The Circle Book Group reads both fiction and non-fiction, and meets monthly on Sunday mornings for collegial and provocative discussion. Book selections are chosen by participants at least one month in advance of meetings.
The Book Group is hosted in member homes near Inman Sq. in Cambridge. MEETING LOCATIONS DO NOT ALTERNATE EVERY TIME, SO PLEASE READ THE PLACE OF MEETING CAREFULLY.
At Marie's, there is one cat who is out of the way during the meeting.
Bagels and coffee are provided (with a suggested $2 donation). Email Marie [firstname.lastname@example.org] to get on the Book Group mailing list.
Sunday, November 10, 2013, 10:15am - 12:15pm -- Betsy Groban’s - (617) 492-8634 - email@example.com - Contact Betsy for the address.
BOOK: Scenes From Village Life by Amos Oz. Many copies in Minuteman.
Loosely connected stories from renowned author Oz (A Tale of Love and Darkness, 2004) take place in the Israeli village of Tel Ilan, which is shifting from a tight-knit, rustic farming community to one of art galleries and boutique markets. This disquieting transformation and general unease underlie this thought-provoking collection … Filled with tension and allegory, Oz's perceptive tales explore the nuance and alienation of transitioning states. [Strauss, Leah Copyright 2010 Booklist]
The short volume operates on two levels: on one, more surface level, it gives a feel for `normal’ Israeli life, if there can be said to be such a thing. The second level lies deep underground. Several of the stories here seem to be parables about Israel itself, a nation created out of myth, hard work, violence, and great imagination, a nation that must struggle continually for survival in a world that has never been sympathetic towards its people. Of all the nations in the world, does any one have more challenges to its basic right to exist? Ironically, the only other answer would be "Palestine". [review by Robert S. Newman on Amazon]
Sunday, December 22, 2013, 10:15am - 12:15pm -- Marie Ariel's -- (617) 492-2765 -- firstname.lastname@example.org -- 41 Amory Street, Cambridge.
BOOK: My mother’s Sabbath days by Chaim Grade. Eleven copies in Minuteman. This is a 387 p. book so get a good start!
A luminous crown of the Grade oeuvre, this posthumous translation [from Yiddish]is a fitting kaddish to the Yiddish writer and the annihilated society of pre-WW II European Jewry. The first half is peppered with sharp but loving portraits of the Lithuanian Jews who inspired Grade's fiction, epitomized by his mother, Vella, a pious, superstitious, humble yet self-righteous fruit peddler. As an omniscient narrator, the author offers chapters suggestive of his collected stories Rabbis and Wives, replete with midrashic saws and evocative images of a quaint, insular Vilna (“The moss-covered, hunchbacked roofs resemble the bent shoulders of bearded Jews jostling forward, the better to hear the words of a wandering preacher”). The memoir loses momentum as war intrudes and the author flees the Nazis. But it assumes a harrowing intensity as a guilt-ridden Grade, burdened by memories of his dead wife and mother, returns postwar to a gutted ghetto. [Publisher’s Weekly].
Past Circle Book Group reading selections have included:
The Bookie’s Son by Andrew Goldstein.
Bech, a book by John Updike.
Einstein : his life and universe by Walter Isaacson
Not the Israel my parents promised me by Harvey Pekar and JT Waldman; epilogue written by Joyce Brabner; lettering by Charles Pritchett.
Amerika : the missing person : a new translation, based on the restored text by Franz Kafka; translated and with a preface by Mark Hofmann, 2002.
Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood
The Difficult Saint by Sharan Newman.
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Eric Larson.
The Cross and the Pear Tree : a Sephardic Journey by Victor Perera
The Sacrifice of Isaac by Noah Gordon
The adventures of Mottel: the cantor’s son by Sholem Aleichem
My father's paradise : a son's search for his Jewish past in Kurdish Iraq by Ariel Sabar
The end of the Jews : a novel by Adam Mansbach
The story of Yiddish : how a mish-mosh of languages saved the Jews by Neal Karlen
Beyond the Pale : a novel by Elana Dykewomon (also known as Nachman/Dykewomon)
The Merchant of Venice: modern version side-by-side with full original text, edited and rendered into modern English by Alan Durband
Escape to Shanghai: a Jewish Community in China by James R. Ross
The Assistant by Bernard Malamud
Scoundrel Time by Lillian Hellman
Heading South, Looking North by Ariel Dorfman
The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers by Harry Bernstein
He, She and It by Marge Piercy
Loyalties: A Son’s Memoir by Carl Bernstein
Seize the Day by Saul Bellow
Foreskin’s Lament by Shalom Auslander
The Harlot by the Side of the Road by Jonathan Kirsch
Rashi’s Daughters, Book I: Joheved by Maggie Anton
The life of Glückel of Hameln, 1646-1724, written by herself / Translated from the original Yiddish
A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz
Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer