In November, the library’s book discussion groups are reading two very different award-winning books:
The Tuesday Morning Group will discuss The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt on Tuesday, November 20 at 10:00 a.m.
Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late thirties took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic, On the Nature of Things, by Lucretius-a beautiful poem of the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles in eternal motion, colliding and swerving in new directions.
The copying and translation of this ancient book-the greatest discovery of the greatest book-hunter of his age-fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists such as Botticelli and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno; shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein; and had a revolutionary influence on writers such as Montaigne and Shakespeare and even Thomas Jefferson.
Here is Brenda’s review, written after listening to the book on compact disc. The Swerve won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.
The Tuesday Evening Group will discuss
To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis on Tuesday, November 27 at 7:00 p.m.
Historian Ned Henry, suffering from time-lag, finds himself in Victorian England, boating down the Thames river with Terence and Terence’s professor. Professor Peddick studies rare fish, Ned has unknowingly brought a cat back in time from 2057, and Terence has a bulldog named Cyril. Ned meets fellow historian/time traveler Verity and they try to prevent a time paradox that may affect World War II.
In 2057 the wealthy Lady Shrapnell will endow Oxford’s time travel program if the department helps her to research and rebuild Coventry Cathedral, which was bombed in 1940. She is obsessed with the tiniest of details, which is how Ned became time-lagged. Slightly confusing and quite humorous, To Say Nothing of the Dog, which won the Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel, is a good introduction to Connie Willis’ humorous short fiction and her other time travel novels, including The Doomsday Book and Blackout/All Clear.
Also, the Crime Readers are discussing L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy on Thursday, November 15 at 7:00 p.m. at Home Run Inn Pizza in Darien.