Second Saturday Book Club

Second Saturday Book Club

Meets at Books Inc. in Opera Plaza on the 2nd Saturday of every month at 10:00 AM. and discusses literary fiction ranging from classics to contemporary.

Call store for details.
Books Inc. in Opera Plaza
601 Van Ness
San Francisco



ISBN: 9780679732259
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Books USA - January 29th, 1991

August 2014 Selection: "I set out deliberately to write a tour-de-force. Before I ever put pen
to paper and set down the first word I knew what the last word would be
and almost where the last period would fall." --William Faulkner on "As I
Lay Dying" "As I Lay Dying" is Faulkner's harrowing account of the
Bundren family's odyssey across the Mississippi countryside to bury
Addie, their wife and mother. Narrated in turn by each of the family
members--including Addie herself--as well as others the novel ranges in
mood, from dark comedy to the deepest pathos. Considered one of the most
influential novels in American fiction in structure, style, and drama,
"As I Lay Dying" is a true 20th-century classic. This edition reproduces the corrected text of" As I Lay Dying" as established in 1985 by Noel Polk.

ISBN: 9781400079490
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Published: Vintage Books USA - September 26th, 2005

June 2014 Selection: In an astonishing feat of empathy and narrative invention, our most
ambitious novelist imagines an alternate version of American history. In
1940 Charles A. Lindbergh, heroic aviator and rabid isolationist, is
elected President. Shortly thereafter, he negotiates a cordial
"understanding" with Adolf Hitler, while the new government embarks on a
program of folksy anti-Semitism. For one boy growing up in Newark,
Lindbergh's election is the first in a series of ruptures that threaten
to destroy his small, safe corner of America-and with it, his mother,
his father, and his older brother.

ISBN: 9780812984255
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Published: Random House Trade - January 6th, 2014

April 2014 Selection: Includes an extended conversation with David Sedaris One of the most
important and blazingly original writers of his generation, George
Saunders is an undisputed master of the short story, and "Tenth of
December" is his most honest, accessible, and moving collection yet.
In the taut opener, "Victory Lap," a boy witnesses the attempted
abduction of the girl next door and is faced with a harrowing choice:
Does he ignore what he sees, or override years of smothering advice from
his parents and act? In "Home," a combat-damaged soldier moves back in
with his mother and struggles to reconcile the world he left with the
one to which he has returned. And in the title story, a stunning
meditation on imagination, memory, and loss, a middle-aged cancer
patient walks into the woods to commit suicide, only to encounter a
troubled young boy who, over the course of a fateful morning, gives the
dying man a final chance to recall who he really is. A hapless, deluded
owner of an antiques store; two mothers struggling to do the right
thing; a teenage girl whose idealism is challenged by a brutal brush
with reality; a man tormented by a series of pharmaceutical experiments
that force him to lust, to love, to kill--the unforgettable characters
that populate the pages of "Tenth of December" are vividly and lovingly
infused with Saunders's signature blend of exuberant prose, deep
humanity, and stylistic innovation. Writing brilliantly and
profoundly about class, sex, love, loss, work, despair, and war,
Saunders cuts to the core of the contemporary experience. These stories
take on the big questions and explore the fault lines of our own
morality, delving into the questions of what makes us good and what
makes us human. Unsettling, insightful, and hilarious, the stories
in "Tenth of December"--through their manic energy, their focus on what
is redeemable in human beings, and their generosity of spirit--not only
entertain and delight; they fulfill Chekhov's dictum that art should
"prepare us for tenderness."

ISBN: 9780375726347
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Books USA - May 7th, 2001

March 2014 Selection: It is 1998, the year in which America is whipped into a frenzy of
prurience by the impeachment of a president, and in a small New England
town, an aging classics professor, Coleman Silk, is forced to retire
when his colleagues decree that he is a racist. The charge is a lie, but
the real truth about Silk would have astonished even his most virulent
accuser. Coleman Silk has a secret, one which has been kept for
fifty years from his wife, his four children, his colleagues, and his
friends, including the writer Nathan Zuckerman. It is Zuckerman who
stumbles upon Silk's secret and sets out to reconstruct the unknown
biography of this eminent, upright man, esteemed as an educator for
nearly all his life, and to understand how this ingeniously contrived
life came unraveled. And to understand also how Silk's astonishing
private history is, in the words of "The""Wall Street Journal,"
"magnificently" interwoven with "the larger public history of modern

ISBN: 9780385474542
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Published: Anchor Books - August 31st, 1994

February 2014 Selection: "Things Fall Apart" tells two intertwining stories, both centering on
Okonkwo, a "strong man" of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first, a
powerful fable of the immemorial conflict between the individual and
society, traces Okonkwo's fall from grace with the tribal world. The
second, as modern as the first is ancient, concerns the clash of
cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo's world with the arrival of
aggressive European missionaries. These perfectly harmonized twin dramas
are informed by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life
of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul.

ISBN: 9780140055931
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Published: Penguin Books - November 19th, 1980

January 2014 Selection: This is the moving story of the unforgettable Rosa
Burger, a young woman from South Africa cast in the mold of a
revolutionary tradition. Rosa tries to uphold her heritage handed on by
martyred parents while still carving out a sense of self. Although it is
wholly of today, "Burger's Daughter" can be compared to those 19th
century Russian classics that make a certain time and place come alive,
and yet stand as universal celebrations of the human spirit. Nadine
Gordimer, winner of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature, was born and
lives in South Africa.

ISBN: 9781602861800
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Weinstein Books - September 3rd, 2012

October 2013 Selection: Malaya, 1951. Yun Ling Teoh, the scarred lone survivor of a brutal
Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle-fringed tea
plantations of Cameron Highlands. There she discovers Yugiri, the only
Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic
Aritomo, exiled former gardener of the emperor of Japan. Despite her
hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling seeks to engage Aritomo to create a
garden in memory of her sister, who died in the camp. Aritomo refuses
but agrees to accept Yun Ling as his apprentice "until the monsoon
comes." Then she can design a garden for herself.As the months
pass, Yun Ling finds herself intimately drawn to the gardener and his
art, while all around them a communist guerilla war rages. But the
"Garden of Evening Mists" remains a place of mystery. Who is Aritomo and
how did he come to leave Japan? And is the real story of how Yun Ling
managed to survive the war perhaps the darkest secret of all?

By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translator)
ISBN: 9781609450786
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Published: Europa Editions - September 24th, 2012

August 2013 Selection: A modern masterpiece from one of Italy's most acclaimed authors, "My
Brilliant Friend" is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about
two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante's inimitable style lends itself
perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the
story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship.
The story begins in the 1950s, in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on
the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls
learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they
grow, as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge, Elena and Lila
remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and
refracted in the other. They are likewise the embodiments of a nation
undergoing momentous change. Through the lives of these two women,
Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it
is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship
between her protagonists, the unforgettable Elena and Lila. Ferrante is
the author of three previous works of critically acclaimed fiction: "The
Days of Abandonment, Troubling Love," and "The Lost Daughter." With
this novel, the first in a trilogy, she proves herself to be one of
Italy's great storytellers. She has given her readers a masterfully
plotted page-turner, abundant and generous in its narrative details and
characterizations, that is also a stylish work of literary fiction
destined to delight her many fans and win new readers to her fiction.

By Albert Camus, Matthew Ward (Translator)
ISBN: 9780679720201
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Books USA - March 12th, 1989

July 2013 Selection: Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless
murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed "the
nakedness of man faced with the absurd." First published in 1946; now in
a new translation by Matthew Ward.

ISBN: 9780345521316
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Published: Ballantine Books - November 26th, 2012

June 2013 Selection: A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, "The Paris Wife"
captures the love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest
Hemingway and his wife Hadley. Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a
quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and
happiness--until she meets Ernest Hemingway. Following a whirlwind
courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become
the golden couple in a lively and volatile group--the fabled "Lost
Generation"--that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott
Fitzgerald. Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill prepared
for the hard-drinking, fast-living, and free-loving life of Jazz Age
Paris. As Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place
in history and pours himself into the novel that will become "The Sun
Also Rises, " Hadley strives to hold on to her sense of self as her
roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Eventually they
find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage--a
deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they've fought
so hard for.

ISBN: 9781590513965
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Other Press (NY) - October 19th, 2009

May 2013 Selection: Honeymooners Viktor and Liesel Landauer are filled with the optimism and
cultural vibrancy of central Europe of the 1920s when they meet
modernist architect Rainer von Abt. He builds for them a home to embody
their exuberant faith in the future, and the Landauer House becomes an
instant masterpiece. Viktor and Liesel, a rich Jewish mogul married to a
thoughtful, modern gentile, pour all of their hopes for their marriage
and budding family into their stunning new home, filling it with
children, friends, and a generation of artists and thinkers eager to
abandon old-world European style in favor of the new and the
avant-garde. But as life intervenes, their new home also brings out
their most passionate desires and darkest secrets. As Viktor searches
for a warmer, less challenging comfort in the arms of another woman, and
Liesel turns to her wild, mischievous friend Hana for excitement, the
marriage begins to show signs of strain. The radiant honesty and
idealism of 1930 quickly evaporate beneath the storm clouds of World War
II. As Nazi troops enter the country, the family must leave their old
life behind and attempt to escape to America before Viktor's Jewish
roots draw Nazi attention, and before the family itself dissolves. As
the Landauers struggle for survival abroad, their home slips from hand
to hand, from Czech to Nazi to Soviet possession and finally back to the
Czechoslovak state, with new inhabitants always falling under the
fervent and unrelenting influence of the Glass Room. Its crystalline
perfection exerts a gravitational pull on those who know it, inspiring
them, freeing them, calling them back, until the Landauers themselves
are finally drawn home to where their story began. Brimming with
barely contained passion and cruelty, the precision of science, the wild
variance of lust, the catharsis of confession, and the fear of failure -
the Glass Room contains it all.

ISBN: 9781400097029
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Published: Vintage Books USA - August 14th, 2006

April 2013 Selection: In this luminous new novel about love, loss, and the unpredictable power
of memory, John Banville introduces us to Max Morden, a middle-aged
Irishman who has gone back to the seaside town where he spent his summer
holidays as a child to cope with the recent loss of his wife. It is
also a return to the place where he met the Graces, the well-heeled
family with whom he experienced the strange suddenness of both love and
death for the first time. What Max comes to understand about the past,
and about its indelible effects on him, is at the center of this
elegiac, gorgeously written novel -- among the finest we have had from
this masterful writer.

By Voltaire, Theo Cuffe (Translator), Michael Wood (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780140455106
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - February 23rd, 2009

February 2013 Selection: Beginning with the expulsion of its eponymous hero from “the best of all
possible castles” and the loss of his beloved Cunégonde, Candide
takes the form of a classic journey story. Candide must endure a series
of misfortunes and trials before he can be reunited with his beloved
and regain a qualified kind of redemption. It is in the misfortunes that
Candide and others suffer in the novel that Voltaire cuts through the
pretensions, hypocrisies, and outright idiocies of the Age of Reason.

ISBN: 9780307947727
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Books - May 28th, 2012

January 2013 Selection: Winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize A
novel so compelling that it begs to be read in a single setting, "The
Sense of an Ending" has the psychological and emotional depth and
sophistication of Henry James at his best, and is a stunning new chapter
in Julian Barnes's oeuvre. This intense novel follows Tony Webster,
a middle-aged man, as he contends with a past he never thought much
about--until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance: one
of them from the grave, another maddeningly present. Tony thought he
left this all behind as he built a life for himself, and his career has
provided him with a secure retirement and an amicable relationship with
his ex-wife and daughter, who now has a family of her own. But when he
is presented with a mysterious legacy, he is forced to revise his
estimation of his own nature and place in the world.

By Saul Bellow, Christopher Hitchens (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780143039570
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Published: Penguin Books - September 30th, 2006

December 2012 Selection:As soon as it first appeared in 1953, this gem by the great Saul Bellow
was hailed as an American classic. Bold, expansive, and keenly humorous,
"The Adventures of Augie March" blends street language with literary
elegance to tell the story of a poor Chicago boy growing up during the
Great Depression. A "born recruit," Augie makes himself available for
hire by plungers, schemers, risk takers, and operators, compiling a
record of choices that is-to say the least- eccentric.

ISBN: 9780307948045
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor Books - August 6th, 2012

October 2012 Selection: is the spring of 1767, and the vengeful Erasmus Kemp
has had the mutinous sailors of his father's ship brought back to
London to stand trial on piracy charges. Much to Kemp's dismay, the
Irish fiddler Sullivan has escaped, and retrieving him proves too much
in the midst of overseeing the dramatic legal case and a new business
venture in the northern coal and steel industries of Thorpe. But the two
men's paths are about to collide once again, for Sullivan is also on
his way to Thorpe to fulfill the dying wish of his shipmate.

ISBN: 9780316126670
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Published: Back Bay Books - April 30th, 2012

September 2012 Pick: At Westish College, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for
big league until a routine throw goes disastrously off course. In the
aftermath of his error, the fates of five people are upended. Henry's
fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his future. College president
Guert Affenlight has fallen unexpectedly and helplessly in love. Owen
Dunne becomes caught up in a dangerous affair. Mike Schwartz realizes he
has guided Henry's career at the expense of his own. And Pella
Affenlight returns to Westish after escaping an ill-fated marriage,
determined to start a new life. As the season counts down to its
climactic final game, these five are forced to confront their deepest
hopes, anxieties, and secrets. Written with boundless intelligence and
filled with the tenderness of youth, ""The Art of Fielding" is mere
baseball fiction the way "Moby Dick" is just a fish story" (Nicholas
Dawidoff). It""is an expansive, warmhearted novel about ambition and its
limits, about family and friendship and love, and about commitment--to
oneself and to others.

ISBN: 9780307744418
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Published: Vintage Books - June 11th, 2012

August 2012 pick: In the early 1950s, an eleven-year-old boy in Colombo boards a ship bound for England. At mealtimes he is seated at the "cat's table"--as far from the Captain's Table as can be--with a ragtag group of "insignificant" adults and two other boys, Cassius and Ramadhin. As the ship crosses the Indian Ocean, the boys tumble from one adventure to another, bursting all over the place like freed mercury. But there are other diversions as well: they are first exposed to the magical worlds of jazz, women, and literature by their eccentric fellow travelers, and together they spy on a shackled prisoner, his crime and fate a galvanizing mystery that will haunt them forever. By turns poignant and electrifying, "The Cat's Table" is a spellbinding story about the magical, often forbidden, discoveries of childhood, and a lifelong journey that begins unexpectedly with a spectacular sea voyage.

By Nathaniel Hawthorne, Kathryn Harrison (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780679783381
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Modern Library - September 11th, 2000

July 2012 Pick: A stark and allegorical tale of adultery, guilt, and
social repression in Puritan New England, "The Scarlet Letter" is a
foundational work of American literature. Nathaniel Hawthorne's
exploration of the dichotomy between the public and private self,
internal passion and external convention, gives us the unforgettable
Hester Prynne, who discovers strength in the face of ostracism and
emerges as a heroine ahead of her time. As Kathryn Harrison points out
in her Introduction, Hester is "the herald of the modern American
heroine, a mother of such strength and stature that she towers over her
progeny much as she does the citizens of Salem."

ISBN: 9781439198315
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Published: Scribner Book Company - February 6th, 2012

June 2012 Pick: Many love stories end in marriage; rare is the love story that begins with one--already promised, already worn. Set in San Francisco during the early part of Obama's presidency, this beautifully drawn novel charts the daily struggles and triumphs of a marriage. Touched by tragedy and by ordinary hopes that have not come true, Lena Rusch and her husband Charlie Pepper must face, for the first time in their lives, real limitation. The compromises and silent promises Lena and Charlie have made are familiar: "If we can have one more healthy baby, we'll be done." "If he can just earn that much money, we'll remake our life. If I can just get through this, I promise I'll become the person I know I should be."

Including such unforgettable characters as Cal Rusch, Lena's uncle, a Silicon Valley titan, and Ivy, his socialite wife, whose ruthless desires engender complication in all the lives they touch--their grown children, business partners, friends, the servants and workers upon whom the glamorous life depends--"Three Stages of Amazement "is a riveting story about confronting adversity, gaining wisdom, and finding great love.

ISBN: 9780802144478
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - April 30th, 2009

April 2012 Pick: Few works of contemporary literature are so universally acclaimed as central to our understanding of the human experience as Nobel Prize winner Samuel Beckett's famous trilogy. "Molloy," the first of these masterpieces, appeared in French in 1951. It was followed seven months later by "Malone Dies" and two years later by "The Unnamable." All three have been rendered into English by the author.

ISBN: 9780393328622
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 16th, 2006

March 2012 Pick: Inspired by her four grandparents (from four different countries), Krauss tells the story of a man who, 60 years ago in the Polish village where he was born, fell in love and wrote a book. And though he doesn't know it, that book survived, inspiring fabulous circumstances, even love.

ISBN: 9780982338292
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Published: Lookout Books - February 10th, 2011

February 2012 Pick: In this sumptuous offering, one of our premier storytellers provides a feast for fiction aficionados. Spanning four decades and three prize-winning collections, these 21 vintage selected stories and 13 scintillating new ones take us around the world, from Jerusalem to Central America, from tsarist Russia to London during the Blitz, from central Europe to Manhattan, and from the Maine coast to Godolphin, Massachusetts, a fictional suburb of Boston. These charged locales, and the lives of the endlessly varied characters within them, are evoked with a tenderness and incisiveness found in only our most observant seers.