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.

For the safety of our patrons and with a continued effort to “flatten the curve," all Athens Regional Library System branches in Athens-Clarke, Franklin, Madison, Oconee and Oglethorpe counties will remain closed until such time that it is deemed safe to reopen to the public. Library staff remain on the job  serving our communities virtually.  Please feel free to contact us at http://athenslibrary.org/homepage/regional-information/contact-us if you have any questions regarding library service during this time. We will update the community as more information becomes available.

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FAQs

Sophie's World: a novel about the history of philosophy

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April 29, 2013

Sophie's World: a novel about the history of philosophy by Jostein Gaarder: What if we were all just characters from a book written by Major Albert Knag as a philosophical present for his daughter Hilde's 15th birthday? This is the question that Sophie Amundsen must ask as she tackles the history of philosophy in what begins as a personalized correspondence course for which she never signed up. Coming home from school one day, Sophie finds questions in her mailbox, followed by typewritten pages about philosophy. She also gets strange birthday cards apparently intended for a Hilde Moller Knag in Lillesand, whom she has never met. Through these unusual circumstances, Sophie embarks on the study of philosophy with Alberto Knox -- a middle-aged mystery man in a beret -- only to discover that she is nothing more than the fictional heroine of a novel (called Sophie's World) about the history of philosophy. Hilde, on the other hand, whom we meet halfway through the book, appears to be a real girl whose father has written a novel entitled Sophie's World. She in turn learns about philosophy by reading about Sophie's study of philosophy, never suspecting that she is merely a character in a book -- Sophie's World -- written by a philosophy teacher named Jostein Gaarder to teach teenagers the beauty of philosophical discourse. In this long, self-referential novel (to use the word loosely), Gaarder presents philosophy in a clear, cogent way, using Sophie's and Hilde's experiences to illustrate his points. The reader who is expecting something other than a creative textbook, however, will be disappointed. Maybe Gaarder can fool Norwegian youths into learning philosophy, but savvy American kids won't be so easily hoodwinked. Index. (Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 1994) from Novelist database, accessed 12 March 2013.

Shanghai Girls

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February 25, 2013

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See: This extensively researched historical novel is engrossing and readable. Spanning three decades and two continents (from 1930s China to Los Angeles in the 1950s), the book explores universal themes: adolescence, family relationships, secrets, immigration, and discrimination. Readers meet Pearl and May as teenage sisters in prewar Shanghai. They revel in modern ways and defy the wishes of their parents by modeling for "Beautiful Girls" calendars and staying out until the wee hours. ...Vivid descriptions of life at Angel Island Immigration Station, the development of L.A.'s Chinatown, filmmaking in 1940s Hollywood, and the 1950s Confession Program convey the stress, excitement, and longing for home that many Chinese immigrants experienced in the United States. This book will appeal to readers of historical fiction, and may be of special interest to those with ties to the Chinese community.- Sondra VanderPloeg, Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH -- (Reviewed August 1, 2009) (School Library Journal, vol 55, issue 8, p130)

About the author: In her historical fiction, mysteries and nonfiction, Lisa See explores China and the Chinese-American experience from a female point of view. See peppers her novels with loads of details about China and Chinese politics both past and present. Readers love her imaginative storylines, rich details of everyday life, accurate settings, and engrossing pace. Whether set today or in the past, in China or America, See fills her works with doubles, spotlighting the struggle of being Chinese-American. However, it is See's depiction of strong women, who dare to question their place and strive for more, that keeps bringing readers back for more. - Novelist

When the Emperor Was Divine

November 26, 2012

When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka: This heartbreaking, bracingly unsentimental debut describes in poetic detail the travails of a Japanese family living in an internment camp during World War II, raising the specter of wartime injustice in bone-chilling fashion. After a woman whose husband was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy sees notices posted around her neighborhood in Berkeley instructing Japanese residents to evacuate, she moves with her son and daughter to an internment camp, abruptly severing her ties with her community. The next three years are spent in filthy, cramped and impersonal lodgings as the family is shuttled from one camp to another. They return to Berkeley after the war to a home that has been ravaged by vandals; it takes time for them to adjust to life outside the camps and to come to terms with the hostility they face. When the children's father re-enters the book, he is more of a symbol than a character, reduced to a husk by interrogation and abuse. The novel never strays into melodrama-Otsuka describes the family's everyday life in Berkeley and the pitiful objects that define their world in the camp with admirable restraint and modesty. Events are viewed from numerous characters' points of view, and the different perspectives are defined by distinctive, lyrically simple observations. The novel's honesty and matter-of-fact tone in the face of inconceivable injustice are the source of its power. Anger only comes to the fore during the last segment, when the father is allowed to tell his story-but even here, Otsuka keeps rage neatly bound up, luminous beneath the dazzling surface of her novel. - Publisher's Weekly

The Postmistress

October 29, 2012

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake: In London covering the Blitz with Edward R. Murrow, Frankie Bard meets a Cape Cod doctor in a shelter and promises that she'll deliver a letter for him when she finally returns to the United States. Filled with stunning parallels to today's world, The Postmistress is a sweeping novel about the loss of innocence of two extraordinary women--and of two countries torn apart by war.

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