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For enthusiastic readers who want to read books that are more challenging than the average book club might take on. We structure our choices around the tastes of the group members who attend regularly. We look at books that have strong literary merit and focus on those novels that have stood the test of time. These can include classics but we also read books that have won literary awards and are more current.

Upcoming events (5)

Discuss Three Men in a Boat, by Jerome K Jerome, 1889, 213 pps.

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This is a funny book! A good summer read!
Three Men in a Boat, published in 1889, became an instant success and has never been out of print. In its first twenty years alone, the book sold over a million copies worldwide. It has been adapted to films, TV, and radio shows, stage plays, and a musical, and influenced subsequent writers such as P. G. Wodehouse, James Thurber, and Nick Hornby. It ranks among The Guardian’s top one hundred best English novels of all time.

Jerome’s light comic prose overtook what was intended as a series of magazine articles about the scenery and history of the Thames and became instead a humorous travelogue of a two-week boating holiday amongst three friends and the narrator’s dog, Montmorency. The narrator muses on the significance of passing landmarks and villages such as Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Church, Magna Carta Island, and Monkey Island, while relating the hilarious mishaps of their adventure along with observations on everything from the unreliability of weather forecasts to the difficulties of learning to play the Scottish bagpipes.

Discuss: A Passage to India by E.M. Forster, 1924, 240pps

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The richest and most ambitious novel by one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, this masterpiece counts the human cost of British-occupied India, a society afflicted by imperialism and racism.

“A Passage to India is both a challenge and an indictment. It is also a revelation.”—The New York Times Book Review

When Adela Quested arrives in the city of Chandrapore in search of “the real India,” she quickly grows disillusioned with its prejudiced colonial community. Determined to escape the insular English enclave, she and her elderly companion, Mrs. Moore, seek the guidance of the charming and well-respected Dr. Aziz, a young Muslim physician. But a mysterious incident occurs while they are exploring the Marabar caves with Aziz, and the doctor finds himself at the center of a scandal that rocks Chandrapore to its core.

E. M. Forster’s beautifully rendered characters illuminate the tensions of British-occupied India and make A Passage to India a masterpiece not only of historical impact but of deep humanity.

Online Discussion: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston

This book was a top 100 pick on PBS Great American Reads

“A deeply soulful novel that comprehends love and cruelty, and separates the big people from the small of heart, without ever losing sympathy for those unfortunates who don’t know how to live properly.” —Zadie Smith

One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years—due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist—Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.

Online Discussion: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston

This book was a top 100 pick on PBS Great American Reads

“A deeply soulful novel that comprehends love and cruelty, and separates the big people from the small of heart, without ever losing sympathy for those unfortunates who don’t know how to live properly.” —Zadie Smith

One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years—due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist—Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.

Past events (38)

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