Last Monday Book Discussion Group

Meets the Last Monday of each month at 7 p.m.
At the Athens-Clarke County Library

Love discussing literature, plays, and poetry? Join us for in depth discussions of literature, plays, and poetry the last Monday of every month. If you are interested in joining please email oconti@athenslibrary.org or call (706) 613-3650 ext 324.

Quiet American

quiet american book club

The Quiet American, August 26, 2019 7PM

The Quiet American is a novel by Graham Greene that is set in Vietnam in the early 1950s. The story takes place in the midst of the conflict between the Viet Minh and the South Vietnamese, who are supported by the French. The novel is narrated by the protagonist, Thomas Fowler, a British war journalist who has been living in Saigon for an extended period of time. He refuses to engage in the conflict or to form opinions - he instead prefers to simply report the facts. Fowler frequently disagrees with a young American named Alden Pyle, who works for the Economic Aid Mission. The novel begins with Pyle's death, but the circumstances of his murder are unknown until the novel's final chapter. Vigot, a French policeman, initially suspects Fowler in Pyle's demise, but he adamantly denies the charge. From there, the novel goes into a series of flashbacks that illustrate the erratic history between Pyle and Fowler. Soon after Pyle's arrival in Saigon, he falls in love with Phuong, Fowler's Vietnamese lover. Pyle decides that he wants to woo Phuong away from Fowler, who cannot marry her because he has a wife at home in London. Their love triangle has many twists and turns, but the climax of the novel occurs when Fowler finds out that Pyle is involved in deadly espionage with the hopes of establishing the guerrilla General Thé as an American-backed Third Force in the war. Pyle believes that the death of Vietnamese civilians is necessary to further the cause of "democracy," but Fowler is disgusted by Pyle's overly simplified point of view. The narrative unfolds in a non-linear fashion, allowing Greene to build up the suspense surrounding the question that forms the novel's core: Did Thomas Fowler have anything to do with the death of Alden Pyle? In the final chapter of The Quiet American, Fowler finally reveals - to the reader, not to any of the other characters - that he assisted a Communist leader in assassinating Pyle after finding out that Pyle was involved in the bombing of a public square.

Killers of the Flower Moon

Book CoverMonday, July 29, 2019 7 PM

Killers of the Flower Moon: the Osage murders and the birth of the FBI by David Grann

Winner of the 2017 BookBrowse Nonfiction Award 

A twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history.

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe. 

Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances. 

In this last remnant of the Wild West - where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the "Phantom Terror," roamed - many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization's first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection.  Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.  

In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling, but also emotionally devastating

Girl on the Train

girl on the train book cover

Monday, June 24, 2019, 7:00 p.m. MPR C

Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: "Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She's even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. 'Jess and Jason', she calls them. Their life - as she sees it - is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It's only a minute until the train moves on, but it's enough. Now everything's changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she's only watched from afar. Now they'll see; she's much more than just the girl on the train... "  ~ Publisher. 

The Reader

book cover

Monday, May 20, 2019, 7:00 p.m.

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink: Hailed for its coiled eroticism and the moral claims it makes upon the reader, this mesmerizing novel is a story of love and secrets, horror and compassion, unfolding against the haunted landscape of postwar Germany.

When he falls ill on his way home from school, fifteen-year-old Michael Berg is rescued by Hanna, a woman twice his age. In time she becomes his lover--then she inexplicably disappears. When Michael next sees her, he is a young law student, and she is on trial for a hideous crime. As he watches her refuse to defend her innocence, Michael gradually realizes that Hanna may be guarding a secret she considers more shameful than murder.

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