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Book Discussions at the Library June 2014

May 24, 2014 by Reader's Connection

“Where Are We Going?”

That’s not a question about family plans for the Memorial Day weekend. Well, it could be, but it’s also this month’s theme for Portal, the Indianapolis Science Fiction and Fantasy Discussion Group. (See below.)

As for where our June books are going, they’re set in Danville and Gibraltar and London and Nigeria (which sounds like the same Nigeria we’re reading about in the news) and William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County.


Steven Doyle, co-author of Sherlock Holmes for Dummies, will be at the Franklin Road Library on Monday June 2nd at 6:30 p.m., to help discuss Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes


The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

This gripping collection includes many of the famous cases-and great strokes of brilliance-that made the leg­endary Sherlock Holmes one of fiction’s most popular creations. With his devoted secretary, Dr. Watson, Holmes emerges from his smoke-filled rooms on Baker Street to grapple with the forces of treachery, intrigue, and evil in such cases as “The Speckled Band,” in which a terrified woman begs Holmes and Watson’s help in solv­ing the mystery surrounding her sister’s death, and “A Scandal in Bohemia,” which portrays a European king blackmailed by his mis­tress. A spine-tingling treat for anyone who loves a classic whodunit — Publisher’s note


Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus will be discussed at the Wayne Library on Monday, June 2nd at 6:30 p.m.

The Night CircusTo enter the black-and-white-striped tents of Le Cirque des Rêves is to enter a world where objects really do turn into birds and people really do disappear. Even though visitors believe the performances are all illusion, they are obsessively drawn to this extraordinary night circus. Those who run and perform in the circus are its lifeblood. Marco Alisdair runs the operation from London as assistant to the eccentric proprietor. Celia Bowen holds it all together from her role as illusionist. As magicians, Marco and Celia are bound to each other in a deadly competition of powers, creating ever more fantastical venues for circus goers to marvel at. But falling in love was never part of the game, and the players struggle to extricate themselves from this contest while keeping the circus afloat. Debut novelist Morgenstern has written a 19th-century flight of fancy that is, nevertheless, completely believable. — Library Journal


Central Library will host a discussion of John le Carré’s A Delicate Truth on Tuesday, June 3rd at 6:00 p.m.

A Delicate TruthThe distinguished chronicler of Cold War espionage and its costs casts his cold eye on the fog of war and its legacy when the war sets terrorists against the mercenaries and independent contractors to whom international security has been farmed out. A colorless midlevel civil servant is plucked from the anonymous ranks of the Foreign Office, given a wafer-thin cover identity as statistician Paul Anderson and packed off to Gibraltar, where he’s to serve as the eyes and ears and, mainly, the yea or nay of rising Member of Parliament Fergus Quinn, who can’t afford to be directly connected to Operation Wildlife. On the crucial night the forces in question are to disrupt an arms deal and grab a jihadist purchaser, both Paul and Jeb Owens, the senior military commander on the ground, smell a rat and advise against completing the operation . . . Resolutely keeping potential action sequences just offstage, le Carré focuses instead on the moral rot and creeping terror barely concealed by the affable old-boy blather that marks the pillars of the intelligence community. — Kirkus Reviews


When You Come Home: The True Love Story of a Soldier's Heroism and His Wife's Sacrifice

Author Nancy Cavin Pitts will take part in the discussion of her book When You Come Home: The True Love Story of a Soldier’s Heroism and His Wife’s Sacrifice at the Warren Library on Thursday, June 5th at 10:30 a.m.

Daphne Cavin’s poignant story of love, loss and sacrifice was one of the most memorable I encountered in writing The Greatest Generation. Her daughter now completes the story with this very heartfelt book. – Tom Brokaw





The Scarlet Letter


The Shared Reading Group at Spades Park Library, is reading Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.


The shared reading and ensuing discussion and alluring refreshments will be facilitated by Anja Petrakopoulos on Fridays–June 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th–from 10:00 to 11:30.




CaneThe group seems to be settling in on their next book, by the way. I’m pretty sure that Cane, by Jean Toomer, will be their next shared read.



Cheryl Ann Lambert’s My Dad’s Faith: A Source of Inspiration (not available at IndypL) will be discussed at the East 38th Street Library on Monday, June 9th at 6:00 p.m.







Al Sharpton’s The Rejected Stone: Al Sharpton and the Path to American Leadership will be discussed at the Flanner House Library on Monday, June 9th at 6:30 p.m.

The Rejected Stone: Al Sharpton and the Path to American LeadershipSharpton has come a long way from street activist to political commentator on ­MSNBC. Does his high status hurt his image as a rabble-rouser? Sharpton argues that leadership requires adaptability and the wisdom to change when it’s appropriate. Interweaving life lessons learned from relationships with larger-than-life personalities, from Adam Clayton Powell Jr. to James Brown to Michael Jackson, Sharpton emphasizes the importance of persistence and hard work. Placing himself in the context of a liberal progressive, he nonetheless criticizes the degrading elements of hip-hop culture and laments high rates of illegitimate births among African Americans . . . A staunch Obama supporter, in defense of criticism of the president by liberals, he notes that the president cannot read our minds and charges black leaders with responsibility to push a black agenda that the president cannot because he is the president of all Americans. In his own way, Sharpton is telling black leadership that it is time to step up. — Booklist


The Sound and the Fury


William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury  will be discussed at the Fountain Square Library on Thursday, June 12th at 1:30 p.m.


Please see my earlier rave about this novel.






The Pike Library will host a discussion of Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette Monday, June 16th at 6:30 p.m.

Where'd You Go, BernadetteIn her second novel, Semple pieces together a modern-day comic caper full of heart and ingenuity. Eighth-grader Bee is the daughter of Microsoft genius Elgin Branch and Bernadette Fox, a once-famous architect who has become a recluse in her Seattle home. Bee has a simple request: a family cruise to Antarctica as a reward for her good grades. Her parents acquiesce, but not without trepidation. Bernadette’s social anxiety has become so overwhelming that she’s employed a personal assistant . . . for tasks as simple as making dinner reservations. How will she survive three weeks on a boat with other live human beings? Maybe she won’t; a day before the trip, Bernadette disappears, and Bee gathers her mother’s invoices, e-mail correspondence, and emergency room bills in the hopes of finding clues as to where she went.The result is a compelling composite of a woman’s life–and the way she’s viewed by the many people who share it. As expected from a writer who has written episodes of Arrested Development, the nuances of mundane interactions are brilliantly captured, and the overarching mystery deepens with each page, until the thoroughly satisfying denouement. — Publishers Weekly


Philip Gulley’s memoir I Love You, Miss Huddleston, and Other Inappropriate Longings of My Indiana Childhood will be discussed on Tuesday, June 17th at 10:15 a.m. at the Lawrence Library.

I Love You, Miss Huddleston, and Other Inappropriate Longings of My Indiana Childhood

Some kids were evidently not unhappy growing up, but they can still get pretty good childhood memoirs, especially if they are honest about exaggerating. Quaker pastor-author Gulley writes a low-key Hoosier who’s who in this memoir set in Danville, Ind., where youthful acting out takes the form of hurling tomatoes and detonating cans of bug spray. Danville includes Quaker widows aplenty, pals named Peanut and Suds, an arthritic and deaf police dog and a mousery that provisions Indiana’s homegrown pharmaceutical manufacturer, Eli Lilly. Gulley has no shortage of material, and the teenage years naturally bring an attack of hormones that prompts pathetic, doomed crushes. We even manage to learn a few facts about the humorist, such as that Gulley grew up Catholic. His chief object of fun is his youthful self, which takes the edge off his views of other characters from his youth — Publishers Weekly


Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague , by Geraldine Brooks, will be discussed at the Irvington Library on Thursday, June 19th at 1:30 p.m.

Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague Particularly hard hit [by the plague] was the Derbyshire village of Eyam, whose story is told here. The plague traveled to Eyam in a bundle of cloth. The unfortunate recipient, a tailor, then becomes the first to die in an epidemic that leaves the village shrunk to one-third of its former population. What makes the tale of Eyam remarkable is that the citizens, led by their pastor, agreed to impose a quarantine on themselves in order to stop the plague from spreading. The usual response to news of plague in early modern Europe was flight, for there was no cure and death was almost certain. Brooks tells the story of Eyam’s heroic battle from the perspective of young Anna Frith, servant to the pastor and his wife. Widowed before the epidemic, Anna is the mother of two small children and landlady to the unfortunate tailor. She nurses her friends and family to little avail during the horrors of the plague year, but her spirit remains unbroken. — Library Journal








Portal, the Indianapolis Science Fiction and Fantasy Discussion Group, will meet at the Glendale Library on Sunday, June 22nd from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

The theme this month is “Where Are We Going?” The group will be talking about maps in fiction and science fiction.


Chris Cleave’s Little Bee will be discussed at the Southport Library on Monday, June 23rd at 6:30 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


On Tuesday, June 24th the Spades Park Poetry Program will re-convene, led by Patrick Dugan.

There will be a shared reading of poems and a discussion about them.


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