Wednesday, December 5, 2012

January's Book

The January meeting will be Tuesday, January 25 at 2:00 pm.

The book for January is The Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland.

From Publisher's Weekly:
Imagining the banks of the Seine in the thick of la vie moderne, Vreeland (Girl in Hyacinth Blue) tracks Auguste Renoir as he conceives, plans and paints the 1880 masterpiece that gives her vivid fourth novel its title. Renoir, then 39, pays the rent on his Montmartre garret by painting "overbred society women in their fussy parlors," but, goaded by negative criticism from Emile Zola, he dreams of doing a breakout work. On July 20, the daughter of a resort innkeeper close to Paris suggests that Auguste paint from the restaurant's terrace. The party of 13 subjects Renoir puts together (with difficulty) eventually spends several Sundays drinking and flirting under the spell of the painter's brush. Renoir, who declares, "I only want to paint women I love," falls desperately for his newest models, while trying to win his last subject back from her rich fiance. But Auguste and his friends only have two months to catch the light he wants and fend off charges that he and his fellow Impressionists see the world "through rose-colored glasses." Vreeland achieves a detailed and surprising group portrait, individualized and immediate. (May) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November's Meeting

November will be Elizabeth's last meeting! Please come by to wish her farewell!

November's Meeting will be Tuesday, November 27 at 2:00 pm in room Y-233.
For November:
Members will choose from the following list and them present "book reports" on their selection.

Little Bee by Chris Cleve
We don't want to tell you too much about this book. It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this: It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific. The story starts there, but the book doesn't. And it's what happens afterward that is most important. Once you have read it, you'll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.

Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind Body Medicine by Candace B. Pert
Her pioneering research on how the chemicals inside our bodies form a dynamic information network, linking mind and body, is not only provocative, it is revolutionary. By establishing the biomolecular basis for our emotions and explaining these new scientific developments in a clear and accessible way, Pert empowers us to understand ourselves, our feelings, and the connection between our minds and our bodies -- body-minds -- in ways we could never possibly have imagined before.

Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigani.
The fateful first meeting of Enza and Ciro takes place amid the haunting majesty of the Italian Alps at the turn of the last century. Still teenagers, they are separated when Ciro is banished from his village and sent to hide in New York's Little Italy, apprenticed to a shoemaker, leaving a bereft Enza behind. But when her own family faces disaster, she, too, is forced to emigrate to America. Though destiny will reunite the star-crossed lovers, it will, just as abruptly, separate them once again—sending Ciro off to serve in World War I, while Enza is drawn into the glamorous world of the opera . . . and into the life of the international singing sensation Enrico Caruso. Still, Enza and Ciro have been touched by fate—and, ultimately, the power of their love will change their lives forever.

Reeducation of Cherry Truong
by Aimee Phan
Cherry Truong’s parents have exiled her wayward older brother from their Southern California home, sending him to Vietnam to live with distant relatives. Determined to bring him back, twenty-one-year-old Cherry travels to their homeland and finds herself on a journey to uncover her family’s decades-old secrets—hidden loves, desperate choices, and lives ripped apart by the march of war and currents of history.

Presidents Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity
by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy
The inside story of the world's most exclusive fraternity; how presidents from Hoover through Obama worked with--and sometimes, against--each other when they were in and out of power.

Bring Up the Bodies
by Hilary Mantel
Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice.

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard
For a man forced into the presidency, the legacy of James Garfield extended far beyond his lifetime, and Destiny of the Republic revisits his meteoric rise within the military and government with meticulous research and intimate focus. Garfield was a passionate advocate of freed slaves, a reformer at odds with Republican power brokers and machine politics, a devoted father, and a spellbinding speech-giver. Four months after taking office he was shot twice by an unhinged office-seeker, Charles Guiteau, and a nation already recently fractured by war shattered, leaving the wounded president at the center of a bitter, behind-the-scenes struggle for power. Examining the medical reform spurred by Garfield's unsanitary medical treatment, and reflecting on the surprising political reform brought on by his former political enemy Senator Roscoe Conkling, Destiny of the Republic passionately brings President Garfield's unknown-but-widely-felt legacy into focus.

The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright
"A new, unapologetic kind of adultery novel. Narrated by the proverbial other woman—Gina Moynihan, a sharp, sexy, darkly funny thirtysomething IT worker—The Forgotten Waltz charts an extramarital affair from first encounter to arranged, settled, everyday domesticity. . . . This novel’s beauty lies in Enright’s spare, poetic, off-kilter prose—at once heartbreaking and subversively funny. It’s built of startling little surprises and one fresh sentence after another. Enright captures the heady eroticism of an extramarital affair and the incendiary egomania that accompanies secret passion: For all their utter ordinariness, Sean and Gina feel like the greatest lovers who've ever lived.”—Elle

Lost Memory of Skin
by Russell Banks
After doing time for a liaison with an underage girl, the Kid is forbidden to live within 2,500 feet of anywhere children might gather. Barely beyond childhood himself, the Kid is in many ways an innocent, trapped by impulses and choices he struggles to comprehend. Enter the Professor, a man who has built his own life on secrets and lies. The two men forge a tentative partnership, but when the Professor's past resurfaces, the balance in the two men's relationship shifts. Suddenly, the Kid must reconsider all he has come to believe, and make a fateful choice when faced with a new kind of moral decision. A mature and masterful work of contemporary fiction from one of our most accomplished storytellers, Lost Memory of Skin explores the zeitgeist of a troubled society where zero tolerance has erased any hope of subtlety and compassion—a society where isolating the offender has perhaps created a new kind of victim.

Swamplandia
by Karen Russell
Thirteen-year-old Ava Bigtree has lived her entire life at Swamplandia!, her family’s island home and gator-wrestling theme park in the Florida Everglades. But when illness fells Ava’s mother, the park’s indomitable headliner, the family is plunged into chaos; her father withdraws, her sister falls in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, and her brilliant big brother, Kiwi, defects to a rival park called The World of Darkness. As Ava sets out on a mission through the magical swamps to save them all, we are drawn into a lush and bravely imagined debut that takes us to the shimmering edge of reality.

Catherine the Great:  Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie
The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure German princess who became one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history. Born into a minor noble family, Catherine transformed herself into empress of Russia by sheer determination. For thirty-four years, the government, foreign policy, cultural development, and welfare of the Russian people were in her hands. She dealt with domestic rebellion, foreign wars, and the tidal wave of political change and violence churned up by the French Revolution. Catherine’s family, friends, ministers, generals, lovers, and enemies—all are here, vividly brought to life. History offers few stories richer than that of Catherine the Great. In this book, an eternally fascinating woman is returned to life.

The Information: A History, a Theory, A Flood by James Gleick
Acclaimed science writer James Gleick presents an eye-opening vision of how our relationship to information has transformed the very nature of human consciousness. A fascinating intellectual journey through the history of communication and information, from the language of Africa’s talking drums to the invention of written alphabets; from the electronic transmission of code to the origins of information theory, into the new information age and the current deluge of news, tweets, images, and blogs. Along the way, Gleick profiles key innovators, including Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace, Samuel Morse, and Claude Shannon, and reveals how our understanding of information is transforming not only how we look at the world, but how we live.

Malcolm X:  A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable.
Hailed as "a masterpiece" (San Francisco Chronicle), the late Manning Marable's acclaimed biography of Malcolm X finally does justice to one of the most influential and controversial figures of twentieth-century American history. Filled with startling new information and shocking revelations, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America. Reaching into Malcolm's troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents' activism as followers of Marcus Garvey through his own work with the Nation of Islam and rise in the world of black nationalism, and culminates in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X is a stunning achievement, the definitive work on one of our greatest advocates for social change.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

October's Book


October's Book is The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

The October meeting will be October 30 @ 2:00 pm in room Y-233

From the Publisher:
Kamila Sidiqi's life changed overnight when the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan. After her father and brother were forced to flee, she became the sole breadwinner for her five siblings. Banned from school, confined to her home, and armed only with determination, she picked up a needle and thread to create a thriving business that saved their lives.
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana tells the incredible true story of this unlikely entrepreneur who mobilized her community under the Taliban. A story of war, it is also a story of family, faith, and resilience in the face of despair. These women are not victims—they are the glue that holds families together; they are the backbone and the heart of their nation. Kamila Sidiqi's journey will inspire you, but it will also change the way you think about one of the most important political and humanitarian issues of our time.

Monday, August 6, 2012

August's Book

August's Book is Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks.
The next Greedy Reader meeting will be Tuesday, August 28 @ 2:00 pm in room Y-233.

From Publisher's Weekly: Pulitzer Prize winner Brooks (for March) delivers a splendid historical inspired by Caleb Cheeshahteaumauck, the first Native American to graduate from Harvard. Brooks brings the 1660s to life with evocative period detail, intriguing characters, and a compelling story narrated by Bethia Mayfield, the outspoken daughter of a Calvinist preacher. While exploring the island now known as Martha's Vineyard, Bethia meets Caleb, a Wampanoag native to the island, and they become close, clandestine friends. After Caleb loses most of his family to smallpox, he begins to study under the tutelage of Bethia's father. Since Bethia isn't allowed to pursue education herself, she eavesdrops on Caleb's and her own brother's lessons. Caleb is a gifted scholar who eventually travels, along with Bethia's brother, to Cambridge to continue his education. Bethia tags along and her descriptions of 17th-century Cambridge and Harvard are as entertaining as they are enlightening (Harvard was founded by Puritans to educate the "English and Indian youth of this country," for instance). With Harvard expected to graduate a second Martha's Vineyard Wampanoag Indian this year, almost three and a half centuries after Caleb, the novel's publication is particularly timely. (May)

Monday, July 2, 2012

July's Book

The Greedy Reader book for July is The Social Animal by David Brooks

The next Greedy Reader meeting will be Tuesday, July 31 at 2:00 pm in Y-233.

From the Publisher: With unequaled insight and brio, New York Times columnist David Brooks has long explored and explained the way we live. Now Brooks turns to the building blocks of human flourishing in a multilayered, profoundly illuminating work grounded in everyday life. This is the story of how success happens, told through the lives of one composite American couple, Harold and Erica. Drawing on a wealth of current research from numerous disciplines, Brooks takes Harold and Erica from infancy to old age, illustrating a fundamental new understanding of human nature along the way: The unconscious mind, it turns out, is not a dark, vestigial place, but a creative one, where most of the brain’s work gets done. This is the realm where character is formed and where our most important life decisions are made—the natural habitat of The Social Animal. Brooks reveals the deeply social aspect of our minds and exposes the bias in modern culture that overemphasizes rationalism, individualism, and IQ. He demolishes conventional definitions of success and looks toward a culture based on trust and humility. The Social Animal is a moving intellectual adventure, a story of achievement and a defense of progress. It is an essential book for our time—one that will have broad social impact and will change the way we see ourselves and the world.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

June's Book

June's Book - Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill

June's Meeting will by Tuesday, June 26 @ 2:00 pm.

From the Publisher: Abducted from Africa as a child and enslaved in South Carolina, Aminata Diallo thinks only of freedom and of the knowledge she needs to get home. Sold to an indigo trader who recognizes her intelligence, Aminata is torn from her husband and child and thrown into the chaos of the Revolutionary War. In Manhattan, Aminata helps pen the Book of Negroes, a list of blacks rewarded for service to the king with safe passage to Nova Scotia. There Aminata finds a life of hardship and stinging prejudice. When the British abolitionists come looking for "adventurers" to create a new colony in Sierra Leone, Aminata assists in moving 1,200 Nova Scotians to Africa and aiding the abolitionist cause by revealing the realities of slavery to the British public. This captivating story of one woman's remarkable experience spans six decades and three continents and brings to life a crucial chapter in world history.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

May's Book

The Greedy Reader book for May will be In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson.

The next Greedy Reader meeting will be Tuesday, May 29 at 2:00 pm in room Y-233.

From the Publisher:
Erik Larson has been widely acclaimed as a master of narrative non-fiction, and in his new book, the bestselling author of Devil in the White City turns his hand to a remarkable story set during Hitler’s rise to power.

The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s 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 suprisingly 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.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Future Books

Hello all,

Here are the books for the next couple of months:

April -- Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
May -- In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larsen
June -- Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill
July --The Social Animal by David Brooks
August -- we are looking for a good "beach read";  any suggestions???
September -- The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

April's Book

The Greedy Reader Book for April is The Fall of Giants by Ken Follett.

The next Greedy Reader meeting will be Tuesday, April 24 @ 2:00 pm in room Y-233.

From the Publisher:

A thirteen-year-old Welsh boy enters a man's world in the mining pits; an American law student rejected by love finds a surprising new career in Woodrow Wilson's White House; a housekeeper for the aristocratic Fitzherberts takes a fateful step above her station, while Lady Maud Fitzherbert herself crosses deep into forbidden territory when she falls in love with a German spy; and two orphaned Russian brothers embark on radically different paths when their plan to emigrate to America falls afoul of war, conscription, and revolution.

From the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty, Fall of Giants takes readers into the inextricably entangled fates of five families-and into a century that we thought we knew, but that now will never seem the same again.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

March's Book

March's meeting will be Tuesday, March 27 @ 2:00 pm in room Y-233.

The Book for March is The Paris Wife, by Paula McClain.

From the publisher:
A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.
Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.
Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill prepared for the hard-drinking and fast-living life of Jazz Age Paris, which hardly values traditional notions of family and monogamy. Surrounded by beautiful women and competing egos, Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history, pouring all the richness and intensity of his life with Hadley and their circle of friends into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises. Hadley, meanwhile, strives to hold on to her sense of self as the demands of life with Ernest grow costly and her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Despite their extraordinary bond, they eventually find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for.
A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February's Book

February's Greedy Reader meeting will be Tuesday, February 28 at 2:00 pm in room Y-233.

February's Book:

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

From the Publisher:
"I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of l974. . . My birth certificate lists my name as Calliope Helen Stephanides. My most recent driver’s license...records my first name simply as Cal."
So begins the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City, and the race riots of l967, before they move out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction. Lyrical and thrilling, Middlesex is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.

Middlesex is the winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Nominated for the 2002 National Book Critics Circle Award, Fiction.
2002 Lambda Literary Award Finalist, Transgender.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

January's Book

January's meeting will be Tuesday, January 31 at 2:00pm in room Y-233. All students, faculty and staff are invited to attend!



Small Kingdoms by Anastasia Hobbet

From the Publisher:
Set in Kuwait during the ominous years between the two Gulf Wars, Small Kingdoms traces the intersecting lives of five people-rich and poor, native and foreigner, Muslim, Christian, and non-believer-when they discover that a teenaged Indian housemaid is being brutally abused by her employer. Tensions are high. Just miles away in Iraq, Saddam Hussein is threatening a second invasion of this tiny desert kingdom, which he destroyed six years before, in 1990. Even without a war on the horizon, rescuing a maid employed in a private home is a sticky matter in this rigid, class-conscious society, where the rich protect their own; and any intervention involves great personal risk. Emmanuella, an impoverished cook from India, risks losing her job and thus her ability to support her family back home. Kit, the young wife of an American businessman in the Gulf, could face grave damage to her marriage. Mufeeda, an upper-class Kuwaiti woman, must buck the powerful status quo of her family and her class, as well as her own history. And there's Hanaan, a rebellious young Arab woman who may have as much to lose as the desperate maid. Having fallen in love with Theo, an American doctor working in the country, she has already faced violent retribution from her family. How much more violence lies ahead she doesn't know. Stubborn, charismatic, and dismissive of her society's strict codes of behavior for unmarried women, she will step forward to help the captive maid. An Upstairs/Downstairs of the Arab world, Small Kingdoms tells the intimate story of ordinary people facing an extraordinary test in the face of another war.