Join the book club for an informal discussion every 6 weeks. We meet downstairs in the library at 7:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome and there is no admission fee.
Thursday, January 18th
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien
Thien takes us inside an extended family in China, showing us the lives of two successive generations–those who lived through Mao’s Cultural Revolution in the mid-twentieth century; and the children of the survivors, who became the students protesting in Tiananmen Square in 1989, in one of the most important political moments of the past century. With exquisite writing sharpened by a surprising vein of wit and sly humour, Thien has crafted unforgettable characters who are by turns flinty and headstrong, dreamy and tender, foolish and wise. Winner of the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and longlisted for the 2017 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.
About the Author
Madeleine Thien is the author of the story collection Simple Recipes, which was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, a Kiriyama Pacific Prize Notable Book, and won the BC Book Prize for Fiction; the novel Certainty, which won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award; and the novel Dogs at the Perimeter, which was shortlisted for Berlin’s 2014 International Literature Award and won the Frankfurt Book Fair’s 2015 Liberaturpreis. Her novels and stories have been translated into twenty-five languages, and her essays have appeared in Granta, The Guardian, the Financial Times, Five Dials, Brick and Al Jazeera. Her story “The Wedding Cake” was shortlisted for the prestigious 2015 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award. The daughter of Malaysian-Chinese immigrants to Canada, she lives in Montreal.
Wednesday, February 21st
Safekeeping by Jessamyn Hope
It’s 1994 and Adam, a drug addict from New York City, arrives at a kibbutz in Israel with a medieval sapphire brooch. To redress a past crime, he must give the priceless heirloom to a woman his grandfather loved when he was a Holocaust refugee on the kibbutz fifty years earlier. But first, he has to track this mystery woman down—a task that proves more complicated than expected. On the kibbutz Adam joins other lost souls: Ulya, the ambitious and beautiful Soviet émigrée; Farid, the lovelorn Palestinian farmhand; Claudette, the French Canadian Catholic with OCD; Ofir, the Israeli teenager wounded in a bus bombing; and Ziva, the old Socialist Zionist firebrand who founded the kibbutz. Driven together by love, hostility, hope, and fear, their fates become forever entangled as they each get one last shot at redemption. In the middle of that fateful summer glows the magnificent brooch with its perilous history spanning three continents and seven centuries. With insight and beauty, Safekeeping tackles that most human of questions: How can we expect to find meaning and happiness when we know that nothing lasts?
About the Author
Safekeeping is Jessamyn Hope’s debut novel. Her fiction and memoirs have appeared in Ploughshares, Five Points, Colorado Review, Descant, and PRISM international, among other literary magazines. Recent accolades include two Pushcart Prize honorable mentions, in 2015 and 2016, and selection for Best Canadian Essays 2015. She was the Susannah McCorkle Scholar in Fiction at the 2012 Sewanee Writers Conference and has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Originally from Montreal, Hope lived in Israel before moving to New York City.
Wednesday, April 4th
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance
A powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class. A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country. #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER, NAMED BY THE TIMES AS ONE OF “6 BOOKS TO HELP UNDERSTAND TRUMP’S WIN” AND SOON TO BE A MAJOR-MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY RON HOWARD
About the Author
J.D. Vance grew up in the Rust Belt city of Middletown, Ohio, and the Appalachian town of Jackson, Kentucky. He enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school and served in Iraq. A graduate of the Ohio State University and Yale Law School, he has contributed to the National Review and is a principal at a leading Silicon Valley investment firm. Vance lives in San Francisco with his wife and two dogs.
Wednesday, May 16th
City of Thieves by David Benioff
A captivating novel about war, courage, survival — and a remarkable friendship that ripples across a lifetime. During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive.By turns insightful and funny, thrilling and terrifying, a gripping, cinematic World War II adventure and an intimate coming-of-age story with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men.
About the Author
David Benioff was born and raised in New York City. He adapted his first novel, The 25th Hour, into the feature film directed by Spike Lee. With many other screenplays to his credit, he is also the writer of the films, “Brothers” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”. Stories from his critically acclaimed collection When the Nines Roll Over appeared in Best New American Voices and The Best Nonrequired American Reading. His latest novel is City of Thieves. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Amanda Peet and daughter where he is a co-creator and writer for the HBO hit series “Game of Thrones.”
Wednesday, June 27th
First Snow, Last Light by Wayne Johnston
Ned Vatcher, only 14, ambles home from school in the chill hush that precedes the first storm of the winter of 1936 to find the house locked, the family car missing, and his parents gone without a trace. From that point on, his life is driven by the need to find out what happened to the Vanished Vatchers. His father, Edgar, born to a poor family of fishermen, had risen to become the right-hand man to the colony’s prime minister, then suffered an unexpected fall from grace. Were he and his wife murdered? From the author of the critically acclaimed, prizewinning and internationally bestselling The Colony of Unrequited Dreams comes an epic family mystery with a powerful, surprise ending, which features the return of the ever-fascinating Sheilagh Fielding, one of the most memorable characters in fiction.
About the Author
WAYNE JOHNSTON was born and raised in the St. John’s area of Newfoundland. His #1 nationally bestselling novels include The Divine Ryans, A World Elsewhere, The Custodian of Paradise, The Navigator of New York and The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, which has been made into a stage play and is being developed as a TV series. Johnston is also the author of the Charles Taylor Prize-winning and bestselling memoir, Baltimore’s Mansion. He lives in Toronto.