Join six LLI members as they lead lively discussions of contemporary titles and old classics.
September 15: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Facilitator Michael Mugnolo
Lured by nationalism and the promise of glory, young Paul Baumer, an idealistic student, a boy really, answers the call to service, only to see himself transformed from a sensitive human being whose life has been characterized by his concern for his fellow man to an unthinking animal whose obsession is to kill or be killed. Remarque is still remembered today as the recording angel of the Great War, and while this masterpiece won many awards, perhaps its greatest accolade was being burned by the Nazis.
September 22: The Tragedy of Puddâ€™nhead Wilson by Mark Twain
Facilitator John Suttton
David Wilson, a lawyer, is called Puddâ€™nhead because the citizens of a small town on the Mississippi prior to the Civil War donâ€™t understand his combination of wisdom and eccentricity. He solves a murder mystery which hinges on the deception of the switched identities of a child born free and a child born slave. A condemnation of a society that allows slavery, eachÂ chapter begins with a witty epigram from Puddâ€™nhead Wilsonâ€™s Calendar.
September 29: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Facilitator Morgan Corrigan
The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. The shrill siren song of a calliope beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained in this season of dying. Cooger and Darkâ€™s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two boys will discover the secret of its mazes and mirrors: two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishesâ€¦and the stuff of nightmare.
October 6:Â The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau
Facilitator Richard Auwarter
When Line and Doon lead their people up from the underground city of Ember, they discover a surface world of color and life. The people of a village called Sparks agree to help the Emberites, but the villagers have never had to share their world before. Soon, differences between the two cultures escalate. DuPrau systematically explores the nature of conflict and the strength and courage to overcome it.
October 20: Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
Facilitator Stephen Bentkover
Lionel Essrog is Brooklynâ€™s very own self-appointed Human Freakshow, an orphan whose Tourettic impulses drive him to bark, count and rip apart our language in startling and unusual ways. Together with three veterans of the St. Vincent Home for Boys, he works for small-time mobster Frank Minnaâ€™s limo service cum detective agency. Life without Frank Minna, the charismatic king of Brooklyn, would be unimaginable, so who cares if the tasks he sets them are not exactly legal. Lionelâ€™s world is suddenly topsy-turvy.
October 27:Â The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Facilitator Miwako Ogasawara
Set in a luxury apartment in Paris, the story revolves around Renee, a middle-age concierge, and Paloma, a 12 year old genius and daughter of a wealthy family resident. Paloma also has a secret: she plans to commit suicide on her thirteenth birthday so that she can avoid a predictably bourgeois life. Then comes onto the scene a rich Japanese man, Mr. Ozu. By turns moving and hilarious, the story leads to a surprising ending.