Tag Archives: Book Club

Book Discussion: Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton

efAt only 100 pages (Penguin edition), Ethan Frome may be the shortest masterpiece in American literature.

Edith Wharton’s tale of forbidden emotions is set on a New England farm in the first decade of the twentieth century. Ethan Frome works and struggles to maintain a bearable existence with his suspicious and hypochondriac wife, Zeenie. But when Zeenie’s vivacious cousin enters their household as a “hired girl,” Ethan finds himself obsessed with her and the dream of happiness she comes to represent. In one of American fiction’s most intense narratives, Wharton moves the ill-starred characters toward their tragic destinies.

On Friday, December 9, professor of literature and film Pete Fraser will moderate a discussion of Ethan Frome. The discussion will take place at 12:00 in the Library Conference Room. We will also view a clip from the 1993 film adaptation starring Liam Neeson, Patricia Arquette, and Joan Allen. The Library has multiple print and electronic copies of the book.

Distance students and faculty are invited to us via Google Hangouts.

For a complete schedule of 2016-2017 book discussions, see the Library Book Club webpage.

Library Book Club Reading Schedule 2016-2017

Read literature, and argue the great questions of life with the likes of Leo Tolstoy.

One of the most famous openings in literature is the beginning of Anna Karenina: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Because Tolstoy is one the supreme writers of all time, readers have tended to accept his claim about families as a piece of incontrovertible wisdom. Reader and essayist David P. Goldman, however, argues that Tolstoy got it exactly backwards: “…unhappy families are all unhappy in the same way. It is happy families that are different, because every child is radically unique, such that raising children is the one human activity that is sure to surprise.”*

Goldman’s riposte to Tolstoy brings to mind three reasons on why it is essential that we read literature throughout our lives:

  1. To gain new perspectives, to see the world through other people’s eyes.
  2. To “converse” with the great authors through engagement with their works.
  3. To understand ourselves better.

The mission of the Library Book Club is to encourage the reading of great literature by bringing members of the Regent and CBN communities together to enjoy the unique pleasure of reading and discussing books. For our tenth year, we have assembled a schedule of five classics from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, one acclaimed historical novel about the life of King David, a selection of modern Hebrew poems (our first foray into poetry), a history monograph, and a contemporary memoir. So we hope there’s something for everyone!

Library Book Club Schedule 2016 – 2017

Month Author Title Date & Time
September Geraldine Brooks The Secret Chord Sept 27 at 12:00
October John Allembillah Azumah The Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa (Dr. Joseph N. Kickasola, discussion moderator) Oct 28 at 12:00
December Edith Wharton Ethan Frome Dec 9 at 12:00
January Shusaku Endo Silence Jan 31 at 12:00
February Ta-Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me Feb 27 at 12:00
March John Bunyan The Pilgrim’s Progress Mar 31 at 12:00
April Yehuda Amichai The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai (Rabbi Dr. Israel Zoberman, discussion moderator) Apr 21 at 1:00
June Charlotte Brontë Jane Eyre t.b.a.
July Thomas Hughes Tom Brown’s School Days t.b.a.

Time & Location

Book Club meetings usually take place at noon during the final week of each month in the Library Conference Room. The day of the week depends on the availability and preference of readers. To request a day, send an e-mail message to Harold Henkel (harohen@regent.edu). Check the events tab on the Library Facebook Group for confirmed dates and times. Tea and refreshments are served, and participants are welcome to bring a lunch.

Distance students and faculty welcome

Distance students and faculty are invited to join discussions via Google Hangouts, Google’s free videoconferencing service. Here is the permanent link for all Library Hangout events: https://plus.google.com/hangouts/_/event/c0lnc83s5ok7tecuqdcnjg0mcno?authuser=0&eid=100028809078157626561&hl=en.

For more information about the Book Club, see our website or contact Harold Henkel.

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*David P. Goldman, “Thanks, but I already have a novel,” Asia Times Online, January 29, 2013, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/OA29Aa01.html.

Book Discussion: Far from the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy

far-from-the-madding-crowd-cover-imageLooking for a great love story this summer? Then read Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd with the Library Book Club. In 2007, the British newspaper The Guardian ranked Thomas Hardy’s impassioned tale of courtship and rural English life #10 in its ranking of the 100 greatest love stories of all time.

Far from the Madding Crowd was Thomas Hardy’s first major literary success and remains one of his most popular works. Set against the backdrop of the unchanging natural cycle of the year, the novel is permeated with classical and Biblical allusions.

The Library has print and e-book versions of the book available for check-out. Our discussion of  will take place on Thursday, July 14 at 1:00pm in the Library Conference Room. An English snack (and of course, tea) will be served. We will also view clips of the 1967 and 2015 film adaptations of the novel.

Distance students and faculty are invited to join the discussion via our Google Hangouts link. For more information about this or other Book Club events, contact Harold Henkel at harohen@regent.edu.

Book Discussion: A Pigeon and a Boy, by Meir Shalev

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U.S. edition, 2007

Meir Shalev is one of Israel’s most acclaimed novelists, whose works have been translated into more than twenty languages. The subjects of A Pigeon and a Boy are two of the most powerful human desires: love and home.

The title of the novel refers to a courier pigeon handler serving in the fledgling Israeli army during the War for Independence in 1948. For the author, the courier pigeon becomes a symbol of the human longing to return to one’s home. A Pigeon and a Boy intertwines and connects the stories of two couples: one from the 1940s and one from contemporary Jerusalem.

Original Israeli edition, 2006

Original Israeli edition, 2006

To help us explore this captivating work, Rabbi Dr. Israel Zoberman will lead our discussion. Rabbi Zoberman grew up in Israel in the 1950s and will provide insights into life in Israel in the early years following Independence. As readers who have attended previous Book Club discussions with him can attest, he is a terrific scholar, teacher and story-teller.

The discussion will take place on Thursday, April 14 at 1:00 in the Library Conference Room. Distance students and faculty are invited to join in via Google Hangouts.

For information about future book discussions at the Library, see the Library Book Club webpage.

Finding time to read: a parable about Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt...real reader

TR…real reader

“Once upon a time in the dead of winter in the Dakota Territory, Theodore Roosevelt took off in a makeshift boat down the Little Missouri River in pursuit of a couple of thieves who had stolen his prized rowboat. After several days on the river, he caught up and got the draw on them with his trusty Winchester, at which point they surrendered. Then Roosevelt set off in a borrowed wagon to haul the thieves cross-country to justice. They headed across the snow-covered wastes of the Badlands to the railhead at Dickinson, and Roosevelt walked the whole way, the entire 40 miles. It was an astonishing feat, what might be called a defining moment in Roosevelt’s eventful life. But what makes it especially memorable is that during that time, he managed to read all of Anna Karenina. I often think of that when I hear people say they haven’t time to read.”*

This spring, the Library Book Club invites the Regent and CBN community to devote 20-30 minutes per day to reading literature and to rediscover the pleasure of sharing ideas about books by joining us at our book discussions. The reading schedule is comprised of two great classics and two highly acclaimed contemporary works. All four of titles can be read with as little a commitment as twenty minutes per day, although completing the book is not a requirement for attending the meeting.

Discuss great books books on your lunch hour.

Except for April, all discussions will take place at noon on the final Thursday of the month in the Library Conference Room. Check the events tab of our Facebook or Google+ page for any updates. Tea and refreshments are served, and participants are welcome to bring a lunch.

Distance students and faculty can participate.

Distance students and faculty may join our discussions via Google Hangouts, Google’s free videoconferencing service. Here is the Library’s permanent link for all Hangout events: https://plus.google.com/hangouts/_/event/c0lnc83s5ok7tecuqdcnjg0mcno?authuser=0&eid=100028809078157626561&hl=en.

For more information about the Library Book Club, see our webpage or contact Harold Henkel at harohen@regent.edu.

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*David McCullough, “No Time to Read,” quoted in Connect: College Reading, 2nd edition, by Ivan G. Dole and Leslie Taggart. (Boston: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning, 2012), 474.

Library Book Club Schedule Spring 2014

Month Author Title Date & Time
January Henry James Washington Square
January 28 at 12:00
February Toni Morrison Beloved February 25 at 12:00
April Meir Shalev A Pigeon and a Boy
April 14 at 1:00
June Thomas Hardy Far from the Madding Crowd June 30 at 12:00
 “It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.” ― C.S. Lewis


“It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.”
― C.S. Lewis