Tag Archives: Library Book Club

Book Discussion: The Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa, by John Azumah

legacy-arab-islam-in-africaJoin Professor Emeritus Dr. Joseph Kickasola and the Library Book Club on Friday, October 28 for a discussion of an important historical topic that until recently has received too little attention from scholars.

The Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa is the first book to document Arab-Islam’s role in the slave trade of Africa. Many books have covered the role of Christians in the slave trade from Africa to the West, but John Azumah, a native of Ghana, is the first scholar to produce a full accounting of the Arab-Muslim role in the enslavement of African peoples. The Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa is a must-read for anyone with an interest in the history of the slave trade, which continues to this day in parts of the Islamic world.

Our discussion will take place at 12:00pm in the Library Conference Room. Distance students and faculty are invited to join the discussion via Google Hangouts. The focus will be on chapter 4, “Muslim Slavery and Black Africa.” For a free PDF of this chapter, contact Harold Henkel at harohen@regent.edu.

The Library also has four copies of the book available for check-out. The books are located on the Book Club shelf, just to the right of the main staircase.

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.

_________________________________________

*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: Washington Square, by Henry James

William Glackens, Washington Square 1910

William Glackens, Washington Square 1910

Set in the New York of James’s early childhood, Washington Square is one of Henry James’s most appealing and popular novels, with the most straightforward plot and style of any of his works.

Dr. Austin Sloper is a wealthy and domineering father who is disappointed in his daughter, whom he dismisses as plain and simpleminded. The gentle and dutiful Catherine Sloper has always been in awe of her father, but when she falls in love with Morris Townsend, a penniless charmer whom Dr. Sloper accuses of being a fortune hunter, she dares to defy him. A battle of wills then ensues that will leave her forever changed. Readers have long admired the way that the innocent Catherine, misled by her meddling aunt and mistreated by both her father and her suitor, grows in strength and wisdom over the course of the novel.

John Singer Sargent, Two Girls Fishing, 1912

John Singer Sargent, Two Girls Fishing, 1912

The Library Book Club will discuss Washington Square on Thursday, January 28 at 12:00 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 or contact Harold Henkel at harohen@regent.edu.

Library Book Club Schedule 2015-2016

Painting by Sister Isabella Guerra (see image credit below).

In the final volume of In Search of Lost Time, Proust’s narrator experiences a number of epiphanies about the nature of creativity that have been percolating in his mind for hundreds of pages. One of these concerns the value of reading:

Every reader, as he reads, is actually the reader of himself. The writer’s work is only a kind of optical instrument he provides the reader so he can discern what he might never have seen in himself without this book.

And that is not all we get from literature. For Proust, it is literature (and the other arts) that teach us to see the world through new eyes:

By art alone we are able to get outside ourselves, to know what another sees of this universe which for him is not ours, the landscapes of which would remain as unknown to us as those of the moon. Thanks to art, instead of seeing one world, our own, we see it multiplied…

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 ninth year, we have assembled a schedule of American, British, and Israeli works from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Library Book Club Schedule 2015 – 2016

Month Author Title Date & Time*
September Geraldine Brooks March September 24 at 12:00
October Jane Austen Persuasion October 29 at 12:00
Nov – Dec Patrick O’Brian The Far Side of the World December 10 at 12:00
January Henry James Washington Square January 28 at 12:00
February Toni Morrison Beloved February 25 at 12:00
March – April Meir Shalev A Pigeon and a Boy April 14 at 12:00
June Thomas Hardy Far from the Madding Crowd June 30 at 12:00

Time & Location

*Book Club meetings usually take place at noon on the final Thursday of each month in the Library Conference Room. Dates and times above are tentative. Check the events pages on our Facebook or Google+ sites 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 may join our 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 webpage or contact Harold Henkel at harohen@regent.edu.

Image Credit: Painting by Sister Isabella Guerra, a nun at the Cistercian monastery of Santa Lucia, Zaragoza in Spain. For information about Sister Isabella and examples of her work, see Lines and Colors (blog) at http://linesandcolors.com/2011/11/13/isabel-guerra/.

Library Book Club history outlined in new book

by Jerome Reading, Patron Saint and Heavenly Intercessor of Libraries

Before the Second World War, most academic librarians considered the promotion of extracurricular reading to be a core component of their professional duties. Typical of this approach to librarianship was Edwin Osgood Grover, Director of the Library at Rollins College, who taught a popular course in recreational reading and in 1926 was made “Professor of Books” at the college.

Since the 1950s, academic librarians have increasingly seen themselves as information specialists, and the promotion of reading to be the mission of public libraries. In recent years, however, a number of academic librarians have joined researchers who question the healthfulness of consuming unprecedented amounts of “fast” information produced on the internet and in social media. Taking a cue from the globally successful “slow foods” movement, journalist Maura Kelly, in a 2012 article for The Atlantic, proposed a “Slow Books Manifesto” that called on readers to set aside 30 minutes of the reading day from newspapers, websites, magazines, and even non-fiction books, in order to read literature.1

The Slow Book Revolution: Creating a New Culture of Reading on College Campuses and Beyond,2 published in September, is also a fruit of the idea that, just as foods grown and harvested with care for slow enjoyment are healthier for the body than industrialized products, books written for attentive reading and reflection are healthier for the mind than an intellectual diet based on electronic information.

Included in The Slow Book Revolution is a case study of the Regent Library Book Club by Associate Librarian Harold Henkel. In the chapter Harold gives an overview of the Book Club’s history since its founding in 2008, and discusses what has been successful and not so successful in order to provide a guide to other academic librarians considering a book club at their institutions. Harold says he was honored to contribute a chapter and hopes that the book inspires other academic librarians to take up the cause of promoting literature on their campuses.

___________________________________

1Maura Kelly, “A Slow-Books Manifesto” The Atlantic, March 26, 2012, http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/03/a-slow-books-manifesto/254884/.

2Meagan Lacy, et al., The Slow Book Revolution: Creating a New Culture of Reading on College Campuses and Beyond (Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited, 2014).