This group reads classic books by women that were published at least 25 years ago. It expands the definition of "classics" to include both authors who have made it into the canon, such as Edith Wharton, Jane Austen, and George Eliot, and some from around the world who haven't (yet), such as Aphra Behn (Oroonoko, or the Royal Slave) and Anita Desai (Clear Light of Day).
This book group meets the third Monday of the month at 7:15 p.m.
Leader: Lynn Mooney firstname.lastname@example.org
Upcoming meeting: Monday, July 20, 2020 at 7:15 p.m.
Upcoming meeting: Monday, August 17, 2020 at 7:15 p.m.
Upcoming meeting: Monday, September 21, 2020 at 7:15 p.m. (and selection meeting)
Upcoming meeting: Monday, October 19, 2020 at 7:15 p.m.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** Monday, June 15, 2020 via Zoom
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** Monday, April 13, 2020 Via Zoom
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** Monday, March 9, 2020
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** Monday, February 17, 2020
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** Monday, January 20, 2020
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** Monday, December 16, 2019
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** Monday, November 11, 2019
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** Tuesday, October 8, 2019
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** Monday, September 16, 2019
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** Monday, August 19, 2019
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** Monday, July 15, 2019
***PREVIOUS SELECTION *** Monday, June 17, 2019
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** Monday, May 20, 2019
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** Monday, April 22, 2019
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** Monday, March 18, 2019
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** Monday, February 18, 2019
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** Monday, January 21, 2019
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** December 17, 2018
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** November 19, 2018
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** October 15, 2018
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** September 17, 2018
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** August 20, 2018
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** July 16, 2018 at 7:15 PM
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** June 18, 2018 at 7:15 PM
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** May 21, 2018 at 7:15 PM
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** April 10, 2018 at 7:15 PM
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** March 19, 2018 at 7:15 PM
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** February 19, 2018 at 7:15 PM
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** January 15, 2018 at 7:15 PM
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** December 18, 2017 at 7:15 PM
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** October 2017
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** September 2017
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** August 2017
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** Tuesday, July 6, 2017 at 7:15 PM
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** May 2, 2017 at 7:15 PM
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** April 4, 2017 at 7:15 PM
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** March 7, 2017 at 7:15 PM
A Manual for Cleaning Women compiles the best work of the legendary short-story writer Lucia Berlin. With the grit of Raymond Carver, the humor of Grace Paley, and a blend of wit and melancholy all her own, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday, uncovering moments of grace in the Laundromats and halfway houses of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Bay Area upper class, among switchboard operators and struggling mothers, hitchhikers and bad Christians. Readers will revel in this remarkable collection from a master of the form and wonder how they'd ever overlooked her in the first place.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** December 6, 2016 at 7:15 PM
One of the most highly regarded books of its kind, On Photography first appeared in 1977 and is described by its author as "a progress of essays about the meaning and career of photographs." It begins with the famous "In Plato's Cave" essay, then offers five other prose meditations on this topic, and concludes with a fascinating and far-reaching "Brief Anthology of Quotations."
***PREVIOUS SELECTiON*** January 3, 2017 at 7:15 PM
Navigating between the Indian traditions they've inherited and a baffling new world, the characters in Lahiri's elegant, touching stories seek love beyond the barriers of culture and generations.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** February 7, 2017 at 7:15 PM
Foreign Affairs chronicles the romantic adventures of two Americans in London. Vinnie Miner, a lonely middle-aged professor of literature, finds love and erotic confidence with Chuck, an engineer from Tulsa who dresses like a cowboy and at first represents everything she doesn't like about America. Alternating chapters tell the story of young, handsome, and unhappy Professor Fred Turner, who falls for a famous but mentally unbalanced British actress.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** November 1, 2016 at 7:15 PM
New York Times Book Review: Jubilee "tells the true story of Vyry, the child of a white plantation owner and his black mistress.Vyry bears witness to the South's antebellum opulence and to its brutality, its wartime ruin, and the promises of Reconstruction. Weaving her own family's oral history with thirty years of research, Margaret Walker's novel brings the everyday experiences of slaves to light.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** October 4, 2016 at 7:15 PM
Set towards the end of the reign of Henry II of France, The Princesse de Cleves (1678) tells of the unspoken, unrequited love between the fair, noble Mme de Cleves, who is married to a loyal and faithful man, and the Duc de Nemours, a handsome man most female courtiers find irresistible. Warned by her mother against admitting her passion, Mme de Cleves hides her feelings from her fellow courtiers, until she finally confesses to her husband - an act that brings tragic consequences for all. Described as France's first modern novel, The Princesse de Cleves is an exquisite and profound analysis of the human heart, and a moving depiction of the inseparability of love and anguish.
On May 2, 1973, Black Panther Assata Shakur lay in a hospital, close to death, handcuffed to her bed, while local, state, and federal police attempted to question her about the shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike that had claimed the life of a white state trooper. Long a target of J. Edgar Hoover's campaign to defame, infiltrate, and criminalize Black nationalist organizations and their leaders, Shakur was incarcerated for four years prior to her conviction on flimsy evidence in 1977 as an accomplice to murder. With wit and candor, Assata Shakur recounts the experiences that led her to a life of activism and portrays the strengths, weaknesses, and eventual demise of Black and White revolutionary groups at the hand ofgovernment officials. The result is a signal contribution to the literature about growing up Black in America that has already taken its place alongside The Autobiography of Malcolm X and the works of Maya Angelou. Two years after her conviction, Assata Shakur escaped from prison. She was given political asylum by Cuba, where she now resides.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** August 2, 2016 at 7:15 PM
I Capture the Castle tells the story of 17-year-old Cassandra and her family, who live in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle old English castle. Over three turbulent months, she fills three diaries with funny yet poignant entries and manages to find herself hopelessly in love.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** July 5, 2016 at 7:15 PM
In 1955, with this short story collection, Flannery O'Connor firmly laid claim to her place as one of the most original and provocative writers of her generation. Steeped in a Southern Gothic tradition that would become synonymous with her name, these stories show O'Connor's unique, grotesque view of life--infused with religious symbolism, haunted by apocalyptic possibility, sustained by the tragic comedy of human behavior, confronted by the necessity of salvation.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** June 7, 2016 at 7:15 PM
Nightwood, Djuna Barnes' strange and sinuous tour de force, "belongs to that small class of books that somehow reflect a time or an epoch" (Times Literary Supplement). That time is the period between the two World Wars, and Barnes' novel unfolds in the decadent shadows of Europe's great cities, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna a world in which the boundaries of class, religion, and sexuality are bold but surprisingly porous. The outsized characters who inhabit this world are some of the most memorable in all of fiction there is Guido Volkbein, the Wandering Jew and son of a self-proclaimed baron; Robin Vote, the American expatriate who marries him and then engages in a series of affairs, first with Nora Flood and then with Jenny Petherbridge, driving all of her lovers to distraction with her passion for wandering alone in the night; and there is Dr. Matthew-Mighty-Grain-of-Salt-Dante-O'Connor, a transvestite and ostensible gynecologist, whose digressive speeches brim with fury, keen insights, and surprising allusions. Barnes' depiction of these characters and their relationships (Nora says, "A man is another persona woman is yourself, caught as you turn in panic; on her mouth you kiss your own") has made the novel a landmark of feminist and lesbian literature Most striking of all is Barnes' unparalleled stylistic innovation, which led T. S. Eliot to proclaim the book "so good a novel that only sensibilities trained on poetry can wholly appreciate it." Now with a new preface by Jeanette Winterson, Nightwood still crackles with the same electric charge it had on its first publication in 1936.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** May 3, 2016 at 7:15 PM
"A banquet for all the senses," said Newsweek of this bestselling and Booker Prize-winning literary novel--a richly textured first book about the tragic decline of one family whose members suffer the terrible consequences of forbidden love.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** April 12, 2016 at 7:15 PM
At Cambridge University in 1912, a physics student crashes into a beautiful young nurse on his bicycle. When they awake in the same bed they are left to ponder whether this was simply a random accident or perhaps something greater. Featuring an introduction by Philip Hensher.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** March 1, 2016 at 7:15 PM
The first nonfiction work by one of the most distinctive prose stylists of our era, Slouching Towards Bethlehem remains, forty years after its first publication, the essential portrait of America-- particularly California--in the sixties. It focuses on such subjects as John Wayne and Howard Hughes, growing up a girl in California, ruminating on the nature of good and evil in a Death Valley motel room, and, especially, the essence of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury, the heart of the counterculture.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** February 4, 2016 at 7:15 PM
Soaringly romantic and psychologically nuanced, Undest's novel is also a meticulous re-creation of a world split between pagan codes of retribution and the rigors of Christian piety - a world where law is a fragile new invention and manslaughter is so common that it's punishable by fine.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** January 5, 2016 at 7:15 PM
In 1929, Modotti was accused of the murder of Julio Antonio Mella, her Cuban lover. She fled to the USSR to escape the Mexican press and then to Europe, where she became a Soviet secret agent and a nurse under an assumed name, returning to Mexico to meet an early death at the age of forty-five.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** December 1, 2015 at 7:15 PM
Molly Keane's allusive and elegant novel about the St Charles family, an Anglo-Irish family in the last stages of decaying grace, examines how their crumbling codes of conduct are unable to save them from their own inadmissible desires.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** November 3, 2015 at 7:15 PM
Anywhere But Here is a moving, often comic portrait of wise child Ann August and her mother, Adele, a larger-than-life American dreamer. As they travel through the landscape of their often conflicting ambitions, Ann and Adele bring to life a novel that is a brilliant exploration of the perennial urge to keep moving, even at the risk of profound disorientation. Simpson's first novel is ultimately a heart-rendering tale of a mother and daughter's invaluable relationship.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** October 6, 2015 at 7:15 PM
Charles Arrowby, leading light of England's theatrical set, retires from glittering London to an isolated home by the sea. He plans to write a memoir about his great love affair with Clement Makin, his mentor, both professionally and personally, and amuse himself with Lizzie, an actress he has strung along for many years. None of his plans work out, and his memoir evolves into a riveting chronicle of the strange events and unexpected visitors-some real, some spectral-that disrupt his world and shake his oversized ego to its very core.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** September 1, 2015 at 7:15 PM
***PREVOUS SELECTION*** August 4, 2015, 7:15 PM
This 25th anniversary edition, about a modern black woman who is snatched away to the antebellum South, celebrates a classic work with "much to say about love, hate, slavery, and racial dilemmas, then and now" ("Los Angeles Herald Examiner").
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** July 7, 2015 at 7:15 PM
Written with a trenchant, sardonic edge, "The Group" is a dazzlingly outspoken novel and a captivating look at the social history of America between two world wars.
Mary McCarthy's most celebrated novel follows the lives of eight Vassar graduates, known simply to their classmates as "the group." An eclectic mix of personalities and upbringings, they meet a week after graduation to watch Kay Strong get married. After the ceremony, the women begin their adult lives--traveling to Europe, tackling the worlds of nursing and publishing, and finding love and heartbreak in the streets of New York City. Through the years, some of the friends grow apart and some become entangled in each other's affairs, but all vow not to become like their mothers and fathers. It is only when one of them passes away that they all come back together again to mourn the loss of a friend, a confidante, and most importantly, a member of the group.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** June 2, 2015 at 7:15 PM
For the first time, Etty Hillesum's diary and letters appear together to give us the fullest possible portrait of this extraordinary woman in the midst of World War II. In the darkest years of Nazi occupation and genocide, Etty Hillesum remained a celebrant of life whose lucid intelligence, sympathy, and almost impossible gallantry were themselves a form of inner resistance. The adult counterpart to Anne Frank, Hillesum testifies to the possibility of awareness and compassion in the face of the most devastating challenge to one's humanity. She died at Auschwitz in 1943 at the age of twenty-nine.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** April 7, 2015, 7:15 PM
Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards for "Best Science Fiction Novel of the Year", this famous novel tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter, an alien world whose inhabitants can change their gender.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** March 3, 2015, 7:15 PM
Superbly told, with the poet's gift for language and observation, Angelou's autobiography of her childhood in racially charged Arkansas in the 1930s brings to vivid life a world which most Americans had no idea existed.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** February 16, 2015, 7:15 PM
Originally appearing as a series of articles in The New Yorker, Hannah Arendt’s authoritative and stunning report on the trial of Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann sparked a flurry of debate upon its publication. This revised edition includes material that came to light after the trial, as well as Arendt’s postscript directly addressing the controversy that arose over her account. A major journalistic triumph by an intellectual of singular influence, Eichmann in Jerusalem is as shocking as it is informative—an unflinching look at one of the most unsettling (and unsettled) issues of the twentieth century that remains hotly debated to this day. This Penguin Classics edition includes an introduction by Amos Elan.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** January 6, 2015, 7:15 PM
Kingsolver's national bestseller paints an intimate portrait of a crisis-ridden family amid the larger backdrop of an African nation in chaos. Examine how the tragedy of the Price family mirrors the political unrest in the Congo, how the novel views religion and marriage, and how Kingsolver reconciles the demands of art with her belief that writing should support a political cause.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** December 2, 2014, 7:15 PM
The "wicked pavilion" is the Cafe Julien, where everybody who is anybody goes to recover from failed love affairs and to pursue new ones, to cadge money, to hatch plots, and and to puncture one another's reputations. Gore Vidal is one of many who considers The Wicked Pavilion to be Powell's best work.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** November 4, 2014 at 7:15 PM
Mary Gaskell's North and South examines the nature of social authority and obedience and provides an insightful description of the role of middle class women in nineteenth century society. Through the story of Margaret Hale, a southerner who moves to the northern industrial town of Milton, Gaskell skillfully explores issues of class and gender, as Margaret's sympathy for the town mill workers conflicts with her growing attraction to the mill owner, John Thornton. This new and revised expanded edition sets the novel in the context of Victorian social and medical debate.
About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** October 7, 2014 at 7:15 PM
"Nawal el Saadawi writes with directness and passion, transforming the systematic brutalisation of peasants and of women in to powerful allegory." -- "New York Times Book Review
""Scorching" -- "New Internationalist
""A powerful indictment of the treatment of women in many parts of the Middle East." -- "Labour Herald
""Woman at Point Zero should begin the long march towards a realistic and sympathetic portrayal of Arab women." -- "Middle East International"
"A dramatic symbolised version of female revolt against the norms of the Arab world." -- "The Guardian"
"El Saadawi has a flair for melodrama and mystery." -- "International Journal of Middle East Studies "
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** September 2, 2014 at 7:15 PM
A book that instantly captured the hearts of readers across the country, An American Childhoodis Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Dillard's poignant, vivid memoir of growing up in Pittsburgh in the 1950s.
***PREVIOUS SELECTION*** August 5, 2014 at 7:15 PM
One of only a handful of novels published by black women during the 1940s, "The Living is Easy" tells the story of Cleo Judson, daughter of southern sharecroppers, who wants to become a member of Boston's early twentieth-century elite. Married to the "black banana king, " she manipulates her three sisters into living with her, along with their children - but not their husbands - in an attempt to recreate her original family.
***Previous Selection*** July 1, 2014 at 7:15pm
In 1917 Siegfried Sasson, noted poet and decorated war hero, publicly refused to continue serving as a British officer in World War I. His reason: the war was a senseless slaughter. He was officially classified "mentally unsound" and sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital. There a brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. William Rivers, set about restoring Sassoon's "sanity" and sending him back to the trenches. This novel tells what happened as only a novel can. It is a war saga in which not a shot is fired. It is a story of a battle for a man's mind in which only the reader can decide who is the victor, who the vanquished, and who the victim.
One of the most amazing feats of fiction of our time, Regneration has been hailed by critics across the globe. As August 2014 marks the 100-year anniversary of World War I, this book is as timely and relevant as ever.
***Previous Selection*** June 3, 2014 at 7:15
New York’s Lower East Side was said to be the most densely populated square mile on earth in the 1890s. Health inspectors called the neighborhood “the suicide ward.” Diarrhea epidemics raged each summer, killing thousands of children. Sweatshop babies with smallpox and typhus dozed in garment heaps destined for fashionable shops. Desperate mothers paced the streets to soothe their feverish children and white mourning cloths hung from every building. A third of the children living there died before their fifth birthday.
By 1911, the child death rate had fallen sharply and The New York Times hailed the city as the healthiest on earth. In this witty and highly personal autobiography, public health crusader Dr. S. Josephine Baker explains how this transformation was achieved. By the time she retired in 1923, Baker was famous worldwide for saving the lives of 90,000 children. The programs she developed, many still in use today, have saved the lives of millions more. She fought for women’s suffrage, toured Russia in the 1930s, and captured “Typhoid” Mary Mallon, twice. She was also an astute observer of her times, and Fighting for Life is one of the most honest, compassionate memoirs of American medicine ever written.
***Previous Selection*** May 6, 2014 at 7:15 pm
This classic story of the March family women and their lives in New England during the Civil War has remained enduringly popular since its publication in 1868. Poor, argumentative, loving, and optimistic, the March sisters struggle to supplement their family's meager income and realize their own dreams. This highly autobiographical novel shows us women who are strong-minded and independent in their determination to control their own destiny. The introduction to this edition provides a fascinating history of the Alcotts, and a biographical history of Louisa Alcott's own struggles as a writer.
About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
***Previous Selection*** April 1, 2014 at 7:15pm
A Taste of Honey tells the story of a working-class adolescent girl and her various relationships: the black sailor who gets her pregnant; the homosexual art student who moves into her apartment to help her through the pregnancy; her fun-loving and saloon-frequenting mother; and Peter, her mother's newly acquired husband.
***Previous Selection*** March 4, 2014 at 7:15 pm
Emerging from the thought-provoking discussions and correspondence Simone Weil had with the Reverend Father Perrin, this classic collection of essays contains the renowned philosopher and social activist's most profound meditations on the relationship of human life to the realm of the transcendent. An enduring masterwork and "one of the most neglected resources of our century" (Adrienne Rich), Waiting for God will continue to influence spiritual and political thought for centuries to come.
***Previous Selection*** February 4, 2014 at 7:15 pm
This meeting will also serve as our book selection meeting.
In its extraordinary range of character and culture, Almanac of the Dead is fiction on the grand scale. The acclaimed author of Ceremony has undertaken a weaving of ideas and lives, fate and history, passion and conquest in an attempt to re-create the moral history of the Americas, told from the point of view of the conquered, not the conquerors.
***Previous Selection*** November 4, 2013 at 7:15 pm
First published in 1978, Silences single-handedly revolutionized the literary canon. In this classic work, now back in print, Olsen broke open the study of literature and discovered a lost continent--the writing of women and working-class people. From the excavated testimony of authors' letters and diaries we learn the many ways the creative spirit, especially in those disadvantaged by gender, class and race, can be silenced. Olsen recounts the torments of Melville, the crushing weight of criticism on Thomas Hardy, the shame that brought Willa Cather to a dead halt, and struggles of Virginia Woolf, Olsen's heroine and greatest exemplar of a writer who confronted the forces that would silence her. This 25th-anniversary edition includes Olsen's now infamous reading lists of forgotten authors and a new introduction and author preface. Activist and author Tillie Olsen is best known for her prize-winning fiction Tell Me a Riddle and Yonnondio: From the Thirties. She has taught at MIT, Stanford, and Amherst. Olsen is an recipient of an Award for Distinguished Contribution to American Literature from the American Academy and the National Institute of Arts and Letters.
***Previous Selection*** October 1, 2013 at 7:15 p.m.
In her most famous novel, Simone de Beauvoir takes an unflinching look at Parisian intellectual society at the end of World War II, fictionally relating the stories of those around her--Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Arthur Koestler, and Nelson Algren.
***Previous Selection*** September 3, 2013 at 7:15 p.m.
At the staid Marcia Blaine School for Girls, in Edinburgh, Scotland, teacher extraordinaire Miss Jean Brodie is unmistakably, and outspokenly, in her prime. She is passionate in the application of her unorthodox teaching methods, in her attraction to the married art master, Teddy Lloyd, in her affair with the bachelor music master, Gordon Lowther, and--most important--in her dedication to "her girls," the students she selects to be her creme de la creme. Fanatically devoted, each member of the Brodie set--Eunice, Jenny, Mary, Monica, Rose, and Sandy--is "famous for something," and Miss Brodie strives to bring out the best in each one. Determined to instill in them independence, passion, and ambition, Miss Brodie advises her girls, "Safety does not come first. Goodness, Truth, and Beauty come first. Follow me."
And they do. But one of them will betray her.
***Previous Selection*** August 6, 2013 at 7:15 pm
In this deluxe edition, with cover art by "Ghost World" creator Daniel Clowes and an Introduction by bestselling author Elizabeth Kostova (The Historian), Mary Shelley's timeless gothic novel presents the epic battle between man and monster at its greatest literary pitch. In trying to create life, the young student Victor Frankenstein unleashes forces beyond his control, setting into motion a long and tragic chain of events that brings Victor to the very brink of madness. How he tries to destroy his creation, as it destroys everything Victor loves, is a powerful story of love, friendship, scientific hubris, and horror.
***Previous Selection*** July 16, 2013 at 7:15 p.m.
This is an extra, added meeting--open to all!--in honor of Alice Walker's appearance at the store on July 1st.
Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate, and continuing over the course of her marriage to "Mister," a brutal man who terrorizes her. Celie eventually learns that her abusive husband has been keeping her sister's letters from her and the rage she feels, combined with an example of love and independence provided by her close friend Shug, pushes her finally toward an awakening of her creative and loving self.
***Previous Selection*** July 2, 2013 at 7:15 pm
A most beguilingly seductive novel from the author of The Passion and Sexing the Cherry. Winterson chronicles the consuming affair between the narrator, who is given neither name nor gender, and the beloved, a complex and confused married woman. "At once a love story and a philosophical meditation".--New York Times Book Review.
***Previous Selection*** June 4, 2013 at 7:15 pm
Much of what we know and feel about the First World War we owe to Vera Brittain's elegiac yet unsparing book, which set a standard for memoirists from Martha Gellhorn to Lillian Hellman. Abandoning her studies at Oxford in 1915 to enlist as a nurse in the armed services, Brittain served in London, in Malta, and on the Western Front. By war's end she had lost virtually everyone she loved. Testament of Youth is both a record of what she lived through and an elegy for a vanished generation. Hailed by the Times Literary Supplement as a book that helped "both form and define the mood of its time," it speaks to any generation that has been irrevocably changed by war. A new introduction by Brittain's biographer examines her struggles to write about her experiences and the book's reception in England and America.
***Previous Selection*** May 7, 2013 at 7:15 pm
One of America's foremost poets and feminist theorists collect here some of her most important early prose writings. On Lies, Secrets, and Silence is an extraordinary sort of travel diary, documenting Adrienne Rich's journeys to the frontier and into the interior. It traces the development of one individual consciousness, 'playing over such issues as motherhood, racism, history, poetry, the uses of scholarship, the politics of language.' Rich has written a headnote for each essay, briefly discussing the circumstances of its writing.
***Previous Selection*** April 2, 2013
Cloud Nine is about relationships - between women and men, men and men, women and women. It is about sex, work, mothers, Africa, power, children, grandmothers, politics, money, Queen Victoria and sex. Caryl Churchill (1938- ) is probably the most respected woman dramatist in the English-speaking world. She is the author of some twenty plays, including Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, Cloud Nine, Top Girls, Serious Money, The Skriker, Blue Heart, Far Away, and A Number, seen and admired all over the world.
***Previous Selection*** February 5, 2013 at 7:15 pm
The second revision in 60 years, this sublime collection ranges over the verse, stories, essays, and journalism of one of the 20th century's most quotable authors.
***Previous Selection*** January 8, 2013 at 7:15 pm
Mules and Men is a treasury of black America's folklore as collected by a famous storyteller and anthropologist who grew up hearing the songs and sermons, sayings and tall tales that have formed an oral history of the South since the time of slavery. Returning to her hometown of Eatonville, Florida, to gather material, Zora Neale Hurston recalls "a hilarious night with a pinch of everything social mixed with the storytelling." Set intimately within the social context of black life, the stories, "big old lies," songs, Vodou customs, and superstitions recorded in these pages capture the imagination and bring back to life the humor and wisdom that is the unique heritage of African Americans.
***Previous Selection*** December 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm
These poem-stories are a strange retelling of seventeen Grimm's fairy tales, including "Snow White," "Rumpelstiltskin," "Rapunzel," "The Twelve Dancing Princesses," "The Frog Prince," and "Red Riding Hood." Astonishingly, they are as wholly personal as Anne Sexton's most intimate poems. "Her metaphoric strength has never been greater--really funny, among other things, a dark, dark laughter."
***Previous Selection*** November 7, 2012 at 7:15 pm
Since his debut in 1955, Tom Ripley has evolved into the ultimate bad boy sociopath, influencing countless novelists and filmmakers. In this first novel, we are introduced to suave, handsome Tom Ripley: a young striver, newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan in the 1950s. A product of a broken home, branded a "sissy" by his dismissive Aunt Dottie, Ripley becomes enamored of the moneyed world of his new friend, Dickie Greenleaf. This fondness turns obsessive when Ripley is sent to Italy to bring back his libertine pal but grows enraged by Dickie's ambivalent feelings for Marge, a charming American dilettante. A dark reworking of Henry James's s The Ambassadors, The Talented Mr. Ripley immortalized in the 1998 film starring Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Gywneth Paltrow is an unforgettable introduction to this debonair confidence man, whose talent for self-invention and calculated murder is chronicled in four subsequent novels.
***Previous Selection*** October 9, 2012 at 7:15 pm
Perhaps the most haunting and tormented love story ever written, Wuthering Heights is the tale of the troubled orphan Heathcliff and his doomed love for Catherine Earnshaw. Published in 1847, the year before Emily Bronte's death at the age of thirty, Wuthering Heights has proved to be one of the nineteenth century's most popular yet disturbing masterpieces. The windswept moors are the unforgettable setting of this tale of the love between the foundling Heathcliff and his wealthy benefactor's daughter, Catherine. Through Catherine's betrayal of Heathcliff and his bitter vengeance, their mythic passion haunts the next generation even after their deaths. Incorporating elements of many genres--from gothic novels and ghost stories to poetic allegory--and transcending them all, Wuthering Heights is a mystifying and powerful tour de force.
***Previous Selection*** September 11, 2012 at 7:15 pm
First published to critical acclaim in 1929, Passing firmly established Nella Larsen's prominence among women writers of the Harlem Renaissance. The Modern Library is proud to present Passing--an electrifying story of two women who cross the color line in 1920s New York--together with a new Introduction by the Obie Award-winning playwright and novelist Ntozake Shange.
***Previous Selection*** August 7, 2012 at 7:15 pm
The stunning first novel in Louise Erdrich's Native American series, "Love Medicine" tells the story of two families, the Kashpaws and the Lamartines. Written in Erdrich's uniquely poetic, powerful style, it is a multi-generational portrait of strong men and women caught in an unforgettable drama of anger, desire, and the healing power that is love medicine.
***Previous Selection*** July 10, 2012 at 7:15 pm
'I wonder what will become of her!' So speculate the friends and neighbours of Emma Woodhouse, the lovely, lively, wilful, and fallible heroine of Jane Austen's fourth published novel. Confident that she knows best, Emma schemes to find a suitable husband for her pliant friend Harriet, only to discover that she understands the feelings of others as little as she does her own heart. As Emma puzzles and blunders her way through the mysteries of her social world, Austen evokes for her readers a cast of unforgettable characters and a detailed portrait of a small town undergoing historical transition. Written with matchless wit and irony, judged by many to be her finest novel, Emma has been adapted many times for film and television. This new edition shows how Austen brilliantly turns the everyday into the exceptional.
***Previous Selection*** June 5, 2012 at 7:15 pm
The women of Brewster Place are "hard-edged, soft-centered, brutally demanding, and easily pleased". In their stories, Gloria Naylor has created a community of women that has touched thousands of readers across the country.
***Previous Selection*** May 1, 2012 at 7:15 pm
Moving between Honolulu, Jakarta and Saigon, against the historical backdrop of the final withdrawal from Vietnam, this novel is a bitingly funny, cumulatively devastating post-mortem of our national mores and institutions. A U.S. Senator, his wife, senatorial groupies and international arms dealing intersect with one another in this blistering indictment of American amnesia.
***Previous Selection*** April 3, 2012 at 7:15 pm
Freya Stark recounts her 1937-38 expedition into what is now Yemen, a journey which helped secure her reputation not only as a great travel writer, but also as a first-rate geographer, historian, and archaeologist. "A Winter in Arabia" offers rare glimpses of life behind the veil-the subtleties of business and social conduct, the elaborate beauty rituals of the women, and the bitter animosities between rival tribes. Ultimately, we are not only captivated by Stark's sensitive evocation of this wondrous land, but inspired by her passion.
***Previous Selection*** March 5, 2012 at 7:15 pm
Winner of the prestigious Whitbread Prize for best first novel and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for best writer under 35, this modern classic has sold 100,000 copies in the United States. The novel chronicles the life of a bright and rebellious orphan who is adopted into an Evangelical household in the dour, industrial Midlands. Her insistence on listening to the truths of her own heart and mind makes for an unforgettable chronicle of an eccentric, moving rite of passage into adulthood.
***Previous Selection*** February 7, 2012 at 7:15 pm
Margaret Mitchell's epic novel of love and war won the Pulitzer Prize and went on to give rise to two authorized sequels and one of the most popular and celebrated movies of all time. Many novels have been written about the Civil War and its aftermath. None take us into the burning fields and cities of the American South as "Gone With the Wind" does, creating haunting scenes and thrilling portraits of characters so vivid that we remember their words and feel their fear and hunger for the rest of our lives. In the two main characters, the white-shouldered, irresistible Scarlett and the flashy, contemptuous Rhett, Margaret Mitchell not only conveyed a timeless story of survival under the harshest of circumstances, she also created two of the most famous lovers in the English-speaking world since Romeo and Juliet.
***Previous Selection*** January 3, 2012 at 7:15 pm
This volume collects Gellhorn's global reportage from the Spanish Civil War to the current troubles in Central America. Whether recording the smell of summer grass over Normandy beaches or the suspended daily life of the mother of a "disappeared" Salvadoran, her passionate allegiance to truth shines throughout the work.
***Previous Selection*** December 6, 2011 at 7:15 pm
Nancy Mitford's most enduringly popular novel, "The Pursuit of Love "is a classic comedy about growing up and falling in love among the privileged and eccentric. Mitford modeled her characters on her own famously unconventional family. We are introduced to the Radletts through the eyes of their cousin Fanny, who stays with them at Alconleigh, their Gloucestershire estate. Uncle Matthew is the blustering patriarch, known to hunt his children when foxes are scarce; Aunt Sadie is the vague but doting mother; and the seven Radlett children, despite the delights of their unusual childhood, are recklessly eager to grow up. The first of three novels featuring these characters, "The Pursuit of Love "follows the travails of Linda, the most beautiful and wayward Radlett daughter, who falls first for a stuffy Tory politician, then an ardent Communist, and finally a French duke named Fabrice.
***Previous Selection*** November 1, 2011 at 7:15 pm
This is a book about women's history and biography and to radical history, particularly to our understanding of family and gender relations and female self-understanding of women radicals.
***Previous Selection*** October 4, 2011 at 7:15 pm
Sophia Willoughby, a young Englishwoman from an aristocratic family and a person of strong opinions and even stronger will, has packed her cheating husband off to Paris. He can have his tawdry mistress. She intends to devote herself to the serious business of raising her two children in proper Tory fashion. Then tragedy strikes: the children die, and Sophia, in despair, finds her way to Paris, arriving just in time for the revolution of 1848. Before long she has formed the unlikeliest of close relations with Minna, her husband's sometime mistress, whose dramatic recitations, based on her hair-raising childhood in czarist Russia, electrify audiences in drawing rooms and on the street alike. Minna, "magnanimous and unscrupulous, fickle, ardent, and interfering," leads Sophia on a wild adventure through bohemian and revolutionary Paris, in a story that reaches an unforgettable conclusion amidst the bullets, bloodshed, and hope of the barricades.
***Previous Selection*** September 6, 2011 at 7:15 pm
The winner of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature paints a fascinating portrait of a "conservationist" left only with the possibility of self-preservation, a subtle and detailed study of the forces and relationships that seethe in South Africa today.
***Previous Selection*** August 2, 2011 at 7:15 pm
Newland Archer saw little to envy in the marriages of his friends, yet he prided himself that in May Welland he had found the companion of his needs--tender and impressionable, with equal purity of mind and manners. The engagement was announced discreetly, but all of New York society was soon privy to this most perfect match, a union of families and circumstances cemented by affection. Enter Countess Olenska, a woman of quick wit sharpened by experience, not afraid to flout convention and determined to find freedom in divorce. Against his judgment, Newland is drawn to the socially ostracized Ellen Olenska, who opens his eyes and has the power to make him feel. He knows that in sweet-tempered May, he can expect stability and the steadying comfort of duty. But what new worlds could he discover with Ellen? Written with elegance and wry precision, Edith Wharton's Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece is a tragic love story and a powerful homily about the perils of a perfect marriage.
***Previous Selection*** July 5, 2011 at 7:15 pm
Beginning in Paris on the eve of the Nazi occupation in 1940. "Suite Francaise" tells the remarkable story of men and women thrown together in circumstances beyond their control. As Parisians flee the city, human folly surfaces in every imaginable way: a wealthy mother searches for sweets in a town without food; a couple is terrified at the thought of losing their jobs, even as their world begins to fall apart. Moving on to a provincial village now occupied by German soldiers, the locals must learn to coexist with the enemy--in their town, their homes, even in their hearts.When Irene Nemirovsky began working on "Suite Francaise," she was already a highly successful writer living in Paris. But she was also a Jew, and in 1942 she was arrested and deported to Auschwitz, where she died. For sixty-four years, this novel remained hidden and unknown.
***Previous Selection*** June 7, 2011 at 7:15 pm
Though more than sixty years have passed since this remarkable novel won the Pulitzer Prize, it has retained its popularity and become one of the great modern classics. "I can only write what I know, and I know nothing but China, having always lived there," wrote Pearl Buck. In "The Good Earth" she presents a graphic view of a China when the last emperor reigned and the vast political and social upheavals of the twentieth century were but distant rumblings for the ordinary people. This moving, classic story of the honest farmer Wang Lung and his selfless wife O-lan is must reading for those who would fully appreciate the sweeping changes that have occurred in the lives of the Chinese people during this century.
***Previous Selection*** May 11, 2011 at 7:15 pm
With the publication of her first novel, THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER, Carson McCullers, all of twenty-three, became a literary sensation. With its profound sense of moral isolation and its compassionate glimpses into its characters' inner lives, the novel is considered McCullers' finest work, an enduring masterpiece first published by Houghton Mifflin in 1940. At its center is the deaf-mute John Singer, who becomes the confidant for various types of misfits in a Georgia mill town during the 1930s. Each one yearns for escape from small town life. When Singer's mute companion goes insane, Singer moves into the Kelly house, where Mick Kelly, the book's heroine (and loosely based on McCullers), finds solace in her music. Wonderfully attuned to the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition, and with a deft sense for racial tensions in the South, McCullers spins a haunting, unforgettable story that gives voice to the rejected, the forgotten, and the mistreated -- and, through Mick Kelly, gives voice to the quiet, intensely personal search for beauty.
***Previous Selection*** April 13, 2011 at 7:15 pm
In this book, the author of "Seven Gothic Tales gives a true account of her life on her plantation in Kenya. She tells with classic simplicity of the ways of the country and the natives: of the beauty of the Ngong Hills and coffee trees in blossom: of her guests, from the Prince of Wales to Knudsen, the old charcoal burner, who visited her: of primitive festivals: of big game that were her near neighbors--lions, rhinos, elephants, zebras, buffaloes--and of Lulu, the little gazelle who came to live with her, unbelievably ladylike and beautiful.
The Random House colophon made its debut in February 1927 on the cover of a little pamphlet called "Announcement Number One." Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer, the company's founders, had acquired the Modern Library from publishers Boni and Liveright two years earlier. One day, their friend the illustrator Rockwell Kent stopped by their office. Cerf later recalled, "Rockwell was sitting at my desk facing Donald, and we were talking about doing a few books on the side, when suddenly I got an inspiration and said, 'I've got the name for our publishing house. We just said we were go-ing to publish a few books on the side at random. Let's call it Random House.' Donald liked the idea, and Rockwell Kent said, 'That's a great name. I'll draw your trademark.' So, sitting at my desk, he took a piece of paper and in five minutes drew Random House, which has been our colophon ever since." Throughout the years, the mission of Random House has remained consistent: to publish books of the highest quality, at random. We are proud to continue this tradition today.
***Previous Selection*** March 9, 2011, 7:15 pm
The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness -- in a work of literary artthat brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.
***Previous Selection*** February 9, 2011, 7:15 pm
Jean Rhys's reputation was made upon the publication of this passionate and heartbreaking novel, in which she brings into the light one of fiction's most mysterious characters: the madwoman in the attic from Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. A sensual and protected young woman, Antoinette Cosway grows up in the lush natural world of the Caribbean. She is sold into marriage to the coldhearted and prideful Rochester, who succumbs to his need for money and his lust. Yet he will make her pay for her ancestors' sins of slaveholding, excessive drinking, and nihilistic despair by enslaving her as a prisoner in his bleak English home. In this best-selling novel Rhys portrays a society so driven by hatred, so skewed in its sexual relations, that it can literally drive a woman out of her mind.
***Previous Selection*** January 12, 2011, 7:15 pm
In conjunction with the New York Public Library, Doubleday is proud to introduce a very special collector's series of literary masterpieces. Lavishly illustrated with rare archival material from the library's extensive resources, including the renowned Berg collection, these editions will bring the classics to life for a new generation of readers.
***Previous Selection*** December 8, 2010, 7:15 pm
"The Dud Avocado "follows the romantic and comedic adventures of a young American who heads overseas to conquer Paris in the late 1950s. Edith Wharton and Henry James wrote about the American girl abroad, but it was Elaine Dundy's Sally Jay Gorce who told us what she was really thinking. Charming, sexy, and hilarious, "The Dud Avocado" gained instant cult status when it was first published and it remains a timeless portrait of a woman hell-bent on living. "I had to tell someone how much I enjoyed "The Dud Avocado." It made me laugh, scream, and guffaw (which, incidentally, is a great name for a law firm)." -Groucho Marx "["The Dud Avocado"] is one of the best novels about growing up fast..." "-The Guardian"
***Previous Selection*** October 13, 2010 at 7:15 pm
Alone since four members of the family died of arsenic poisoning, Merricat, Constance, and Julian Blackwood spend their days in happy isolation until cousin Charles appears.
***Previous Selection*** September 8, 2010 at 7:15 pm
The mysterious new tenant of Wildfell Hall is a strong-minded woman who keeps her own counsel. Helen 'Graham' - exiled with her child to the desolate moorland mansion, adopting an assumed name and earning her living as a painter - has returned to Wildfell Hall in flight from a disastrous marriage. Narrated by her neighbour Gilbert Markham, and in the pages of her own diary, the novel portrays Helen's eloquent struggle for independence at a time when the law and society defined a married woman as her husband's property.
***Previous Selection*** August 18, 2010 at 7:15 pm
In 1929, a newly married M.F.K. Fisher said goodbye to a milquetoast American culinary upbringing and sailed with her husband to Dijon, where she tasted real French cooking for the first time. "The Gastronomical Me" is a chronicle of her passionate embrace of a whole new way of eating, drinking, and celebrating the senses. As she recounts memorable meals shared with an assortment of eccentric and fascinating characters, set against a backdrop of mounting pre-war tensions, we witness the formation not only of her taste but of her character and her prodigious talent.
***Previous Selection*** July 14, 2010 at 7:15 pm
Winner of the 1924 Pulitzer Prize, "So Big" is widely regarded as Edna Ferber's crowning achievement. A rollicking panorama of Chicago's high and low life, this stunning novel follows the travails of gambler's daughter Selina Peake DeJong as she struggles to maintain her dignity, her family, and her sanity in the face of monumental challenges.
***Previous Selection*** June 9, 2010 at 7:15 pm
Largely to amuse herself, Gertrude Stein wrote this book in 1932..using as a sounding board her companion Miss Toklas, who had been with her for twenty-five years. The book is full of the most lucid and shapely anecdotes, told in a purer and more closely fitting prose...than even Gide or Hemingway have ever commanded.
***Previous Selection*** May 12, 2010 at 7:15pm
Winner of England's Booker Prize, a coast-to-coast bestseller, and the literary sensation of the year, Possession is a novel of wit and romance, at once an intellectual mystery and a triumphant love story. Revolving around a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets, Byatt creates a haunting counterpoint of passion and ideas.