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 ashull@athenslibrary.org or call (706) 613-3650 ext 358.

Winesburg, Ohio

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Monday, February 24, 7:00 p.m.

In the Bentley Conference Room on 2nd Floor

Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

Anderson, Sherwood, 1876-1941: Sherwood Anderson is best known for his short stories, which realistically describe small town American life in the early twentieth century. Anderson's work frequently explores the theme of disillusionment with everyday life, pitted against the quest to find success. Using everyday speech and a direct, naturalistic style, Anderson's stories deceptively employ simplicity in order to explore the complex workings of the subconscious. Anderson is hailed as one of the finest American writers of the twentieth century, and as a powerful influence for writers such as Faulkner and Hemingway.

His first novel, Windy McPherson's Son, was published in 1914. Along with his second, Marching Men, of 1917, he later commented that his first novels were raw and immature. He is best known for his classic collection of tales, Winesburg, Ohio, which he had begun writing in 1915 and generally wrote in the order the stories appear in the text. The book was published in 1919 and received much acclaim, establishing him as a talented modern American author. He espoused themes similar to the later works of T.S. Eliot and other modernists.

Winesburg, Ohio Description: Through twenty-three connected short stories, the author looks into the lives of the inhabitants of a small town in the American heartland. In a simple and intense style, these psychological portraits of the sensitive and imaginative of Winesburg's population are seen through the eyes of a young reporter-narrator, George Willard. Their stories are about loneliness and alienation, passion and virginity, wealth and poverty, thrift and profligacy, carelessness and abandon.

Contents: Tales and the persons: Book of the grotesque -- Hands-concerning Wing Biddlebaum -- Paper pills-concerning Doctor Reefy -- Mother-concerning Elizabeth Willard -- Philosopher-concerning Doctor Parcival -- Nobody knows-concerning Louise Trunnion -- Godliness (parts one and two)-concerning Jesse Bentley -- Surrender (part three)-concerning Louise Bentley -- Terror (part four)-concerning David Hardy -- Man of ideas-concerning Joe Welling -- Adventure-concerning Alice Hindman -- Respectibility-concerning Wash Williams -- Thinker-concerning Seth Richmond -- Tandy-concerning Tandy Hard -- Strength of God-concerning the Reverend Curtis Hartman -- Teacher-concerning Kate Swift -- Loneliness-concerning Enoch Robinson - Awakening-concerning Belle Carpenter -- 'Queer'-concerning Elmer Cowley.

Moby Dick

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Monday, January 27, 7:00 p.m.

In the Bentley Conference Room on 2nd Floor

Moby Dick: or, The whale by Herman Melville: November 14 marks the 150th anniversary of Melville's salty saga of vengeance and obsession. Now a contender for the great American novel, this book was harpooned at the time of its 1851 publication by critics who found it overly long and boorish (observations no doubt still shared by countless high school students). They felt that like Ahab, the story didn't have much of a leg to stand on. The once lucrative whaling industry also was in its death throes and of little interest to readers. The book was forgotten for decades before being rediscovered in the 1920s by scholars who understood and appreciated the multilevel symbolism and allegory dismissed by their 19th-century predecessors. Melville published little after the failure of Moby-Dick and made his living as a customs inspector in New York City, where he was born in 1819 and died in complete obscurity in 1891. He is buried in the Bronx. --Michael Rogers (Reviewed November 15, 2001) (Library Journal, vol 126, issue 19, p102) From Novelist, accessed via GALILEO 27 Aug 2013.

In the Garden of Beasts

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Monday, November 25, 7:00 p.m.

In the Bentley Conference Room on 2nd Floor

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson: The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Nazi Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the surprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance—and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.

Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror.

In the Country of Men

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Monday, October 28, 7:00 p.m.

In the Bentley Conference Room on 2nd Floor

In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar: Matar sets his debut in the cities in which he grew up, Tripoli and Cairo, and focuses on the memories of his narrator, Suleiman, as he relives the summer of 1979, when he was nine. Matar perceptively portrays Suleiman as he gradually gains awareness of the political unrest in which the life of his family is mired. His father, he discovers, is repeatedly absent not on business trips but because he's hiding his antigovernment activities. After Suleimans friend Kareem's father is taken away, his interrogation is shown on television, followed by his public hanging. Suleiman helps his mother burn all his fathers books after he, too, is taken away, though the boy doesn't connect this act with the fact that his Baba is savagely beaten. After being sent to Egypt with a family friend, Suleiman is labeled a stray dog by Qaddafis government. This means he can never go home again, and his parents can never leave. Matar tells a gripping and shocking tale that illuminates the personal facet of a national nightmare. -- Deborah Donovan (Reviewed 12-01-2006) (Booklist, vol 103, number 7, p22)

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