It seems that our January assignment contains a lot of references to Freemasonry. As someone who doesn’t know a whole lot about the Freemasons, I searched for some additional resources. First, with all the Dan Brown fictionalizations swirling around out there, you might look at National Geographic’s article “The Lost Symbol” and the Freemasons: 8 Myths Decoded.” For a more thorough look at the Freemasons, I’ve attached an article about them from Europe 1789-1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of Industry and Empire. I retrieved it from our online reference book database, Info in a Box, accessible from home for EPL cardholders via our Research page.
Understandably, the battles depicted in our November reading assignment might be a source of confusion for some of us. To aid our attempts to understand the bigger picture of what’s happening in the novel on the military side of things, I’ve found a couple of quick and dirty resources. First, take a look at PBS’s Napoleon at War webpage. The link will take you to the section on the Ulm-Austerlitz Campaign, which is the portion most relevant to us so far. The History Channel has a great video zeroing on the Battle of Austerliz.
I realize these portions of the novel can be intimidating because it’s difficult at times to know what’s happening. However, unless you’re particularly interested in doing a lot supplementary study of the military portions, I think it’s fine to have a general grasp of these battles. Focus most on the characters, how they’re developing, and how they’re responding to events generally beyond their control.
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.
Today is the birth anniversary of Leo Tolstoy! Tolstoy was born 183 years ago today in Yasnaya Polyana, Tula province, Russian Empire. Learn more about his life by browsing this great article from biography.com.
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!
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).
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!