Skip to main content

Thursday Night Book Club -- April, 2017



On April 20th, the Wallingford Public Library Thursday Night Book Club met to discuss our April book, Colm Toibin's Brooklyn. Set in the early 1950s, Brooklyn is the story of Eilis (pronounced AY-lish) Lacey, a young woman who immigrates to New York City from Enniscorthy, Ireland.  In elegant, unadorned prose, the novel describes the struggles Eilis faces and the small, quiet ways she comes into her own.

We spent most of the meeting talking about Eilis herself, about her sheltered life in Ireland and about how each of us felt about her experiences in Brooklyn, both the choices she made, and the ones that were made for her.  Many people were struck by how naive Eilis was when she first arrived, and we talked a fair bit about the subtle ways Toibin shows us Eilis' slow and steady growth. Several of the book club participants have parents or grandparents who immigrated to New York from Ireland or from Italy, where Eilis' boyfriend Tony and his family are from, and they shared stories from their past that underscored the realistic nature of Toibin's novel.

We also spent a lot of time talking about the end of the novel, and about the ways each of us felt about Eilis' behavior when she returns home for a visit after a family tragedy.  Here is where things got particularly interesting, as people had quite disparate reactions to the things Eilis did and to the decisions she made (or were forced to make). As has come to be the norm with the group, people shared their observations and reactions with candor and often with great humor.  While there was consensus that Eilis made the right decision in the end, the way she handled it made for a wonderful debate in the group. The hour flew by.

Join us at 7 pm on May 18th when we will be discussing Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg.  Copies of the book are available at the Information Desk.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The 2018 Women's Prize for Fiction Longlist

March is Women's History Month, and Thursday, March 8th was International Women's Day. So it is timely and appropriate that the 2018 longlist for The Women's Prize for Fiction was released on Wednesday, March 7th. The Women's Prize for Fiction is an award that celebrates the best full-length fiction written each year by women. The idea for the Prize stemmed from the release of the 1991 Booker Prize shortlist, which did not include a single novel written by a woman. Although in the early 1990s, 60% of the novels published in the United Kingdom were written by women, by 1992 only 10% of the novelists ever to appear on the Booker Prize shortlist had been female The Women's Prize for Fiction was developed in response to this disparity. It was first awarded in 1996 (then known as the Orange Prize for Fiction) and is the United Kingdom's most prestigious annual book award for fiction written by a woman.

The judging panel for The Women's Prize for Fiction is made…

Winter by Ali Smith

Winter is the season when nature lies dormant, when the light is at its low point, when the world seems dead. Ali Smith's captivating new novel, Winter, begins with an extraordinary list of all the things that are "dead," which seems to encompass everything -- "God was dead: to begin with," Smith writes, and not just God, but chivalry, history, the welfare state, neoliberalism, hope, TV, marriage, flowers, religion, the media, the internet and love. But if there is anything Winterisn't, it's dead. Like the rest of this wonderful novel, this list of supposedly dead things is filled with vitality, word play and teasing fun.


Ali Smith was born in Inverness, Scotland in 1962. She is the author of nine novels and five short story collections. Her first collection of short stories, Free Love and Other Stories, won the Saltire First Book Award in 1995. Her second novel, Hotel World, won three awards and was shortlisted for both the Orange Prize and the Man Bo…

A Sense of Place

Teresa Kristan remembers when the Wallingford Public Library was located down the block, where the Library Wine Bar and Bistro now holds pride of place at 60 North Main Street.  She remembers because she worked there and because her grandfather was a custodian for the library several decades ago. Teresa is an ardent baseball fan, so summer is an especially good time for her. She is both a Circulation Librarian and a Reference Librarian at the library, and she is one of the four library staff members currently stocking the Staff Picks display in the North Main Book Nook. Teresa's bio on the Staff Picks display includes this sentence: "If I could have read in the living womb, I would've, but the light was bad." She has a lot to say about books and reading, and she shares some thoughts below:

I was thinking about a different sense of place that I get when I read, not where the book or article is set, but where I am while I'm reading it.

There's a sweet children…