Barnert Temple Book Club

Tuesday, June 7, from 8 to 10 pm

We are going to discuss the English novelist, Anthony Trollope.  Anthony Trollope was a mere postal worker, a Surveyor’s Clerk, not living in England but in Dublin, Ireland.  The West-country town of Barsetshire was totally made-up.  He wrote many novels but never gained fame until The Warden, which he wrote right before he started Barchester Towers in 1855-1857.  He loved gossip and juicy stories but his publisher thought him a little too indecent.  So he learned to be subtle.  That was one of his specialties.  Unfortunately he never realized how popular he had become, and never knew of his future fame.  It takes much concentration to follow his language because of the intricate and old-style descriptions and ideas.

Come, have coffee, talk about Trollope and enjoy our camaraderie.

Any Temple member is welcome to join us.  RSVP to Benita Herman.

After Trollope, our selection is Edna O’Brien, The Love Object.


RECENT BOOKS READ BY THE BT BOOK CLUB

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
In the beginning of the 20th century, there were many orphan children living in the big cities of the East.  Many were children of new immigrants, who were having a hard time managing in the New World.  One spunky young girl had the misfortune to lose her family in a tenement fire in New York.  There were regularly scheduled orphan trains to take these children to the Midwest, where some people thought they would have a better chance to survive in more rural settings.  Christina Baker Kline tells an interesting story about one of these orphans and a modern day teenage version, and interweaves a readable and engrossing tale.  The immigrant story is as fresh as ever and most timely for 2015.

The Volcano Lover by Susan Sontag
The intriguing Avant guard critic of literature, Ms. Sontag is at once a critic and an effective writer.  She tackles the dazzling society in Naples, 1764-1800, under Ferdinand IV as she reveals the three characters of her historical fiction, who are:  Sir William Hamilton, British diplomat; his wife Emma Hamilton, who is also mistress of Admiral Nelson; and the Admiral himself.  As the “New York Times” critic wrote:  “I wish I could like it less and admire it more”.  Imagine that, a fictional story about real historical figures.  I just can’t wait to start.

Duty by Robert Gates
Gates served eight US presidents in one capacity or another, heading the CIA as well as serving as Secretary of War.  His is the real inside story and it sounds intriguing as well as challenging.

Transatlantic by Colum McCann
This a story that spans almost 100 years, and follows three separate transatlantic journeys of four historically important American men and at least one Irish lass seeking her personal freedom in New York City.  Our skillful novelist eventually and successfully weaves the three different events and characters in to one story that gives us a panoramic view of our Irish/America (Canadian) history and reflections.

My Antonia by Willa Cather
Seen through the eyes of a childhood friend, Jim Burden, Antonia is an amazing Bohemian immigrant girl who works unceasingly to help her parents wrest a living from the untamed land which these pioneers came to settle.  The adversity and hardships were intense, yet Antonia’s spirit emerges undaunted.  Jim finds her “a rich mine of life,” a beautiful heroic woman.

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown
A popular best seller, this story is about the University of Washington’s crew, shell racing, and their quest for gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games.  These nine young men, most from working-class, poor neighborhoods, had to endure the snobbism from their West Coast rivals at Berkeley, and the East Coast snobbery from the Poughkeepsie Regatta.  They achieved the almost impossible by being able to row in flawless harmony and by leaning to trust themselves and one another.  Then they met Goebbels and his Nazi propaganda.  The outcome is historic and unbelievable.

Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman
Spanning four decades and three prize-winning collections, these twenty-one vintage selected stories and thirteen scintillating new ones take us around the world, from Jerusalem to Central America, from tsarist Russia to London during the Blitz, from central Europe to Manhattan, and from the Maine coast to Godolphin, Massachusetts, a fictional suburb of Boston. These charged locales, and the lives of the endlessly varied characters within them, are evoked with a tenderness and incisiveness found in only our most observant seers.

Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie
Catherine, the Empress of Russia, struggled to bring the enlightenment to backward Russia. This book reveals her life from childhood to death, the human drama of her rule, and details of her relationships with friends, enemies, family and lovers. There are lots of color photos, maps and historical paintings.

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
Erik Larson is a writer who easily marries fact and fiction. We have read The Devil in the White City, fiction set at the time of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and now In the Garden of Beasts he weaves a tale about the US Ambassador to Germany in 1933, William E. Dodd. The focus is on Dodd's daughter, Martha, age 24, and her romantic affairs with Hitler's high ranking officials. Here's another look into this era when the US State Department took so long to recognize Hitler's threat.

The Financier by Theodore Dreiser
This is part of a trilogy, about greed, money and power. What takes place during the 1860’s and 70’s to Frank Cowperwood is timeless. When he was a child he saw a lobster and a squid in a tank. He knew then that he never wanted to be in the position of the squid, but always as the powerful lobster. He is narcissistic and mostly unconcerned about the current problem of slavery. He is quite concerned about himself. Could he perhaps resemble someone named Bernie?

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
In May of 1943, an Army Air Force bomber crashes in the Pacific. A young lieutenant named Louis Zamperini survived. This young man with a past history of delinquency and cunning street-life, embarks on an Odyssey of survival. Somewhere in his checkered life he had become an expert runner. His story is about his many tests of endurance and desperation. It is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body and spirit.

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
Julie Orringer's impassioned first novel documents an oft-forgotten tragedy within the familiar literary topic of World War II and the Holocaust. Mixing religion and historical fact with a compelling narrative, The Invisible Bridge paints a stunning picture of world history through compelling characters and the complicated relationships of a family of Hungarian Jews. 

Mourning Becomes Electra by Eugene O'Neill
Mourning Becomes Electra is a play written by the American playwright Eugene O'Neill. It premiered on Broadway in 1931 and ran for 150 performances. The story is an updated Greek tragedy and features murder, adultery, incestuous love and revenge. O'Neill's characters have motivations that are influenced by the psychological theories of the 1930s. Hence, it can be understood from a Freudian perspective, with characters displaying Oedipus and Electra complexes. Mourning Becomes Electra is divided into three plays entitled Homecoming, The Hunted, and The Haunted, with themes corresponding to The Oresteia trilogy by Aeschylus.

The Passage of Power by Robert Caro
Spanning four decades and three prize-winning collections, these twenty-one vintage selected stories and thirteen scintillating new ones take us around the world, from Jerusalem to Central America, from tsarist Russia to London during the Blitz, from central Europe to Manhattan, and from the Maine coast to Godolphin, Massachusetts, a fictional suburb of Boston. These charged locales, and the lives of the endlessly varied characters within them, are evoked with a tenderness and incisiveness found in only our most observant seers.

The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death
Mourning Becomes Electra is a play written by the American playwright Eugene O'Neill. It premiered on Broadway in 1931 and ran for 150 performances. The story is an updated Greek tragedy and features murder, adultery, incestuous love and revenge. O'Neill's characters have motivations that are influenced by the psychological theories of the 1930s. Hence, it can be understood from a Freudian perspective, with characters displaying Oedipus and Electra complexes. Mourning Becomes Electra is divided into three plays entitled Homecoming, The Hunted, and The Haunted, with themes corresponding to The Oresteia trilogy by Aeschylus.


Barnert Temple Book ClubWoman Reading

The Barnert Temple Book Club is open to all Temple members.  It's currently a small group of Temple members who like to read, converse, socialize and intellectually challenge one another. However, we'd love to see the size of our group grow!

Our format is simple. Every 6 - 8 weeks, we read a book selected by the group and meet at a member's house to share our thoughts and learn a little. The books we read include fiction, non-fiction and the classics.

If you are interested in joining our informal book club, please contact Benita Herman, Book Club Group Organizer.