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October Book Club Meeting

Our October book is The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. Set against the gorgeous backdrop of Rome, Tom Rachman's wry, vibrant debut follows the topsy-turvy private lives of the reporters, editors, and executives of an international English language newspaper as they struggle to keep it - and themselves - afloat. Fifty years and many changes have ensued since the paper was founded by an enigmatic millionaire, and now, amid the stained carpeting and dingy office furniture, the staff's personal dramas seem far more important than the daily headlines. Kathleen, the imperious editor in chief, is smarting from a betrayal in her open marriage; Arthur, the lazy obituary writer, is transformed by a personal tragedy; Abby, the embattled financial officer, discovers that her job cuts and her love life are intertwined in a most unexpected way. Out in the field, a veteran Paris freelancer goes to desperate lengths for his next byline, while the new Cairo stringer is mercilessly manipulated by an outrageous war correspondent with an outsized ego. And in the shadows is the isolated young publisher who pays more attention to his prized basset hound, Schopenhauer, than to the fate of his family's quirky newspaper. As the era of print news gives way to the Internet age and this imperfect crew stumbles toward an uncertain future, the paper's rich history is revealed, including the surprising truth about its founder's intentions.

In the past, people have frequently been disappointed because they had read the book but "LIFE" interrupted their plans to attend the Thursday night discussion. For October we will offer 2 discussions on the book: 1 discussion at the normal time on Thursday, October 17 and 1 discussion on Saturday, October 19. Choose the date/time that best fits your schedule: attend one or attend both. 

Since our discussion is held at the Nordstrom Market Cafe, I plan on enjoying dinner during our discussion. Eating or drinking is optional but I certainly plan on enjoying something to eat and drink during our discussion. The Nordstrom Market Cafe is located on the second floor of Norstroms in the Columbia Mall.

Book Availability at the Howard Count Public Library

The Imperfectionists is available for checkout at the Howard County Public Library. The Howard County Public Library has:

(33) Copies of the book.

(4) Copies of the book in Large Print.

(1) Copy as an Electronic book.

Howard County Library Central Branch

10375 Little Patuxent Pkwy

Columbia, MD 21044


Branch Hours

Mon. - Thurs. 10 am - 9 pm

Fri. - Sat. 10 am - 6 pm

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  • Jennifer Everett W.

    Great conversations, as always. Great to see everybody!!

    October 21, 2013

  • Nicole H.

    Loved the discussion for the book last night. When Wayne asked for suggestions on upcoming books I was trying to remember, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler and The Laramie Project by Moises Kaufman. These are two books we might want to look at next year.

    October 18, 2013

  • Wayne M.

    It was great discussing "The Imperfectionists" last night. I really enjoyed hearing everyone's comments about the book. Just as a heads-up, our November book will be "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn. The Howard County Library has a lot of copies of this book but they are pretty much all checked out so get your Library request for this book soon. The Howard County Library has 127 copies of the book, plus 19 copies in large print, plus 28 copies as books on CD.

    October 18, 2013

  • Wayne M.

    So many of the magazines which I enjoyed reading are no longer published or if they are published like Newsweek, they are published online-only. This brings me to my next discussion question to talk about at our meeting:

    The fictional newspaper in this work serves as a metaphor for the press in general. Talk about the fate of newspapers— their future survival. What do you think will happen to them and why? What will be the impact of their possible demise? How important is a well-trained, professional press corp to democracy? Is the egalitarianism of news reporting on the Internet a good thing...or not?

    October 14, 2013

  • Stephanie

    Really have had a hard time getting into this one. If I manage to finish it I'll see you at the meeting.

    October 13, 2013

    • Wayne M.

      Stephanie, Good luck with your reading. Even if you don't finish the book, you may enjoy discussing what you have read, i.e. which characters were your favorite or least favorite.

      October 14, 2013

  • Wayne M.

    At our book club discussion, let's talk about how the headline for each chapter ties in with the fate of the character involved—particularly, say, the seemingly unrelated headline for Lloyd Burko: "Bush Slumps to New Low in the Polls."

    October 12, 2013

  • Wayne M.

    Hi everyone, I hope that your reading is going well. As you are reading, here is a question for you to think about. Let's discuss this at our meeting:

    "The Imperfectionists" is a series of vignettes about 11 people in the newsroom of an unnamed paper. Yet The Imperfectionists is more than collection of short stories. How are the chapters connected? How does the book manage to cohere as a novel? Or does it? Perhaps you found it difficult to jump from one character to another—did you?

    1 · October 10, 2013

    • Sharon C.

      I enjoyed keeping track of the relationships, this is a good novel. I look forward to our discussions!

      1 · October 10, 2013

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