Informal discussions spanning a wide variety of interests and tastes, sponsored by The Friends of the Acton Libraries
The Friends of the Acton Libraries Book Group meets in the second floor Conference Room at 7:30 PM on the third Tuesday of the month. All are welcome.
September 13, 2011
Shutter Island (Movie), Martin Scorses
Director Scorses once again teams up with Leonardo DiCaprio in this spine-chilling thriller. When U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) arrives at the asylum for the criminally insane on Shutter Island, a routine investigation quickly takes a sinister turn.
September 20, 2011
Shutter Island (Book), Dennis Lehane
It is 1954, and U.S. Marshals Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule arrive at Ashcliffe Hospital, a federal institution for the criminally insane, and one of the patients has escaped. After interviewing the hospital's medical personnel, both men feel that they are being stonewalled, especially by the director. When the island is hit by gale-force winds and Aule disappears, Daniels must go it alone, beset by the fear that he has been fed psychotropic drugs and the belief that the hospital is performing radical brain surgery as part of a secret-ops program.
October 18, 2011
A Painted House, John Grisham
Lucas Chandler is a seven-year-old boy who lives in an unpainted house on an Arkansas farm with his parents and grandparents in the early 1950s. He loves Coca-Cola, baseball, and the St. Louis Cardinals, and he plans on using the money he earns picking cotton to buy a shiny baseball jacket from the Sears and Roebuck catalog. Soon after the hired crews of Mexicans and "hill people" arrive to help pick the Chandler family's 80 acres of cotton, Lucas sees things that cause him to lose his innocence much earlier than he should and long for the days when he did not have to keep secrets or worry about his and his family's safety.
November 15, 2011
The Zookeeper’s Wife, Diane Ackerman
The remarkable WWII story of Jan Zabinski, the director of the Warsaw Zoo, and his wife, Antonina, who sheltered 300 Jews as well as Polish resisters in their villa and in animal cages and sheds. Using Antonina's diaries, other contemporary sources and her own research in Poland, Ackerman takes us into the Warsaw ghetto and the 1943 Jewish uprising, describing the Poles' revolt against the Nazi occupiers in 1944. She introduces us to such varied figures as Lutz Heck, the duplicitous head of the Berlin zoo and Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, spiritual head of the ghetto. Ackerman reveals other rescuers, like Dr. Mada Walter, who helped many Jews pass, giving lessons on how to appear Aryan and not attract notice.
January 17, 2012
House Rules, Jodi Picoult
Jacob Hunt, a teenage boy with Asperger’s Syndrome is hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, and like many kids with AS, Jacob has a special focus on one subject – in his case, forensic analysis. He is always showing up at crime scenes, thanks to the police scanner he keeps in his room, and telling the cops what they need to do…and he’s usually right. Then, one day his tutor is found dead, and the hallmark behaviors of Asperger’s look like guilt to law-enforcement personnel. Suddenly, Jacob finds himself accused of murder.
February 21, 2012
North River, Pete Hamill
Two blocks from the North (Hudson) River, Dr. James Finbar Delaney lives in Greenwich Village in the Depression year of 1934. He is a GP, servicing the indigent poor. A wounded veteran of World War I, he is despondent that his wife, Molly, has deserted him and that his only child, Grace, has left her son,
two-year-old Carlito, in his care. The only consolations in Delaney’s chaotic life are Carlito and Rose, his Sicilian illegal alien housekeeper (who has become Carlito's surrogate mother and Delaney's lover). Soon the North River comes to symbolize Delaney's tormented life, as enemies and loved ones float in it, and Grace returns to New York to complicate further Delaney's new, delicate household.
March 20, 2012
The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein
Have you ever wondered what your dog is thinking? Enzo is a lab-terrier mix plucked from a farm outside Seattle to ride shotgun with racecar driver Denny Swift. Denny meets and marries Eve, has a daughter, Zoë, and risks his savings and his life to make it on the professional racing circuit. Enzo, frustrated by his inability to speak and his lack of opposable thumbs, watches Denny's old racing videos, and hopes for the day when his life as a dog will be over and he can be reborn a man. When Denny hits an extended rough patch, Enzo remains his most steadfast if silent supporter.
April 17, 2012
The Lace Reader, Brunonia Barry
Towner Whitney, a dazed young woman descended from a long line of mind readers and fortunetellers, has survived numerous traumas and returned to her hometown of Salem, Mass., to recover. Any tranquility in her life is short-lived when her beloved great-aunt Eva drowns under circumstances suggesting foul play. The mystery enmeshes local cop John Rafferty, who had left the pressures of big city police work for a quieter life in Salem and now finds him falling for the enigmatic Towner as he mourns Eva and delves into the history of the eccentric Whitney clan.
May 15, 2012
Saturday, Ian McEwan
In the predawn sky on a Saturday morning, London neurosurgeon Henry Perowne sees a burning plane streaking toward Heathrow. Eventually, danger to Perowne and his family will come from another source, but the plane turns out to be a harbinger of a world forever changed. Meanwhile, the reader follows Perowne through his day, mainly via an interior monologue. At a family reunion at the end of the day, the ominous pall that has hovered over the narrative explodes into violence. The tension throughout the novel between science (Perowne's surgery) and art (his daughter is a poet; his son a musician) culminates in a synthesis of the two, and a grave, hopeful, meaningful, transcendent ending.
June 19, 2012
The Three Weissmans of Westport, Cathleen Schine
Betty Weissman is 75 when Joseph, her husband of nearly 50 years, announces he is divorcing her. Soon, Betty moves out of their grand Central Park West apartment and Joseph's much younger girlfriend, Felicity, moves in. Betty lands in a rundown beach cottage in Westport, but complications quickly arise when Betty's daughters run into their own problems. Literary agent Miranda is sued into bankruptcy after it is revealed that some of her authors made up their lurid memoirs, and Annie, drowning in debt, can no longer afford her apartment. Once they relocate to Westport, both girls fall in love—Annie with the brother of her stepfather's paramour, and Miranda with a younger actor. An Austen-esque mischief hovers over these romantic relationships as the three women figure out how to survive and thrive.