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2009 Reading Group Selections

2009 Reading Group Selections

Upcoming Reading Selections

January 6, 2009

Night by Elie Wiesel

Night
by Elie Wiesel


Night is the harrowing true account of the Nazi death camps as experienced by a young Jewish boy. Born in the town of Sighet in Transylvania, Elie Wiesel was only a teenager when he and his family were forced out of their home and into a concentration camp called Auschwitz. Then later Elie was transferred to Buchenwald where he witnessed and experienced such horrors that Wiesel was unable to speak of his experience and kept silence for almost 10 years.
  

J. L. Miles

Cold Rock River
by J. L. Miles

On February 3, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. the Smyrna Book Discussion Group will welcome critically acclaimed author J. L. Miles to the Smyrna Public Library. Ms Miles will discuss her novel Cold Rock River. The book parallels the lives, loves, and losses of two young women born a century apart, yet somehow deeply connected.

J. L. Miles’ first book Rose Flower Creek gained raved reviews not only for its lyrical prose, but for its unforgettable characters. Her other writing credits include Divorcing Dwayne, the first in a trilogy featuring a true southern belle named Francine Harper.

Jackie Lee Miles, a Georgia resident for 30 years, has roots in Wisconsin and South Dakota, but considers herself "a northern girl with a southern heart."

March 3, 2009

Anthem by Ayn Rand

Anthem
by Ayn Rand

In the novelette Anthem, Ayn Rand presents a dark, frightening future where there is no love, no science, where individuals have no names, no independence, or values. It is the story of Equality 7-2521, whose defiant effort to break away from a society where individual thought has been labeled sinful and become his own person, marks him for death. For in Equality 7-2521’s world to even utter the word “I” is considered an extremely serious offense.

  

April 7, 2009

National Poetry Month

Much Ado About Nothing
by William Shakespeare

In recognition of National Poetry month, the book group will be reading one of the world’s greatest writers—William Shakespeare, who often wrote in unrhymed iambic pentameter.
   

June 6, 2009

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns

Cold Sassy Tree
by Olive Ann Burns

When Will's grandfather marries a woman young enough to be his daughter just six weeks after the death of his long time wife, tongues in Cold Sassy, Georgia are sent a'flappin.

 

July 7, 2009

Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen

Nature Girl
by Carl Hiaasen

The trend, noticeable in Hiaasen's last few novels, to move ever so slightly away from the apocalyptic edge is evident again in his latest screwball thriller. In fact, this one feels like a Shakespearean comedy, a mix of A Midsummer's Night Dream and As You Like It in which a group of confused lovers tangle with a gang of "rude mechanicals" deep in the Forest of Arden. Except here Arden is one of the Ten Thousand Islands in the famous Florida wilderness area. And our heroine, playing a variation on Rosalind, is a slightly screwy gal named Honey Santana, who possesses the tragic flaw of demanding "more decency and consideration from her fellow humans than they demand of themselves." That's a tall order when your fellow humans include a foul-smelling fishmonger who may be the world's most deranged stalker and a ne'er-do-well telephone solicitor who has the bad luck of calling Honey at the dinner hour. Before you can say "Lord, what fools these mortals be!" Honey, the phone guy, and his comely mistress have landed in Hiaasen's bug-infested Forest of Arden along with the fishmonger/stalker, a Seminole Indian on the lam, and sundry others. There is much chaos, of course, but throughout a long night on the island, there is never a sense of horror lurking behind the high jinks. We stick around for the show, however, even without much suspense, because Hiaasen is still as funny as any thriller writer alive, and because, even at his goofiest, his characters are never mere jokes with legs. There's always something human there, behind the laughter or beyond the horror, and this time that something is almost sweet. "Such sweet thunder," one might call it. Bill Ott

SOURCE: Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
   

August 4, 2009

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

The Memory Keeper's Daughter
by Kim Edwards

One snowy night Norah Henry goes into labor and her husband David, an orthopedic surgeon, with the aid of a nurse, delivers the twins. When David sees that his son is born healthy, but his daughter is born with Down's Syndrome, he makes a heartwrenching decision that eventually tears his family apart.

 

October 6, 2009

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle
by Jeannette Walls

Freelance writer Walls doesn't pull her punches. She opens her memoir by describing looking out the window of her taxi, wondering if she's "overdressed for the evening" and spotting her mother on the sidewalk, "rooting through a Dumpster." Walls's parents—just two of the unforgettable characters in this excellent, unusual book—were a matched pair of eccentrics, and raising four children didn't conventionalize either of them. Her father was a self-taught man, a would-be inventor who could stay longer at a poker table than at most jobs and had "a little bit of a drinking situation," as her mother put it. With a fantastic storytelling knack, Walls describes her artist mom's great gift for rationalizing. Apartment walls so thin they heard all their neighbors? What a bonus—they'd "pick up a little Spanish without even studying." Why feed their pets? They'd be helping them "by not allowing them to become dependent." While Walls's father's version of Christmas presents—walking each child into the Arizona desert at night and letting each one claim a star—was delightful, he wasn't so dear when he stole the kids' hard-earned savings to go on a bender. The Walls children learned to support themselves, eating out of trashcans at school or painting their skin so the holes in their pants didn't show. Buck-toothed Jeannette even tried making her own braces when she heard what orthodontia cost. One by one, each child escaped to New York City. Still, it wasn't long before their parents appeared on their doorsteps. "Why not?" Mom said. "Being homeless is an adventure."

SOURCE: Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

November 3, 2009

The Last Girls by Lee Smith

The Last Girls
by Lee Smith

The Big Chill meets Huckleberry Finn in a moving novel inspired by a real-life episode. Thirty-six years ago, Smith (Oral History) and 15 other college "girls" sailed a raft down the Mississippi River from Kentucky to New Orleans in giddy homage to Huck. Here she reimagines that prefeminist odyssey, and then updates it, as four of the raft's alumnae take a steamboat cruise in 1999 to recreate their river voyage and scatter the ashes of one of their own. What results is an unsentimental journey back to not-quite-halcyon college days of the mid-1960s ("periods cramps boys dates birth babies the works") masterfully intercut with more recent stories of marriages, infidelities, health crises and career moves, all set firmly in the South. At first the characters threaten to be mere stereotypes: innocent, self-sacrificing Harriet; arty, maternal Catherine; brittle Southern belle Courtney; brassy romance novelist Anna. But Smith reveals surprising truths about each character, even as she suggests that the fate of their departed classmate-the wild, promiscuous, possibly suicidal Baby-may never be understood. The steamboat setting provides ample opportunities to skewer cruise ship tackiness and Southern kitsch, a witty counterpoint to the often troubled personal stories of the passengers. Readers who like their plots linear may be challenged by the tangle of tales, but those who agree that "there are no grown-ups," and that there's "no beginning and no end" to the "real story" of people's lives, will find this tender, generous, graceful novel a delight.

SOURCE: Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

December 1, 2009

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Tuck Everlasting
by Natalie Babbitt

Rarely does one find a book with such prose. Flawless in both style and structure, it is rich in imagery and punctuated with light fillips of humor. The author manipulates her plot deftly, dealing with six main characters brought together because of a spring whose waters can bestow everlasting life. . .Underlying the drama is the dilemma of the age-old desire for perpetual youth.

SOURCE: The Horn Book

 

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