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 2016/2017 Season
October: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. No, not because Oprah recommended it, but because it explores the African American experience in a totally unique way. Ostensibly a story about a runaway slave, much of the treatment of black Americans throughout history is condensed into this literary treasure. Disregarding restrictions on time, place, or concepts, this book breaks boundaries and at times will break your heart.
November: The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain. This exquisite little jewel of a book explores, among other things, the questions: Is there such a thing as neutrality? Can one truly remain neutral? Following the friendship of Gustav and Anton as they grow from young boys to adulthood in Switzerland, this story carries as much meaning between the lines as in them.
December: The Quiet American by Graham Greene. Our classic for the season! The time is the 1950’s and the place is Vietnam. When it was published, this love story was lauded by the Soviets and lamented by the Americans. We’ll discuss why, and no doubt our conversations about The Sympathizer from last season will inform our opinions.
January: The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney. Buckle your seat belts – we are in for a ride! The author of this novel had a blog called Arse End of Ireland, and that’s exactly where we go with this story. This is not your tourist’s Ireland, but rather is an exploration of an underclass of post-crash Ireland that sets reality next to the romance of the Emerald Isle. Extremely irreverent and often hilarious, this debut novel explores serious questions.
February: Black Flags: The Rise of Isis by Joby Warrick. Our nonfiction selection for the season, this Pulitzer Prize winner (nonfiction 2016) should be required reading for anyone trying to understand the state of our world today.
March: The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig. Each season we pay homage to a great author who has recently passed away. Last season it was E.L. Doctorow; the season before that it was Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This season we’ll be reading one of the great “western” authors, Ivan Doig, as he takes us back to a simpler time of one room schoolhouses, close-knit communities, and shared values. But times are changing!
April: Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson. This National Book Award winner is our short-story collection for the season. Wide-ranging and thoroughly provocative, these six stories are not for the faint of heart–yet they are sure to linger in your mind. You’ll be glad to be able to discuss them with others.
May: The Sellout by Paul Beatty. This satirical novel, winner of the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award, is whip smart and eye-popping. Returning to the subject of slavery but with a surprise twist, this book will will make you examine aspects of our culture in a whole new light. A delightful challenge!
As always, we retain the right to change titles if the need arises. Don’t worry, we always have our Literary Masters members’ happiness as our top priority!