Discussions take place at 12pm in the Library Conference Room (in Library Administration) unless otherwise noted. Tea and refreshments are served, and participants are welcome to bring a lunch. For reminders and updates about Book Club events, follow the Library on Facebook or Google+.
Expanding on the spare Biblical narrative to bring King David to life in Iron Age Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to betrayer, from beloved king to murderous despot, and into his remorseful old age. The Secret Chord provides new context for some of the best-known episodes of David’s life while focusing on others that are often neglected. We see David through the eyes of those who love him or fear him—from the prophet Natan, voice of his conscience, to his wives Mikhal, Avigail, and Batsheva, and finally to Solomon, the late-born son who redeems his Lear-like old age.
The first book to document Arab-Islam’s role in the slave trade of Africa. Many books have covered the role of Christians in the slave trade from Africa to the West, but John Azumah, a native of Ghana, is the first scholar to produce a full accounting of the Arab-Muslim role in the same. The Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa is a must-read for anyone with an interest in the history of the African slave trade, which continues to this day in parts of the Islamic world. Dr. Joseph Kickasola will lead our discussion.
A novella of forbidden emotions and sexual undercurrents in rural New England. Ethan Frome works his unproductive farm and struggles to maintain a bearable existence with his suspicious and hypochondriac wife, Zeenie. But when Zeenie's vivacious cousin enters their household as a 'hired girl,' Ethan finds himself obsessed with her and with the possibilities for happiness she comes to represent. In one of American fiction's finest and most intense narratives, Edith Wharton moves this ill-starred trio toward their tragic destinies. Different in both tone and theme from Wharton's other works, Ethan Frome has become perhaps her most enduring and most widely read novel.
In 1637 two Portuguese missionaries undertake a perilous search for their Jesuit tutor missing on the hostile islands of Japan. The Shogun and his Samurai have purged the land of Western influence, rooting out Christians and subjecting them to torture until they renounce the word of God. Father Rodrigues knows that if they are discovered, they face the same brutal treatment as the persecuted Christian peasantry. The deeper Rodrigues journeys into Japan the more he finds himself questioning the meaning of God's silence in answer to their prayers and to the suffering of the Japanese Christians.
"This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it." In a work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation's history and current crisis. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?
Only the Bible has sold more copies than The Pilgrim's Progress. Bunyan's classic, first published in 1678, quickly became a hallmark among Christian readers in the English-speaking world and beyond, enduring down to our day as a unique resource for spiritual edification. The story is an allegory transformed into intense drama, its characters superbly individualized, indelibly alive, and as memorable as the landmarks on Christian's perilous journey toward salvation.
The largest English-language collection to date from Israel's finest poet. Yehuda Amichai (1924-2000) created remarkably accessible poems, vivid in their evocation of landscape and historical predicament. Included in this collection are some of the most moving love poems written in any language in the past two generations: some exuberant, some erotic, and some suffused with sadness over separation. With this collection, Amichai's vital poetic voice is now available to English readers as it never has been before. Rabbi Dr. Israel Zoberman will lead our discussion.
Charlotte Brontë's masterpiece has been "teaching true strength of character for generations" (The Guardian). A work of intense power and intrigue, Jane Eyre has dazzled generations of readers with its depiction of a woman's quest for freedom. Having grown up an orphan in the home of her cruel aunt and at a harsh charity school, Jane Eyre becomes an independent and spirited survivor - qualities that serve her well as governess at Thornfield Hall. But when she finds love with her sardonic employer, Rochester, the discovery of his terrible secret forces her to make a choice. Should she stay with him whatever the consequences or follow her convictions, even if it means leaving her beloved?
"He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze." (2 Samuel 22:35) The Bronze Bow (written by the author of The Witch of Blackbird Pond) won the Newbery Medal in 1962. This gripping novel tells the story of eighteen-year-old Daniel bar Jamin, a young man bent on revenging his father's death by driving the Romans out of the land of Israel. Daniel's hatred for Romans wanes only when he starts to hear the teaching of the traveling carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth. A suspenseful, vividly wrought tale of friendship, loyalty, community, and ultimately, the vanquishing of hate by love. A powerful, relevant read in turbulent times.