February 25, 2013 by Reader's Connection
Special feature this month: A voucher for a free ticket to IRT’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be given to each person who attends and participates in the “From Page to Stage” book discussion at Wayne on Monday, March 4th. See below.
The Shared Reading Group at Spades Park will continue to read Herman Melville’s Moby Dick on Friday, March 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th from 10:00 until 11:30. If you don’t feel like reading aloud, you can just sit and listen.
The Spades Park Book Discussion, as opposed to our read-aloud group, will meet on March 27th and is noted below.
History is sadly neglectful of the supporting players in the lives of great artists. Fortunately, fiction provides ample opportunity to bring these often fascinating personalities out into the limelight. Gaynor Arnold successfully resurrected the much-maligned Mrs. Charles Dickens in Girl in a Blue Dress, now Paula McLain brings Hadley Richardson Hemingway out from the formidable shadow cast by her famous husband. Though doomed, the Hemingway marriage had its giddy high points, including a whirlwind courtship and a few fast and furious years of the expatriate lifestyle in 1920s Paris. Hadley and Ernest traveled in heady company during this gin-soaked and jazz-infused time, and readers are treated to intimate glimpses of many of the literary giants of the era, including Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. But the real star of the story is Hadley, as this time around, Ernest is firmly relegated to the background as he almost never was during their years together. Though eventually a woman scorned, Hadley is able to acknowledge without rancor or bitterness that “Hem” had “helped me to see what I really was and what I could do.” Much more than a “woman-behind-the-man” homage, this beautifully crafted tale is an unsentimental tribute to a woman who acted with grace and strength as her marriage crumbled. — Booklist
The Indiana Repertory Theatre is producing William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, from April 10th to May 12th.
Ryan Artzberger, who will be playing Theseus and Oberon in the production, will lead a discussion of the play at at the Wayne Library on Monday, March 4th at 6:30 p.m.
Registration is required (275-4530) to participate and receive a free copy of the featured book (which is not necessarily pictured here).
Those who attend and participate in the discussion will each receive a voucher for one free ticket to the play.
If you wish to order tickets, you can do so by clicking on the IRT logo.
Kurt Vonnegut’s first novel spins the chilling tale of engineer Paul Proteus, who must find a way to live in a world dominated by a supercomputer and run completely by machines. Paul’s rebellion is vintage Vonnegut—wildly funny, deadly serious, and terrifyingly close to reality. — Random House
Western mothers are so afraid of damaging their little ones’ psyches, that they let them off too easy, have low expectations, and limit their children’s ability to achieve great things. Or so says Ms. Chua, a self-described Chinese, or “tiger” mother who has great success with driving her older daughter to excel in everything she does. But when her younger daughter rebels, growing more and more extreme in her refusals to obey her mother, it becomes a matter of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. Ms. Chua is horrified that her daughter is so disrespectful, and yet, eventually, she comes to believe that Lulu’s stubbornness and determination to find her own way will lead to its own kind of greatness. What begins as a didactic treatise on the superiority of Chinese parenting, segues into a gradual understanding that this way may not be for everyone and maybe that’s not altogether a bad thing. — Cheryl Holtsclaw, West Indianapolis Library
In January, 1896, a writer is describing encounters with his nephew, and says this: BUT my chief surprise has been his keen and appreciative enjoyment of Huckleberry Finn. I gave it to him to quiet him, and he was soon deep in it. This evening he has insisted on reading aloud to me the whole of that inimitable passage which relates how the two old frauds, the King and the Duke of Bridgewater, pretended to be the brothers of Mr. Peter Wilks, deceased. At every other sentence the boy had to stop, convulsed with laughter, and, mind you, he laughed in the right way and at the right things. This is no mere piece of knockabout clowning such as one supposes would appeal to a small boy, but a bit of the most genuine and incisive humour ever printed. I am, therefore, forced to the conclusion–still assuming GUY to be typical–that the sense of humour amongst nephews of a tender age has become far keener and juster than it used to be.
But, after all, what a great book Huckleberry Finn is. With how lavish a hand has MARK TWAIN scattered the riches of his humour and his observation and his sympathy over every page. There is enough in it to fit out twenty ordinary books with laughter. There are bits of description in it which bring a scene before your eyes as vividly as if you had seen it over and over again and fixed it on your mind. Characters are hit off in a few incisive touches, and the man stands before you as he must have lived. — Punch
SASH ADAMS is an unemployed recent law school graduate struggling to raise her young brother alone. Why would anyone target him as a kidnap victim? Even more baffling is why would the kidnappers demand the ransom for him from the arrogant media mogul, BRANDON PLAINE—a complete stranger? Reluctantly, Sash and Brandon form a dangerous alliance as they race against time to save her brother’s life — found on Smashwords
Sierra, Raine, and Liza are Destiny’s Divas, a fresh, new gospel group whose unique blend of singing and testifying has gained them fans across the country. They tell the world about how good God has been to them, but off-stage, each is living a life totally opposite to what she preaches–and each is harboring a secret that could ruin them all. Twenty-something Sierra Dixon speaks about the joy of being single and celibate, though she is anything but, drifting from one relationship to another. Although she stresses the importance of unconditional love within the family, Raine Omari has hit her breaking point with her mother-in-law and is ready to take drastic steps. And when Liza Washington discovers that her pastor-husband is in the middle of a scandal that could bring down more than just their ministry, she knows she must do something to stop him. One fateful evening their secrets are exposed, and one diva commits an act that could land her in prison for the rest of her life. — Simon & Schuster
Deborah Feldman’s Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots will be dicussed at the Fountain Square Library on Thursday, March 14th at 1:30 p.m.
Born into the insular and exclusionary Hasidic community of Satmar in Brooklyn to a mentally disabled father and a mother who fled the sect, Feldman, as she recounts in this nicely written memoir, seemed doomed to be an outsider from the start. Raised by devout grandparents who forbade her to read in English, the ever-curious child craved books outside the synagogue teaching. Feldman’s spark of rebellion started with sneaking off to the library and hiding paperback novels under her bed. Her boldest childhood revolution: she buys an English translation of the Talmud, which would otherwise be kept from her, so that she might understand the prayers and stories that are the fabric of her existence. At 17, hoping to be free of the scrutiny and gossip of her circle, she enters into an arranged marriage with a man she meets once before the wedding. Instead, having received no sex education from a culture that promotes procreation and repression simultaneously, she and her husband are unable to consummate the relationship for a year. The absence of a sex life and failure to produce a child dominate her life, with her family and in-laws supplying constant pressure. She starts to experience panic attacks and the stirrings of her final break with being Hasidic. It’s when she finally does get pregnant and wants something more for her child that the full force of her uprising takes hold and she plots her escape. Feldman, who now attends Sarah Lawrence College, offers this engaging and at times gripping insight into Brooklyn’s Hasidic community. — Publishers Weekly
The Invention of Hugo Cabret: A Novel in Words and Pictures, by Brian Selznick, will be discussed at the Irvington Library on Thursday, March 14th at 1:30 p.m.
Orphaned twelve-year-old Hugo Cabret lives in a train station in Paris in 1931, managing to survive by stealing food and keeping his uncle’s disappearance a secret. Hugo runs the clocks in the city for his uncle and pilfers small toy parts in the hopes of fixing an automaton that he received from his father. Eventually his plan of surviving on his own fails, and he befriends a young girl and her grandfather, who owns a toyshop in the train station. The grandfather recognizes Hugo’s talent for repairing machinery and employs him at the toy store. The girl’s grandfather turns out to be the famous filmmaker Georges Melies, who adopts Hugo and fosters his love for magic Selznick’s artwork in this “novel in words and pictures” is stunning. Beautiful, full-page black-and-white illustrations are interspersed throughout the book and advance the story, often in critical areas of the plot. Readers will also love the still film images that are used when the characters discuss Melies’s films. The novel is loosely based on the actual French filmmaker, and the credits section at the end gives more information about Melies, films from the early movie era, and automatons. Part mystery, part feel-good drama, and part picture book for older readers — VOYA
Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal — as we are! — Jane herself
Published in 1926 to explosive acclaim, The Sun Also Rises stands as perhaps the most impressive first novel ever written by an American writer. A roman à clef about a group of American and English expatriates on an excursion from Paris’s Left Bank to Pamplona for the July fiesta and its climactic bull fight, a journey from the center of a civilization spiritually bankrupted by the First World War to a vital, God-haunted world in which faith and honor have yet to lose their currency, the novel captured for the generation that would come to be called “Lost” the spirit of its age, and marked Ernest Hemingway as the preeminent writer of his time. — Publisher’s note
Portal, the Indianapolis Science Fiction and Fantasy Discussion Group, will meet at Glendale Library on Sunday, March 24th from 1:00 to 3:00.
Joanne Fluke mixes up a delightful recipe for murder.—Murder Express
An entertaining debut with some delectable recipes as a bonus.—Kirkus Reviews
America’s ethnic minorities have rarely been rendered with the insight, intuition and unsentimental candor that Proulx brings to the large canvas of characters and reaches of landscape in this ambitious new work. The narrative has eight parts, each composed of short vignettes that depict the cultural baggage?the attitudes, behaviors and social conditioning?that immigrants brought with them, and the ways in which they joined, yet held aloof from, American society. Beginning in the late 1800s and ending 100 years later, the novel follows a vividly realized cast of characters, whose names are as colorful as their stories: Ludwig Messermacher, Abelardo Relampago Salazar, Dolor Gagnon, Onesiphore Malefoot, Hieronim Przybysz. Their common bond is ownership of a green button accordion, which was brought to these shores by a Sicilian immigrant and, after his death at the hands of a lynch mob, was transported back and forth across the continent by various combinations of inheritance, violence and bad luck. With mesmerizing skill, Proulx summons up the attitudes and speech of her characters, vigorously detailing a formidable number of settings, including New Orleans, Hornet, Texas, Random, Maine, Prank, Iowa, and Old Glory, Minnesota. — Publishers Weekly