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All new members are asked for a one-time contribution of 5 euros at their first meeting. Grants lifetime membership benefits! These funds are needed to cover the $60 annual Meetup fee paid directly by the organizer, as well as any administrative fees such as photocopies, postage, flowers for visiting authors... and maybe a round of drinks now and then. Albert Camus’ The Plague: a story for our, and all, times Read the full review from The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2015/jan/05/albert-camus-the-plague-fascist-death-ed-vulliamy The fascist ‘plague’ that inspired the novel may have gone, but 55 years after his death, many other varieties of pestilence keep this book urgently relevant Few writers kept their work as close to the subject of death as did Albert Camus, one of the greatest novelists and essayists of the 20th century, who met his own end in a road accident 55 years ago this week, on the Lyon-Paris Route Nationale 6. Of all Camus’ novels, none described man’s confrontation – and cohabitation – with death so vividly and on such an epic scale as La Peste, translated as The Plague. Most of us read The Plague as teenagers, and we should all read it again. And again: for not only are all humankind’s responses to death represented in it, but now – with the advent of Ebola – the book works on the literal as well as metaphorical level. Nowadays, I think, La Peste can tell the story of a different kind of plague: that of a destructive, hyper-materialist, turbo-capitalism; and can do so as well as any applied contemporary commentary. In fact especially so, for this reason: the Absurd. Our society is absurd, and Camus’ novel examines – among many other things, and for all its moralising – our relationship to the absurdity of modern existence. It can describe very well the plague in a society which blares its phantasgmagoria across the poor world so that millions come, aboard tomb ships or across murderous deserts, in search of its empty promises; and which even destroys the constant against which Camus measured human mortality: nature. Essential to Camus’ existential isolation was the discrepancy between the power and beauty of nature, and the desolation of the human condition. From his earliest days, he loved the sea and deserts, and saw man’s mortality in the light of their indifferent vastness.
Victor Hugo’s 19th-century literary classic Notre-Dame de Paris has soared to the top of France’s online bestseller list after the fire that ravaged the 850-year-old Paris cathedral. The runaway success confirms a French tendency to seek solace in literature at times of national anguish: A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway’s memoir of his time in the bars and cafés of 1920s Paris, became France’s fastest-selling book after the terror attacks of November 2015. All new members are asked for a one-time contribution of 5 euros at their first meeting. Grants lifetime membership benefits! These funds are needed to cover the $60 annual Meetup fee paid directly by the organizer, as well as any administrative fees such as photocopies, postage, flowers for visiting authors... and maybe a round of drinks now and then. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/apr/17/the-hunchback-of-notre-dame-book-tops-bestseller-list-fire By Wednesday morning, different editions of the 1831 novel occupied the first, third, fifth, seventh and eighth slots in Amazon France’s bestseller list, with a history of the gothic architectural masterpiece taking sixth place. Hugo’s epic 11-volume novel is set in 1482 and tells the story of the beautiful Gypsy girl Esmeralda, who captures the hearts of many men – but especially the hunchback Quasimodo, the half-blind and deaf bellringer of Notre-Dame. Many critics have argued that the cathedral itself is the real hero of the work, which the writer and campaigner began in 1829 partly to draw attention to the importance of the French capital’s gothic architecture, which at the time was being widely neglected, defaced or pulled down to make way for new buildings.