The Breakfast or Lunch Book Groups
With Dr. Larry Allums [Bio]
From ShanghaiDaily.com: “Why read? In an electronic age, when almost everything seems to be for sale, reading is free. It has a value that cannot be made into a commodity, and its value exceeds a price tag. Gifts can be purchased, but the reading mind needs to be nourished, cultivated with good reading materials, encouraged to think, grow, imagine, and dream. It is a gift that keeps giving. Finally, we might consider the sound advice of the ancient sage, Desiderius Erasmus: ‘When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.’”
Books for the Fall 2017 Semester:
|September: A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles||Have a suggestion for a future semester?|
|October: Exit West, Mohsin Hamid||Let us know!|
|November: American War, Omar El Akkad||Synopsis of selections below.|
|December: Lucky Boy, Shanthi Sekaran||Gallery of past selections or a listing here.|
$225 per semester; $60 per session
Membership discounts starting at 15% off.
Tuition includes books and meals.
Breakfast Book Group – Second Tuesday of the month: 7:15 to 8:45 AM
The 2017 Spring Semester dates for Breakfast Book Group are September 12, October 10, November 14, and December 12.
Lunch Book Group – Third Wednesday of the month: noon to 1:30 PM
The 2017 Spring Semester dates for Lunch Book Group are September 20, October 18, November 15, and December 20.
About the novels
A Gentleman in Moscow: In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.
Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.
Exit West: In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. . . .
Exit West follows these remarkable characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.
American War: An audacious and powerful debut novel: a second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle—a story that asks what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself.
Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, and that unmanned drones fill the sky. When her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she begins to grow up shaped by her particular time and place. But not everyone at Camp Patience is who they claim to be. Eventually Sarat is befriended by a mysterious functionary, under whose influence she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. The decisions that she makes will have tremendous consequences not just for Sarat but for her family and her country, rippling through generations of strangers and kin alike.
Lucky Boy: Eighteen years old and fizzing with optimism, Solimar Castro-Valdez embarks on a perilous journey across the Mexican border. Weeks later, she arrives in Berkeley, California, dazed by first love found then lost, and pregnant. This was not the plan. Undocumented and unmoored, Soli discovers that her son, Ignacio, can become her touchstone, and motherhood her identity in a world where she’s otherwise invisible.
Kavya Reddy has created a beautiful life in Berkeley, but then she can’t get pregnant and that beautiful life seems suddenly empty. When Soli is placed in immigrant detention and Ignacio comes under Kavya’s care, Kavya finally gets to be the singing, story-telling kind of mother she dreamed of being. But she builds her love on a fault line, her heart wrapped around someone else’s child.
“Nacho” to Soli, and “Iggy” to Kavya, the boy is steeped in love, but his destiny and that of his two mothers teeters between two worlds as Soli fights to get back to him. Lucky Boy is a moving and revelatory ode to the ever-changing borders of love.