Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Brooklyn Public Library's New Online Book Discussions!

Yes, Brooklyn Public Library is going virtual with book discussions.
You've reserved books online, you've delved into the Brooklyn Daily Eagle Online and our other digital collections, you've found information and articles via our databases, you've checked out our eBooks, eVideo, and eAudio collections -- and now you have a new way to use your library online.

All you need to participate is an enthusiasm for books and for talking about them. If you want to borrow the titles from BPL but don't yet have a library card, here's how to get one.

One book will be discussed each month, led by a BPL librarian. We'll be starting in June 2007 with Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. Download the full text free at Project Gutenberg.


Anonymous said...

People's pasts sometimes appear to be more interesting than their futures. Waters's topsy turvy time
scheme is an elegant and profound device which imbues much of the novel with a poignant dramatic irony and turns every incident,however humdrum,into a revelation that helps to illuminate
how her characters became the people they are. However, it does make the first section of the novel
curiously unrooted, as we step into lives that seem to float in limbo. Though it's a struggle for the reader to engage; this listlessness is part of Waters's design. Do you think that her characters are drained, disappointed in the sense of people are struggling on in the aftermath of trauma, a stale existence in which even the headscarves decorated with faded tanks and spitfires are left over from the war?

Anonymous said...

Andrew Holleran's lyrical and poignant novel, "Grief" depicts the plight of aging gay men who remain alive while so many of their friends and love ones have died of aids. The narrator, whose name we never learn, is mourning the recent death of his mother. He has moved temporarily from his house in Florida to a rented room in a beautiful Washington D.C. row house to teach a College course, and he spends hours exploring the streets and buildings of the city and pondering the past. With his mother gone, he thinks to himself, " I've belonged to no one, and no one's belonged to me."He enviously compares his situation to that of his landlord, a well to do and culture attorney who is approximately his own age, but whose life appears to be more fulfilled than his own.

In his room, the protagonist finds a book with letters written by Abraham Lincoln's widow, and he strongly identifies with her loneliness and feelings of desolation. After her husband was assassinated, Mary Todd Lincoln lived on for seventeen years, wearing black for the rest of her life, and never again regaining her peace of mind. The narrator's solitude is alliviated slightly when he visits his cynical friend, Frank, who is battling cancer and lives with his boyfriend, whom he calls the Lug. Frank has had some very difficult times, having buried his mother and his former lover, and valiantly trying to survive his own debilitating illness.

He is a breath of fresh air, a person who speaks his mind and challenges his friend to give up his grief, which is useless after a certain point. He goes on to say, "You can't sit and grieve forever."

I would disagree because
some people never move on. To them
by hanging on to their grief, they are also clinging to the only remnant that they have left of the departed person. And as long as they have that, they are not alone, they still have that person. The grief is the person's presence on earth.