- Middlemarch - George Eliot
From Wikipedia, "The novel is set in the fictitious Midlands town of Middlemarch during 1829–32, and follows several distinct, intersecting stories with a large cast of characters. Issues include the status of women, the nature of marriage, idealism, self-interest, religion, hypocrisy, political reform, and education. Despite comic elements, Middlemarch is a work of realism encompassing historical events: the 1832 Reform Act, the beginnings of the railways, and the death of King George IV and succession of his brother, the Duke of Clarence (King William IV). It incorporates contemporary medicine and examines the reactionary views of a settled community facing unwelcome change. Eliot began writing the two pieces that would form Middlemarch in the years 1869–70 and completed the novel in 1871. Although initial reviews were mixed, it is now seen widely as her best work and one of the great novels in English."
- To The Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf
From Wikipedia, "The novel centres on the Ramsay family and their visits to the Isle of Skye in Scotland between 1910 and 1920. Following and extending the tradition of modernist novelists like Marcel Proust and James Joyce, the plot of To the Lighthouse is secondary to its philosophical introspection. Cited as a key example of the literary technique of multiple focalization, the novel includes little dialogue and almost no action; most of it is written as thoughts and observations. The novel recalls childhood emotions and highlights adult relationships. Among the book's many tropes and themes are those of loss, subjectivity, the nature of art and the problem of perception."
- Of Human Bondage - W. Somerset Maugham
"Generally agreed as Maugham’s literary masterpiece, “Of Human Bondage” is the semi-autobiographical tale of Philip Carey. First published in 1915, the novel follows the life of Philip, who suffers from the disability of a clubbed foot, from boyhood when he is orphaned and sent to live with his aunt and uncle. This coming of age story traces the travels of its main character to Germany, Paris, and London, while exploring his intellectual, emotional, and psychological development. His desire to become an artist; his pursuit of a medical degree; and his relationships with four women, the destructive Mildred Rogers, fellow art student Fanny Price, the sensitive author of penny romance novels Norah Nesbit, and the daughter of befriended family man Thorpe Athelny, Sally. Ultimately “Of Human Bondage” is the story of life’s struggle between ones aspirations and what is reasonably achievable." - from the Digireads 2017 edition
- Thank You Jeeves - P.G. Wodehouse
"Bertram Wooster’s interminable banjolele playing has driven Jeeves, his otherwise steadfast gentleman's gentleman, to give notice. The foppish aristocrat cannot survive for long without his Shakespeare-quoting and problem-solving valet, however, and after a narrowly escaped forced marriage, a cottage fire, and a great butter theft, the celebrated literary odd couple are happy to return to the way things were." - From the W.W. Norton 2013 reprint
- Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger by Rebecca Traister
The December non-fiction experiment is here! We are NOT meeting at Nicola's, but at Biggby Coffee at 2550 W Stadium (essentially, across the street from Westgate). As the space is a little smaller, we are limiting RSVPs this time. Regarding the book: "With eloquence and fervor, Rebecca tracks the history of female anger as political fuel—from suffragettes marching on the White House to office workers vacating their buildings after Clarence Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court. Here Traister explores women’s anger at both men and other women; anger between ideological allies and foes; the varied ways anger is perceived based on its owner; as well as the history of caricaturing and delegitimizing female anger; and the way women’s collective fury has become transformative political fuel—as is most certainly occurring today. She deconstructs society’s (and the media’s) condemnation of female emotion (notably, rage) and the impact of their resulting repercussions. Highlighting a double standard perpetuated against women by all sexes, and its disastrous, stultifying effect, Traister’s latest is timely and crucial. It offers a glimpse into the galvanizing force of women’s collective anger, which, when harnessed, can change history." Join us for coffee, pastries, and a fascinating conversation! (Plus, feedback regarding the whole "splinter/bonus" concept is welcome, too!)
- End of year dinner at The Quarter Bistro
Join us for an end of the year celebratory dinner at The Quarter Bistro! As opposed to our normal happy hour after book club, we will have a reserved room and a limited menu to order dinner from. Feel free to come to the dinner, even if you're not attending the November book club. As we are reserving a room and committing to spend a certain dollar amount, please keep your RSVPs up to date.
- Kokoro, by Natsume Soseki
"No collection of Japanese literature is complete without Natsume Soseki's Kokoro, his most famous novel and the last he completed before his death. Kokoro—meaning "heart"—is the story of a subtle and poignant friendship between two unnamed characters, a young man and an enigmatic elder whom he calls "Sensei." Haunted by tragic secrets that have cast a long shadow over his life, Sensei slowly opens up to his young disciple, confessing indiscretions from his own student days that have left him reeling with guilt, and revealing, in the seemingly unbridgeable chasm between his moral anguish and his student's struggle to understand it, the profound cultural shift from one generation to the next that characterized Japan in the early twentieth century." - From the Penguin Classics edition
- Candide Musical - RSVP by 6PM Monday, Nov 5th
Hi my amazing book lovers! Jen and I are planning on getting tickets to Candide this Thursday, November 8th at 7:30pm. Anyone interested in joining us? I can try and get us seats together. Price is $30 a ticket. Get back to me as soon as possible so we can get seats. I'm going to buy tickets on Monday afternoon. If you RSVP after that - I can let you know our seat numbers so you can buy one nearby. https://tickets.smtd.umich.edu/single/eventDetail.aspx?p=3986 https://leonardbernstein.com/works/view/10/candide
- The Heart of the Matter - Graham Greene
"The Heart of the Matter, tells the story of a good man enmeshed in love, intrigue, and evil in a West African coastal town. Scobie is bound by strict integrity to his role as assistant police commissioner and by severe responsibility to his wife, Louise, for whom he cares with a fatal pity. When Scobie falls in love with the young widow Helen, he finds vital passion again yielding to pity, integrity giving way to deceit and dishonor—a vortex leading directly to murder. As Scobie's world crumbles, his personal crisis develops the foundation of a story by turns suspenseful, fascinating, and, finally, tragic. Originally published in 1948, The Heart of the Matter is the unforgettable portrait of one man—flawed yet heroic, destroyed and redeemed by a terrible conflict of passion and faith." - From Penguin Classics Edition
- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
War and Peace is regarded as a central work of world literature and one of Tolstoy's finest literary achievements. The novel chronicles the history of the French invasion of Russia and the impact of the Napoleonic era on Tsarist society through the stories of five Russian aristocratic families. Tolstoy said War and Peace is "not a novel, even less is it a poem, and still less a historical chronicle". Large sections, especially the later chapters, are a philosophical discussion rather than narrative. Tolstoy also said that the best Russian literature does not conform to standards and hence hesitated to call War and Peace a novel. The Encyclopædia Britannica states: "It can be argued that no single English novel attains the universality of the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace".