Second Saturday Book Club
Meets at Books Inc. in Opera Plaza on the 2nd Saturday of every month at 10:30 AM. and discusses literary fiction ranging from classics to contemporary.
Books Inc. in Opera Plaza
601 Van Ness
December 2015 Selection: This epic of urban life tells of small- town heroine Carrie Meeber, adrift in an indifferent Chicago. Setting out, she has nothing but a few dollars and an unspoiled beauty. Hers is a story of struggle? from sweatshop to stage success?and of the love she inspires in an older, married man whose obsession with her threatens to destroy him.
November 2015 Selection:he Good Soldier is Ford Madox Ford's masterpiece, a riveting story and one of the most compelling examples of early Modernism: a virtuoso performance of how to use an "unreliable narrator." Wealthy American John Dowell tells what he calls "the saddest story," about a secret affair between his wife and another man that is finally revealed in a crescendo of death and madness. Ford's novel reflects contemporary interests in psychology, sexuality, and the New Woman, and it treats Henry James's "transatlantic theme" with an existential horror comparable to Joseph Conrad's. Its portrayal of the destruction of a civilized elite anticipates the cataclysm of the First World War, which erupted while Ford was finishing the book.
October 2015 Selection:An enduring testament and prophecy. "Chicago Sun-Times"
Mr. Artur Sammler, Holocaust survivor, intellectual, and occasional lecturer at Columbia University in 1960s New York City, is a registrar of madness, a refined and civilized being caught among people crazy with the promises of the future (moon landings, endless possibilities). His Cyclopean gaze reflects on the degradations of city life while looking deep into the sufferings of the human soul. Sorry for all and sore at heart, he observes how greater luxury and leisure have only led to more human suffering. To Mr. Sammler who by the end of this ferociously unsentimental novel has found the compassionate consciousness necessary to bridge the gap between himself and his fellow beings a good life is one in which a person does what is required of him. To know and to meet the terms of the contract was as true a life as one could live. At its heart, this novel is quintessential Bellow: moral, urbane, sublimely humane.
September 2015 Selection: Winner of the 2006 National Book Award for Fiction
"The Echo Maker" is "a remarkable novel, from one of our greatest novelists, and a book that will change all who read it" ("Booklist, " starred review).
On a winter night on a remote Nebraska road, twenty-seven-year-old Mark Schluter has a near-fatal car accident. His older sister, Karin, returns reluctantly to their hometown to nurse Mark back from a traumatic head injury. But when Mark emerges from a coma, he believes that this woman--who looks, acts, and sounds just like his sister--is really an imposter. When Karin contacts the famous cognitive neurologist Gerald Weber for help, he diagnoses Mark as having Capgras syndrome. The mysterious nature of the disease, combined with the strange circumstances surrounding Mark's accident, threatens to change all of their lives beyond recognition. In "The Echo Maker, " Richard Powers proves himself to be one of our boldest and most entertaining novelists.
July 2015 Selection: Short-listed for the Booker Prize
A beautiful book, a perfect little gem. BBC "Kaleidoscope"
A marvelously piercing fiction. "Times Literary Supplement"
In 1959 Florence Green, a kindhearted widow with a small inheritance, risks everything to open a bookshop the only bookshop in the seaside town of Hardborough. By making a success of a business so impractical, she invites the hostility of the town's less prosperous shopkeepers. By daring to enlarge her neighbors lives, she crosses Mrs. Gamart, the local arts doyenne. Florence's warehouse leaks, her cellar seeps, and the shop is apparently haunted. Only too late does she begin to suspect the truth: a town that lacks a bookshop isn t always a town that wants one.
This new edition features an introduction by David Nicholls, author of "One Day," along with new cover art.
June 2015 Selection: Here is the most inclusive anthology of verse ever published at so low a price. It contains not only the best-known works of the British and American masters but also the verse of the most brillant poets of our own day. Oscar Williams, who compiled "Immortal Poems, " was a distinguished editor and poet in his own right, of whom Robert Lowell wrote in the "Sewanee Review: " "Mr. Williams is probably the best anthologist in America today."
May 2015 Selection: This compact novel, completed in 1900, as with so many of the great novels of the time, is at its baseline a book of the sea. An English boy in a simple town has dreams bigger than the outdoors and embarks at an early age into the sailor's life. The waters he travels reward him with the ability to explore the human spirit, while Joseph Conrad launches the story into both an exercise of his technical prowess and a delicately crafted picture of a character who reaches the status of a literary hero.
April 2015 Selection: An ordinary life--its sharp pains and unexpected joys, its bursts of clarity and moments of confusion--lived by an ordinary, but unforgettable woman: this is the subject of "Someone," Alice McDermott's extraordinary seventh novel.
We first glimpse Marie Commeford as a child: a girl in thick glasses observing her pre-Depression world from a Brooklyn stoop. Through her first heartbreak and eventual marriage; her delicate brother's brief stint as a Catholic priest and his emotional breakdown; her career as a funeral director's "consoling angel"; the deaths of her parents and the births of her children--we follow Marie through the changing world of the twentieth century and her Irish-American enclave. Rendered with remarkable empathy and insight, "Someone" is a novel that speaks of life as it is daily lived, with passion and heartbreak, a crowning achievement of one of the finest American writers at work today.
March 2015 Selection: "The trilogy is trying to tell something about the parts of war that don't get into the official accounts" -Pat Barker
The first book of the Regeneration Trilogy and a Booker Prize nominee
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.
February 2015 Selection: It is 1959 in Wicklow, Ireland, and Annie and her cousin Sarah are living and working together to keep Sarah's small farm running. Suddenly, Annie's young niece and nephew are left in their care.
Unprepared for the chaos that the two children inevitably bring, but nervously excited nonetheless, Annie finds the interruption of her normal life and her last chance at happiness complicated further by the attention being paid to Sarah by a local man with his eye on the farm.
A summer of adventure, pain, delight, and, ultimately, epiphany unfolds for both the children and their caretakers in this poignant and exquisitely told story of innocence, loss, and reconciliation.
January 2015 Selection: Brilliant and poignant...By his compassion, clarity of insight and crystal-bright prose, he makes Rabbit's sorrow his and our own.THE WASHINGTON POSTHarry Angstrom was a star basketball player in high school and that was the best time of his life. Now in his mid-20s, his work is unfulfilling, his marriage is moribund, and he tries to find happiness with another woman. But happiness is more elusive than a medal, and Harry must continue to run--from his wife, his life, and from himself, until he reaches the end of the road and has to turn back....
December 2014 Selection: Styron's novels--such as Confessions of Nat Turner and Sophie's Choice--have established him as a writer of international stature. Here he traces the betrayals, spite and disappointed love that afflict the members of a Southern family and that culminate in the suicide of the beautiful Peyton Loftis.
November 2014 Selection: The wellsprings of desire and the impediments to love come brilliantly into focus in Evelyn Waugh's masterpiece-a novel that immerses us in the glittering and seductive world of English aristocracy in the waning days of the empire.
Through the story of Charles Ryder's entanglement with the Flytes, a great Catholic family, Evelyn Waugh charts the passing of the privileged world he knew in his own youth and vividly recalls the sensuous pleasures denied him by wartime austerities. At once romantic, sensuous, comic, and somber, Brideshead Revisited transcends Waugh's early satiric explorations and reveals him to be an elegiac, lyrical novelist of the utmost feeling and lucidity.The wellsprings of desire and the impediments to love come brilliantly into focus in Evelyn Waugh's masterpiece-a novel that immerses us in the glittering and seductive world of English aristocracy in the waning days of the empire.Through the story of Charles Ryder's entanglement with the Flytes, a great Catholic family, Evelyn Waugh charts the passing of the privileged world he knew in his own youth and vividly recalls the sensuous pleasures denied him by wartime austerities. At once romantic, sensuous, comic, and somber, Brideshead Revisited transcends Waugh's early satiric explorations and reveals him to be an elegiac, lyrical novelist of the utmost feeling and lucidity.- See more at: http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/evelyn-waugh/brideshead-revisite...The wellsprings of desire and the impediments to love come brilliantly into focus in Evelyn Waugh's masterpiece-a novel that immerses us in the glittering and seductive world of English aristocracy in the waning days of the empire.Through the story of Charles Ryder's entanglement with the Flytes, a great Catholic family, Evelyn Waugh charts the passing of the privileged world he knew in his own youth and vividly recalls the sensuous pleasures denied him by wartime austerities. At once romantic, sensuous, comic, and somber, Brideshead Revisited transcends Waugh's early satiric explorations and reveals him to be an elegiac, lyrical novelist of the utmost feeling and lucidity.- See more at: http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/evelyn-waugh/brideshead-revisite...
October 2014 Selection: "The Fixer" is the winner of the 1967 National Book Award for Fiction and the 1967 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
"The Fixer" (1966) is Bernard Malamud's best-known and most acclaimed novel -- one that makes manifest his roots in Russian fiction, especially that of Isaac Babel.
Set in Kiev in 1911 during a period of heightened anti-Semitism, the novel tells the story of Yakov Bok, a Jewish handyman blamed for the brutal murder of a young Russian boy. Bok leaves his village to try his luck in Kiev, and after denying his Jewish identity, finds himself working for a member of the anti-Semitic Black Hundreds Society. When the boy is found nearly drained of blood in a cave, the Black Hundreds accuse the Jews of ritual murder. Arrested and imprisoned, Bok refuses to confess to a crime that he did not commit.
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.
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.