Circe (Jan 25 + 29)
Docent: Maeona Mendelson
Find the time for non-stop reading, because it is impossible to put down Circe, Madeline Miller’s epic retelling of the Greek myths. Circe is refashioned as a powerful, compassionate woman who prevails in a world dominated by men and gods. All of the figures are here including Odysseus, Medea, the Minotaur, Daedalus and Icarus. They come to new life through Miller’s unique approach to these familiar stories.
Beloved (Feb 26 + 29)
Docents: Susan Palmore and Maeona Mendelson
Set in Ohio in 1873, Beloved is the story of how former slaves Sethe and Paul D, psychically crippled by years of outrage to their bodies and their humanity at Sweet Home plantation in Kentucky, try to free themselves from their past. Morrison’s lyrical tale, which won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, vividly brings to life the heavy price that slavery and poverty exacts on individuals and society even years after slavery ended. Morrison won the 1993 Nobel Prize for Literature as an author “who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.” Morrison died in August 2019.
The World That We Knew (Mar 25 + 28)
Docents: Andrea Synder/Hannah Slovin
In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it’s his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.
What does it mean to lose your mother? How much can one person sacrifice for love? In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance.
The Portrait (Apr 25 + 29)
Docent: Marcia Morse
An art critic journeys to a remote island off Brittany to sit for a portrait painted by an old friend, a gifted but tormented artist living in self-imposed exile. The painter recalls their years of friendship, the gift of the critic’s patronage, and his callous betrayals. As he struggles to capture the character of the man, as well as his image, on canvas, it becomes clear that there is much more than a portrait at stake…
Nathaniel's Nutmeg:How One Man's Courage Changed the Course of History (May 27 + 30)
Docent leader: Carol Root
The tiny island of Run is an insignificant speck in the middle of the Indonesian archipelago–remote, tranquil, and now largely ignored. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, however, Run’s harvest of nutmeg turned it into the most lucrative of the Spice Islands, precipitating a fierce and bloody battle between the all-powerful Dutch East India Company and a small band of ragtag British adventurers led by the intrepid Nathaniel Courthope. The outcome of the fighting was one of the most spectacular deals in history: Britain ceded Run to Holland, but in return was given another small island, Manhattan. A brilliant adventure story of unthinkable hardship and savagery, the navigation of uncharted waters, and the exploitation of new worlds, Nathaniel’s Nutmeg is a remarkable chapter in the history of the colonial powers.