Saturday, June 27, 2015

July 31, 2015 -- "The Town," Vol. 2 of Snopes Trilogy, by William Faulkner

Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: July 31, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

We will discuss The Town by William Faulkner.


The Town is a novel by the American author William Faulkner, published in 1957, about the fictional Snopes family of Mississippi. It is the second of the "Snopes" trilogy, following The Hamlet (1940) and completed by The Mansion(1959).

June 29 Group

Photo of group that met on June 26 to discuss The Hamlet, Vol. 1 of Snopes Trilogy by William Faulkner. Those present: Tim Thurman, Andy West, Jack Granath, Bernard Norcott/Mahany, Jan Carter, Ruth Evans, Tom Brown, Rex Nolan, Don Pepper, Marty Hatton, Karen Hostetler and Clif Hostetler (behind camera).

Saturday, May 30, 2015

June 26 -- The Hamlet, Vol. 1 of Snopes Trilogy, by William Faulkner

Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: June 26, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

We will discuss The Hamlet by William Faulkner

The Hamlet is a novel by the American author William Faulkner, published in 1940, about the fictional Snopes family of Mississippi. The Hamlet is the first of the "Snopes" trilogy, completed by The Town (1957), and The Mansion (1959).

Bernard Norcott/Mahany (member of our group) has recommended reading the short story, Barn Burning, before reading The Hamlet because it is a prequel and explains some background information.

The novel, The Hamlet follows the exploits of the Snopes family, beginning with Ab Snopes, who is introduced more fully in Faulkner's The Unvanquished. Most of the book centers around Frenchman's Bend, into which the heirs of Ab and his family have migrated from parts unknown. In the beginning of the book Ab, his wife, daughter, and son Flem settle down as tenant farmers beholden to the powerful Varner family.

As the book progresses, the Snopes move from being poor outcasts to a very controversial, if not dangerous, element in the life of the town. In contrast, V.K. Ratliff stands as the moral hero of the novel. Faulkner uses the eccentricities of the Snopes to great comic effect, most notably in his description of Ike Snopes and his carnal inclinations towards livestock.

A section towards the end of this book, detailing Flem's return from Texas and the auction of several horses, has also been published as the short story Spotted Horses.

King Lear Discussion Photo

Photo of the group that met May 29 to discuss King Lear by Shakespeare.
Tim Thurman, Marty Hatton, Don Pepper, Bernard Norcott/Mahany, Jan Carter, Tom Brown, Ed Doering, David Lindberg, Karen Hostetler and Clif Hostetler (behind camera).

Saturday, April 25, 2015

May 29 -- King Lear by Shakespeare

Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: May 29, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
We will discuss the play King Lear by William Shakespeare.

King Lear is being performed this summer in the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival in Southmoreland Park, June 16 to July 5, 2015. Our discussion will prepare you to better enjoy the performance in the park. 

The following description is from Wikipedia:
King Lear is a tragedy by William Shakespeare in which the titular character descends into madness after disposing of his estate between two of his three daughters based on their flattery, bringing tragic consequences for all.  Based on the legend of Leir of Britain, a mythological pre-Roman Celtic king, the play has been widely adapted for the stage and motions pictures, with the title role coveted by many of the world's most accomplished actors.

Friday, March 27, 2015

April 24, 2015 -- East of Eden by John Steinbeck


Our group will discuss the book East of Eden by John Steinbeck.

Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: April 24, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

East of Eden is a novel by Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck, published in September 1952. Often described as Steinbeck's most ambitious novel, East of Eden brings to life the intricate details of two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons, and their interwoven stories. The novel was originally addressed to Steinbeck's young sons, Thom and John (then 6½ and 4½ years old, respectively). Steinbeck wanted to describe the Salinas Valley for them in detail: the sights, sounds, smells, and colors.

The Hamilton family in the novel is said to be based on the real-life family of Samuel Hamilton, Steinbeck's maternal grandfather. A young John Steinbeck also appears briefly in the novel as a minor character.

According to his third and last wife, Elaine, Steinbeck considered it his magnum opus. Steinbeck stated about East of Eden: "It has everything in it I have been able to learn about my craft or profession in all these years." He further claimed: "I think everything else I have written has been, in a sense, practice for this."

Saturday, February 28, 2015

March 27, 2015 -- Book of Esther from the Bible

Our next meeting is March 27, 2015. We will be discussing the Book of Esther from the Bible (Hebrew Scriptures).
This is our selection from the Bible for this year. The Bible is one of the influential sources of western literature.

Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: March 27, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

Sunday, February 1, 2015

February 27, 2015 -- Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Our next meeting is February 27, 2015.  We will be discussing the forty-four sonnets commonly referred to as Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: February 27, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

Sonnets from the Portuguese was written from 1845 to 1846 and first published in 1850. It consists of forty-four love sonnets written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The poems largely chronicle the period leading up to her 1846 marriage to Robert Browning. The collection was acclaimed and popular in the poet's lifetime and it remains so today.

The text is available free on-line and Kindle.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

January 30, 2015 -- "Letter from Birmingham Jail" by Martin Luther King

Our next meeting is January 30, 2015.  We will be discussing the book Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King. 
Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: January 30, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

Here's a link to text of Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King:
http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html

Here's a link to an excerpt from "Parting the Waters" by Taylor Branch that discusses the writing of Letter from Birmingham Jail:
http://greatbookskcdiscussion.blogspot.com/2015/01/excerpt-from-parting-waters-by-taylor.html

Saturday, December 6, 2014

2015 Schedule

The books for the 2015 schedule are the following:
Jan 30 -- Letter from a Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King
Feb 27 -- Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Mar 27 -- Book of Esther from the Bible
Apr 24 -- East of Eden by John Steinbeck
May 29 -- King Lear by Shakespeare
Jun 26 -- The Hamlet, Vol. 1 of Snopes Trilogy, by William Faulkner
Jul 31 -- The Town, Vol. 2 of Snopes Trilogy, by William Faulkner
Aug 28 -- The Mansion, Vol. 3 of Snopes Triology, by William Faulkner
Sep 25 -- The Nature of Things by Lucretius
Oct 30 -- Bhagavad Gita
Dec 4 -- Njáls Saga (part of Sagas of Icelanders)