Book Discussion Group
The Book Discussion Group meets on the second Thursday of each month, in the Rollins Center Room 114 at the Newtown Campus, from 7:30 to 9:00 pm. For more information, call 215-968-8164 or send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winter weather: For snow or bad weather information, call 215-968‑8000. On the radio, the College code for snow closing is 2760.
Sep 13: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
From the Publisher:
This exquisite novel tells the story of one of the most compelling heroines in modern literature--Emma Bovary. Unhappily married to a devoted, clumsy provincial doctor, Emma revolts against the ordinariness of her life by pursuing voluptuous dreams of ecstasy and love. But her sensuous and sentimental desires lead her only to suffering corruption and downfall. A brilliant psychological portrait, Madame Bovary searingly depicts the human mind in search of transcendence. Who is Madame Bovary? Flaubert's answer to this question was superb: "Madame Bovary, c'est moi." Acclaimed as a masterpiece upon its publication in 1857, the work catapulted Flaubert to the ranks of the world's greatest novelists.
An Amazon Best Book of January 2018: In this posthumous collection, Denis Johnson’s narrators are often confined to one place as they relate their stories—a couch, the kitchen table, or even prison. Yet images tumble forward, and humor bubbles, and his characters speak out about their hopes and limitations, and some kind of alchemy takes place that can only be achieved by the best writers. You feel like they’ve taken you on a journey, even if you never left their minimum space. Johnson’s characters all have faults, about which they are at least semi-aware. Some of them are criminals, and even more are addicts. But all of them are deeply human, and you will probably recognize a little of yourself in these stories, even if no one else would make that connection. There are lines you’ll want to underline. Memories and emotions will be stirred. This is a great collection for Johnson to go out on. --Chris Schluep, Amazon Book Review
From the Back Cover:
In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston traveled to Plateau, Alabama, to visit eighty-six-year-old Cudjo Lewis, a survivor of the Clotilda, the last slaver known to have made the transatlantic journey. Illegally brought to the United States, Cudjo was enslaved fifty years after the slave trade was outlawed. At the time, Cudjo was the only person alive who could recount this integral part of the nation’s history. As a cultural anthropologist, Hurston was eager to hear about these experiences firsthand. But the reticent elder didn’t always speak when she came to visit. Sometimes he would tend his garden, repair his fence, or appear lost in his thoughts. Hurston persisted, though, and during an intense three-month period, she and Cudjo communed over her gifts of peaches and watermelon, and gradually Cudjo, a poetic storyteller, began to share heartrending memories of his childhood in Africa; the attack by female warriors who slaughtered his townspeople; the horrors of being captured and held in the barracoons of Ouidah for selection by American traders; the harrowing ordeal of the Middle Passage aboard the Clotilda as “cargo” with more than one hundred other souls; the years he spent in slavery until the end of the Civil War; and finally his role in the founding of Africatown. Barracoon employs Hurston’s skills as both an anthropologist and a writer, and brings to life Cudjo’s singular voice, in his vernacular, in a poignant, powerful tribute to the disremembered and the unaccounted. This profound work is an invaluable contribution to our history and culture.
Dec 13: The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck and Susan Bernofsky
Winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for the best translated novel of 2014 and the Hans Fallada Prize, The End of Days, by the acclaimed German writer Jenny Erpenbeck, consists essentially of five “books,” each leading to a different death of the same unnamed female protagonist. How could it all have gone differently?―the narrator asks in the intermezzos. The first chapter begins with the death of a baby in the early twentieth-century Hapsburg Empire. In the next chapter, the same girl grows up in Vienna after World War I, but a pact she makes with a young man leads to a second death. In the next scenario, she survives adolescence and moves to Russia with her husband. Both are dedicated Communists, yet our heroine ends up in a labor camp. But her fate does not end there….
A novel of incredible breadth and amazing concision, The End of Days offers a unique overview of the twentieth century.