~ VINTAGE SUMMER BOOK CLUB ~
"Vintage" books are not necessarily historical fiction. They are novels, written years ago, that were important at
the time of publication and that still resonate with today's readers.
The Vintage Book Club meets during the months of June, July, and August on the 3rd Tuesday of each month from 1:15 until 2:30 PM. Attendees are
welcome to bring a brown bag lunch. The librarian will provide a beverage and dessert.
The discussion leader (and baker!), Adult Services Librarian Eileen Pearce, shares biographical information on each author as well as
background on the the significance of the work being discussed. Whenever possible we will also be including additional information on the location,
social setting, and any world events that figure importantly in the novels.
Please call 860-627-1495 a month before the meeting for a copy of the upcoming novel. Copies will be available for anyone that requests them.
You may join us for all or occasional meetings. If you don't have an opportunity to read the current novel but are interested in attending the
discussion, please feel free. Everyone is welcome!
WHAT WE'RE READING:
August 2018:East Wind, West Wind (1930) (Pearl S. Buck)
This classic novel is Nobel winner Pearl S. Buck’s debut novel. The plot centers around a Chinese woman’s coming of age as
she’s torn between Eastern and Western cultures. Buck won the 1938 Nobel Prize for Literature "for her rich and truly epic
descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces."
July 2018: Alice in Wonderland (1865) (Lewis Carroll)
How many of us have actually read this classic story of a little girl who accidentally discovers a magical land full of wonder, danger, and outlandish
characters? So many of the characters in this book have been loved by generations of children and adults alike.
June 2018: Erewhon (1872) (Samuel Butler)
(from Amazon.com) Perhaps the most brilliant example of Utopian novels,... [Erewhon takes] aim at the humbug, hypocrisy, and absurdities
surrounding such hallowed institutions as family, church, mechanical progress, advances in scientific theory, and legal systems.
Intelligent, inventive, and wickedly humorous, the classic novel protests the blind acceptance of ideas and attitudes, an aspect of
Samuel Butler's work that made his fiction enduring, entertaining, and thought-provoking. His remarkable prescience in anticipating
future sociological trends adds a special relevance for today's readers.
December 2017: No meeting.
November 2017: Adam Bede (1859) (George Eliot)
Eliot’s detailed and insightful psychological portrayals of her characters, as well as her exploration of the complex ways these characters confront
moral dilemmas, decisively broke from the plot-driven domestic melodrama that had previously served as the standard for the Victorian novel. Adam Bede
is widely considered to be one of the best examples of realism in English literature. (from Sparknotes.com)
October 2017: The Catcher in the Rye (1951) (J.D. Salinger)
Originally published for adults, this novel has become popular with teen readers due to its themes of alienation, identity, and connection.
It has been published in almost all major languages and 1 million copies are still sold each year. In the 60's and 70's Catcher in the Rye
was the most censored book in the United States.
September 2017: To the Lighthouse (1927) (Virginia Woolf)
Considered one of the best English-language novels of the 20th century, To the Lighthouse is a key example of multiple
focalization and is one of Woolf's most experimental works, with most of the action taking place in the minds of her characters.
August 2017: The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) (Oscar Wilde)
Wilde's novel of a narcissitic young man who sells his soul to the devil in order to maintain his youth and beauty was greatly criticized
upon its publication for its homeroticism and portrayal of a hedonistic lifestyle. The plot centers around Dorian Gray's portrait, which
shows every sin that Gray commits while the man himself remains youthful and unblemished. Victorian book critics were NOT happy with Wilde's novel!
July 2017: Rebecca (1938) (Daphne DuMaurier)
DuMaurier's Rebecca, which has never gone out of print, is the exploration of the relationship between a powerful man
and a woman who is decidedly not powerful. The novel is most remembered for its iconic opening line, "Last night I dreamt I went to
Manderley again," and for Mrs. Danvers, the evil housekeeper who keeps the memory of Rebecca, the first Mrs. DeWinter, alive. Alfred
Hitchcock directed the Academy Award winning (best picture) film based on this novel.
June 2017: The Magnificent Ambersons (1918) (Booth Tarkington)
Booth Tarkingto was one of just 3 authors (along with John Updike and William Faulkner) to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once. The Magnificent
Ambersons, which won the prize in 1919, is the story of the decline in fortunes of an aristocratic American family during the industrialization of
the United States. It was translated to film by Orson Welles.
May 2017: Age of Innocence (1920) (Edith Wharton)
This novel, winner of the 1920 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, has been a favorite for almost 100 years! In it Wharton examines the strictures of high
society in turn-of-the-century New York.
April 2017:The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961) (Muriel Spark)
Scottish author Muriel Spark's distinctive and darkly comedic style has made her a unique voice in twentieth century literature. The Prime
of Miss Jean Brody, which is generally considered to be Spark's most impressive work, has been produced for stage, screen, and television.
March 2017: Riders of the Purple Sage (1912) (Zane Gray)
Riders of the Purple Sage is one of the original books in the American Western genre. As a forerunner for such great Western
authors as Louis Lamour, Zane Grey's book includes elements now considered to be classic: a lonely, misunderstood gunfighter
and a woman in need of protection.
February, 2017: A Lantern in her Hand (1928) (Bess Streeter Aldrich)
Based on the life of the author's mother, A Lantern in her Hand was not a critical success when it was published but was quickly embraced
by the people around the world. In this story of a pioneer woman who refuses to break under the weight of incredible hardships, Bess Streeter
Aldrich "conveys the strength of everyday things, the surprise of familiar faces, and the look of the unspoiled landscape during different seasons." (Amazon.com)
January 2017: Travels with Charley (1962) (John Steinbeck)
Although not a novel, we include Steinbeck's memoir in our list of vintage books since he was primarily a novelist. This travelogue of Steinbeck's
1960 cross-country road trip (in an RV called Rocinante, after Don Quixote's horse) with his poodle, Charley, chronicles Steinbeck's personal
observations about a changing America. According to Steinbeck's son, Steinbeck planned this trip because he was slowly dying of a heart ailment.
December, 2016: No meeting.
November 15, 2016: One of Ours (1923) (Willa Cather)
Cather presents a portrait of a peculiarly American personality, "a young man born after the American frontier
has vanished, yet whose quintessentially American restlessness seeks redemption on a frontier far bloodier and more distant
than that which his forefathers had already tamed." (Amazon.com) This novel won the Pulitzer Prize in 1923.
October 18, 2016: Magnificent Obsession (1929) (Lloyd C. Douglas)
Douglas was an American minister whose work focused on moral issues. His popular first novel featured a theme that would be recurrent in his
subsequent works, a nonreligious hero converted into a Christian out of guilt.
September 21, 2016: Marjorie Morningstar (1955) (Herman Wouk)
Wouk's novel, set in the 1930's, is the story of a young woman's romantic awakening and eventual acceptance of social propriety. Wouk is still alive
today, 101 years old!
August 17, 2016: So Big (1924) (Edna Ferber)
Ferber won the 1925 Pulitzer Prize for this novel, generally considered to be her masterwork. A member of the famous Algonquin Round Table,
Edna Ferber has been called the greatest woman novelist of her day.
July 20, 2016: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943) (Betty Smith)
Smith's controversial autobiographical novel offered an unusually gritty, unsentimental view of inner-city life and poverty in the early 20th century.
June 15, 2016: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) (Agatha Christie)
Voted by the British Crimewriters Association on 2013 as the best crime novel of all time, this is one of Christie's most controversial novels due
to its many twists and turns and surprise ending. Christie herself called it her masterpiece.