Have you enjoyed Literary Masters Summer Reading suggestions? Now it’s time to settle in to the new season of Literary Masters! This season’s list is diverse, provocative, and will get us all thinking and talking about issues, big and small, near and far. Enjoy!
Literary Masters 2017/2018 Season
October: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. An aristocrat becomes a “former person” following the Russian Revolution of 1917 and is sentenced to spend the rest of his life in a gilded cage – The Metropol Hotel in Moscow. Contained almost exclusively within the confines of the hotel, this book explores finding purpose in life despite reduced circumstances, the importance of friendship, parental duty, and the call of home. Our charming Count navigates his imprisonment with such dignity and wit, you will miss him when you turn the last page.
November: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. Since its publication, this book has taken the literary world by storm. Exploring issues of identity, belonging, and the search for a safe home, it poses timely questions about immigration in America. When tumultuous public events affect the very fabric of our private lives, what are we to do? And who can we depend upon to help us in our time of need? Using beautiful imagery and elements of fantasy, this book will not only make you think–it will also make you feel.
December: Among the Living by Jonathan Rabb. The time is 1947 and the place is Savannah, Georgia. Yitzhak Goldah has just escaped the holocaust into the welcoming arms of his only living relatives, the Jeslers. Grappling with what he’s left behind as well as what confronts him now, Yitzhak must choose between the obligations that haunt him and the potential life that awaits. This novel explores what it means to truly live, and ponders whether we can do so only at the expense of each other.
January: What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah. Our short story collection for the season at minimum will startle you and most likely will dazzle you! Arimah was born in the UK, raised partly in Nigeria, and now resides in the USA. She takes the reader on intimate journeys with characters you won’t soon forget. Exploring themes of family, parenting, and the power between individuals as well as nations, this collection offers a mix of genres that will open your eyes, your mind, and your heart.
February: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. Our classic for the season, and if you’ve never read it, you’re in for a treat! If you have read it, can you trust your memory as to what it’s really about? 🙂 Memory and how trustworthy it is or isn’t runs through this poignant tale about one of the last true English butlers in the waning days of the empire. This book not only asks our protagonist but also poses the question to the reader: at the end of day, when you look back upon it all, who or what will you have served?
March: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. This is our nonfiction selection for the season, yet it truly reads like a novel, and a fast-paced one at that. Covering the little known mysterious murders of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma during the 1920’s, this story will leave you wishing it were fiction. A dark and shameful period of history, but one that still has repercussions today. As usual, our nonfiction book should be required reading to understand America today.
April: Days Without End by Sebastian Barry. This novel has already won the Costa Award, the Walter Scott Prize, and is on the long list for the Man Booker Prize, and we can see why! How a story about war can be so beautiful is a tribute to Irish writer Sebastian Barry, who takes us on an odyssey with Irish narrator Thomas McNulty, a mercenary fighting in the US Indian and Civil Wars. Although set centuries ago, this story raises issues relevant and important to us today.
May: Heat and Light by Jennifer Haigh. An incredibly timely and topical novel, the ‘heat and light’ of this story refers to the energy that powers us, exploring what kind we should use, and how we should get it. The setting is Pennsylvania, historically mined for its resources, where individuals’ everyday pressures are pitted against broader concerns of the environment and its fragility. Deftly juxtaposing powerful entities against the everyday ‘forgotten’ man, this novel explores the myriad costs of what we daily take for granted. You’ll think twice the next time you switch on a light.