This is a new reading group where you can escape strictly academic texts but still explore the themes of health and wellbeing.
Each month a new book will be discussed by staff and students over lunch (please bring your own) and cake (provided by the group)!
Books and cake – what’s not to love!
January 26th 2017 – 1pm – 2pm Collegiate library room C106
The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt – a lonely observer, Theo has lived with his skittish, bohemian and – to him – utterly adorable mother in Manhattan since his deadbeat fantasist of an ex-actor dad finally walked out. During a visit to a special exhibition of Dutch painting at the Met that features “The Goldfinch”, an attack by “homegrown” bombers kills her and plunges Theo into a slow-mo nightmare, staged with all the virtuoso illusionism of those pictures. In the bomb’s aftermath, he steals the painting, catches sight of the bewitching Pippa, and succours a dying man, her courtly uncle, who gives him both a ring, and an address. (review from the Independent)
And to follow…
February 23rd 2017 – 1pm – Ham on Rye – Charles Bukowski
The character of Henry Chinaski, deeply flawed and abused by his father and by the awful kids at school, grows up to be a cynical drunkard who likes being alone and is well-read on DH Lawrence novels: normally, a character like that is detestable and labeled off as a “useless bum.”
Bukowski, however, is able to strike at the real core of the character, and of himself, to show us the truth: no matter the character’s faults or flaws, he just wants to be loved and to be free from this conforming, controlling society. At the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want? (Maybe with not so much drink, but the point still stands.)
The novel comes off as poetry, and just startles you with its pace. One minute, you’re diving into the first few chapters, and the next, you’re done. It’s that kind of book that reminds you of why you love literature, without all of the pretensions and artificial attempts at “deep revelations.”
Bukowski, in this novel, reminds us of being, first and foremost, human beings living together; no more, no less. (review from examiner.com)
March 23rd 2107 – 1pm – Child of God – Cormac McCarthy
Suspenseful, spare, a quick and compelling read, Child of God is at the same time McCarthy’s most extreme challenge to the limits of propriety, perhaps outdoing even Blood Meridian in its chronicling of individual depravity. Its hero, Lester Ballard, is a murderer and necrophile, expelled from the human family and eventually living in underground caves, which he peoples with his trophies: giant stuffed animals won in carnival shooting galleries and the decomposing corpses of his several shot victims, male and female. This is the child of God. Yet McCarthy’s meditation on this lost soul is restrained, even delicate, in its images of his grievous acts. There are fewer graphic assaults on the reader’s imagination than in either Suttree or Blood Meridian. And his treatment of Lester is more sympathetic than of comparable beyond-the-pale characters, Culla Holme in Outer Dark and the kid in Blood Meridian, perhaps to the reader’s discomfort. (review from McCarthy’s website)