Saturday, June 25, 2016

July 29, 2016 -- "The Wife" by Sigrid Undset

Next meeting is July 29, 2016. We will discuss The Wife by Sigrid Undset. This is the second book of the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy. The book is published both alone or as the complete trilogy under the title of Kristin Lavransdatter.

Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: July 29, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM

Saturday, May 28, 2016

June 24, 2016 -- The Wreath

Next meeting is June 24, 2016. We will discuss The Wreath (a.k.a. The Bridal Wreath) by Sigrid Undset. This is the first book of the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy. The book is published both alone or as the complete trilogy under the title of Kristin Lavransdatter.

Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: June 24, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM

From Wikipedia:
Kristin Lavransdatter is a trilogy of historical novels written by Nobel laureate Sigrid Undset. The individual novels are Kransen (The Wreath), first published in 1920, Husfrue (The Wife), published in 1921, and Korset (The Cross), published in 1922. Kristin Lavransdatter was originally translated into English by Charles Archer and J.S. Scott in the 1920s. A new and complete translation by Tiina Nunnally was released by Penguin Classics in 2005, and is considered by many critics to be the superior of the two, particularly for its clarity, reflective of Undset's "straightforward, almost plain style." For her translation of the third book, Korset (The Cross), Nunnally was awarded the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize in 2001.

This work formed the basis of Undset receiving the 1928 Nobel Prize in Literature, which was awarded to her "principally for her powerful descriptions of Northern life during the Middle Ages". Her work is much admired for its historical and ethnological accuracy.

Monday, May 9, 2016

May 27, 2016 -- The Book of Ruth from the Bible

Next meeting is May 27, 2016. We will discuss “The Book of Ruth from the Bible. 
Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: May 27, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM

Description from Wikipedia:

The Book of Ruth is a book of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. In the Jewish canon it is included in the third division, or the Writings (Ketuvim); in the Christian canon it is treated as a history book and placed between Judges and 1 Samuel. It is named after its central figure, Ruth the Moabitess, the great-grandmother of David.

The book tells of Ruth's accepting the God of the Israelites as her God and the Israelite people as her own. In Ruth 1:16 and 17 Ruth tells Naomi, her Israelite mother in law, "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me." The book is held in esteem by Jews who fall under the category of Jews-by-choice, as is evidenced by the considerable presence of Boaz in rabbinic literature. The "Book of Ruth" also functions liturgically, as it is read during the Jewish holiday of Shavuot ("Weeks").

The book is traditionally ascribed to the prophet Samuel, but does not name its author. A date during the monarchy is suggested by the book's interest in the ancestry of David, but Ruth's identity as a non-Israelite and the stress on the need for an inclusive attitude towards foreigners suggests an origin in the fifth century BCE, when intermarriage had become controversial (as seen in Ezra 9:1 and Nehemiah 13:1).

Monday, March 28, 2016

April 29, 2016 -- “Look Homeward, Angel” by Thomas Wolfe

Next meeting is April 29, 2016. We will discuss “Look Homeward, Angel” by Thomas Wolfe.
Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: April 29, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM

Description from Wikipedia:
Look Homeward, Angel: A Story of the Buried Life is a 1929 novel by Thomas Wolfe. It is Wolfe's first novel, and is considered a highly autobiographical American Bildungsroman. The character of Eugene Gant is generally believed to be a depiction of Wolfe himself. The novel covers the span of time from Eugene's birth to the age of 19. The setting is the fictional town and state of Altamont, Catawba, a fictionalization of his home town, Asheville, North Carolina.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

March 25, 2016 -- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Next meeting is Friday, March 25, 2016. We will discuss “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath.
Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: March 25, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Descriptions from Wikipedia:
The Bell Jar is the only novel written by the American writer and poet Sylvia Plath. Originally published under the pseudonym "Victoria Lucas" in 1963, the novel is semi-autobiographical, with the names of places and people changed. The book is often regarded as a roman à clef since the protagonist's descent into mental illness parallels Plath's own experiences with what may have been clinical depression. Plath died by suicide a month after its first UK publication. The novel was published under Plath's name for the first time in 1967 and was not published in the United States until 1971, in accordance with the wishes of both Plath's husband, Ted Hughes, and her mother. The novel has been translated into nearly a dozen languages. The novel, though dark, is often read in high school English classes.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

February 26, 2016 -- Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks

Next meeting is Friday, February 26, 2016. We will discuss Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks.

Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: February 26, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM

Descriptions from Wikipedia:
Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks (June 7, 1917 – December 3, 2000) was an American poet and teacher. She was the first black person (the term she preferred over African-American) to win a Pulitzer prize when she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1950 for her second collection, Annie Allen.

Friday, January 15, 2016

January 29, 2016 -- Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2

Next meeting is Friday, January 29, 2016. We will discuss the plays, "Henry IV Parts 1 and 2," by William Shakespeare.

Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: January 29, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM

Descriptions from Wikipedia:
Henry IV, Part 1 is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written no later than 1597. It is the second play in Shakespeare's tetralogy dealing with the successive reigns of Richard II, Henry IV (two plays, including Henry IV, Part 2), and Henry V. Henry IV, Part 1 depicts a span of history that begins with Hotspur's battle at Homildon in Northumberland against the Douglas late in 1402, and ends with the defeat of the rebels at Shrewsbury in the middle of 1403. From the start it has been an extremely popular play both with the public and critics.
Henry IV, Part 2 is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed written between 1596 and 1599. It is the third part of a tetralogy, preceded by Richard II and Henry IV, Part 1 and succeeded by Henry V.The play is often seen as an extension of aspects of Henry IV, Part 1, rather than a straightforward continuation of the historical narrative, placing more emphasis on the highly popular character of Falstaff and introducing other comic figures as part of his entourage, including Ancient PistolDoll Tearsheet and Justice Robert Shallow. Several scenes specifically parallel episodes in Part 1.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

2016 Schedule

January 29, 2016 -- Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 by Shakespeare
February 26, 2016 -- Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks
March 25, 2016 -- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

April 29, 2016 -- Look Homeward, Angel: A Story of the Buried Life by Thomas Wolfe
May 27, 2016 -- The Book of Ruth from the Bible
June 24, 2016 -- The Wreath by Sigrid Undset (Book 1 of the Kristin Lavransdatter Trilogy)
July 29, 2016 --The Wife by Sigrid Undset (Book 2 of the Kristin Lavransdatter Trilogy)
August 26, 2016 --The Cross by Sigrid Undset (Book 3 of the Kristin Lavransdatter Trilogy)
September 30, 2016 -- The Vicar of Wakefield by Goldsmith
October 28, 2016 -- Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin
December 2, 2016 -- If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho – a translation by Anne Carson

Friday, November 6, 2015

November 20, 2015 -- Njáls Saga (part of Sagas of Icelanders)

We will discuss the Njáls saga.
Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: November 20, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

We will also select books for next year at this meeting.
Nominations received thus far for the 2016 Schedule are at THIS LINK.The following links can help you prepare for the book selection process:
G.B. KC What Makes a Great Book
G.B. KC History of Previous Books
G.B. KC Categories of Books
Send book suggestions to the following email address and I'll add it to a list.    greatbookskc@gmail.com

Njáls saga or ("The Story of Burnt Njáll") is a 13th century Icelandic saga that describes events between 960 and 1020. The principal characters are the friends Njáll Þorgeirsson, a lawyer and a sage, and Gunnar Hámundarson, a formidable warrior. Gunnar's wife instigates afeud that leads to the death of many characters over several decades including the killing by fire of the eponymous "Burnt Njáll". The saga deals with this process of blood feuds in the Icelandic Commonwealth, showing how the requirements of honor could lead to minor slights spiralling into destructive and prolonged bloodshed. Insults where a character's manhood is called into question are especially prominent and may reflect an author critical of an overly restrictive ideal of masculinity. Another characteristic of the narrative is the presence of omens and prophetic dreams. It is disputed whether this reflects a fatalistic outlook on the part of the author.
The work is anonymous, although there has been extensive speculation on the author's identity. The major events described in the saga are probably historical but the material was shaped by the author, drawing on oral tradition, according to his artistic needs. Njáls saga is the longest and most highly developed of the sagas of Icelanders. It is often considered the peak of the saga tradition.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

October 30, 2015 – “Bhagavad Gita”

Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: October 30, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

We will discuss the book Bhagavad Gita.


The Bhagavad Gita is made up of 700 Sanskrit verses of Hindu scripture that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. English translations of it are available on-line and usually consists of about 250 pages.

The setting of the Bhagavad Gita is in a battlefield and has been interpreted as an allegory for the ethical and moral struggles of the human life. It is set in a narrative framework of a dialogue between Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide and charioteer Krishna. Krishna counsels Arjuna to face his duty as a warrior to fight the righteous war. Inserted in this appeal is a dialog between diverging attitudes concerning and methods toward the attainment of liberation.

The Bhagavad Gita's call for selfless action inspired many leaders of the Indian independence movement including Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Gandhi referred to the Bhagavad Gita as his "spiritual dictionary".