Sunday, April 12, 2015

NORWEGIAN BY NIGHT, BY DEREK B. MILLER

BOOK DISCUSSION DATE AND TIME:
MONDAY, MAY 18, 2015, AT 1:00 PM.

 Miller's affecting debut, about a cantankerous Jewish widower transplanted to Norway who becomes party to a hate crime, is an unusual hybrid: part memory novel, part police procedural, part sociopolitical tract and part existential meditation. Native New Yorker Sheldon "Donny" Horowitz, 82, is a retired watch repairman living in Oslo with his granddaughter Rhea, an architect, and her new Norwegian husband, Lars. She thinks her grandfather is slipping into dementia. Haunted by his experiences as a Marine sniper in the Korean War and by his son Saul's death in Vietnam, Sheldon sometimes has trouble distinguishing between fantasy and reality. He thinks the Koreans are still after him. But he is more strong-willed, decisive and wily than his granddaughter thinks. When a stranger murders the immigrant woman who lives upstairs, Sheldon shelters and then escapes with her young son, fearing the boy is in danger, too. Hovering over the narrative is Norway's roundup of its Jewish population during the Nazi occupation--for which, the author points out, the nation didn't formally apologize until 2012. This novel, first published in Norway, was worth the wait.(Kirkus Reviews)







Tuesday, March 24, 2015

THE MUSEUM OF EXTRAORDINARY THINGS, BY ALICE HOFFMAN

BOOK DISCUSSION DATE AND TIME: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8, 2015, AT 1:00 p.m. (Please note different day of week than usual)

Romance blooms between a photographer and the daughter of a Coney Island freak show impresario in early 20th-century New York.  (Long Island Reads/South Shore Reads book selection for 2015)

VIEW A READING DISCUSSION GUIDE PREPARED BY THE LONG ISLAND READS COMMITTEE 

 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

GROLIER CLUB EXHIBITS "THE FIRST PAPERBACKS"

Anyone who has ever sat in a cafe, or in the bath, with a paperback owes a debt to Aldus and the small, cleanly designed editions of the secular classics he called libelli portatiles, or portable little books. (New York Times)
A Tribute to the Printer Aldus Manutius, and the Roots of the Paperback

Monday, February 23, 2015

WIDE SARGASSO SEA, BY JEAN RHYS

BOOK DISCUSSION DATE AND TIME: MONDAY, MARCH 23, 2015, AT 1:00 PM.
Jean Rhys's reputation was made upon the publication of this passionate and heartbreaking novel, in which she brings into the light one of fiction's most mysterious characters: the madwoman in the attic from Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. Set in the Caribbean, its heroine is Antoinette Cosway, a sensual and protected young woman who is sold into marriage to the prideful Rochester. In this best-selling novel, Rhys portrays a society so driven by hatred, so skewed in its sexual relations, that it can literally drive a woman out of her mind.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT ANNE FRANK: STORIES, BY NATHAN ENGLANDER

BOOK DISCUSSION DATE AND TIME: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2015, AT 1:00 P.M.

A collection of short stories includes the title story about two marriages in which the Holocaust is played out as a devastating parlor game, and a dark story of vigilante justice undertaken by a troop of geriatric campers.

REQUEST A COPY OF THE BOOK

Read a discussion guide prepared by the library staff 

Read a review by Stacey Schiff in the New York Times Book Review 

Read a review by Michiku Kakutani in the New York Times 

Read a review from the New Republic 

Monday, December 15, 2014

FEVER: A NOVEL, BY MARY BETH KEANE

Book Discussion Date and Time:

Monday, January 12, 2015, at 3:00 PM. (Please note that we are meeting at a later time this month.)

The story of Mary Mallon, known as "Typhoid Mary," who came to New York in 1883 and cooked for the wealthy families of Manhattan.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

THE CIRCLE: A NOVEL, BY DAVE EGGERS

Book Discussion schedule: Two sessions: (evening) Wednesday, December 10, 2014, at 7:00 P.M., and (afternoon) Monday, December 15, 2014, at 1:00 P.M.

Set in an undefined future time, The Circle is the story of Mae Holland, a young woman hired to work for the world’s most powerful internet company.... Mae can’t believe her luck, —even as her life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. (McSweeney's)

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DOWNLOAD A READING GUIDE PREPARED BY THE STAFF 


Publishers Weekly:
/* Starred Review */ The latest offering from McSweeney's founder Eggers (A Hologram for the King) is a stunning work of terrifying plausibility, a cautionary tale of subversive power in the digital age suavely packaged as a Silicon Valley social satire. Set in the near future, it examines the inner workings of the Circle, an internet company that is both spiritual and literal successor to Facebook, Google, Twitter and more, as seen through the eyes of Mae Holland, a new hire who starts in customer service. As Mae is absorbed into the Circle's increasingly demanding multi- and social media experience, she plays an ever more pivotal role in the company's plans, which include preventing child abductions through microchips, reducing crime through omnipresent surveillance, and eliminating political corruption through transparency courtesy of personal cameras. Soon, she's not alone in asking what it will mean to "complete the Circle" as its ultimate goal comes into view; even her closest friends and family suspect the Circle is going too far in its desire to make the world a better, safer, more honest place. Eggers presents a Swiftian scenario so absurd in its logic and compelling in its motives that the worst thing possible will be for people to miss the joke. The plot moves at a casual, yet inexorable pace, sneaking up on the reader before delivering its warnings of the future, a worthy and entertaining read despite its slow burn. Agent: Andrew Wylie, The Wylie Agency. (Oct.) --Staff (Reviewed September 16, 2013) (Publishers Weekly, vol 260, issue 37, p)
Kirkus:
A massive feel-good technology firm takes an increasingly totalitarian shape in this cautionary tale from Eggers (A Hologram for the King, 2012, etc.). Twenty-four-year-old Mae feels like the luckiest person alive when she arrives to work at the Circle, a California company that's effectively a merger of Google, Facebook, Twitter and every other major social media tool. Though her job is customer-service drudgework, she's seduced by the massive campus and the new technologies that the "Circlers" are working on. Those typically involve increased opportunities for surveillance, like the minicameras the company wants to plant everywhere, or sophisticated data-mining tools that measure every aspect of human experience. (The number of screens at Mae's workstation comically proliferate as new monitoring methods emerge.) But who is Mae to complain when the tools reduce crime, politicians allow their every move to be recorded, and the campus cares for her every need, even providing health care for her ailing father? The novel reads breezily, but it's a polemic that's thick with flaws. Eggers has to intentionally make Mae a dim bulb in order for readers to suspend disbelief about the Circle's rapid expansion--the concept of privacy rights are hardly invoked until more than halfway through. And once they are invoked, the novel's tone is punishingly heavy-handed, particularly in the case of an ex of Mae's who wants to live off the grid and warns her of the dehumanizing consequences of the Circle's demand for transparency in all things. (Lest that point not be clear, a subplot involves a translucent shark that's terrifyingly omnivorous.) Eggers thoughtfully captured the alienation new technologies create in his previous novel, A Hologram for the King, but this lecture in novel form is flat-footed and simplistic. Though Eggers strives for a portentous, Orwellian tone, this book mostly feels scolding, a Kurt Vonnegut novel rewritten by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.(Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2013)