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Book Discussions at the Library June 2013

May 27, 2013 by Reader's Connection

Our June discussions begin in the 1800’s and jump immediately–I mean simultaneously, across town–to the year 2030. A president is assassinated, a wife disappears (as does a daughter in another novel), a pillar of her church becomes a fallen adulteress, and a hardened prostitute comes to love God. Oh, and gods and goddesses are discussed.

Conrad Richter’s novel The Town, which is Book 3 of his “Awakening Land Trilogy,” will be discussed at the Franklin Road Library on Monday, June 3rd at 6:30 p.m.

2030 : The Real Story of What Happens to America, a novel by Albert Brooks, will be discussed at the Wayne Library on Monday, June 3rd at 6:30 p.m.

2030 : The Real Story of What Happens to AmericaComedian and filmmaker Brooks welcomes the reader to the year 2030 in his smart and surprisingly serious debut. Cancer has been cured, global warming is an acknowledged reality, people have robot companions, and the president is a Jew–and oy vey does he have his hands full with an earthquake-leveled Los Angeles and a growing movement by the young to exterminate the elderly. And when the Chinese offer to rebuild L.A. in exchange for a half-ownership stake in Southern California, President Bernstein is faced with a decision that will alter the future of America. Brooks’s sweeping narrative encompasses a diverse cast of characters, including an 80-year-old Angelino left homeless by the earthquake, a trust fund brat with a grudge against the elderly, and a teenage girl saddled with debt after her father’s death, all of whom get brought together just in time for a climactic hostage crisis. Brooks’s mordant vision encompasses the future of politics, medicine, entertainment, and daily living, resulting in a novel as entertaining as it is thought provoking, like something from the imagination of a borscht belt H.G. Wells. — Publishers Weekly


Chris Cleave’s Little Bee will be discussed at the Brightwood Library on Tuesday, June 4th at 6:00 p.m.

Little Bee

[An] astonishing, flawless novel about what happens when ordinary, mundane Western lives are thrown into stark contrast against the terrifying realities of war-torn Africa. Their marriage in crisis, Andrew and Sarah O’Rourke impulsively accept a junket to a Nigerian beach resort as a last-ditch attempt to reconcile. When machete-wielding soldiers appear out of the jungle and force them to determine the fate of two African girls, everyone’s lives are irrevocably shattered. Two years later in a London suburb, one of the girls, now a refugee, reconnects with Sarah. Together they face wrenching tests of a friendship forged under extreme duress. Best-selling author Cleave effortlessly moves between alternating viewpoints with lucid, poignant prose and the occasional lighter note. A tension-filled dramatic ending and plenty of moral dilemmas add up to a satisfying, emotional read. — Library Journal


Emma Donoghue’s novel Room will be discussed at Central Library on Tuesday, June 4th at 6:00 p.m.

RoomFive-year-old Jack and his Ma enjoy their long days together, playing games, watching TV, and reading favorite stories. Through Jack’s narration, it slowly becomes apparent that their pleasant days are shrouded by a horrifying secret. Seven years ago, his 19-year-old Ma was abducted and has since been held captive–in one small room. To her abductor she is nothing more than a sex slave, with Jack as a result, yet she finds the courage to raise her child with constant love under these most abhorrent circumstances. He is a bright child–bright enough, in fact, to help his mother successfully carry out a plan of escape. Once they get to the outside world, the sense of relief is short lived, as Jack is suddenly faced with an entirely new worldview (with things he never imagined, like other people, buildings, and even family) while his mother attempts to deal with her own psychological trauma. VERDICT Gripping, riveting, and close to the bone, this story grabs you and doesn’t let go. Donoghue skillfully builds a suspenseful narrative evoking fear and hate and hope–but most of all, the triumph of a mother’s ferocious love. — Library Journal


Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic Anne of Green Gables will be discussed at the Warren Library on Thursday, June 6th at 10:30 a.m.

Anne of Green GablesAs soon as Anne Shirley arrived at the snug, white farmhouse called Green Gables, she knew she wanted to stay forever… but would the Cuthberts send her back to the orphanage? Anne knows she’s not what they expected — a skinny girl with decidedly red hair and a temper to match. If only she could convince them to let her stay, she’d try very hard not to keep rushing headlong into scrapes or blurt out the very first thing she had to say. Anne was not like anybody else, everyone at Green Gables agreed; she was special — a girl with an enormous imagination. This orphan girl dreamed of the day when she could call herself Anne of Green Gables. — Random House


Moby Dick

Despite some reluctance on the part of Starbuck, Captain Ahab has sworn all of his crew to the pursuit of Moby Dick. Ishmael, our narrator, has wondered why the whiteness of the whale increases its inspired horror. Archy has heard coughing “down in the after-hold”; so just as the mad prophet Elijah had said onshore, someone seems to be secreted on board.

The Shared Reading Group at Spades Park will continue to read and discuss Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. We acquired a new shipmate a couple of weeks ago, and we’re so glad she’s with us. You can come, too.

We will meet every Friday, June 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th from 10:00 until 11:30. You are not compelled to read aloud if you don’t want to.


Killing Lincoln : The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard will be discussed at the East 38th Street Library on Monday, June 10th at 6:00 p.m.

Killing Lincoln : The Shocking Assassination That Changed America ForeverO’Reilly, the popular and controversial cable news commentator, teams here with Dugard to cover Lincoln’s assassination in a simple and morally unambiguous style. They offer no new insights into the death of Lincoln, just a sensationalist retelling of a familiar story. In pages filled with conjecture about the mental states of the protagonists, the authors succinctly describe the closing battles of the Civil War, the assassination, and its aftermath. They frequently speculate on conspiracy theories that involved secretary of war Edwin M. Stanton in the assassination plot, but they never make accusations except to say his behavior was “suspicious.” It will be interesting to see whether fans of O’Reilly’s television show will flock to his first foray into history the way they have to his books on contemporary issues. — Library Journal


The Flanner House Library will host a discussion of Forever Soul Ties, by Vanessa Davis Griggs, on Monday June 10th at 6:30 p.m.

Forever Soul TiesEthan and Butterfly fall in love in high school. As is so often the case, however, their young romance wanes, and they move on to relationships with other people. Years later, they run into each other. An innocent lunch invitation leads to more meals together, and as they talk about the problems in their marriages, their youthful, idealistic passion rekindles, and after a while, they’re having an affair. Their secret is exposed, and Butterfly, pillar of her church, becomes Butterfly the fallen adulteress. In her homey, faith-based tales, Davis Griggs deftly balances things of this world with spiritual issues, always keeping it real and never stooping to didacticism, which is one of the many reasons her books appeal to a wide cross section of readers. — Booklist


Gillian Flynn’s novel Gone Girl will be discussed at the Fountain Square Library on Thursday, June 13th at 1:30 p.m.

Gone GirlA perfect wife’s disappearance plunges her husband into a nightmare as it rips open ugly secrets about his marriage and, just maybe, his culpability in her death. Even after they lost their jobs as magazine writers and he uprooted her from New York and spirited her off to his childhood home in North Carthage, Mo., where his ailing parents suddenly needed him at their side, Nick Dunne still acted as if everything were fine between him and his wife, Amy. His sister Margo, who’d gone partners with him on a local bar, never suspected that the marriage was fraying, and certainly never knew that Nick, who’d buried his mother and largely ducked his responsibilities to his father, stricken with Alzheimer’s, had taken one of his graduate students as a mistress. That’s because Nick and Amy were both so good at playing Mr. and Ms. Right for their audience. But that all changes the morning of their fifth anniversary when Amy vanishes with every indication of foul play. Partly because the evidence against him looks so bleak, partly because he’s so bad at communicating grief, partly because he doesn’t feel all that grief-stricken to begin with, the tide begins to turn against Nick . . . One of those rare thrillers whose revelations actually intensify its suspense instead of dissipating it. The final pages are chilling. — Kirkus Reviews


Carol Faenzi’s What You Love the Most: An Irvington Memoir will be discussed at the Irvington Library on Thursday, June 13th at 1:30 p.m.

What You Love the Most was created out of boxes of genealogical research, photos, diaries and personal interviews for a family who wished to leave a book of stories for their descendants. — Author’s website


Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad will be discussed at the Pike Library on Monday, June 17th at 6:30 p.m.

A Visit from the Goon SquadEgan . . . a writer of cunning subtlety . . . tracks the members of a San Francisco punk band and their hangers-on over the decades as they wander out into the wider, bewildering world. Kleptomaniac Sasha survives the underworld of Naples, Italy. Her boss, New York music producer Bennie Salazar, is miserable in the suburbs, where his tattooed wife, Stephanie, sneaks off to play tennis with Republicans. Obese former rock-star Bosco wants Stephanie to help him with a Suicide Tour, while her all-powerful publicist boss eventually falls so low she takes a job rehabilitating the public image of a genocidal dictator. These are just a few of the faltering searchers in Egan’s hilarious, melancholy, enrapturing, unnerving, and piercingly beautiful mosaic of a novel — Booklist


Dance in the Dark, Terence Faherty’s most recent Scott Elliott novel, will be discussed at the Lawrence Library on Tuesday, June 18th at 10:15 a.m.

Dance in the DarkActor Forrest Combs, with his aristocratic good looks and upper-crust British accent, had a good run as a second or third lead during the war years and shortly thereafter. But it’s 1969, and the roles are few and far between. His teenage daughter, Miranda, has disappeared. Combs calls on old chum Scott Elliott, an investigator whose firm–Hollywood Security–has also seen better days, to find his daughter. Elliott reluctantly takes the case, if only to take his mind off his own missing child, Billy, who is MIA in Vietnam. Elliott follows the case into the filming of an Easy Rider-like movie that may be financed on the fly by drug money. The movie’s climactic scene will be filmed at a huge outdoor rock festival featuring a band that Miranda may have attached herself to as a groupie. The fifth Scott Elliott novel is very rich in sixties ambience, especially in its portrayal of the counterculture’s dark, cynical side. Think Sam Spade trading barbs with bikers and hippies. Faherty is also the author of the Edgar-nominated Owen Keane series. — Booklist

2 opportunities, now, to discuss your favorite books in a certain category. First there’s this:


The Eagle Library‘s Romance Potluck Book Group will meet on Wednesday, June 19th from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

This month’s theme will be “Love and Suspense.”

And then this:

Portal, the Indianapolis Science Fiction and Fantasy Discussion Group, will meet at the Glendale Library on Sunday, June 23rd from 1:00 to 3:00. Our theme this month will be “Fun with Gods and Goddesses: Divine Beings as Characters”


Wrapping up the month on Monday, June 24th at 6:30 p.m., the Southport Library will host a discussion of Redeeming Love, a novel by Francine Rivers.

Redeeming LoveRivers has rewritten a secular historical romance of the same name for the Christian market, and it is a splendid piece of work exploring both physical love and a love of God. Angel, a young, hardened prostitute sold into “the life” as a child, has no interest in God or religion. Then she meets Michael Hosea, a devout Christian who tells her it is his mission to save her. After being badly beaten, Angel decides to take Michael up on his offer of marriage. Eventually, she learns not only to love Michael but to love God as well. There is not one false note in this wonderful novel. The publisher’s foreword rates the book “PG” for its adult themes and subplots of rape and incest. However, these are handled with great sensitivity and are very much a part of the story’s development. — Library Journal


1 comment »

  1. Gerda says:

    I was very intrigued in Emma Donoghue’s novel “Room“, “Moby-Dick“ is a classic book and very interesting. This two books I liked the most.

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