Lunch & a Book
On Thursday, July 11 at noon, we will be discussing:
The catcher in the rye by J.D. Salinger — This classic coming of age story electrified the literary world when published in 1951. The New York Times wrote that the 'book's very first sentence, struck a brash new note in American literature': "If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth." Over sixty years later, Salinger's writing and his disaffected and cynical narrator, Holden Caulfield, not only have iconic stature in the literary world, but remain as fresh and exciting as they were when new.
On Thursday, June 13 at noon, we will be discussing:
11/22/63: a novel by Stephen King — Jake Epping's friend Al, who owns the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to the past, a particular day in 1958. Al enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession: to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake's new life as George Amberson, in a different world of Ike and JFK and Elvis, of big American cars and sock hops and cigarette smoke everywhere. From the dank little city of Derry, Maine, to the warmhearted small town of Jodie, Texas, where Jake falls dangerously in love, every turn is leading eventually, of course, to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and to Dallas, where the past becomes heart-stoppingly suspenseful, and where history might not be history anymore. Time-travel has never been so believable. Or so terrifying.
The tiger's wife: a novel by Téa Obreht — Natalia, a young doctor, arrives in a Balkan country on a mission of mercy. By the time she and her lifelong friend Zóra begin to inoculate the children there, she feels age-old superstitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her. But Natalia is also confronting a private mystery of her own: the inexplicable circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather's recent death. After telling her grandmother that he was on his way to meet Natalia, he instead set off for a ramshackle settlement none of their family had ever heard of and died there alone. Why he left home becomes a riddle Natalia is compelled to unravel. Searching for clues, she turns to the stories he told her when she was a child. But the most extraordinary story of all is the one her grandfather never told her, the one Natalia must discover for herself. One winter during the Second World War, his childhood village was snowbound, cut off even from the encroaching German invaders but haunted by another, fierce presence: a tiger who comes ever closer under cover of darkness. "These stories," Natalia comes to understand, "run like secret rivers through all the other stories" of her grandfather's life. And it is ultimately within these rich, luminous narratives that she will find the answer she is looking for.
On Thursday, April 11 at noon we will be discussing:
Behind the beautiful forevers by Katherine Boo — In this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human. Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects human beings to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century's hidden worlds, and into the lives of people impossible to forget.
I married you for happiness by Lily Tuck — Slender, potent, and engaging, the book unfolds over a single night as Nina sits at the bedside of her husband, Philip, whose sudden death is the reason for her lonely vigil. She remembers defining moments of their long union, beginning with their meeting in Paris. She is an artist, he a mathematician-a collision of two different worlds that merged to form an intricate and passionate love. As we move through select memories-real and imagined-Tuck reveals the intimacies, secrets, and joys that defined Nina and Philip's life together.
On Thursday, February 14 at Noon we will be discussing:
Lives like loaded guns: Emily Dickinson and her family's feuds by Lyndall Gordon — In 1882, Emily Dickinson's brother Austin began a passionate love affair with Mabel Todd, a young Amherst faculty wife, setting in motion a series of events that would forever change the lives of the Dickinson family. The feud that erupted as a result has continued for over a century. Lyndall Gordon, tells the riveting story of the Dickinsons, and reveals Emily as a very different woman from the pale, lovelorn recluse that exists in the popular imagination. Gordon digs deep into the life and work of Emily Dickinson, to reveal the secret behind the poet's insistent seclusion, and presents a woman beyond her time who found love, spiritual sustenance, and immortality all on her own terms. An enthralling story of creative genius, filled with illicit passion and betrayal.
On Thursday, January 10 at Noon we will be discussing:
The shadow of the wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón — Barcelona, 1945 — just after the war, Daniel awakes on his eleventh birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother's face. To console him, Daniel's widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again. Daniel's father coaxes him to choose a volume from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him. And Daniel so loves the novel he selects, The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax, that he sets out to find the rest of Carax's work.
The shadow of the wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón — January 10th
Lives like loaded guns: Emily Dickinson and her family's feuds by Lyndall Gordon — February 14th
I married you for happiness by Lily Tuck — March 14th
Behind the beautiful forevers by Katherine Boo — April 11th
The tiger's wife: a novel by Téa Obreht — May 9th
11/22/63: a novel by Stephen King — June 13
The catcher in the rye by J.D.
On Thursday, November 8 at noon we'll be discussing:
The language of flowers: a novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh — After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, Victoria Jones is unable to get close to anybody and her only connection to the world is through flowers. She uses the Victorian language of flowers (originally developed to convey romance) to communicate grief, mistrust, and solitude. Praised by Booklist as "enchanting, ennobling, and powerfully engaging", this debut novel creates a vivid portrait of a woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past.
On Thursday, October 11 at noon we'll be discussing:
Turn of mind by Alice LaPlante — Dr. Jennifer White is the prime suspect in the murder of her life-long friend and neighbor, Amanda, but as she descends further into the later stages of dementia, it becomes unclear if her shattered memory is preventing her from remembering the truth or helping her hide it. Kirkus Reviews calls this book, "a haunting story masterfully told."
On Thursday, September 13 at Noon we'll be discussing:
Once upon a river: a novel by Bonnie Jo Campbell — After the violent death of her father, in which she is complicit, Margo Crane takes to the Stark River in her boat, with only a few supplies and a biography of Annie Oakley, in search of her vanished mother. Her river odyssey through rural Michigan becomes a defining journey, one that leads her beyond self-preservation and to the decision of what price she is willing to pay for her choices. The New York Times called this book "an excellent American parable about the consequences of our favorite ideal, freedom."
On Thursday, July 12 at Noon we'll be discussing:
Beloved: a novel by Toni Morrison — According to the publisher, Random House, the book can be described as "Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history in a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe's new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.
On Thursday August 9 at noon we'll be discussing:
Waterland by Graham Swift — Set in the bleak Fen Country of East Anglia, England and spanning some 240 years in the lives of its haunted narrator and his ancestors, Waterland is a book that takes in eels and incest, ale-making and madness, the heartless sweep of history and a family romance as tormented as any in Greek tragedy. According to the Los Angeles Times, "Waterland, like the Hardy novels, carries with all else a profound knowledge of a people, a place, and their interweaving… Swift tells his tale with wonderful contemporary verve and verbal felicity… A fine and original work."
Room: a novel by Emma Donoghue — January 12
The girls from Ames: a story of women & a forty-year friendship by Jeffrey Zaslow — February 9
The postmistress by Sarah Blake — March 8
Lethal by Sandra Brown — April 12
On Thursday June 14 at noon we'll be discussing:
Blood, bones, & butter: the inadvertent education of a reluctant chef by Gabrielle Hamilton. Before Gabrielle Hamilton opened her acclaimed New York restaurant Prune, she spent twenty fierce, hard-living years trying to find purpose and meaning in her life. Above all she sought family, particularly the thrill and the magnificence of the one from her childhood that, in her adult years, eluded her. Blood, Bones & Butter is an unflinching and lyrical work.
On Thursday April 12th from Noon to 1:00 PM we will be discussing the Everyone's Reading 2012 selection:
Lethal by Sandra Brown — When her four year old daughter informs her a sick man is in their yard, Honor Gillette rushes out to help him. But that "sick" man turns out to be Lee Coburn, the man accused of murdering seven people the night before. Dangerous, desperate, and armed, he promises Honor that she and her daughter won't be hurt as long as she does everything he asks. She has no choice but to accept him at his word. But Honor soon discovers that even those close to her can't be trusted.
On Thursday, February 9th from Noon to 1:00 PM we'll be discussing:
The girls from Ames: a story of women and friendship by Jeffrey Zaslow. Meet the Ames Girls: eleven childhood friends who formed a special bond growing up in Ames, Iowa. As young women, they moved to eight different states, yet managed to maintain an enduring friendship that would carry them through college and careers, marriage and motherhood, dating and divorce, a child's illness and the mysterious death of one member of their group. Capturing their remarkable story, The Girls from Ames is a testament to the deep bonds of women as they experience life's joys and challenges — and the power of friendship to triumph over heartbreak and unexpected tragedy.
On Thursday May 10th from Noon to 1PM we'll be discussing
To kill a mockingbird by Harper Lee — Scout Finch, daughter of the town lawyer Atticus, has just started school. She's known how to read and write, though, ever since she and her older brother Jem can remember. Bored with school, Scout and Jem decide on a project — to make Boo Radley, the town's notorious recluse, come out. But Scout's carefree days come to an end when a black man in town is accused of raping a white woman — and Atticus is the only man willing to defend him.
On Thursday, March 8th, at Noon we will be discussing:
The postmistress by Sarah Blake — The lives of two women in a small Cape Cod town are impacted by the radio broadcasts of Frankie Bard, an American journalist in London who hopes that by revealing details of World War II she will encourage the United States to take up the cause.
On Thursday, January 12, from Noon-1:00 PM we'll be discussing:
Room: a novel by Emma Donoghue — Five-year-old Jack has spent his life living in an eleven-by-eleven foot space his mother calls Room and while Jack uses his imagination to create wondrous fantasies to entertain himself, his mother dreads the day her son begins to question why they must remain in Room and tries to find a way to escape.