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Book Discussions at the Library February 2014 (I’ve just added Glendale’s Portal discussion.)

January 25, 2014 by Reader's Connection

groundhogWe have just received an email from the groundhog, who doesn’t want to be associated with the weather we’re having, and would rather not be consulted next weekend about when it’s going to end. He recommends that we stay warm in February by reading good books and attending discussions.

Our One Book, Two Cities book discussions continue this month. Eva Menasse’s novel  Vienna will be discussed at ten branches. Or nine branches and Big Car Service Center. A couple of the discussions even happen on Saturdays. We’re working with the groundhog on this.

ViennaVienna discussions are scheduled at:

Eagle Library‘s discussion will transpire at Big Car Service Center (3819 Lafayette Road) on Saturday, February 1st at 12:00 noon.

Franklin Road Library  Monday, February 3rd  6:30 p.m.

Brightwood Library  Tuesday, February 4th  6:00 p.m.

Warren Library  Thursday, February 6th  10:30 a.m.

Glendale Library  Tuesday, February 11th  10:00 a.m.

Fountain Square Library  Thursday, February 13th  1:30 p.m.

Garfield Park Library  Saturday, February 15th  11:00 a.m.

Wayne Library  Saturday, February 15th  2:00 p.m.

Lawrence Library  Tuesday, February 18th  10:15 a.m.

Pike Library Wednesday, February 19th  6:00 p.m.

Spades Park Library  Wednesday, February 26th  6:00 p.m.

And remember that, since this novel is so concerned with family history, the library is hosting two related programs at different branches.

One Book, Two Cities: Writing Your Family History

One Book, Two Cities: Preserving Family Photos – From Daguerreotype to Digital 

little_hog2In an effort to honor the groundhog’s wishes, Wayne Library, in addition to the 2/15 Vienna discussion listed above, will host a discussion of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre on Monday, February 3rd at 6:30 p.m.


Jane Eyre

This is not merely a work of great promise; it is one of absolute performance. It is one of the most powerful domestic romances which have been published for many years. It has little or nothing of the old conventional stamp upon it … but it is full of youthful vigour, of freshness and originality, of nervous diction and concentrated interest. The incidents are sometimes melo-dramatic, and, it might be added, improbable; but these incidents, though striking, are subordinate to the main purpose of the piece, which is a tale of passion, not of intensity which is most sublime. It is a book to make the pulses gallop and the heart beat, and to fill the eyes with tear —The Atlas (1847)


Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks was going to be discussed in January at Central Library , but snow and arctic cold shut the library down. The discussion has musically moved to Tuesday, February 4th at 6:00 p.m.

MusicophiliaMusic seems to be meaningless, and our love of it inexplicable, but neurologist Sacks, one of the foremost physician-essayists of the day, charmingly argues that music is essential to being human in ways that have only begun to be understood. In many different circumstances, music may arise involuntarily within a person, as attested to by Sacks’ initial presentation of cases of sudden intense affinity for music and development of musical skills, of so-called brain worms or tunes that automatically repeat within the mind, and of musical seizures and hallucinations . . . the seeming universality of musical mental imaging, even in the utterly deaf, has encouraged the therapeutic use of music to treat an ever-increasing number of illnesses, including the results of severe brain damage, congenital retardative conditions, and such degenerative neuropathies as parkinsonism and Alzheimer’s. Sacks’ reporting on all of this makes for quite an omnium-gatherum on the main contention that, in essence, musicality is humanity. His customary erudition and fellow-feeling ensure that, no matter how clinical the discussion becomes, it remains, like the music of Mozart, accessible and congenial. — Booklist


When I cane my way up this lofty stair,
My hobbling gives some folks a scare.
If you have more good sense than I,
To ask for the ‘vator don’t be shy.

As mentioned in an earlier post, the Shared Reading Group at Spades Park Library will be reading short stories, rather than novels, for a little while.

They read the works together, they discuss, they eat refreshments. If this appeals to you, but you haven’t wanted to commit to reading a novel with the group, now’s your chance to experience shared reading.

On February Fridays–the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th–they’ll be there from 10:00 to 11:30. If you don’t want to read aloud, you don’t have to.




Edward Kelsey Moore’s novel The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat will be discussed at the East 38th Street Library on Monday, February 10th at 6:00 p.m.

The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-EatOdette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean have been close friends since girlhood, growing up in the 1960s in the southern Indiana town of Plainview. Their personalities and cool good looks earned them the name the Supremes when they’d meet regularly to eat at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, with Big Earl keeping a watchful eye on them. Now in middle age, the Supremes meet regularly with their husbands for dinner at Earl’s, now managed by his son. The aging Supremes and Earl’s are institutions in a black community that has seen much progress since the 1950s, when the restaurant became the first black-owned business in a racially divided town. But the town as well as the women have also seen much trouble. Odette makes time in her busy life for the regular visitations of her dead mother, Clarice copes with the humiliation of an unfaithful husband, and Barbara Jean struggles to hide her drinking to assuage the death of her child. Moore intersperses episodes from the past with their current lives, showing their enduring friendship through good times and bad. — Booklist


The Flanner House Library will host a discussion of Tara Conklin’s novel The House Girl on Monday, February 10th at 6:30 p.m.

The House GirlLina Sparrow, the daughter of two moderately successful artists, is a New York attorney. In 2004, she is assigned the career-making job of discovering a living person with American-slave ancestry for a class-action suit seeking reparations for abuse and bondage. Josephine Bell, a 17-year-old house slave in antebellum Virginia in 1852, tends her mistress Lu Anne Bell, a mediocre artist, and dreams of freedom. Conklin switches between the two women’s viewpoints as she slowly reveals the identity of the painter responsible for poignant works representing the people, free and enslaved, of Bell Creek Plantation. VERDICT Simultaneously telling the stories of two women separated in time by 150 years, the author slowly builds a suspenseful and dramatic revelation of their deep connection across the decades. Conklin’s debut is a seamless juxtaposition of past and present, of the lives of two women, and of the redemptive nature of art and the search for truth and justice. Guaranteed to keep readers up long past their bedtimes. — Library Journal


Jonah Lehrer’s Imagine: How Creativity Works has been surrounded with controversy, and the discussion at the Irvington Library–on Thursday, February 13th at 1:30 p.m.–should be a lively one.

Imagine: How Creativity Works


For one response to the controversy, you might read Roy Peter Clark’s article “Why Jonah Lehrer’s ‘Imagine’ Is Worth Reading, Despite the Problems” at Poynter.

You can click on some of the links in Mr. Clark’s article, to read about the “problems” with the book.






The Nora Library, in conjunction with the Jordan YMCA, will host a discussion of  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows on Monday, February 17th at 6:30 p.m.

Registration is required. Call 275-4472 or come to the Nora Information Desk.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The German occupation of the Channel Islands, recalled in letters between a London reporter and an eccentric gaggle of Guernsey islanders.This debut by an “aunt-niece” authorial team presents itself as cozy fiction about comfortably quirky people in a bucolic setting, but it quickly evinces far more serious, and ambitious, intent. In 1946, Juliet, famous for her oxymoronic wartime humor column, is coping with life amid the rubble of London when she receives a letter from a reader, Dawsey, a Guernsey resident who asks her help in finding books by Charles Lamb. After she honors his request, a flurry of letters arrive from Guernsey islanders eager to share recollections of the German occupation of the islands . . . The engrossing subject matter and lively writing make this a sure winner, perhaps fodder for a TV series. — Kirkus Reviews








Portal, the Indianapolis Science Fiction and Fantasy Discussion Group, will meet at the Glendale Library on Sunday, February 23rd from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. The theme this month will be “Magic, P.I. – detective stories in F&SF settings From hard boiled PIs in high fantasy to wizard investigators in Chicago, from amateurs with something extra to robot cops).”


James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small will be discussed at the Southport Library on Monday, February 24th at 6:30

All Creatures Great and Small
For years I used to bore my wife over lunch with stories about funny incidents. The words ‘My book,’ as in ‘I’ll put that in it one day,’ became a sort of running joke. Eventually she said, ‘Look, I don’t want to offend you, but you’ve been saying that for 25 years. If you were going to write a book, you’d have done it. You’re never going to do it now. Old vets of 50 don’t write books.’ So I purchased a lot of paper right then and started to write. — James Herriot



little_hog2The East 38th Street Library is going all out to honor the groundhog’s wishes. In addition to their regular discussion on 2/10, they’re going to host a new discussion group (new to this blog, anyway): The Eastside Readers Youth Book Club will meet on Tuesday, February 25th at 5:30 p.m., to discuss Sharon Draper’s Tears of a Tiger

Tears of a Tiger
Teens are invited to join their peers and dive into the fast-paced Hazelwood High Trilogy – three powerful stories that cut past the drama and get to the heart of what real high schoolers experience. Discussions will draw inspiration from the challenges the characters face and focus on turning hardships into experiences that build character and confidence. This discussion series is sponsored by the Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School, the Indianapolis Public Library Foundation, and Winning Experiences.


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