Events in the next 6 months

Title:Far Out Film Discussion : Five Obstructions (HELD OFF SITE)
Date:Monday, May 28, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 9:00pm
Presenter:Forbes Library
Location:Off Site
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Film, One-Time Events, Recurring Events
Description:

PLEASE NOTE - Forbes Library is closed on May 28th in observance of Memorial Day.

Far Out Film Discussion will be held at the Haymarket Cafe in Northampton.

 

Far Out Film Discussion is formatted like a book club: check out the film, watch it at home, and attend the meeting to discuss it. 
(We will not be screening the film at the program.)
Our next movie is 2003 Danish documentary "Five Obstructions" by Lars von Trier and Jorgen Leth.



View the trailer here : 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YPmRMipnSM


Copies of the film will be available in the Reference Dept. and the Arts and Music Dept. 


You can also watch it free with your Forbes Library card on Kanopy :
https://forbes.kanopy.com/video/five-obstructions 


PLEASE NOTE - Forbes Library is closed on May 28th in observance of Memorial Day. Far Out Film Discussion will be held at the Haymarket Cafe in Northampton.

Title:Paradise City Readers: Welcome to Braggsville
Date:Monday, June 4, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:30pm
Presenter:Forbes Library
Location:Community Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

Respectful, queer/LGBT-friendly, easy-going bunch who want an excuse to get out more and talk about books. And have some snacks. Meetings take place on the first Monday of the month at 7 p.m.

This month we'll be reading Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson.

Born and raised in the heart of old Dixie, D’aron Davenport finds himself in unfamiliar territory his freshman year at UC Berkeley. Two thousand miles and a world away from his childhood, he is a small-town fish floundering in the depths of a large, hyper-liberal pond. Caught between the prosaic values of his rural hometown and the intellectualized multicultural cosmopolitanism of Berzerkeley, the nineteen-year-old white kid is uncertain about his place until one disastrous party brings him three idiosyncratic best friends. But everything changes in the group’s alternative history class, when D’aron lets slip that his hometown hosts an annual Civil War reenactment, recently rebranded “Patriot Days.” 

With the keen wit of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and the deft argot of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, T. Geronimo Johnson has written an astonishing, razor-sharp satire. Using a panoply of styles and tones, from tragicomic to Southern Gothic, he skewers issues of class, race, intellectual and political chauvinism, Obamaism, social media, and much more.

A literary coming-of-age novel for a new generation, written with tremendous social insight and a unique, generous heart, Welcome to Braggsville reminds us of the promise and perils of youthful exuberance, while painting an indelible portrait of contemporary America. 

We also have a google group, where people post info about the books and sometimes social events. You can find us at http://groups.google.com/group/westernmassbookgroup or write to westernmassbookgroup@googlegroups.com Copies of the discussion books are available to check out at the main desk most months, unless the title is in too high demand.

Title:Reading Italian women writers, in translation: The Story of a New Name
Date:Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Time:4:30pm - 7:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

The Story of a New Name book coverThe group will read selections from a broad range of writers beginning with Elena Ferrante's four volumes that make up her outstanding work, The Neapolitan Quartet. Through the writings of various authors, listed below, we will read and discuss stories, several set in World War II  and the post-war years, that remain relevant to our lives today. Issues of gender, class, the dynamics of family and friendship, culture, language, and the politics of place come together as multi-layered works of art.

This month we'll be reading The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante ; translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein.

In The Story of a New Name, Lila has recently married and made her enterée into the family business; Elena, meanwhile, continues her studies and her exploration of the world beyond the neighborhood that she so often finds stifling. Love, jealousy, family, freedom, commitment, and above all friendship: these are signs under which both women live out this phase in their stories. Marriage appears to have imprisoned Lila, and the pressure to excel is at times too much for Elena. Yet the two young women share a complex and evolving bond that is central to their emotional lives and is a source of strength in the face of life's challenges. In these Neapolitan Novels, Elena Ferrante, the acclaimed author of The Days of Abandonment, gives readers a poignant and universal story about friendship and belonging.

Title:Science Fiction and Fantasy Discussion: The Time Machine
Date:Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

The Fifth Season book coverThis month's book discussion will be about The Time Machine by H. G. Wells. 


"I've had the most amazing time . . . " So begins the Time Traveller’s astonishing firsthand account of his journey 800,000 years beyond his own era—and the story that launched H.G. Wells’s successful career and earned him his reputation as the father of science fiction. With a speculative leap that still fires the imagination, Wells sends his brave explorer to face a future burdened with our greatest hopes . . . and our darkest fears. A pull of the Time Machine’s lever propels him to the age of a slowly dying Earth.  There he discovers two bizarre races—the ethereal Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks—who not only symbolize the duality of human nature, but offer a terrifying portrait of the men of tomorrow as well.  Published in 1895, this masterpiece of invention captivated readers on the threshold of a new century.

 

Anyone interested in Science Fiction or Fantasy is welcome. Although we focus on this month’s selection, we will discuss any topics related to Science Fiction or Fantasy, books or movies. Copies of the discussion book are available in the library to check out.

Title:Second Monday Book Discussion: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Date:Monday, June 11, 2018
Time:6:30pm - 8:30pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time book coverWe'll be reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

 

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. Routine, order and predictability shelter him from the messy, wider world. Then, at fifteen, Christopher's carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbor's dog, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork, and he is initially blamed for the killing.

Christopher decides that he will track down the real killer and turns to his favorite fictional character, the impeccably logical Sherlock Holmes, for inspiration. But the investigation leads him down some unexpected paths and ultimately brings him face to face with the dissolution of his parents' marriage. As he tries to deal with the crisis within his own family, we are drawn into the workings of Christopher's mind. And herein lies the key to the brilliance of Mark Haddon's choice of narrator: The most wrenching of emotional moments are chronicled by a boy who cannot fathom emotion.

 

Literary minded discussion. Open to new members.

Title:Nature and Environment Book Club: The Emperor of All Maladies
Date:Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:


This month's book discussion will be about The Emperor of All Maladies: a Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

The Emperor of All Maladies (book cover)

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and now a documentary from Ken Burns on PBS, The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence.

Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with—and perished from—for more than five thousand years.

 

The Nature and Environment Book Club is devoted to the best of nature writing and environmental reporting with discussions on the second Wednesday of each month. Readers and writers interested in books ranging from such classics as Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek to topical reportage like Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction will want to join the conversation.

Copies of the discussion book are available in the library to check out at the library. 

Title:Comics Club
Date:Thursday, June 14, 2018
Time:3:30pm - 4:15pm
Presenter:Callie
Location:Community Room
Categories:Arts and Crafts, Book Discussions, Children's Events, Recurring Events
Description:

Join Callie for the June meeting of the Comics Club!

We'll discuss, share, and create comics and graphic novels! There will be artist's supplies, materials to put your own books together, and time to receive and give recommendations! Intended for elementary, tween, and teen readers and artists, this meeting will run from 3:30 to 4:15.

Title:Afternoon Book Discussion: The Buried Giant
Date:Friday, June 15, 2018
Time:1:00pm - 2:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

This month's discussion will be about The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro.

In post-Arthurian Britain, the wars that once raged between the Saxons and the Britons have finally ceased. Axl and Beatrice, an elderly British couple, set off to visit their son, whom they haven't seen in years. And, because a strange mist has caused mass amnesia throughout the land, they can scarcely remember anything about him. As they are joined on their journey by a Saxon warrior, his orphan charge, and an illustrious knight, Axl and Beatrice slowly begin to remember the dark and troubled past they all share. By turns savage, suspenseful, and intensely moving, The Buried Giant is a luminous meditation on the act of forgetting and the power of memory from the Nobel Prize-winning author of Never Let Me Go and Remains of the Day

The Afternoon Book Discussion group meets on the 3rd Friday of the month in the Watson Room for a casual hour long discussion. The reading selections are mostly fiction choices with a sprinkling of non-fiction, young adult, and classics with an emphasis on books appealing to an ecclectic taste as well as those with interesting points of discussion.  Pre-registration is not required and drop-ins are welcome. Tea and light refreshments are served. 

Copies of the discussion book are available in the library to check out at the circulation desk. 

Title:Great Books Discussion: Germinal
Date:Monday, June 18, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:30pm
Presenter:Hilary Caws-Elwitt
Location:Community Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

 Germinal by Emile Zola

The thirteenth novel in Émile Zola’s great Rougon-Macquart sequence, Germinal expresses outrage at the exploitation of the many by the few, but also shows humanity’s capacity for compassion and hope.

Etienne Lantier, an unemployed railway worker, is a clever but uneducated young man with a dangerous temper. Forced to take a back-breaking job at Le Voreux mine when he cannot get other work, he discovers that his fellow miners are ill, hungry, and in debt, unable to feed and clothe their families. When conditions in the mining community deteriorate even further, Lantier finds himself leading a strike that could mean starvation or salvation for all.

 

About Great Books Discussion Style

The Great Books discussion is structured so that the evening’s selected reading is discussed in a think tank environment with the intention of gaining insight from other readers that one would not have by reading alone. The seminar facilitator asks questions of the participants about the reading selection and helps the discussion stay focused. Our main goal is to have fun and take many interpretations from the group in order to enjoy a greater understanding of a selected reading.

Discussions are open to everyone and free of charge.  For a list of past and future discussion books and to contact the group visit, http://mail.salticid.com/mailman/listinfo/forbes_great_books_salticid.com.

About the facilitator:

Hilary Caws-Elwitt has her BA in English & American Literature from Harvard, MLS from University of Arizona, and ran Susquehanna County Reads for its first 4 years. But mostly she loves reading and discussing the books!

Title:Mystery Book Discussion: Sacred Games
Date:Monday, June 18, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

This month we'll be discussing Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra. 

Vikram Chandra's novel draws the reader deep into the life of Inspector Sartaj Singh—and into the criminal underworld of Ganesh Gaitonde, the most wanted gangster in India. It is is a story of friendship and betrayal, of terrible violence, of an astonishing modern city and its dark side.

Sartaj, one of the very few Sikhs on the Mumbai police force, is used to being identified by his turban, beard and the sharp cut of his trousers. But "the silky Sikh" is now past forty, his marriage is over and his career prospects are on the slide. When Sartaj gets an anonymous tip-off as to the secret hide-out of the legendary boss of G-Company, he's determined that he'll be the one to collect the prize. 

 

The Mystery Book Discussion Group meets monthly at the library for a casual discussion. New members are always welcome. Pick up a copy of this month's discussion book at the library.

Title:Far Out Film Discussion : Spring Breakers
Date:Monday, June 25, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 9:00pm
Presenter:Forbes Library
Location:Coolidge Museum
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Film, One-Time Events, Recurring Events
Description:

Far Out Film Discussion is formatted like a book club: check out the film, watch it at home, and attend the meeting to discuss it. 

(We will not be screening the film at the program.)

Our next movie is 2012's Spring Breakers, written and directed by Harmony Korine.



View the trailer here : 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imDML4om8z8

Copies of the film will be available in the Reference Dept. and the Arts and Music Dept. 

Join us in the Community Room on Monday June 25th at 7:00pm to discuss the film!

Title:Tweens and Teens Book Club
Date:Thursday, June 28, 2018
Time:3:30pm - 4:15pm
Location:Community Room
Categories:Book Discussions, Recurring Events, Teen Events
Description:

Stay tuned for our June title! Come for a chat and a snack, and help choose our July book!

 

Title:Paradise City Readers: Their Eyes Were Watching God
Date:Monday, July 2, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:30pm
Presenter:Forbes Library
Location:Community Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

Respectful, queer/LGBT-friendly, easy-going bunch who want an excuse to get out more and talk about books. And have some snacks. Meetings take place on the first Monday of the month at 7 p.m.

This month we'll be reading Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.

Fair and long-legged, independent and articulate, Janie Crawford sets out to be her own person no mean feat for a black woman in the '30s. Janie's quest for identity takes her through three marriages and into a journey back to her roots.

One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years—due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist—Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.

We also have a google group, where people post info about the books and sometimes social events. You can find us at http://groups.google.com/group/westernmassbookgroup or write to westernmassbookgroup@googlegroups.com Copies of the discussion books are available to check out at the main desk most months, unless the title is in too high demand.

Title:Second Monday Book Discussion: Christ Stopped at Eboli
Date:Monday, July 9, 2018
Time:6:30pm - 8:30pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

Christ Stopped at Eboli book coverWe'll be reading Christ Stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi. 

 

It was to Lucania, a desolate land in southern Italy, that Carlo Levi―a doctor, painter, philosopher, and man of letters―was confined as a political prisoner because of his opposition to Italy's Fascist government at the start of the Ethiopian war in 1935. While there, Levi reflected on the harsh landscape and its inhabitants, peasants who lived the same lives their ancestors had, constantly fearing black magic and the near presence of death. In so doing, Levi offered a starkly beautiful and moving account of a place and a people living outside the boundaries of progress and time.

 

Literary minded discussion. Open to new members.

Title:Nature and Environment Book Club: When the Rivers Run Dry
Date:Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:


This month's book discussion will be about When the Rivers Run Dry: Water, the Defining Crisis of the Twenty-first Century by Fred Pearce. 

When the Rivers Run Dry (book cover)

 

In this groundbreaking book, veteran science correspondent Fred Pearce travels to more than thirty countries to examine the current state of crucial water sources. Deftly weaving together the complicated scientific, economic, and historic dimensions of the world water crisis, he provides our most complete portrait yet of this growing danger and its ramifications for us all. 

 

The Nature and Environment Book Club is devoted to the best of nature writing and environmental reporting with discussions on the second Wednesday of each month. Readers and writers interested in books ranging from such classics as Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek to topical reportage like Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction will want to join the conversation.

Copies of the discussion book are available in the library to check out at the library. 

Title:Science Fiction and Fantasy Discussion: The Core of the Sun
Date:Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

The Core of the Sun book coverThis month's book discussion will be about The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo. 

Set in an alternative historical present, in a "eusistocracy"—an extreme welfare state—that holds public health and social stability above all else, this example of "Finnish weird" speculative fiction follows a young woman whose growing addiction to illegal chili peppers leads her on an adventure into a world where love, sex, and free will are all controlled by the state.

Anyone interested in Science Fiction or Fantasy is welcome. Although we focus on this month’s selection, we will discuss any topics related to Science Fiction or Fantasy, books or movies. Copies of the discussion book are available in the library to check out.

Title:Great Books Discussion: The Bell Jar
Date:Monday, July 16, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:30pm
Presenter:Hilary Caws-Elwitt
Location:Community Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

 The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under -- maybe for the last time. Sylvia Plath masterfully draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that Esther's insanity becomes completely real and even rational, as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies. Such deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is an extraordinary accomplishment and has made The Bell Jar a haunting American classic.

 

 

About Great Books Discussion Style

The Great Books discussion is structured so that the evening’s selected reading is discussed in a think tank environment with the intention of gaining insight from other readers that one would not have by reading alone. The seminar facilitator asks questions of the participants about the reading selection and helps the discussion stay focused. Our main goal is to have fun and take many interpretations from the group in order to enjoy a greater understanding of a selected reading.

Discussions are open to everyone and free of charge.  For a list of past and future discussion books and to contact the group visit, http://mail.salticid.com/mailman/listinfo/forbes_great_books_salticid.com.

About the facilitator:

Hilary Caws-Elwitt has her BA in English & American Literature from Harvard, MLS from University of Arizona, and ran Susquehanna County Reads for its first 4 years. But mostly she loves reading and discussing the books!

Title:Mystery Book Discussion: Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead
Date:Monday, July 16, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

Claire DeWitt and the City of the DeadThis month we'll be discussing Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sarah Gran. 

This knock-out start to a bracingly original new series features Claire DeWitt, the world’s greatest PI—at least, that's what she calls herself. A one-time teen detective in Brooklyn, she is a follower of the esoteric French detective Jacques Silette, whose mysterious handbook Détection inspired Claire’s unusual practices. Claire also has deep roots in New Orleans, where she was mentored by Silette’s student the brilliant Constance Darling—until Darling was murdered. When a respected DA goes missing she returns to the hurricane-ravaged city to find out why.

 

The Mystery Book Discussion Group meets monthly at the library for a casual discussion. New members are always welcome. Pick up a copy of this month's discussion book at the library.

Title:Afternoon Book Discussion: Hunger
Date:Friday, July 20, 2018
Time:1:00pm - 2:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

Hunger book coverThis month's discussion will be about Hunger: A Memoir of (my) Body by Roxane Gay.

New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and bodies, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she casts an insightful and critical eye on her childhood, teens, and twenties—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers into the present and the realities, pains, and joys of her daily life.

With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and authority that have made her one of the most admired voices of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to be overweight in a time when the bigger you are, the less you are seen. Hunger is a deeply personal memoir from one of our finest writers, and tells a story that hasn’t yet been told but needs to be.  

The Afternoon Book Discussion group meets on the 3rd Friday of the month in the Watson Room for a casual hour long discussion. The reading selections are mostly fiction choices with a sprinkling of non-fiction, young adult, and classics with an emphasis on books appealing to an ecclectic taste as well as those with interesting points of discussion.  Pre-registration is not required and drop-ins are welcome. Tea and light refreshments are served. 

Copies of the discussion book are available in the library to check out at the circulation desk. 

Title:Far Out Film Discussion : Last Year at Marienbad
Date:Monday, July 30, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 9:00pm
Presenter:Forbes Library
Location:Coolidge Museum
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, One-Time Events, Recurring Events
Description:

Far Out Film Discussion is formatted like a book club: check out the film, watch it at home, and attend the meeting to discuss it. 

(We will not be screening the film at the program.)



Our next movie is the 1961 film Last Year at Marienbad, directed by Alain Resnais from a screenplay by Alain Robbe-Grillet.

View the trailer here : 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIdSQ-Hsukk

Copies of the film will be available in the Reference Dept. and the Arts and Music Dept. 

Join us in the Community Room on Monday July 30th at 7:00pm to discuss the film!

Title:Science Fiction and Fantasy Discussion: The Word Exchange
Date:Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

The Word Exchange book coverThis month's book discussion will be about The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon. 

In the not-so-distant future, the forecasted "death of print" has become a near reality. Bookstores, libraries, newspapers, and magazines are essentially things of the past, as we spend our time glued to handheld devices called Memes that not only keep us in constant communication but have become so intuitive as to hail us cabs before we leave our offices, order takeout at the first growl of our stomachs, change traffic lights and interface with home appliances--even create and sell language itself in a marketplace called the Word Exchange.
 
Anana Johnson works with her father, Doug, at the North American Dictionary of the English Language(NADEL), where they are hard at work on the final edition that will ever be printed. Doug is staunchly anti-Meme and fondly remembers the days when people used e-mail to communicate--or even actually spoke to one another, for that matter. One evening, Doug disappears from the NADEL offices, leaving behind a written clue: ALICE. It's a code word he and Anana devised to signal if one of them ever fell into harm's way. And thus begins Anana's journey down the proverbial rabbit hole . . .
 

Anyone interested in Science Fiction or Fantasy is welcome. Although we focus on this month’s selection, we will discuss any topics related to Science Fiction or Fantasy, books or movies. Copies of the discussion book are available in the library to check out.

Title:Paradise City Readers: Alif the Unseen
Date:Monday, August 6, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:30pm
Presenter:Forbes Library
Location:Community Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

Respectful, queer/LGBT-friendly, easy-going bunch who want an excuse to get out more and talk about books. And have some snacks. Meetings take place on the first Monday of the month at 7 p.m.

This month we'll be reading Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson.

In an unnamed Middle Eastern security state, a young Arab-Indian hacker shield his clients, dissidents, outlaws, Islamists, and other watched groups from surveillance and tries to stay out of trouble. He goes by Alifthe first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and a convenient handle to hide behind. The aristocratic woman Alif loves has jilted him for a prince chosen by her parents, and his computer has just been breached by the State's electronic security force, putting his clients and his own neck on the line. Then it turns out his lover's new fianc is the head of State security, and his henchmen come after Alif, driving him underground. When Alif discovers The Thousand and One Days , the secret book of the jinn, which both he and the Hand suspect may unleash a new level of information technology, the stakes are raised and Alif must struggle for life or death, aided by forces seen and unseen. 

We also have a google group, where people post info about the books and sometimes social events. You can find us at http://groups.google.com/group/westernmassbookgroup or write to westernmassbookgroup@googlegroups.com Copies of the discussion books are available to check out at the main desk most months, unless the title is in too high demand.

Title:Reading Italian women writers, in translation
Date:Monday, August 6, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:30pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay book coverThe group will read selections from a broad range of writers beginning with Elena Ferrante's four volumes that make up her outstanding work, The Neapolitan Quartet. Through the writings of various authors, listed below, we will read and discuss stories, several set in World War II  and the post-war years, that remain relevant to our lives today. Issues of gender, class, the dynamics of family and friendship, culture, language, and the politics of place come together as multi-layered works of art.

This month we'll be reading Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante ; translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein.

In the third book in the Neapolitan quartet, Elena and Lila, the two girls whom readers first met in My Brilliant Friend, have become women. Lila married at sixteen and has a young son; she has left her husband and the comforts her marriage brought and now works as a common laborer. Elena has left the neighborhood, earned her college degree, and published a successful novel, all of which has opened the doors to a world of learned interlocutors and richly furnished salons. Both women are pushing against the walls of a prison that would have seen them living a life of misery, ignorance and submission. They are afloat on the great sea of opportunities that opened up during the nineteen-seventies. Yet they are still very much bound to each other by a strong, unbreakable bond. Ferrante is one of the world's great storytellers. With the Neapolitan quartet she has given her readers an abundant, generous, and masterfully plotted page-turner that is also a stylish work of literary fiction destined to delight readers for many generations to come.

Title:Nature and Environment Book Club: Beyond Words
Date:Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:


This month's book discussion will be about Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel by Carl Safina. 

Beyond Words (book cover)

Weaving decades of field observations with exciting new discoveries about the brain, Carl Safina's landmark book offers an intimate view of animal behavior to challenge the fixed boundary between humans and nonhuman animals. In Beyond Words, readers travel to Amboseli National Park in the threatened landscape of Kenya and witness struggling elephant families work out how to survive poaching and drought, then to Yellowstone National Park to observe wolves sort out the aftermath of one pack's personal tragedy, and finally plunge into the astonishingly peaceful society of killer whales living in the crystalline waters of the Pacific Northwest.

Beyond Words brings forth powerful and illuminating insight into the unique personalities of animals through extraordinary stories of animal joy, grief, jealousy, anger, and love. The similarity between human and nonhuman consciousness, self-awareness, and empathy calls us to re-evaluate how we interact with animals. Wise, passionate, and eye-opening at every turn, Beyond Words is ultimately a graceful examination of humanity's place in the world.

 

The Nature and Environment Book Club is devoted to the best of nature writing and environmental reporting with discussions on the second Wednesday of each month. Readers and writers interested in books ranging from such classics as Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek to topical reportage like Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction will want to join the conversation.

Copies of the discussion book are available in the library to check out at the library. 

Title:Second Monday Book Discussion: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Date:Monday, August 13, 2018
Time:6:30pm - 8:30pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy book coverWe'll be reading Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John LeCarré

 

The man he knew as "Control" is dead, and the young Turks who forced him out now run the Circus. But George Smiley isn't quite ready for retirement—especially when a pretty, would-be defector surfaces with a shocking accusation: a Soviet mole has penetrated the highest level of British Intelligence. Relying only on his wits and a small, loyal cadre, Smiley recognizes the hand of Karla—his Moscow Centre nemesis—and sets a trap to catch the traitor.

 

Literary minded discussion. Open to new members.

Title:Afternoon Book Discussion: Young Jane Young
Date:Friday, August 17, 2018
Time:1:00pm - 2:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

Young Jane Young book coverThis month's discussion will be about Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin.

Aviva Grossman, an ambitious congressional intern in Florida, makes the mistake of having an affair with her (married) boss. When the affair comes to light, the popular congressman doesn’t take the fall. But Aviva does, and her life is over before it hardly begins: slut-shamed, she becomes a late-night talk show punch line, anathema to politics. She sees no way out but to change her name and move to a remote town in Maine. This time, she tries to be smarter about her life and strives to raise her daughter, Ruby, to be strong and confident. But when, at the urging of others, Aviva decides to run for public office, that long-ago mistake trails her via the Internet and catches up—an inescapable scarlet A. In the digital age, the past is never, ever, truly past. And it’s only a matter of time until Ruby finds out who her mother was and is forced to reconcile that person with the one she knows.

Young Jane Young is a smart, funny, serious, and moving novel about the myriad ways in which roles are still circumscribed for women, whether they are young and ambitious interns; mothers attempting to steer their daughters through a male-dominated world; political wives facing an age-old knowledge that fidelity isn’t always honored; or young girls feeling bold about their many choices before they realize the gender restrictions all around them. Gabrielle Zevin captures not only the double standards alive and well in every aspect of life for women but also the mood of our recent highly charged political season.

The Afternoon Book Discussion group meets on the 3rd Friday of the month in the Watson Room for a casual hour long discussion. The reading selections are mostly fiction choices with a sprinkling of non-fiction, young adult, and classics with an emphasis on books appealing to an ecclectic taste as well as those with interesting points of discussion.  Pre-registration is not required and drop-ins are welcome. Tea and light refreshments are served. 

Copies of the discussion book are available in the library to check out at the circulation desk. 

Title:Great Books Discussion: Swann's Way
Date:Monday, August 20, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:30pm
Presenter:Hilary Caws-Elwitt
Location:Community Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

 Swann's Way by Marcel Proust

The story follows the narrator's recollections of childhood and experiences into adulthood during late 19th century to early 20th century aristocratic France, while reflecting on the loss of time and lack of meaning to the world. In fact, Swann's Way tells two related stories, the first of which revolves around Marcel, a younger version of the narrator, and his experiences in, and memories of, the French town Combray.

Inspired by the "gusts of memory" that rise up within him as he dips a Madeleine into hot tea, the narrator discusses his fear of going to bed at night. He is a creature of habit and dislikes waking up in the middle of the night not knowing where he is.
He claims that people are defined by the objects that surround them and must piece together their identities bit by bit each time they wake up. The young Marcel is so nervous about sleeping alone that he looks forward to his mother's goodnight kisses, but also dreads them as a sign of an impending sleepless night. 

 

About Great Books Discussion Style

The Great Books discussion is structured so that the evening’s selected reading is discussed in a think tank environment with the intention of gaining insight from other readers that one would not have by reading alone. The seminar facilitator asks questions of the participants about the reading selection and helps the discussion stay focused. Our main goal is to have fun and take many interpretations from the group in order to enjoy a greater understanding of a selected reading.

Discussions are open to everyone and free of charge.  For a list of past and future discussion books and to contact the group visit, http://mail.salticid.com/mailman/listinfo/forbes_great_books_salticid.com.

About the facilitator:

Hilary Caws-Elwitt has her BA in English & American Literature from Harvard, MLS from University of Arizona, and ran Susquehanna County Reads for its first 4 years. But mostly she loves reading and discussing the books!

Title:Mystery Book Discussion: Dead Anyway
Date:Monday, August 20, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

Dead Anyway book coverThis month we'll be discussing Dead Anyway by Chris Knopf. 

Imagine this: You have a nice life. You love your beautiful, successful wife. You're an easygoing guy working out of your comfortable Connecticut home. The world is an interesting, pleasant place.

Then in seconds it's all gone. You're still alive, but the world thinks you're dead. And now you have to decide. Make it official, or go after the evil that took it all away from you.

Arthur Cathcart, market researcher and occasional finder of missing persons, decides to live on a fight, by doing what he knows best - figuring things out, without revealing his status as a living breathing human being. Much easier said than done in a post- 9/11 world, where everything about yourself and all the tools you need to live a modern life are an open book. How do you become a different person, how do you finance an elaborate scheme without revealing yourself? How do you force a reckoning with the worst people on earth, as a dead man?

 

The Mystery Book Discussion Group meets monthly at the library for a casual discussion. New members are always welcome. Pick up a copy of this month's discussion book at the library.

Title:Far Out Film Discussion : Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Date:Monday, August 27, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 9:00pm
Presenter:Forbes Library
Location:Coolidge Museum
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, One-Time Events, Recurring Events
Description:

Far Out Film Discussion is formatted like a book club: check out the film, watch it at home, and attend the meeting to discuss it.

(We will not be screening the film at the program.)

Our next movie is the 2010 film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, written and directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

View the trailer here :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jk-EoUb0nvg

Copies of the film will be available in the Reference Dept. and the Arts and Music Dept.

Join us in the Community Room on Monday August 27th at 7:00pm to discuss the film!

Title:Paradise City Readers: Kitchens of the Great Midwest
Date:Monday, September 3, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:30pm
Presenter:Forbes Library
Location:Community Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

Respectful, queer/LGBT-friendly, easy-going bunch who want an excuse to get out more and talk about books. And have some snacks. Meetings take place on the first Monday of the month at 7 p.m.

This month we'll be reading Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal.

When Lars Thorvald’s wife, Cynthia, falls in love with wine—and a dashing sommelier—he’s left to raise their baby, Eva, on his own. He’s determined to pass on his love of food to his daughter—starting with puréed pork shoulder. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. From Scandinavian lutefisk to hydroponic chocolate habaneros, each ingredient represents one part of Eva’s journey as she becomes the star chef behind a legendary and secretive pop-up supper club, culminating in an opulent and emotional feast that’s a testament to her spirit and resilience.
 
Each chapter in J. Ryan Stradal’s startlingly original debut tells the story of a single dish and character, at once capturing the zeitgeist of the Midwest, the rise of foodie culture, and delving into the ways food creates community and a sense of identity. By turns quirky, hilarious, and vividly sensory, Kitchens of the Great Midwest is an unexpected mother-daughter story about the bittersweet nature of life—its missed opportunities and its joyful surprises. It marks the entry of a brilliant new talent.

We also have a google group, where people post info about the books and sometimes social events. You can find us at http://groups.google.com/group/westernmassbookgroup or write to westernmassbookgroup@googlegroups.com Copies of the discussion books are available to check out at the main desk most months, unless the title is in too high demand.

Title:Science Fiction and Fantasy Discussion: Annihilation
Date:Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

Annihilation book coverThis month's book discussion will be about Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer. 

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide; the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.
The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.
They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers―they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding―but it's the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.

Anyone interested in Science Fiction or Fantasy is welcome. Although we focus on this month’s selection, we will discuss any topics related to Science Fiction or Fantasy, books or movies. Copies of the discussion book are available in the library to check out.

Title:Second Monday Book Discussion: A Bend in the River
Date:Monday, September 10, 2018
Time:6:30pm - 8:30pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

A Bend in the River book coverWe'll be reading A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul

 

V.S. Naipaul takes us deeply into the life of one man—an Indian who, uprooted by the bloody tides of Third World history, has come to live in an isolated town at the bend of a great river in a newly independent African nation. Naipaul gives us the most convincing and disturbing vision yet of what happens in a place caught between the dangerously alluring modern world and its own tenacious past and traditions.

 

Literary minded discussion. Open to new members.

Title:Nature and Environment Book Club: The Age of Sustainable Development
Date:Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:


This month's book discussion will be about The Age of Sustainable Development by Jeffrey Sachs. 

The Age of Sustainable Development (book cover)

Jeffrey D. Sachs is one of the world's most perceptive and original analysts of global development. In this major new work he presents a compelling and practical framework for how global citizens can use a holistic way forward to address the seemingly intractable worldwide problems of persistent extreme poverty, environmental degradation, and political-economic injustice: sustainable development. Far more than a rhetorical exercise, this book is designed to inform, inspire, and spur action. Based on Sachs's twelve years as director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, his thirteen years advising the United Nations secretary-general on the Millennium Development Goals, and his recent presentation of these ideas in a popular online course, The Age of Sustainable Development is a clarion call for all who care about our planet and global justice.

 

The Nature and Environment Book Club is devoted to the best of nature writing and environmental reporting with discussions on the second Wednesday of each month. Readers and writers interested in books ranging from such classics as Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek to topical reportage like Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction will want to join the conversation.

Copies of the discussion book are available in the library to check out at the library. 

Title:Great Books Discussion: 1984
Date:Monday, September 17, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:30pm
Presenter:Hilary Caws-Elwitt
Location:Community Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

 1984 by George Orwell

The year 1984 has come and gone, but George Orwell's prophetic, nightmarish vision in 1949 of the world we were becoming is timelier than ever. Set in Airstrip One, formerly Great Britain, this dark future-past is dominated by perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public manipulation. As the year of its setting recedes, 1984 remains the great modern classic of "negative utopia" --a startlingly original and haunting novel that creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing, from the first sentence to the last four words. No one can deny the novel's hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions -a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.

 

About Great Books Discussion Style

The Great Books discussion is structured so that the evening’s selected reading is discussed in a think tank environment with the intention of gaining insight from other readers that one would not have by reading alone. The seminar facilitator asks questions of the participants about the reading selection and helps the discussion stay focused. Our main goal is to have fun and take many interpretations from the group in order to enjoy a greater understanding of a selected reading.

Discussions are open to everyone and free of charge.  For a list of past and future discussion books and to contact the group visit, http://mail.salticid.com/mailman/listinfo/forbes_great_books_salticid.com.

About the facilitator:

Hilary Caws-Elwitt has her BA in English & American Literature from Harvard, MLS from University of Arizona, and ran Susquehanna County Reads for its first 4 years. But mostly she loves reading and discussing the books!

Title:Mystery Book Discussion: Where All Light Tends to Go
Date:Monday, September 17, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

Where All Light Tends to Go book coverThis month we'll be discussing Where All Light Tends to Go by David Joy. 

In the country-noir tradition of Winter's Bone meets 'Breaking Bad,' a savage and beautiful story of a young man seeking redemption.

The area surrounding Cashiers, North Carolina, is home to people of all kinds, but the world that Jacob McNeely lives in is crueler than most. His father runs a methodically organized meth ring, with local authorities on the dime to turn a blind eye to his dealings. Having dropped out of high school and cut himself off from his peers, Jacob has been working for this father for years, all on the promise that his payday will come eventually.  The only joy he finds comes from reuniting with Maggie, his first love, and a girl clearly bound for bigger and better things than their hardscrabble town.

Jacob has always been resigned to play the cards that were dealt him, but when a fatal mistake changes everything, he’s faced with a choice: stay and appease his father, or leave the mountains with the girl he loves. In a place where blood is thicker than water and hope takes a back seat to fate, Jacob wonders if he can muster the strength to rise above the only life he’s ever known.

 

The Mystery Book Discussion Group meets monthly at the library for a casual discussion. New members are always welcome. Pick up a copy of this month's discussion book at the library.

Title:Afternoon Book Discussion: Her Body and Other Parties
Date:Friday, September 21, 2018
Time:1:00pm - 2:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

Her Body and Other Parties book coverThis month's discussion will be about Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado.

In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.

A wife refuses her husband’s entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store’s prom dresses. One woman’s surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in the bravura novella “Especially Heinous,” Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naïvely assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgängers, ghosts, and girls with bells for eyes.

Earthy and otherworldly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.

The Afternoon Book Discussion group meets on the 3rd Friday of the month in the Watson Room for a casual hour long discussion. The reading selections are mostly fiction choices with a sprinkling of non-fiction, young adult, and classics with an emphasis on books appealing to an ecclectic taste as well as those with interesting points of discussion.  Pre-registration is not required and drop-ins are welcome. Tea and light refreshments are served. 

Copies of the discussion book are available in the library to check out at the circulation desk. 

Title:Second Monday Book Discussion: The Fire Next Time
Date:Monday, October 1, 2018
Time:6:30pm - 8:30pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

The Fire Next Time book coverWe'll be reading The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

 

A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation and gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin's early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document. It consists of two "letters," written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of our literature.

 

Literary minded discussion. Open to new members.

Title:Paradise City Readers: How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
Date:Monday, October 1, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:30pm
Presenter:Forbes Library
Location:Community Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

Respectful, queer/LGBT-friendly, easy-going bunch who want an excuse to get out more and talk about books. And have some snacks. Meetings take place on the first Monday of the month at 7 p.m.

This month we'll be reading How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez. 

In Alvarez's debut novel, the García sisters—Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofía—and their family must flee their home in the Dominican Republic after their father’s role in an attempt to overthrow a tyrannical dictator is discovered. They arrive in New York City in 1960 to a life far removed from their existence in the Caribbean. In the wild and wondrous and not always welcoming U.S.A., their parents try to hold on to their old ways, but the girls try find new lives: by forgetting their Spanish, by straightening their hair and wearing fringed bell bottoms. For them, it is at once liberating and excruciating to be caught between the old world and the new. How the García Girls Lost Their Accents sets the sisters free to tell their most intimate stories about how they came to be at home—and not at home—in America.

With the keen wit of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and the deft argot of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, T. Geronimo Johnson has written an astonishing, razor-sharp satire. Using a panoply of styles and tones, from tragicomic to Southern Gothic, he skewers issues of class, race, intellectual and political chauvinism, Obamaism, social media, and much more.

A literary coming-of-age novel for a new generation, written with tremendous social insight and a unique, generous heart, Welcome to Braggsville reminds us of the promise and perils of youthful exuberance, while painting an indelible portrait of contemporary America. 

We also have a google group, where people post info about the books and sometimes social events. You can find us at http://groups.google.com/group/westernmassbookgroup or write to westernmassbookgroup@googlegroups.com Copies of the discussion books are available to check out at the main desk most months, unless the title is in too high demand.

Title:Science Fiction and Fantasy Discussion: The Dispossessed
Date:Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

The Dispossessed book coverThis month's book discussion will be about The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin. 

From the brilliant and award-winning author Ursula K. Le Guin comes a classic tale of two planets torn apart by conflict and mistrust — and the man who risks everything to reunite them.

A bleak moon settled by utopian anarchists, Anarres has long been isolated from other worlds, including its mother planet, Urras—a civilization of warring nations, great poverty, and immense wealth. Now Shevek, a brilliant physicist, is determined to reunite the two planets, which have been divided by centuries of distrust. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have kept them apart.

To visit Urras—to learn, to teach, to share—will require great sacrifice and risks, which Shevek willingly accepts. But the ambitious scientist's gift is soon seen as a threat, and in the profound conflict that ensues, he must reexamine his beliefs even as he ignites the fires of change.

Anyone interested in Science Fiction or Fantasy is welcome. Although we focus on this month’s selection, we will discuss any topics related to Science Fiction or Fantasy, books or movies. Copies of the discussion book are available in the library to check out.

Title:Nature and Environment Book Club: A Short History of Nearly Everything
Date:Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:


This month's book discussion will be about A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. 

A Short History of Nearly Everything (book cover)

In A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trailwell, most of it. In A Sunburned Country, he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to offer. Now, in his biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understandand, if possible, answerthe oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining.

 

The Nature and Environment Book Club is devoted to the best of nature writing and environmental reporting with discussions on the second Wednesday of each month. Readers and writers interested in books ranging from such classics as Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek to topical reportage like Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction will want to join the conversation.

Copies of the discussion book are available in the library to check out at the library. 

Title:Great Books Discussion: A Good Man Is Hard to Find
Date:Monday, October 15, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:30pm
Presenter:Hilary Caws-Elwitt
Location:Community Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

 A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor

In 1955, with this short story collection, Flannery O'Connor firmly laid claim to her place as one of the most original and provocative writers of her generation. Steeped in a Southern Gothic tradition that would become synonymous with her name, these stories show O'Connor's unique, grotesque view of life-- infused with religious symbolism, haunted by apocalyptic possibility, sustained by the tragic comedy of human behavior, confronted by the necessity of salvation.

With these classic stories-- including "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," "Good Country People," "The Displaced Person," and seven other acclaimed tales-- O'Connor earned a permanent place in the hearts of American readers

 

About Great Books Discussion Style

The Great Books discussion is structured so that the evening’s selected reading is discussed in a think tank environment with the intention of gaining insight from other readers that one would not have by reading alone. The seminar facilitator asks questions of the participants about the reading selection and helps the discussion stay focused. Our main goal is to have fun and take many interpretations from the group in order to enjoy a greater understanding of a selected reading.

Discussions are open to everyone and free of charge.  For a list of past and future discussion books and to contact the group visit, http://mail.salticid.com/mailman/listinfo/forbes_great_books_salticid.com.

About the facilitator:

Hilary Caws-Elwitt has her BA in English & American Literature from Harvard, MLS from University of Arizona, and ran Susquehanna County Reads for its first 4 years. But mostly she loves reading and discussing the books!

Title:Afternoon Book Discussion: Never Caught
Date:Friday, October 19, 2018
Time:1:00pm - 2:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

Never Caught book coverThis month's discussion will be about Never Caught: the Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge  by Erica Armstrong Dunbar.

A startling and eye-opening look into America’s First Family, Never Caught is the powerful narrative of Ona Judge, George and Martha Washington’s runaway slave who risked everything to escape the nation’s capital and reach freedom.

When George Washington was elected president, he reluctantly left his beloved Mount Vernon to serve in Philadelphia, the temporary seat of the nation’s capital. In setting up his household he took Tobias Lear, his celebrated secretary and eight slaves, including Ona Judge, about whom little has been written. As he grew accustomed to Northern ways, there was one change he couldn’t get his arms around: Pennsylvania law required enslaved people be set free after six months of residency in the state. Rather than comply, Washington decided to circumvent the law. Every six months he sent the slaves back down south just as the clock was about to expire.

Though Ona Judge lived a life of relative comfort, the few pleasantries she was afforded were nothing compared to freedom, a glimpse of which she encountered first-hand in Philadelphia. So, when the opportunity presented itself, Judge left everything she knew to escape to New England. Yet freedom would not come without its costs. At just twenty-two-years-old, Ona became the subject of an intense manhunt led by George Washington, who used his political and personal contacts to recapture his property.

With impeccable research, historian Erica Armstrong Dunbar weaves a powerful tale and offers fascinating new scholarship on how one young woman risked it all to gain freedom from the famous founding father.

The Afternoon Book Discussion group meets on the 3rd Friday of the month in the Watson Room for a casual hour long discussion. The reading selections are mostly fiction choices with a sprinkling of non-fiction, young adult, and classics with an emphasis on books appealing to an ecclectic taste as well as those with interesting points of discussion.  Pre-registration is not required and drop-ins are welcome. Tea and light refreshments are served. 

Copies of the discussion book are available in the library to check out at the circulation desk. 

Title:Second Monday Book Discussion: Breathing Lessons
Date:Monday, November 5, 2018
Time:6:30pm - 8:30pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

Breathing Lessons book coverWe'll be reading Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler

 

Unfolding over the course of a single emotionally fraught day, this stunning novel encompasses a lifetime of dreams, regrets and reckonings.  Maggie and Ira Moran are on a road trip from Baltimore, Maryland to Deer Lick, Pennsylvania to attend the funeral of a friend.  Along the way, they reflect on the state of their marriage, its trials and its triumphs—through their quarrels, their routines, and their ability to tolerate each other’s faults with patience and affection.  Where Maggie is quirky, lovable and mischievous, Ira is practical, methodical and mired in reason.  What begins as a day trip becomes a revelatory and unexpected journey, as Ira and Maggie rediscover the strength of their bond and the joy of having somebody with whom to share the ride, bumps and all. 

 

Literary minded discussion. Open to new members.

Title:Paradise City Readers: The Fact of a Body
Date:Monday, November 5, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:30pm
Presenter:Forbes Library
Location:Community Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

Respectful, queer/LGBT-friendly, easy-going bunch who want an excuse to get out more and talk about books. And have some snacks. Meetings take place on the first Monday of the month at 7 p.m.

This month we'll be reading The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich. 

Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes―the moment she hears him speak of his crimes -- she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.

Crime, even the darkest and most unsayable acts, can happen to any one of us. As Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining the details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, and reckon with a past that colors her view of Ricky's crime.

But another surprise awaits: She wasn’t the only one who saw her life in Ricky’s.

We also have a google group, where people post info about the books and sometimes social events. You can find us at http://groups.google.com/group/westernmassbookgroup or write to westernmassbookgroup@googlegroups.com Copies of the discussion books are available to check out at the main desk most months, unless the title is in too high demand.

Title:Science Fiction and Fantasy Discussion: Childhood's End
Date:Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

Chilhood's End book coverThis month's book discussion will be about Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke. 

Childhood’s End is one of the defining legacies of Arthur C. Clarke, the author of 2001: A Space Odyssey and many other groundbreaking works. Since its publication in 1953, this prescient novel about first contact gone wrong has come to be regarded not only as a science fiction classic but as a literary thriller of the highest order.
 
Spaceships have suddenly appeared in the skies above every city on the planet. Inside is an intellectually, technologically, and militarily superior alien race known as the Overlords. At first, their demands seem benevolent: unify Earth, eliminate poverty, end war. But at what cost? To those who resist, it’s clear that the Overlords have an agenda of their own. Has their arrival marked the end of humankind . . . or the beginning?

Anyone interested in Science Fiction or Fantasy is welcome. Although we focus on this month’s selection, we will discuss any topics related to Science Fiction or Fantasy, books or movies. Copies of the discussion book are available in the library to check out.

Title:Nature and Environment Book Club: Flight Behavior
Date:Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Book Discussions, Recurring Events
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This month's book discussion will be about Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. 

Flight Behavior (book cover)

The extraordinary New York Times bestselling author of The Lacuna (winner of the Orange Prize), The Poisonwood Bible (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize), and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver returns with a truly stunning and unforgettable work. Flight Behavior is a brilliant and suspenseful novel set in present day Appalachia; a breathtaking parable of catastrophe and denial that explores how the complexities we inevitably encounter in life lead us to believe in our particular chosen truths. Kingsolver's riveting story concerns a young wife and mother on a failing farm in rural Tennessee who experiences something she cannot explain, and how her discovery energizes various competing factions—religious leaders, climate scientists, environmentalists, politicians—trapping her in the center of the conflict and ultimately opening up her world. Flight Behavior is arguably Kingsolver's must thrilling and accessible novel to date, and like so many other of her acclaimed works, represents contemporary American fiction at its finest.

 

The Nature and Environment Book Club is devoted to the best of nature writing and environmental reporting with discussions on the second Wednesday of each month. Readers and writers interested in books ranging from such classics as Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek to topical reportage like Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction will want to join the conversation.

Copies of the discussion book are available in the library to check out at the library. 

Title:Afternoon Book Discussion: The Witches
Date:Friday, November 16, 2018
Time:1:00pm - 2:00pm
Location:Watson Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
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The Witches book coverThis month's discussion will be about The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff.

The panic began early in 1692, over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister's niece began to writhe and roar. It spread quickly, confounding the most educated men and prominent politicians in the colony. Neighbors accused neighbors, husbands accused wives, parents and children one another. It ended less than a year later, but not before nineteen men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to death.

Speaking loudly and emphatically, adolescent girls stood at the center of the crisis. Along with suffrage and Prohibition, the Salem witch trials represent one of the few moments when women played the central role in American history. Drawing masterfully on the archives, Stacy Schiff introduces us to the strains on a Puritan adolescent's life and to the authorities whose delicate agendas were at risk. She illuminates the demands of a rigorous faith, the vulnerability of settlements adrift from the mother country, perched-at a politically tumultuous time-on the edge of what a visitor termed a "remote, rocky, barren, bushy, wild-woody wilderness."

With devastating clarity, the textures and tensions of colonial life emerge; hidden patterns subtly, startlingly detach themselves from the darkness. Schiff brings early American anxieties to the fore to align them brilliantly with our own. In an era of religious provocations, crowdsourcing, and invisible enemies, this enthralling story makes more sense than ever. The Witches is Schiff 's riveting account of a seminal episode, a primal American mystery unveiled-in crackling detail and lyrical prose-by one of our most acclaimed historians.

The Afternoon Book Discussion group meets on the 3rd Friday of the month in the Watson Room for a casual hour long discussion. The reading selections are mostly fiction choices with a sprinkling of non-fiction, young adult, and classics with an emphasis on books appealing to an ecclectic taste as well as those with interesting points of discussion.  Pre-registration is not required and drop-ins are welcome. Tea and light refreshments are served. 

Copies of the discussion book are available in the library to check out at the circulation desk. 

Title:Great Books Discussion: Native Son
Date:Monday, November 19, 2018
Time:7:00pm - 8:30pm
Presenter:Hilary Caws-Elwitt
Location:Community Room
Categories:Adult Events, Book Discussions, Recurring Events
Description:

 Native Son by Richard Wright

Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Wright's powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.Wright's genius was that, in preventing us from feeling pity for Bigger, he forced us to confront the hopelessness, misery, and injustice of the society that gave birth to him. 

 

 

About Great Books Discussion Style

The Great Books discussion is structured so that the evening’s selected reading is discussed in a think tank environment with the intention of gaining insight from other readers that one would not have by reading alone. The seminar facilitator asks questions of the participants about the reading selection and helps the discussion stay focused. Our main goal is to have fun and take many interpretations from the group in order to enjoy a greater understanding of a selected reading.

Discussions are open to everyone and free of charge.  For a list of past and future discussion books and to contact the group visit, http://mail.salticid.com/mailman/listinfo/forbes_great_books_salticid.com.

About the facilitator:

Hilary Caws-Elwitt has her BA in English & American Literature from Harvard, MLS from University of Arizona, and ran Susquehanna County Reads for its first 4 years. But mostly she loves reading and discussing the books!