Join six LLI members as they lead interesting and lively discussions of contemporary titles and old classics.
September 16 – The Library Book by Susan Orlean, Michael Mugnolo, presenter
While best known for her seminal biography of Rin Tin Tin, Ms. Orlean takes time from her position as a staff writer for The New Yorker to tell the fascinating story of fire in the Los Angeles Central Library, a story that was lost in the shadow of Chernobyl. It begins with the history of the library and moves on to the history of all libraries and their place in and contributions to the many communities they have served for millennia. If you are a book lover and love books about books, you will love this selection.
September 23 – Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud, Mark Albertson, presenter
Civilization and Its Discontents may be Freud’s best-known work. Originally published in 1930, it seeks to answer some universal questions. What influences led to the creation of civilization? What determines its course? In this seminal volume of twentieth century thought, Freud elucidates the contest between aggression, indeed the death drive thanos and its adversary eros. He speaks to issues of human creativity and fulfillment, the place of beauty in culture and the effects of repression.
October 7– Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann, Angela Vicenzi, presenter
In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode chauffeured automobiles, built mansions and sent their children to Europe to study. Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. Together with the Osage, investigators began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history. The book is a masterpiece on narrative non-fiction, utterly compelling but emotionally devastating.
October 14-Therese Raquin by Emile Zola, Tom Madden, presenter
As one of Zola’s early novels, it is one of the finest examples of Naturalism in French literature, a movement Zola would champion for the rest of his life. Therese Raquin is a portrayal of adultery, revenge and madness and an exploration of the darkest aspects of human nature.
October 21 – The Old Maid by Edith Wharton, Miwako Ogawasara, presenter
The Old Maid is one of Edith Wharton’s four novellas eventually published together as Old New York, this one set in the decade of the 1850’s. The story centers on two women, both of whom may be viewed as the mother of the same child—one the biological, the other the adoptive. The truth of the matter is unknown to the child. The mothers’ intertwined lives, emotions and choices lead up to their ultimate decisions as the young daughter is about to marry. Portraying an upper echelon of New York society, Wharton gives us an intricate look at sex, love and social customs.
Look for this story in the collection Old New York: Four Novellas
October 28 – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Morgan Corrigan, presenter
Mary Shelley, at the age of eighteen, wrote this world classic horror story. She conceived the archetype of the mad scientist who dares to flout nature’s laws and then promptly abandons his creature — to their mutual annihilation and an important lesson learned by one Robert Walton, who foregoes his own ambitions for the greater good of others. In movies, “the monster” can be a brute pure and simple, yet he remains an object of our compassion and a favorite of stage and screen.