Before your first visit, please read our Parking requirements. Also check our WORKSHOPS (for writers) for even more events! Unless noted, no RSVP required. ALL ARE WELCOME!
WED, JULY 18, 2-4: MC CARTHY'S THE GROUP
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. Rosemary Manchester guides the discussion.
WED, AUGUST 15, 2-4: JEAN HEGLAND IN PERSON to DISCUSS STILL TIME
The author is coming to answer Book Group questions! Still Time, a new novel by Jean Hegland, explores dementia through the eyes of aging Shakespearean scholar John Wilson. Unsettled by life in a residential care facility and a surprise visit from his estranged daughter, Wilson finds solace and structure in the plays and poetry that so captivated his life. Hegland, who shares poetry at a memory care center near her home in California, says she was inspired by her own responses to the Bard of Avon. “After attending a performance of one of Shakespeare’s plays, I am haunted by a collage of lines and phrases that echo through my mind for hours afterward,” she writes.
WED, SEPTEMBER 19, 2-4: JANE AUSTEN'S EMMA
The story of a self-deluded heroine in a small village, Jane Austen’s Emma hardly seems revolutionary. But, 200 years after it was first published, some critics argue that it belongs alongside the works of Flaubert, Joyce and Woolf as one of the great experimental novels. The narrative was radically experimental because it was designed to share her delusions. The novel bent narration through the distorting lens of its protagonist’s mind. Woolf wrote that if Austen had lived longer and written more, “She would have been the forerunner of Henry James and of Proust”. In Emma, she is. Though a longer book than we usually select, it will satisfy lazy summer afternoons! And who better now than the wit and wisdom of Austen?
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2-4: WHO IS CHARMIAN LONDON?
This fall the Jack London State Historic Park opens a new permanent exhibit at the House of Happy Walls featuring the life of Charmian Kittredge London. Iris Jamahl Dunkle has a biography in preparation, while Clarice Stasz, Ph.d. explored Charmian's writings in two books. Both were major contributors to a recent issue of Women's Studies devoted entirely to her life and works, and are advisors to the Park. Come listen to a discussion of her significance in women's history and her writings. Iris will also read original poems inspired by Charmian's life.
WED, OCTOBER 17, 2-4: ALICE MCDERMOTT'S CHARMING BILLY
Billy Lynch's family and friends have gathered to comfort his widow, and to pay their respects to one of the last great romantics. As they trade tales of his famous humor, immense charm, and consuming sorrow, a complex portrait emerges of an enigmatic man, a loyal friend, a beloved husband, an incurable alcoholic. Alice McDermott's striking novel, Charming Billy, is a study of the lies that bind and the weight of familial love, of the way good intentions can be as destructive as the truth they were meant to hide. The novel won the National Book Award and American Book Award.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27, 1-5: OBIT WRITING
Learn about writing obituaries (including your own) in this workshop. The NY Times documentary on the form may be shown as well. More TBA.
WED, NOVEMBER 14, 2-4: BUCHI ENCHETA'S DOUBLE YOKE
Barbara Lesch McCaffrey, Ph.d., introduces the Book Group to this short, intense novel. Double Yoke is set in Calabar University in eastern Nigeria. It tells the story of a young student Nko, torn between social demands to fulfill a traditional female role, and her own desire to be an educated woman with an independent career. As she struggles against family, religious zealots and corrupt lecturers to carry this double-yoke of cultural values Ete Kamba, her long-time boy-friend, is similarly torn. His fear and ambivalence towards modern women threaten to destroy the very thing he values most in the world. (We meet a week earlier than usual this month to avoid the Thanksgiving Holiday. Copies are at the SR or order a used copy from your favorite source. Remember, we skip December meetings.)