Seniors Book Club September Selection

Burgess BoysThe Seniors Book Club will resume on September 10 at 2 pm in the Training Room. Our book choice for this month is The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout.

Elizabeth Strout “animates the ordinary with an astonishing force,” wrote The New Yorker on the publication of her Pulitzer Prize–winning Olive Kitteridge. The San Francisco Chronicle praised Strout’s “magnificent gift for humanizing characters.” Now the acclaimed author returns with a stunning novel as powerful and moving as any work in contemporary literature.

Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls for New York City as soon as they possibly could. Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a Legal Aid attorney who idolizes Jim, has always taken it in stride. But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan—the Burgess sibling who stayed behind—urgently calls them home. Her lonely teenage son, Zach, has gotten himself into a world of trouble, and Susan desperately needs their help. And so the Burgess brothers return to the landscape of their childhood, where the long-buried tensions that have shaped and shadowed their relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever.

With a rare combination of brilliant storytelling, exquisite prose, and remarkable insight into character, Elizabeth Strout has brought to life two deeply human protagonists whose struggles and triumphs will resonate with readers long after they turn the final page. Tender, tough-minded, loving, and deeply illuminating about the ties that bind us to family and home, The Burgess Boys is Elizabeth Strout’s newest and perhaps most astonishing work of literary art. (www.amazon.ca)

Elizabeth Strout’s website

Goodreads Interview with Elizabeth Strout

Publisher’s Reader’s Guide (including Discussion Questions)

A Washington Times review

A New York Times review

Somali diaspora in U.S. and Canada

Somali Americans (Wikipedia article)

NYT article about real “pig’s head” incident in Lewiston, Maine in 2006

2007 Follow-up on news story

 

 

Monday Evening Book Club September Selection

Into the abyssThe Monday Evening Book Club will resume on September 8 at 7 pm in Forsyth Hall. Our book choice for this month is Into the abyss : how a deadly plane crash changed the lives of a pilot, a politician, a criminal and a cop by Carol Shaben.

About the book:

In the tradition of Into Thin Air and The Perfect Storm comes the riveting account of a deadly plane crash in northern Canada and its aftermath. Written by an award-winning journalist who is the daughter of one of the survivors, Into the Abyss is a dramatic true story of survival, and a compassionate account of 4 men’s journey from the depths of tragedy to the riches of lives begun anew. On an icy night in October 1984, a Piper Navajo commuter plane carrying 9 passengers crashed in the remote wilderness of northern Alberta, killing 6 people. 4 survived: the rookie pilot, a prominent politician, a cop and the criminal he was escorting to face charges. As they fought through the night to stay alive, the dividing lines of power, wealth and status were erased and each man was forced to confront the precious and limited nature of his existence. The survivors forged unlikely friendships and through them found strength and courage to rebuild their lives. Into the Abyss is a powerful narrative that combines in-depth reporting with sympathy and grace to explore how a single, tragic event can upset our assumptions and become a catalyst for transformation. (www.amazon.ca)

Carol Shaben’s website

Review (Toronto Star)

Review (National Post)

Youtube: CTV Edmonton interview with Carol Shaben

Podcast of “The Wreckage of Flight 402″ (The Current on CBC Radio)

NPR interview with Carol Shaben

Edmonton Journal article Oct. 19, 1984

About Larry Shaben

Non-Fiction Discussion Questions (generic)

Seniors Book Club June Selection

Rosie ProjectThe Seniors Book Club will meet Wednesday, June 11 at 2 pm in the Training Room to discuss The Rosie Project by Australian author Graeme Simsion.

About the book:

THE ART OF LOVE IS NEVER A SCIENCE.  Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially challenged professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. And so, in the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.

Rosie Jarman is all these things. She also is strangely beguiling, fiery, and intelligent. And while Don quickly disqualifies her as a candidate for the Wife Project, as a DNA expert Don is particularly suited to help Rosie on her own quest: identifying her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on the Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.

Arrestingly endearing and entirely unconventional, Graeme Simsion’s distinctive debut will resonate with anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of great challenges. The Rosie Project is a rare find: a book that restores our optimism in the power of human connection.  (simonandschuster.com)

Graeme Simsion’s website

A Youtube Interview with Graeme Simsion

Book Review of The Rosie Project

Discussion Questions for The Rosie Project

Facts on Asperger’s Syndrome

 

Monday Evening Book Club June Selection

Dear Life MunroThe Monday Evening Book Club will meet on June 9 at 7 pm in the Training Room to discuss Dear Life by Nobel Prize author Alice Munro.

About this short story collection:

With her peerless ability to give us the essence of a life in often brief but spacious and timeless stories, Alice Munro illumines the moment a life is shaped — the moment a dream, or sex, or perhaps a simple twist of fate turns a person out of his or her accustomed path and into another way of being. Suffused with Munro’s clarity of vision and her unparalleled gift for storytelling, these stories (set in the world Munro has made her own: the countryside and towns around Lake Huron) about departures and beginnings, accidents, dangers, and homecomings both virtual and real, paint a vivid and lasting portrait of how strange, dangerous, and extraordinary the ordinary life can be. (source: mcclelland.com)

Author Biography

Dear Life Interview

Dear Life Review

Nobel Prize Video Interview

Discussion Questions

 

 

Monday Evening Book Club May Selection

Complete PersepolisThe Monday Evening Book Club will meet on May 12 at 7 pm in Forsyth Hall. This month we are venturing into discussing a book in a different format, the graphic novel The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, an internationally acclaimed memoir-in-comic-strips.

Persepolis is the story of Satrapi’s unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming–both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.
Edgy, searingly observant, and candid, often heartbreaking but threaded throughout with raw humor and hard-earned wisdom–Persepolis is a stunning work from one of the most highly regarded, singularly talented graphic artists at work today.

About Marjane Satrapi

An interview with the author

A video interview with Satrapi

Discussion Questions

Persepolis movie