Named for its founder Dr. Bill Arthur and led by Dr. Kirk Neely, this large and enthusiastically devoted group of literature lovers gathers monthly for an insightful analysis of a variety of good reads. Each month focuses on a different book, and all are welcome for refreshments, fellowship, and stimulating discussion.
Book Selections 2015-2016
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Salt to the Sea
By: Ruta Sepetys
World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Told in alternating points of view, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff—the greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity and love can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
The Hidden White House
By: Robert Klara
Klara leads readers through an unmatched tale of political ambition and technical skill: the Truman administration's controversial rebuilding of the White House. In 1948, President Truman, enjoying a bath on the White House's second floor, almost plunged through the ceiling of the Blue Room into a tea party for the Daughters of the American Revolution. A handpicked team of the country's top architects conducted a secret inspection of the troubled mansion and, after discovering it was in imminent danger of collapse, insisted that the First Family be evicted immediately. What followed would be the most historically significant and politically complex home improvement job in American history.
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
A Question of Mercy
By: Elizabeth Cox
Jess Booker, on the run and alone, leaves the comfort of home, walking through woods and hitching rides to escape the decision made by her family and one made by herself. When Jess lost her mother to leukemia, her father married a woman with a brain-damaged teenage son, Adam. Though Jess resists any relationship with Adam, he wins her heart through kindness and his ability to forgive. As this blended family finds harmony, an impossible choice is forced upon them.
Christmas Gathering ~ Monday, December 12, 2016
7 pm // Fogartie Hall
By: John Grisham
Share your favorite appetizer, finger food, veggie or meat dish, or dessert. Bring Christmas joy!
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
By: Adam Makos
This tells the inspirational story of the U.S. Navy’s most famous aviator duo and the Marines they fought to defend. A white New Englander from the country-club scene, Tom passed up Harvard to fly fighters for his country. An African-American sharecropper’s son from Mississippi, Jesse became the navy’s first black carrier pilot, defending a nation that wouldn’t even serve him in a bar. When one of the duo is shot down behind enemy lines and pinned in his burning plane, the other faces an unthinkable choice: watch his friend die or attempt history’s most audacious one-man rescue mission.
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Duel of the Heart
By: Rose Moore Tomlin
Theodosia Burr Alston was born the daughter of political figure Aaron Burr when the United States was in its infancy. She was a prodigious child, living a privileged life, and acquiring, at her father's insistence, "a most perfect education." Theodosia's life often seemed to mirror the turbulence of the young country. Her unexpected marriage startled the political world. Her struggle to adjust to the difficult and unaccustomed responsibilities as mistress of a rice plantation in South Carolina was monumental. She was the centerpiece in the lives of two very powerful men, which resulted in a painful stretch of her loyalties and caused her great inner turmoil and pain. An impressive woman in her own right, she was destined for greatness through her personal and political connections.
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill
By: Sonia Purnell
By Winston Churchill’s own admission, victory in the Second World War would have been “impossible without her.” Purnell finally gives Clementine her due with a deeply researched account that tells her life story, revealing how she was instrumental in softening FDR’s initial dislike of her husband and paving the way for Great Britain’s close relationship with America. Born into impecunious aristocracy, the young Clementine was the target of cruel snobbery. Many wondered why Winston married her, but their marriage proved to be an exceptional partnership. Beautiful and intelligent, but driven by her own insecurities, she made his career her mission.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Under the Wide and Starry Sky
By: Nancy Horan
Horan, author of Loving Frank, brings another fictionalized biography which tells the improbable love story of Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson and his tempestuous American wife, Fanny. Fanny has left her philandering husband in San Francisco to set sail for Belgium—with her three children and nanny in tow—to study art. After her arrival, however, tragedy strikes, and Fanny and her children repair to a quiet artists’ colony in France where she can recuperate. Emerging from a deep sorrow, she meets a lively Scot, Robert Louis Stevenson, ten years her junior, who falls instantly in love with the earthy, independent, and opinionated belle Americaine. In time, she succumbs to Stevenson’s charms, and the two begin a fierce love affair—marked by intense joy and harrowing darkness—that spans the decades and the globe.
Monday, May 2, 2017
Capitol Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington
By: Cokie Roberts
With the outbreak of the Civil War, the small, social Southern town of Washington, D.C., found itself caught between warring sides in a four-year battle that would determine the future of the United States. After the declaration of secession, many women left the city. Their friends who stayed joined the war effort as the capital was turned into an army camp and hospital. Cokie Roberts chronicles these women's increasing independence, their political empowerment, their indispensable role in keeping the Union unified through the war, and in helping heal it once the fighting was done. She concludes that the war not only changed Washington, it also forever changed the place of women.
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Over the Plain Houses
By: Julia Franks
It’s 1939, and the federal government has sent USDA agent Virginia Furman into the North Carolina mountains to instruct families how to modernize their homes and farms. Cracks are emerging in farmwife Irenie’s fragile marriage to Brodis, an ex-logger turned fundamentalist preacher: She has taken to night ramblings through the woods to escape her husband’s bed. To Brodis, these are all the signs that Irenie—tiptoeing through the dark in her billowing white nightshirt—is practicing black magic. As Brodis chases his demons, he brings about a final act of violence that shakes the entire valley. In this spellbinding Southern story, Franks bares the myths and mysteries that modernity can’t quite dispel.
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