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.
Tuesday, July 18
The Mathematician’s Shiva by Stuart Rojstaczer
When the greatest female mathematician in history passes away, her son, Alexander “Sasha” Karnokovitch, just wants to mourn his mother in peace. But rumor has it the notoriously eccentric Polish émigré has solved one of the most difficult problems in all of mathematics, and has spitefully taken the solution to her grave. As a ragtag group of mathematicians from around the world descends upon Rachela’s shiva, determined to find the proof or solve it for themselves–even if it means prying up the floorboards for notes or desperately scrutinizing the mutterings of her African Grey parrot–Sasha must come to terms with his mother’s outsized influence on his life. Spanning decades and continents, from a crowded living room in Madison, Wisconsin, to the windswept beach on the Barents Sea where a young Rachela had her first mathematical breakthrough, The Mathematician’s Shiva is an unexpectedly moving and uproariously funny novel that captures humanity’s drive not just to survive, but to achieve the impossible.
About the Author
Stuart Rojstaczer was raised in Milwaukee and has degrees from the University of Wisconsin, the University of Illinois, and Stanford. For many years, he was a professor of geophysics at Duke University. He lives in Northern California.
Wednesday, September 6
Karolina’s Twins by Ronald H. Balson
Lena Woodward, elegant and poised, has lived a comfortable life among Chicago Society since she immigrated to the US and began a new life at the end of World War II. But now something has resurfaced that Lena cannot ignore: an unfulfilled promise she made long ago that can no longer stay buried. Driven to renew the quest that still keeps her awake at night, Lena enlists the help of lawyer Catherine Lockhart and private investigator Liam Taggart. Behind Lena’s stoic facade are memories that will no longer be contained. She begins to recount a tale, harkening back to her harrowing past in Nazi-occupied Poland, of the bond she shared with her childhood friend Karolina. But there is something about the story that is unfinished, questions that must be answered about what is true and what is not, and what Lena is willing to risk to uncover the past. Just when you think there could not be anything new to ferret out from World War II comes Karolina’s Twins, a spellbinding new novel by the bestselling author of Once We Were Brothers and Saving Sophie.
About the Author
Ronald H. Balson is a Chicago trial attorney, an educator and writer. His practice has taken him to several international venues. He is also the author of Saving Sophie and the international bestseller Once We Were Brothers.
Wednesday, October 18
Christmas for Joshua by Avraham Azrieli
Life couldn’t be better for Rusty Dinwall–a heart surgeon, amateur pianist, and volunteer synagogue president. But when his daughter’s wedding takes an unexpected turn, life spins out of control, shattering everything he believes in. A dramatic story with memorable characters, Christmas for Joshua tackles the conflicts inherent to interfaith marriage, modern parenting, and religious intolerance, taking the reader on an entertaining and thought-provoking journey through a uniquely American Christmas experience.
About the Author
Avraham Azrieli served as an officer in the IDF Intelligence Corps before graduating from Columbia Law School in New York. His previous novels are The Masada Complex, The Jerusalem Inception and The Jerusalem Assassin.
Thursday, November 30
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
“He can’t leave his hotel. You won’t want to…a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery. Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.
About the Author
Born and raised in the Boston area, Amor Towles graduated from Yale College and received an MA in English from Stanford University. His first novel, Rules of Civility, published in 2011, was a New York Times bestseller and was named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the best books of 2011. His second novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, published in 2016, was also a New York Times bestseller and was named as one of the best books of 2016 by the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the San Francisco Chronicle, and NPR. Both novels have been translated into over fifteen languages. Having worked as an investment professional for over twenty years, Mr. Towles now devotes himself full time to writing in Manhattan, where he lives with his wife and two children.