Literary Salons

Our literary salons for grownups offer members the intellectual stimulation and satisfaction of university courses without the stress of homework or assignments. Connecting with our books, with each other, and with the world at large, we develop our literary knowledge while exploring a wide variety of genres each season.

THE LIST for this 2021/2022 Season is posted below, and you can view our Past Literary Salons for titles from previous seasons!

Before our meeting you will receive “Points to Ponder,” which may help you view that month’s selection in a new way. At the meeting you’ll enjoy a short presentation that will enhance your appreciation of the book, and then you will partake in a riveting discussion. Your trained facilitator will ensure that you ‘dig deep’ into both craft and story elements of that month’s literary treasure.

Literary Masters Salons: THE LIST 2021-2022 Season

Order may vary slightly among facilitators

Book 1: Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

All Amanda, Chip, and their family want is a lovely vacation and time to relax as they leave the noise and stress of their world behind. However, something bad has happened outside their protected Airbnb bubble, the details of which are scant and scary. Suddenly the family finds themselves more isolated and estranged from their ordinary life than they ever intended. Raising questions of our vulnerability in a world often times beyond our control, this novel will stay with readers for a long time!

Book 2: Here On Earth by Alice Hoffman

Our ‘classic’ for the season is a modern telling of Catherine and Heathcliff’s tale of obsessive love. March and Hollis have a history that cannot be forgotten. When they find themselves once more in the same place, passions reignite and threaten to consume them and their loved ones. Set in a small town in Massachusetts, this novel explores what it means to love and be loved–and asks how much choice we have in the matter and whether it is worth it. Easy answers? We’ll see!

Book 3: Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar

Purporting to be a novel but reading like a memoir, this book by the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and author Ayad Akhtar pulls no punches. Our narrator is on a quest to understand himself, his family, and his adopted country America, and we readers are along for the journey. No doubt it will raise emotions and elicit strong opinions as we ‘dig deep’ into both the structure and the content!

Book 4: Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

So relevant in our technology-driven times, this beautifully rendered science fiction novel is set in a dystopian future and centers around Klara, the “artificial friend,” aka robot, of Josie. Raising questions of what it means to be human and how machine-like we are, the story also explores issues of class, mortality, human frailty, the power of memory, technology and what it can do for humans, love in its various configurations, and more. After all, the author is Ishiguro–no doubt our salon conversations will be as wide as they are deep!

Book 5: All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days by Rebecca Donner

We will not be surprised if our nonfiction selection for the season wins awards! Written by Rebecca Donner, the great-great niece of Mildred Harnack, born and raised in Milwaukee but destined to become a pivotal leader in the resistance against Hitler and a spy for the Allies. This moving book reads like a thriller! Knowing the tragic ending of the protagonist only adds to the impact this amazing story will have on readers!

Book 6: Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

This evocative novel will transport you as we travel to Nigeria, where the marriage of Yejide and Akin is being tested. In love and having agreed to eschew polygamy, the couple is under tremendous pressure and strain from their families and community. When Yejide tries and fails to become pregnant, easy solutions are nowhere to be found. The reader hears from both Yejide and Akin as they take us along on their very unique story of a marriage. Bring your tissues!

Book 7: The Boy in the Field by Margot Livesey

Set in Oxfordshire, England, this mystery is also a coming-of-age tale. Beautifully crafted and skillfully told, the story has fable-like qualities as it explores the ‘big questions’ such as the nature of evil. Wasting not one word, the author brings the reader squarely into the world of the characters as they grapple with the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of the main event.

Book 8: Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour

This satirical novel will have readers laughing out loud while also pondering serious issues of our day. Darren seems perfectly happy at his job at Starbucks; both the customers and the staff like him and look up to him. But the siren of ambition and “more” calls to him, and suddenly Darren finds himself renamed as ‘Buck’ and the only Black and wildly successful salesman of the hot startup Sumwun. Will his success change him? What will he do with it? Does he want it? Exploring important questions while holding a mirror up to society, this book is sure to generate some lively salon conversations!