Back Book & Discussion Groups | June Newsletter

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All Over the Page- Tuesday July 11 @ 7pm 

at Panera

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.

 
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Renaissance Readers- Tuesday July 11 @ 10:15am

Growing Up by Russell Baker

Russell Baker is the 1979 Pulitzer Prize winner for Distinguished Commentary and a columnist for The New York Times. This book traces his youth in the mountains of rural Virginia.

When Baker was only five, his father died. His mother, strong-willed and matriarchal, never looked back. After all, she had three children to raise.

These were depression years, and Mrs. Baker moved her fledgling family to Baltimore. Baker's mother was determined her children would succeed, and we know her regimen worked for Russell. He did everything from delivering papers to hustling subscriptions for the Saturday Evening Post. As is often the case, early hardships made the man.

This Pulitzer Prize-winner is “the saddest, funniest, most tragical yet comical picture of coming of age in the U.S.A. in the Depresson years and World War II that has ever been written.”—Harrison Salisbury.

 
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Literary Angles- Tuesday July 18 @ 1:30pm

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

“Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End,” Atul Gawande’s masterful exploration of aging, death, and the medical profession’s mishandling of both, is his best and most personal book yet.

In the first half, Gawande details, through intimate stories of his patients’ and his own relatives’ experiences, the realities of old age in modern America: broken hips and dementia, overwhelmed families and bank account-draining geriatric care, loneliness and loss of independence. Then, Gawande introduces Bill Thomas, who, as a young doctor in the early ’90s, proposed a radical idea: Treat old people like people.

Thomas redesigned the upstate New York nursing home where he served as medical director, planting a garden for residents to tend and an on-site day care so they could interact with children. He also ordered 100 parakeets to fill the place with song, but the cages arrived unassembled. The staff scrambled to put them together as birds flew free, and the old folks, as Thomas recalled, “laughed their butts off.” Death rates and use of sedatives in the nursing home plummeted.

In “Being Mortal,” Gawande takes on a question that everyone faces: How can we make our last days more comfortable, meaningful, and affordable?
 

 
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Unshelved- Wednesday July 12 @ 1pm

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

“Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End,” Atul Gawande’s masterful exploration of aging, death, and the medical profession’s mishandling of both, is his best and most personal book yet.

In the first half, Gawande details, through intimate stories of his patients’ and his own relatives’ experiences, the realities of old age in modern America: broken hips and dementia, overwhelmed families and bank account-draining geriatric care, loneliness and loss of independence. Then, Gawande introduces Bill Thomas, who, as a young doctor in the early ’90s, proposed a radical idea: Treat old people like people.

Thomas redesigned the upstate New York nursing home where he served as medical director, planting a garden for residents to tend and an on-site day care so they could interact with children. He also ordered 100 parakeets to fill the place with song, but the cages arrived unassembled. The staff scrambled to put them together as birds flew free, and the old folks, as Thomas recalled, “laughed their butts off.” Death rates and use of sedatives in the nursing home plummeted.

There’s not much laughter, birdsong, or good news in the rest of “Being Mortal,” but this book is no lament. Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a public-health innovator, and a staff writer for The New Yorker, is as interested in solving problems as in enumerating them. In his previous books, including “Complications’’ and “The Checklist Manifesto,’’ Gawande focused on difficult issues doctors face, such as how to ensure competence and avoid medical errors.  In “Being Mortal,” he takes on a question that everyone faces: How can we make our last days more comfortable, meaningful, and affordable?

 
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Bookies- Wednesday July 5 @ 1:30pm

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

“Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End,” Atul Gawande’s masterful exploration of aging, death, and the medical profession’s mishandling of both, is his best and most personal book yet.

In the first half, Gawande details, through intimate stories of his patients’ and his own relatives’ experiences, the realities of old age in modern America: broken hips and dementia, overwhelmed families and bank account-draining geriatric care, loneliness and loss of independence. Then, Gawande introduces Bill Thomas, who, as a young doctor in the early ’90s, proposed a radical idea: Treat old people like people.

Thomas redesigned the upstate New York nursing home where he served as medical director, planting a garden for residents to tend and an on-site day care so they could interact with children. He also ordered 100 parakeets to fill the place with song, but the cages arrived unassembled. The staff scrambled to put them together as birds flew free, and the old folks, as Thomas recalled, “laughed their butts off.” Death rates and use of sedatives in the nursing home plummeted.

There’s not much laughter, birdsong, or good news in the rest of “Being Mortal,” but this book is no lament. Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a public-health innovator, and a staff writer for The New Yorker, is as interested in solving problems as in enumerating them. In his previous books, including “Complications’’ and “The Checklist Manifesto,’’ Gawande focused on difficult issues doctors face, such as how to ensure competence and avoid medical errors.  In “Being Mortal,” he takes on a question that everyone faces: How can we make our last days more comfortable, meaningful, and affordable?

 
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Pardon Our Youth- Monday July 17 @ 6pm

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

As a kid, Jacob formed a special bond with his grandfather over his bizarre tales and photos of levitating girls and invisible boys. Now at 16, he is reeling from the old man's unexpected death. Then Jacob is given a mysterious letter that propels him on a journey to the remote Welsh island where his grandfather grew up. There, he finds the children from the photographs--alive and well--despite the islanders’ assertion that all were killed decades ago. As Jacob begins to unravel more about his grandfather’s childhood, he suspects he is being trailed by a monster only he can see. A haunting and out-of-the-ordinary read, debut author Ransom Rigg’s first-person narration is convincing and absorbing, and every detail he draws our eye to is deftly woven into an unforgettable whole. Interspersed with photos throughout, <2><2-body>Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a truly atmospheric novel with plot twists, turns, and surprises that will delight readers of any age. 

 
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Candid Conversations

July 8 @ 10:15 am

Interplay of Compassion in Society

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Socrates Cafe

July 14 @ 10:15 am

Epistemology of Illness

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Great Decisions 

August 1 @ 10:15 am

Latin America's Political Pendulum