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And the Winner Is….

The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor!  If you hadn’t already heard, we’ll be delving into Flannery O’Connor this fall.  The kickoff meeting for the  series will be sometime in late August.  Actual discussion meetings will begin during the first week of September.  Registration should begin in June.  Just keep an eye out on the Library website for an announcement.

If you’re interested in purchasing your own copy of the book, any print edition published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux will work just fine.  I’m sure there are used copies available in abundance on the Internet and elsewhere. is selling the most recent printing for about $12.  The Library will soon be ordering some, but certainly not enough for all participants.




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Facebook Fan Page

To enhance our virtual discussion of Mission Impossible: War and Peace, I’ve added a Facebook Page to the mix.  Since so many of us use Facebook, I thought it might lend itself as a friendlier venue for online discussion about the novel.  I’ve noticed that the blog can be a bit too restrictive for folks who want to share their own thoughts.  I’ll keep posting important info and other thoughts to the blog.  These posts will automatically appear on our Facebook Wall as links, so if you haven’t subscribed to the blog, you can still be notified about new posts.

Another major reason I created the page is to give folks who can’t make it to meetings an opportunity to share thoughts about the reading.  I’ll periodically post questions, and I hope you’ll respond with your own comments or strike up your own discussion.  I hope you’ll “like” us today!  (Note: You’ll need to login to your Facebook account to “like” us).

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Update on Groups

Hi, everyone.  I just wanted to give you a quick update about the status of our groups and registration.  In short, all eight of our groups have waiting lists.  That includes the recently added North Branch group.  I’m in the process of opening a ninth group to meet on Wednesday nights, and I’m contacting folks on selected waiting lists.  Finally, I hope to open a tenth and final group, but it’s too early to tell if it will pan out.  Beyond these efforts, I will not be seeking to create any other library-sponsored groups.

To those of you who find still find yourself on a waiting list once we start our first round of discussions in a couple of weeks, I would encourage you to keep up with the readings.  Some folks will drop out of the program, and that may open up a space for you later on.  I would discourage you from just showing up if you’re on a waiting list, as you will likely find yourself turned away.  Another option to consider if you’re wait-listed is running your own discussion with friends.  I’m more than happy to email you discussion materials to support you.

I know this process has been frustrating for some, but struggling to accommodate more than 200 people is a wonderful problem to have.  It shows we’ve tapped into a community of people eager to read great, difficult literature.  It seems that round three of Mission Impossible will have to look a little different to accommodate our growing community of readers.

Thanks for your patience during this challenging process!


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North Branch Group Added

Due to popular demand, the North Branch section of Mission Impossible is back!  Several of you offered to step up to the plate and lead this group, and I have so much appreciated your willingness to help out.  Our new North Branch moderator is Ken Kaye.

Instead of Thursdays at 7pm, the North Branch group will move to Wednesdays at 7pm, starting on September 14.  If you’d like to register for this group, go to our online calendar and find the correct section on September 14.  You can also call the Reader’s Services Desk to register: 847-448-8620.  If you’re already registered for another group or are on a waiting list, let me know so I can remove your name and give someone else a chance to get into that group.  Call me at 847-448-8643 or email me at

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Professor Weil’s Notes

As promised, here’s a transcription of Professor Weil’s poster of notes from last Wednesday’s kickoff lecture.  They probably looked like an eye chart for those of you in the back.

Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy 1828-1910

Romanov Dynasty – 1613-1917

Napoleon in Russia – 1812

Russian Officers in Paris – 1815

Decembrist Uprising – 1825

“Childhood, Adolescence, Youth” – 1851

Crimean War – 1853-1856

“Tales of Sevastopol” – 1855

Liberation of Serfs – 1861

Return of Some Decembrists – 1860s

War and Peace – 1865-1869

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Meeting Frequency

Many of you may be wondering why we hold Mission Impossible meetings every other month, instead of once monthly – a tradition we’re keeping from our journey through Ulysses.  Some of our participants from last year enjoyed the long breaks, and others felt they hindered the experience.  Both sides have valid points, so let me explain our decision:

  • Meeting every other month gives one the room to read plenty of other books in between discussions.  I fear that meeting more frequently would monopolize my reading (and yours) to just the Mission Impossible novel, therefore turning the program into something that feels more like drudgery than fun.  When I read Ulysses, the burden of the novel felt lighter because I had the space to put it down, enjoy some other books, and the pick it up again when I was good and ready.  This may be a challenge for you procrastinators out there, but I predict that you’d find a way to procrastinate even if we met weekly  😉
  • One word: staffing.  It takes a tremendous amount of time for each leader to plan, prepare for, and run a discussion.  Discussions also mean that other staff must work harder to cover our public desks to provide consistent service.  I assure you we’re making the most out of the resources we have.  Perhaps one day we can support more meetings.

I want you to know we at the library appreciate your feedback about how to improve the program.  I wish we could accommodate everyone’s preferences.  After War and Peace, I’m sure we will consider this issue again.

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If you’re planning on purchasing your own copy of War and Peace, I highly recommend the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation (ISBN: 978-1400079988).  It’s not critical that you use this translation, but it’s considered the best available by several trusted sources.  We’ll have a stockpile of copies at the Library soon, but I know that many of you enjoy having your own copy to mark and dog ear.  If you’re planning on reading it in eBook format, look carefully for this edition.  I’ll be purchasing the eBook from Amazon for $8.99.

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