Named for its founder Dr. Bill Arthur and led by Dr. Kirk Neely, this large and enthusiastically devoted group of literature lovers gathers monthly for an insightful analysis of a variety of good reads. Each month focuses on a different book, and all are welcome for refreshments, fellowship, and stimulating discussion.
Book Selections 2021-2022
Tuesday, September 7, 2021
BELLS FOR ELI
By: Susan Beckham Zurenda
First cousins Ellison Winfield and Adeline Green are meant to grow up happily and innocently across the street from one another amid the supposed wholesome values of small-town Green Branch, South Carolina, in the 1960s and 70s. But Eli's tragic accident changes the trajectory of their lives and of those connected to them. Shunned and even tortured by his peers for his disfigurement and frailty, Eli struggles for acceptance in childhood as Delia passionately defends him. And while Eli cherishes Delia and attempts to protect her from her own troubles, he cares not for protecting himself. In this compelling coming-of-age story, culture, family, friends, bullies, and lovers propel two young people to unite to guard each other in a world where love, hope, and connectedness ultimately triumph.
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
By: John Cribb
Old Abe is the story of the last five years of Abraham Lincoln’s life, the most cataclysmic years in American history…Full of epic scenes from American history, such as the Gettysburg Address and the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, it probes the character and spirit of America. Old Abe portrays Lincoln not only as a flesh-and-blood man, but a hero who embodies his country’s finest ideals, the hero who sets the United States on track to become a great nation.
Tuesday, November 2, 2021
THE LIBRARY BOOK
By: Susan Orlean
In The Library Book, Orlean chronicles the LAPL fire and its aftermath to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives; delves into the evolution of libraries across the country and around the world, from their humble beginnings as a metropolitan charitable initiative to their current status as a cornerstone of national identity; brings each department of the library to vivid life through on-the-ground reporting; studies arson and attempts to burn a copy of a book herself; reflects on her own experiences in libraries; and reexamines the case of Harry Peak, the blond-haired actor long suspected of setting fire to the LAPL more than thirty years ago.
Tuesday, December 7, 2021 (7:00 p.m.)
A CHRISTMAS STORY
By: Kirk H. Neely
Please bring your favorite appetizer, finger food, dessert, and Christmas spirit to share.
Tuesday, January 4, 2022
HOW TO THINK LIKE LEONARDO DA VINCI
By: Michael Gelb
An inspiring and inventive guide that teaches readers how to develop their full potential, using the principles of Da Vincian thought identified by the author. Beginning with a brief historical biography of Da Vinci and an overview of the astounding advances made in the arts and sciences during the Renaissance, Gelb illustrates the seven fundamental elements of Da Vinci's thought process. Loaded with practical exercises, quotes, sidebars, illustrations and material drawn directly from Da Vinci's personal notebooks, How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci is both a tribute to his great achievements and a call to carry on his legacy in our everyday lives by utilizing our potential to the best of our ability.
Tuesday, February 1, 2022
THE EMANCIPATION OF EVAN WALLS
By: Jeffrey Blount
Evan Walls tells of being a black child growing up in the racially charged 1960s. Inspired to overcome the racism and class status imposed on blacks, he dreams of a life bigger than that lived by most everyone he knows in the small Virginia town of Canaan. He is resented by friends and family for desiring a life better than theirs. Among the smartest in his class, Evan becomes a target of white kids threatened by the forced integration of their schools. Caught in a crossﬁre of hate from whites and his own people, who question whether he is black enough, Evan is often alone and bewildered. Only the love of his great grandmother, Mama Jennie, and his mentor, Bojack, keeps him on track. Together, they help Evan ﬁnd perspective and peace.
Tuesday, March 1, 2022
By: John Lane
After reading J. A. Baker's fifty-year-old British nature classic The Peregrine, John Lane found himself an ocean away, stalking resident, red-shouldered hawks in his neighborhood in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The almanac that results from this discipline considers many questions any practiced amateur naturalist would ask, such as where and when will the hawks nest, what do they eat, what are their greatest threats, and what exactly are they communicating through those constant multi-noted cries? Lane's year following the hawks also led him to try to answer what would become the most complex question of all: why his heart, like Baker's, goes out so fully to wild things.
Tuesday, April 5, 2022
THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
By: Mark Twain
Huckleberry "Huck" Finn is the son of the town's vagrant drunkard, "Pap" Finn. Sleeping on doorsteps when the weather is fair, in empty hogsheads during storms, and living off of what he receives from others, Huck lives the life of a destitute vagabond. The author metaphorically names him "the juvenile pariah of the village" and describes Huck as "idle, and lawless, and vulgar, and bad", qualities for which he was admired by all the other children in the village, although their mothers "cordially hated and dreaded" him.
Huck is an archetypal innocent, able to discover the "right" thing to do despite the prevailing theology and prejudiced mentality of the South of that era. This is considered to be a classic of American Literature.
Tuesday, May 3, 2022
THE PARIS LIBRARY
By: Janet Skeslien Charles
Set in Paris during WWII and in Montana in 1983, the book tells the story of a young librarian in the American Library in Paris. The story continues in Montana with Odile and her young neighbor, Lily.
"A powerful novel that explores the consequences of our choices and the relationships that make us who we are - family, friends, and favorite authors. The Paris Library illuminates a little-known corner of history where a passion for literature inspired extraordinary acts of courage and love.”
Tuesday, June 7, 2022
PROFILES IN COURAGE
By: John F. Kennedy
In this book Kennedy chose eight of his historical colleagues to profile for their acts of astounding integrity in the face of overwhelming opposition. These heroes, coming from different junctures in our nation’s history, include John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, and Robert A. Taft.
Now, a half-century later, the book remains a moving, powerful, and relevant testament to the indomitable national spirit and an unparalleled celebration of that most noble of human virtues. It resounds with timeless lessons on the most cherished of virtues and is a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit. Profiles in Courage is as Robert Kennedy states in the foreword: “not just stories of the past but a book of hope and confidence for the future. What happens to the country, to the world, depends on what we do with what others have left us."
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