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Game Changers: A Reading List from Open Book Night

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For our last Open Book Night, we chose the theme "Game Changers". By game changers, we meant anything and everything that made readers think differently about the book they were read or books they may read in the future. It didn't matter how big or small the effect was, as long as it had some kind of effect. For some that meant taking a chance and reading something different, like a graphic novel (a game changer for two in the group), or a nonfiction title (two biographies were in this group, graphic novels, as well as a self-help title). We talked about the particular aspect of each book that set it apart from other books we have read.

On October 14, we will be recommending Horrifying Tales. Join us to share those stories that keep you up at night or those tales that give you goose bumps. Open Book Night meets on the second Friday of the month at Mid-Manhattan Library. We hope you’ll come and talk about books with us! In the meantime, check out our Game Changers list:

Being Mortal

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Atul Gawande

A prominent surgeon argues against modern medical practices that extend life at the expense of quality of life while isolating the dying, outlining suggestions for freer, more fulfilling approaches to death that enable more dignified and comfortable choices.

Lorraine was taken by the complicated and difficult subject made accessible through wonderful prose.

 

March

March: Book One

John Lewis; co-written by Andrew Aydin; art by Nate Powell

A first-hand account of the author's lifelong struggle for civil and human rights spans his youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., and the birth of the Nashville Student Movement.

Joan loved this true story of the Civil Rights Movement told through pictures!


 

fun home

Fun House: A Family Tragicomic

Alison Bechdel

In this groundbreaking, bestselling graphic memoir, Alison Bechdel charts her fraught relationship with her late father. In her hands, personal history becomes a work of amazing subtlety and power, written with a controlled force and enlivened with humor, rich literary allusion and heartbreaking detail.

Elizabeth was surprised by the way pictures could convey a complicated story and be at once engaging and enjoyable.

 

tourist

The Accidental Tourist

Ann Tyler

The Accidental Tourist focuses on the complexities of family relationships. In this story, middle-aged travel writer Macon Leary finds himself alone and miserable after his son is murdered and his wife leaves him. As a result, he realizes that he is in danger of becoming "a dried up kernel of a man that nothing real penetrates." Tyler's intermingling of comedy and tragedy results in a bittersweet tale of loss and recovery.

Eileen was impressed how a realistic and engaging story can be made better with comedic touch.

 

plague

The Plague

Albert Camus

Published in 1947, The Plague is a fictional story written about the very real town of Oran in Northern Algeria. Many consider this novel to be a war allegory of the French resistance to the Nazis in World War II, pointing out the futility of human aspirations and the inevitability of suffering. Camus won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957 for the body of his work, and this existentialist novel is considered one of his best.

This reader felt the story is a meditation in violence, that is haunting and vital.

 

thorn birds

The Thorn Birds

Colleen McCoullough

A saga of three generations of the indomitable Cleary family begins in the early 1900s when Paddy Cleary, a poor New Zealand farm laborer, moves his wife and children to the Australian sheep station owned by his rich sister.

Besides being a good story, the reader thought it interesting that each chapter heading was the name of character, followed by the time frame the character is featured in book.

 

Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary

Gustave Flaubert

An unhappily married woman, Emma Bovary's unfulfilled dreams of romantic love and desperation to escape the ordinary boredom of her life lead her to a series of desperate acts, including adultery, in a classic novel set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century bourgeois France.

Madame Bovary for one reader is a book she reads every year and every year she finds something new and illuminating.

 

Little Prince

The Little Prince

Saint-Exupery, Antoine

The Little Prince is a poetic tale, in which a pilot stranded in the desert meets a young prince fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid. The story is philosophical and includes social criticism, remarking on the strangeness of the adult world.

Generally thought of a children's book, the reader thought this book offered much, much more and would be better appreciated by an adult.

 

d Curtis

Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis

Timothy Egan

Edward Curtis was thirty-two years old in 1900 when he gave it all up to pursue his great idea: He would try to capture on film the Native American nation before it disappeared. At once an incredible adventure narrative and a penetrating biographical portrait.

Cynthia enjoyed the rare glimpse into the dying Native American nation and captured so beautifully in Curtis' photographs and story.

 

Thank you for the wonderful recommendations by our readers. Those who come to listen and hear recommendations for books they might enjoy are also welcome at Open Book Night. Check out these other reading lists for books recommended at past Open Book Night Sessions. Also join us for the Gracie Book Club on Oct 19 where we will be discussing Panic in a  Suitcase by Yelena Akhtiorskaya.

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