Please join us on Wednesday June 17, 2015 when we discuss Silas Marner by George Eliot.  We will meet at 11:30 am in room 1550.

From Wiki:

Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe is the third novel by George Eliot, published in 1861. An outwardly simple tale of a linen weaver, it is notable for its strong realism and its sophisticated treatment of a variety of issues ranging from religion to industrialization to community.

From Amazon:

A gentle linen weaver is accused of a heinous crime. Exiling himself, he becomes a recluse, only to find redemption in his love for an abandoned child who mysteriously appears one day in his isolated cottage. Somber yet hopeful, Eliot’s stirring tale continues to touch the human spirit.

The full text of Silas Marner can be found on Gutenberg and an audio version on YouTube.

Please join us on Wednesday May 20, 2015 when we discuss The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway.  We will meet at 11:30 am in room 1560.

From Wiki –

Hemingway began writing the novel on his birthday (21 July) in 1925, finishing the draft manuscript barely two months later in September.  After setting aside the manuscript for a short period, he worked on revisions during the winter of 1926.  The basis for the novel was Hemingway’s 1925 trip to Spain.  The setting was unique and memorable, showing seedy café life in Paris, and the excitement of the Pamplona festival, with a middle section devoted to descriptions of a fishing trip in the Pyrenees.  Hemingway’s sparse writing style, combined with his restrained use of description to convey characterizations and action, became known as demonstrating the ‘Iceberg Theory’.

The novel is a roman à clef; the characters are based on real people of Hemingway’s circle, and the action is based on real events.  In the novel, Hemingway presents his notion that the “Lost Generation”, considered to have been decadent, dissolute and irretrievably damaged by World War I, was resilient and strong.

Born July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois
Hemingway was 26 years old when he started the novel.

For our April Book Club, we will attend the Great Books Symposium featuring Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.   The symposium will be on Wednesday, April 22, 2015.  More information on the Symposium will be forthcoming from Donovan Braud, associate professor of English and coordinator of the Great Books concentration.

Best of luck to Professor Braud and to all the students involved.



Please join us on Wednesday March 25, 2015 when we discuss The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde.   We will meet at 11:30 a.m.  in room 1550.

From Wiki –

The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play by Oscar Wilde. First performed on 14 February 1895 at the St James’s Theatre in London, it is a farcical comedy in which the protagonists maintain fictitious personæ to escape burdensome social obligations. Working within the social conventions of late Victorian London, the play’s major themes are the triviality with which it treats institutions as serious as marriage, and the resulting satire of Victorian ways. Contemporary reviews all praised the play’s humour, though some were cautious about its explicit lack of social messages, while others foresaw the modern consensus that it was the culmination of Wilde’s artistic career so far. Its high farce and witty dialogue have helped make The Importance of Being Earnest Wilde’s most enduringly popular play.


  • Jack Worthing
    A young gentleman from the country, in love with Gwendolen Fairfax.
  • Algernon Moncrieff
    A young gentleman from London, the nephew of Lady Bracknell, in love with Cecily Cardew.
  • Gwendolen Fairfax
    A young lady, loved by Jack Worthing.
  • Lady Bracknell
    A society lady, Gwendolen’s mother.
  • Cecily Cardew
    A young lady, the ward of Jack Worthing.
  • Miss Prism
    Cecily’s governess
  • The Reverend Canon Chasuble
    The priest of Jack’s parish
  • Lane
    Algernon’s butler
  • Merriman
    Jack’s servant.

We will be reading the three act text of The importance of Being Earnest which can be found on http://www.gutenberg.org/files/844/844-h/844-h.htm and an audio version at https://librivox.org/the-importance-of-being-earnest-by-oscar-wilde/.

Please join us on Wednesday February 25, 2015 when we discuss Kristin Lavransdatter I. The Wreath by Sigrid Undset translation by Tiina Nunnally.  We will meet at 11:30 am in room 1550.

From PenguinClassics.com –

When The Wreath first appeared in English, the New York Times hailed it as “strong and dramatic, founded upon those emotions and impulses which belong not to any especial time or country, but to all humanity.” Against the background of a society ruled by centuries-old Norse traditions and the strictures of the Catholic Church (first established in Norway in tenth century), Undset tells the story of a headstrong young woman who defies the expectations of her much-beloved father, the lessons of her priest, and conventions of society when she is captivated by a charming and dangerously impetuous man. The courtship of Kristin Lavransdatter and Erlend Nikulaussøn is a far cry from the idealistic romances found in the historical novels of writers like Sir Walter Scott. Although she is betrothed to another man and is living in a convent, Kristin and Erlend manage to escape watchful eyes and give free rein to their love and their sexual impulses. When they are finally allowed to wed, they discover that the repercussions of their rebellious behavior are not easily put to rest.

The version below contains the entire trilogy.  NOTE – we will be reading The Wreath which is the first part.

Kristin Lavransdatter

Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset



Please join us on Wednesday January 28, 2015 when we discuss A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines.  We will meet at 12:30 p.m. in room 1550.

From Random House –

Ernest J. Gaines’s award-winning novel is set in a small Louisiana Cajun community in the late 1940s. Jefferson, a young black man, is an unwitting party to a liquor store shootout in which three men are killed; the only survivor, he is convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Grant Wiggins has returned home from college to the plantation school to teach children whose lives promise to be not much better than Jefferson’s. As he struggles with his decision whether to stay or escape to another state, his aunt and Jefferson’s godmother persuade him to visit Jefferson in his cell and impart his learning and pride to Jefferson before his death. In the end, the two men forge a bond as they come to understand the simple heroism of resisting—and defying—the expected.

In a story whose eloquence, thematic richness, and moral resonance have called forth comparisons to the work of Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and William Faulkner, Gaines summons the reader to confront the entire bitter history of black people in the South—and, by extension, America as a whole. A Lesson Before Dying is about the ways in which people declare the value of their lives in a time and place in which those lives seemingly count for nothing. It is about the ways in which the imprisoned may find freedom even in the moment of their death. Gaines’s novel transcends its minutely evoked circumstances to address the basic predicament of what it is to be a human being, a creature striving for dignity in a universe that often denies it.


Please join us on Wednesday December 17, 2014 when we discuss The Chimes, by Charles Dickens.  We will meet at 12:30 p.m. in room 2537.

From Wiki –

The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells that Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In, a short novel by Charles Dickens, was written and published in 1844, one year after A Christmas Carol and one year before The Cricket on the Hearth. It is the second in his series of “Christmas books”: five short books with strong social and moral messages that he published during the 1840s.

Other discussion topics include: books we’ve read this year and would recommend to others, and books on our wish lists.


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