Category Archives: Book Group Information

The Polls Are Now Open

First, thanks to all who provided suggestions for the fall Mission Impossible pick.  It was a great list, and my colleagues and I narrowed down the choices to the following list.  We’ll definitely keep the other choices handy for future programming.  Many of you mentioned The Sound and the Fury (a great choice), but we’ll have to shelve that until we can devote more time to planning an author study.  You can vote at the bottom of the page, but you might want to know about each candidate before you do – hence the blurbs.  We’ll unveil the results at our May 3 lecture featuring Professor Weil.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville.  1851.  Now a contender for the great American novel, this book was harpooned at the time of its 1851 publication by critics who found it overly long and boorish (observations no doubt still shared by countless high school students). The book was forgotten for decades before being rediscovered in the 1920s by scholars who understood and appreciated the multilevel symbolism and allegory dismissed by their 19th-century predecessors. Melville published little after the failure of Moby-Dick and made his living as a customs inspector in New York City, where he was born in 1819 and died in complete obscurity in 1891 (Library Journal).

Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens.  1857.  Of the complex, richly rewarding masterworks he wrote in the last decade of his life, Little Dorrit is the book in which Charles Dickens most fully unleashed his indignation at the fallen state of mid-Victorian society. Crammed with persons and incidents in whose recreation nothing is accidental or spurious, containing, in its picture of the Circumlocution Office, the most witheringly exact satire of a bureaucracy we possess, Little Dorrit is a stunning example of how thoroughly Dickens could put his flair for the theatrical and his comic genius the service of his passion for justice (Amazon.com).

The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor.  1971.  Winner of the National Book Award.  The publication of this extraordinary volume firmly established Flannery O’Connor’s monumental contribution to American fiction. There are thirty-one stories here in all, including twelve that do not appear in the only two story collections O’Connor put together in her short lifetime–Everything That Rises Must Converge and A Good Man Is Hard to Find.   O’Connor published her first story, “The Geranium,” in 1946, while she was working on her master’s degree at the University of Iowa. Arranged chronologically, this collection shows that her last story, “Judgement Day”–sent to her publisher shortly before her death—is a brilliantly rewritten and transfigured version of “The Geranium.” Taken together, these stories reveal a lively, penetrating talent that has given us some of the most powerful and disturbing fiction of the twentieth century. Also included is an introduction by O’Connor’s longtime editor and friend, Robert Giroux (Amazon.com).

Middlemarch by George Eliot.  1871.  George Eliot’s Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life is regarded by some critics as the greatest novel ever written in English.  An in-depth portrait of a town and its inhabitants, the work describes the intricate bonds that connect people’s lives, exploring the relationship between individual action and the unwieldy, seemingly indeterminate forces that shape society (Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism).

 

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Suggestions for the Next Mission Impossible Selection

Many of you may have already gotten this email, but if not, I’m re-posting the info here.

If you can believe it, the journey through War and Peace will soon be coming to a close in May. The planning process for the next round of Mission Impossible has already begun.  So far, we’ve decided to try a few new things.  First, we’ll be tackling a shorter novel.  Second, we’ll complete it over the course of three consecutive months, beginning in September and ending in November.  Third, you’ll be given the chance to vote for the next book.

Before voting takes place, however, we’d like your suggestions for what to tackle next.  If you have a title (or titles) you’d like the group to read, please email your suggestions to khansen@cityofevanston.org.  Before you contact me, here are a few things to consider: Can the book be read in three months?  Is it a significant work?  Finally, is it the kind of book you’d be more likely to read with the help of a group?

Please email me your suggestions by Thursday, April 5.  You can expect to see another blog post about voting during the week of April 9.  Thanks, everyone!  It will be exciting to try something new.

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Location Changes for Two Groups

Two of our groups will be meeting in different locations starting this month.  First, the Wed. 6pm Brothers K group led by Neil Lukatch will now meet in the Library’s Board Room (fourth floor).  Second, the Wed. 7pm Tiny Dog Cupcake group led by Kim Hiltwein will temporarily meet in one of the Main Library’s third floor conference rooms.  Sadly, Tiny Dog Cupcake has gone out of business.

Everyone in these groups should have received a notification by now.

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Registration Open for the Tenth and Final Group

Greetings!  In my final effort to accommodate those on our War and Peace waitlists, I’ve created one last library-sponsored discussion group.  It will meet at 6pm at Barnes & Noble of Evanston (1630 Sherman Ave) every other month, starting on Tuesday, September 20.  It will consistently meet the week after most of our other groups convene.  Elvira Carrizal-Dukes, one of our staff members at the Reader’s Services Desk, will be the group leader.  Elvira has a very interesting background in journalism, Chicano studies, and film.  One special note about this group is that Elvira will be approaching War and Peace with a special focus on the women of the novel.  Of course, she’ll cover other major topics of discussion as well.

If you’re interested in joining this group, register via our online calendar by locating the group on the day of 9/20, or by calling the Reader’s Services Desk at 847-448-8620.  There’s still plenty of time to read this month’s assignment of roughly 100 pages.

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Additional Wednesday Night Group

I just opened our latest additional group to public registration.  This group meets at Tiny Dog Cupcake (616 Davis St.) on Wednesday nights at 7pm, starting next Wednesday, 9/14.  Just like all of the other groups, it will meet every other month.  Kim Hiltwein, former leader of the library’s South Branch Book Club, will be the moderator.  If you want to register for one of the two remaining open spots, do so via our online calendar by locating the group on the day of 9/14, or by calling the Reader’s Services Desk at 847-448-8620.

One more note – the generous folks at Tiny Dog Cupcake invite participants of that group to enjoy complimentary refills on coffee purchased at the discussion meeting.  This sounds like it’ll be a fun group to join!

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Registration Open

Online registration for Mission Impossible: War and Peace is now open.  If you were at last night’s meeting and put yourself on the registration and/or wait lists, I’ve put you into the system already and there’s nothing else for you to do at this point except start reading.  If, however, you couldn’t make it to the meeting or couldn’t stay for registration, you can register yourself online or call the Reader’s Services Desk to register at 847-448-8620.

Some of the group registration lists and waiting listing are completely full.  You’ll find these crossed out on the list below.  The other groups are still available for the waiting list (at least as I’m posting this).

  • Tuesday, 6pm, Celtic Knot, Leader: Karen Hansen
  • Wednesday, 6pm, Brothers K Coffeehouse, Leader: Neil Lukatch
  • Wednesday, 7pm, Small Meeting Room (Main Library), Leader: Lesley Williams
  • Thursday, 1pm, Small Meeting Room (Main Library), Leader: Genevieve Guran
  • Thursday, 2pm, Celtic Knot, Leader: Karen Hansen
  • Thursday, 3pm, Small Meeting Room (Main Library), Leader: Russell Johnson
  • Thursday, 7pm, Small Meeting Room (Main Library), Leader: John Stahl

How to register

To register yourself online…

  • Go to http://www.epl.org/calendar.
  • Navigate to the month of September and find the week of September 12.
  • Locate your desired meeting date (Sept. 13, Sept. 14, or Sept. 15 ), and find your desired meeting time by moving your mouse over Mission Impossible: War and Peace (a box will appear and reveal the event time and details).
  • Click on the correct event to start registration.
  • Enter required information and click “submit.”

Again, if you cannot register yourself online, call the Reader’s Services Desk to register at 847-448-8620.

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Preview of Discussion Sections

Registration for our six discussion sections will officially begin this Wednesday night (8/10) at our kickoff meeting.  Starting at about 1pm on 8/11, I’ll enable self-serve registration via our online calendar.  If you prefer to register by phone, call 847-448-8620 for the Reader’s Services Desk (but do not call to register before 1pm on 8/11).  For now, here’s a preview of the discussion sections.  Please note: they’ll begin during the week of September 12 and run every other month through July 2012.

  • Tuesday, 6pm, Celtic Knot, Leader: Karen Hansen
  • Wednesday, 6pm, Brothers K Coffeehouse, Leader: Neil Lukatch
  • Wednesday, 7pm, Small Meeting Room (Main Library), Leader: Lesley Williams
  • Thursday, 1pm, Small Meeting Room (Main Library), Leader: Genevieve Guran
  • Thursday, 2pm, Celtic Knot, Leader: Karen Hansen
  • Thursday, 3pm, Small Meeting Room (Main Library), Leader: Russell Johnson
  • Thursday, 7pm, Small Meeting Room (Main Library), Leader: John Stahl

You may have noticed that I don’t have a North Branch group listed.  I simply don’t have anyone to lead it.  If you might be interested, please contact me at 847-448-8643 or by email at khansen@cityofevanston.org.  At Wednesday night’s meeting, I’ll make a list of those interested in attending a north Evanston group.

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