The 2003 novel The Known World by Edward P. Jones tells a haunting, heartbreaking and complex story of slavery in America. An enslaved African American man saves the money he makes as a carpenter to purchase and free himself, his wife, and later, their son. To the amazed disappointment of his parents, the son maintains a connection with his former master, and then becomes a slave owner himself. And a white sheriff, despite his anti-slavery views, has a job that requires him to apprehend runaway slaves. The sheriff reluctantly accepts a slave girl as a wedding gift, but prefers to treat her as a daughter. These are just two strands of the interwoven stories
Notes from The Lakeview Branch Library Book Club's discussion of The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, a gripping psychological novel of kindness, manipulation, betrayal and the strength to deal with this in an American expatriate world in Europe during the last half of the 19th century.
Henry James's grandfather immigrated to the United States in 1789 and was a successful venture capitalist, who owned a canal and made a fortune. The grandfather had 3 wives and 16 children.
Henry's father inherited wealth and was a philosopher. There were five children in the family. Henry was the second child. His sister was an invalid, who only lived to her early 40s. Henry traveled extensively with his family.
Henry was not the only famous James from that family. His brother William was the very famous psychologist. It is said that William wrote psychology as if it were fiction, and Henry wrote fiction as if it were psychology. Both William and Henry were Calvinists, but we didn't see evidence of a religious point of view in this novel.
Portrait of a Lady is considered to be the best of the novels of Henry James. Henry's insight into the
Award-winning Oakland author Nayomi Munaweera recommends some of her favorite books.
The recent release of Oakland author Nayomi Munaweera’s debut novel Island of A Thousand Mirrors has generated a lot of excitement around the globe! It won the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize for the Asian Region and was longlisted for the 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize and the Dublin IMPAC Prize. If you haven’t heard about it yet, you can read this review in yesterday’s
Are you searching for book suggestions for your book group? Here are some titles that generated lively discussions in library book groups.
Have you been thinking about joining a book club? Oakland Public Library's Dimond Branch Book Discussion Group meets the second Tuesday of the month from 6:30-7:30 PM and the Lakeview Branch's Book Group meets on the third Tuesday, also from 6:30-7:30 PM. The Piedmont Branch is launching a Books and Beer Book Group which will hold it's inaugural meeting on Sunday, September 24th at Cato's Ale House. Library book groups are open to anyone who is interested so feel free to stop by and check them out.
If you're searching for book suggestions for your book
The 'Reading Minute' is a new Advice for Readers feature recommending short reads for the busy or easily distracted reader, focusing this week on books by some very funny ladies.
I’m only slightly ashamed to say that I am a librarian with little time to read these days. I read some wonderful books with my young children, and there are the informative journal articles I read for work, but my “spare” time is used for sleep, if I’m lucky enough to get some. It could be a good while before I revisit those long lazy days curled up with the perfect novel, I’m afraid. Worse, I don’t even think I have the capacity for sustained concentration anymore, having not had an uninterrupted moment for several years. I suspect my predicament is relatable by many. And so I bring you the 'Reading Minute'.
When I do pick up something to read for leisure I tend to look for the following qualities: Light and easy to digest, but still smart;
This is a summary of the Lakeview Book Club discussion of the American Classic, The Awakening by Kate Chopin.
Kate Chopin was from St. Louis and married a wealthy man from New Orleans. She lived in New Orleans and was soon a widow with six children. She supported her family by writing and lost her popularity, because of the scandalous nature of The Awakening. She died in 1905.
We discussed that Guy de Maupassant was an influence on her and she was an influence on many of the upcoming great authors of the 20th century. Her style is called "naturalism," which one member explained meant that the stories contain the hard parts of life, the seamy or gritty parts.
Eight of us brought many opinions about this short novel. There seemed to be a consensus in the group that those who had never read this before were really surprised by the ending. We didn't ask if people liked it, but everyone seemed to have really been caught up in it and had strong feelings about the story. I think everyone really liked it on many levels, if not all the way through.
Is "truthiness" acceptable in non fiction? An essayist and a fact-checker hash it out.
Humorist Stephen Colbert coined the term "truthiness" in 2005, it means the quality of feeling that something is true even if it really isn't. The Lifespan of a Fact is a conversation between the author of an essay, John D'Agata and the fact checker, Jim Fingal. The magazine that originally commissioned the work later refused to publish due to factual inaccuracies, but it became the basis for D'Agata's 2011 book "
What was it like to be married to William Shakespeare or Zelda Fitzgerald? Check out these fictionalized accounts of famous literary couples.
Did you know that August is National Romance Awareness Month? I didn't, but I recently came across this article in the Huffington Post, which inspired me to highlight literary romances in this post. During the past few years fiction titles focusing on famous literary couples have been popular. Here are a few available at OPL.