judges).

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 "My Name is Lucy Barton"

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Join PageTurners for a discussion of My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout. (NOTE: this selection is a change from the previous announced selection.) Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable.

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

The Usual Suspects Mystery Book Discussion: The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam

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Discuss The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam by Chris Ewan. Charlie Howard travels the globe writing suspense novels for a living, about an intrepid burglar named Faulks. To supplement his income—and to keep his hand in—Charlie also has a small side business: stealing for a very discreet clientele on commission. “This [is an] impressive debut, a comic whodunit ... Howard is a fresh, irreverent creation who will make readers eager for his next exploit.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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

Weeks Seminar Room
Book Groups

History Book Discussion: "Bunker Hill"

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Amateur historian and Westporter J. Bruce McGuirk leads a discussion of Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick. Boston in 1775 is an island city occupied by British troops after a series of incendiary incidents by patriots who range from sober citizens to thuggish vigilantes. After the Boston Tea Party, British and American soldiers and Massachusetts residents have warily maneuvered around each other until April 19, when violence finally erupts at Lexington and Concord. In June, however, with the city cut off from supplies by a British blockade and Patriot militia poised in siege, skirmishes give way to outright war in the Battle of Bunker Hill. It would be the bloodiest battle of the Revolution to come, and the point of no return for the rebellious colonists. Philbrick reconstructs the revolutionary landscape—geographic and ideological—in a narrative of the robust, messy, blisteringly real origins of America.

“A masterpiece of narrative and perspective…”—Boston Globe

“Masterly… Philbrick tells the complex story superbly.”
Wall Street Journal

For copies of the book, phone 203.291.4821.

Weeks Seminar Room
Book Groups

The Usual Suspects Mystery Book Discussion: An Then There Were None

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View the 1945 film adaptation of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, followed by a discussion. Ten people, strangers to each other, are invited to a lavish estate on an island. Through a recording, their mysterious host accuses each of his guests of murder and proceeds to exact justice. The tension mounts as, one by one, the number of people are reduced through the ingenious plotting of the unseen killer. Finally only two are left and each is uncertain as to whether or not the other is the murderer.

And Then There Were None (1945, 1h 37m), directed by René Clair, is one of several film adaptations of Agatha Christie's best-selling mystery novel concerning several people summoned to an island retreat by a mysterious stranger, only to meet their ends one by one. The film changes certain characters' names and adheres to the ending of the play rather than that of the novel. Though its subject matter is dark, the screenplay injects considerable humor into the proceedings, lightening the tone of Christie's grim book. It was directed by Rene Clair from a screenplay by Dudley Nichols. Its cast featured Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Huston, Louis Hayward, Roland Young, June Duprez, Mischa Auer, C. Aubrey Smith, Judith Anderson, Richard Haydn and Queenie Leonard as the people stranded on the island. 

The group meets on the 1st Sunday of the month. For copies of the book, phone 203.291.4821. New participants always welcome.

Higgins Room
Book Groups

WestportREADS 2017: Neighbors & Newcomers and PageTurners Discuss "Bettyville"

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miracle at st. annaJoin the Neighbors & Newcomers of Westport and PageTurners to discuss WestportREADS selection for 2017 of Bettyville by George Hodgman. This humorous and insightful memoir is the story of how he left Manhattan for his hometown of Paris, Missouri, and found himself an unlikely caregiver for his aging mother, Betty, a woman of wit and will who was in her nineties and showing signs of dementia. George struggles over whether to try and lure her into assisted living, away from the home they both treasure. Betty, who speaks her mind but keeps her emotions private, has never accepted the fact that her son is gay.

Community partner: Neighbors & Newcomers of Westport

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

WestportREADS is funded by the estate of Jerry A. Tishman.

McManus Room
WestportREADS, Book Groups

A Year of Reading Jane Austen: Discuss "Pride & Prejudice"

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As a part of a "Year of Reading Jane Austen," join Staples High School teachers Jamie Pacuk and Mary Elizabeth Fulco for a discussion of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. We will examine this timeless novel and share ideas and insights on Austen’s use of satire, her views on love, gender roles and societal expectations of the time, and on her creation of a strong female character in Elizabeth Bennet.

Come with a favorite passage(s) to share and discuss!  

One of the most universally loved and admired English novels, Pride and Prejudice was penned as a popular entertainment. But the consummate artistry of Jane Austen (1775–1817) transformed this effervescent tale of rural romance into a witty, shrewdly observed satire of English country life that is now regarded as one of the principal treasures of English language.

In a remote Hertfordshire village, far off the good coach roads of George III's England, a country squire of no great means must marry off his five vivacious daughters. At the heart of this all-consuming enterprise are his headstrong second daughter Elizabeth Bennet and her aristocratic suitor Fitzwilliam Darcy — two lovers whose pride must be humbled and prejudices dissolved before the novel can come to its splendid conclusion.

Jamie Pacuk holds a Masters of Arts Degree in Secondary Education & English from Fairfield University and a Bachelor's in English Literature from Western Connecticut State. She currently teaches at Staples High School and has been an educator in the Westport Schools District for 10 years. A mentor for new teachers and 2014 nominee for Teacher of the Year, Jamie also is active on multiple leadership committees dedicated to improving student learning and growth, as well as educator collaboration and development.

Jamie is a passionate teacher who has helped bring Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice to life for her Sophomore Honors English Classes, delving into the context of the time period, making connections to gender roles, societal expectations, comical characters,and examining why Elizabeth Bennet was truly ahead of her time.

Mary Elizabeth Fulco is a high school English and journalism teacher. She received her BA in English from the University of Mary Washington and earned her MA in Women’s Studies at Southern Connecticut State University. She has been teaching since 2005 and has spent the last eight years at Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut. Ms. Fulco was named the 2017 Westport Teacher of the Year and was also named a semi-finalist for the 2017 Connecticut Teacher of the Year. She also most recently received the 2016 NEATE Ann Garland West Outstanding Teacher of the Year award.

Pride and Prejudice is one of Ms. Fulco’s favorite books. She has taught the novel for a number of years, but finds that the story never grows stale, for as the Austen character, Caroline Bingley, says, “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book.” Ms. Fulco is looking forward to discussing Pride and Prejudice’s humor, characters, and themes of love, class and gender with, of course, complimentary tea and biscuits on the side.

In partnership with the Jane Austen Society North America, CT Region.

Detailed guide compiled by Westport Library reference librarians.

McManus Room
Book Groups

History Book Discussion: "The Wright Brothers"

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Amateur historian and Westporter J. Bruce McGuirk leads a discussion of The Wright Brothers by David McCullough. This #1 New York Times bestseller from David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, tells the dramatic story-behind-the-story of Wilbur and Orville Wright, the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly.

“A story of timeless importance, told with uncommon empathy and fluency. ... A story, well told, about what might be the most astonishing feat mankind has ever accomplished. ...The Wright Brothers soars.”—Daniel Okrent, The New York Times Book Review

History book discussions occur the 2nd Sunday of the month at 3 pm. For copies of the book, phone 203.291.4821.

Weeks Seminar Room
Book Groups

History Book Discussion of "Founders' Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln"

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Presidential history buff Mike Shaw leads a discussion of Founders' Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln by Richard Brookhiser. In this book, Brookhiser looked where Abraham Lincoln looked—to the founding fathers who inspired him to take up public life, who showed him how to win arguments, and who laid out America’s principles. The founders gave Lincoln direction, which bound all his talents—politics, humor, poetry, leadership—together. 

When not working as a copy editor, discussion leader Mike Shaw is reading books about presidential history. He recently completed the presidential biography challenge, where he read a bio of every president in order. He also runs an online presidential history discussion group and is always looking for new members.

History book discussions occur the 2nd Sunday of the month at 3 pm. For copies of the book, phone 203.291.4821.

Weeks Seminar Room
Book Groups