Last Thursday Book Club                                             This Month's Selection
The Year 2004  -  we get another day to read !  -  schedule follows ...

Meeting Date Host Selection Notes
29 January 2004

Charlie Palmer (243-4962) 

1506 Park SW

From I-25, go West on Central or Lomas; then South on 14th St.  
Cross Central, continue 2 or 3 blocks, then turn right onto Park (1st stop sign).




Girl With a Pearl Earring
Available in paperback, 240p., 2001
first published 1999.

by Tracy Chevalier

"With precisely 35 canvases to his credit, the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer represents one of the great enigmas of 17th-century art. His portrait of the anonymous Girl with a Pearl Earring has exerted a particular fascination for centuries --and it is this magnetic painting that lies at the heart of Tracy Chevalier's second novel of the same title."

Girl with Long

 Tracy Chevalier, Oberlin College '84
You should visit The Vermeers for a wonderful use of the Web to view any of Vermeer's 35 paintings with several details, description, links.

The Website    The Painting    The Vermeers
The Reading Group Guide    The Interviews

NY Times movie review - The Movie
Notes from the host:  "The 17th Century in the Netherlands was one of those rare periods in history when they had everything Right:  Art, music, general level of civilization to me were at one of those focal points where the cultural life was about as close to perfect as humans can get.  
The novel isn't perfect, but it provides a view into a fascinating period of history and a portrait of (IMHO) maybe the world's greatest painter."

26 February  2004

Mike Blackledge (294-6030) 
14321 Stalgren Ct. NE 

From Tramway & Copper, go east 5 streets,
turn right onto Parkside, then left.


The Debt to PleasureDebtToPleasure
by John Lanchester

Lanchester's essay on Ian Fleming;  "Bond in Torment"

 The Debt to Pleasure:  This first novel, by the erudite deputy editor of The London Review of Books, is witty, intelligent and eccentric.  The back cover indicates, "If Humbert Humbert had written a cookbook rather than about his nymphet, this would have been the book."  Recommended by the Literary Society of San Diego, the book has been described as "a novel disguised as an essay disguised as a cookbook."

LSSD review.

John Lanchester, 1962 John Lanchester's first novel, the highly acclaimed The Debt to Pleasure (1996), is the erudite and unorthodox autobiography of sinister gourmet Tarquin Winot. It won the Whitbread First Novel Award, a Betty Trask Award, the Hawthornden Prize, and an American prize, the Julia Child Award for 'literary food writing'. The novel has been translated into 20 languages.
25 March 2004

Ben Smith
3918 Solano Pl, NE
268-8801 From Constitution and Carlisle, go EAST
one long block to Morningside. Turn left and go one
block north and turn left on Solano Place.


LifeofPi "Life of Pi"
Yann Martel
 available in the RGLS?
Yann Martel's Life of Pi is a transformative novel, an astonishing work of imagination that will delight and stun readers in equal measure. It is a triumph of storytelling and a tale that will, as one character puts it, make you believe in God. What more can any reader ask?

29 April 2004
Tom Genoni  (292-4985)
1616 Catron SE

 The Maltese FalconBogart as Sam Spade
Dashiel Hammett

FAQs on Hammett's TMF
 the stuff that dreams are made of noir, angel! The best known, and considered the best, of Hammett's Sam Spade novels.  #56 on the 'top 100 of the 20th Century' list.  Plenty of copies in our Rio Grande Valley Library System.  
27 May 2004

Ron B. 
- special LTBC event - meeting will be held at Page One Bookstore - 11018 Montgomery at Juan Tabo - 7 pm.
(for details: call Becky at 294-2026, ext 3077)

The Map That Changed the World The Map That Changed The World:  William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology
by Simon Winchester


 LTBC Review

Simon Winchester ( The Professor and the Madman) tells the fossil-friendly fairy tale life of William Smith. Winchester brings his writerly talents to bear on the tale of another relatively unknown individual who also made a considerable contribution to intellectual history. In the early years of the nineteenth century, William Smith created the first geological map of Great Britain, a time-consuming, solitary project that helped establish geology as one of the "fundamental fields of study." Smith was born of humble origins, the son of a village blacksmith in Oxfordshire, England. While working as a surveyor, Smith was struck by an epiphany as he pondered the striations of rock in a coal mine. The order and regularity of those striations led him to formulate some of geology's key principles.
By the author of "The Professor and the Madman" which the club read in Jan 2001; nine copies in the Rio Grande Valley Library System.  HarperCollins 2001

24 June 2004
Jack Ferrell 

17 Sunset Blvd
Placitas, NM

I-25 Exit 242 East on NM 165. 
Right at the 5-mile marker onto Tunnel Springs Road.
Right onto Quail Meadow Road (first street on right - 0.2 mile)
Right onto Leah Lane (first street on right-0.4 mile)
Right onto Sunset Blvd
(100 yards)
17 Sunset Blvd is the third drive/house on the left.
The Reader
The Reader
by Bernhard Schlink
Translated from the German.  
Nineteen copies (plus five Large Print) available in
the Rio Grande Valley Library System
and in paperback from Page 1 and

Bernhard Schlink is a professor at the
Benjamin Cardozo School of Law,
Yeshiva University, in New York.

Originally published in Switzerland, this is the story of a man whose adolescent affair with an older woman returns to haunt him years later.
29 July 2004
Don Benoist (296-2533) 
7709 Harwood Ave NE

West of Wyoming, between Comanche and Mont- gomery; one block N of Comanche; turn west onto Harwood, two long blocks down on right.

  Ben Franklin - gif Benjamin Franklin  -  An American Life
by Walter Isaacson
Ben and Walter Review in Book Magazine

Benjamin Franklin led a productive life before retirement as a scientist, inventor, writer, and printer. After the age of seventy, all he did was help found a new country, was involved with the creation of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and served as a diplomat and a congressman. Walter Isaacson's biography of Franklin (as the 300th anniversary of his birth approaches) has received mostly positive reviews. The Houston Chronicle says, "Aimed at the general reader and written in lively, colloquial prose, Benjamin Franklin will appeal to the same large body of readers who made David McCullough's John Adams a huge best seller. Like that book, it transforms marble men into flesh-and-blood figures, complex and admirable if hardly perfect."
(Start early!  493 pages; 24 copies available in RGVLS; unavailable for this meeting:  Ron B.)
 26 August 2004

Rob Easterling (286-8796) 

Meeting will be held at the newly established Triple R Museum, located near 2nd and Claremont.  Come around 6 pm 30 mins early for the museum tour.
[post script: Museum actually has address:  29 Claremont - but all is set back from street.  See Ken's review.]
Reading Lolita
Reading Lolita in Tehran
A Memoir by Azar Nafisi

Prof. Nafisi resigned from her job as professor of English
 Literature at a university in Tehran in 1995 due to repressive government policies.  For the next 2 years, until she left Iran, she gathered 7 young women, former students, at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss works of Western literature forbidden by the new regime.  

They used this forum to learn to speak freely, not only about literature, but also about the social, political, and cultural realities of living under strict Islamic rule.
:  the book includes a reader's guide p. [351]-353.

Background on the 8 yrs Iraq-Iran War.

There are 7 copies in the Rio Grande Library System, with a waiting list of 19 holds, so this is clearly a hot item.  Page 1 will sell the (list) $13.95 trade paperback to you for $10.46  - you can handle this!  

The book is a memoir based on an underground book club in Tehran.  Our resident Lolita guru will be in attendance.

Triple R location

On-line Discussion of the book (Elderhostel)

(will miss this meeting:  Jack F. [working as Eastern RallyMeister]; Gary [in AK])

New Date!
29 September 2004

 Bill Nelson

13209 Sunset Canyon NE

Directions:   the east end of Montgomery deadends on Sunset Canyon, turn south, house is the seventh on the right.

Balzac and the SeamstressBalzac and 
the Little Chinese Seamstress
by Dai Sijie

Reading Guide

Interview with Dai Sijie with photos
Notes from Bill: "My wife and I listened to it in the car on a recent trip and had a lot of laughs as well as having our eyes opened again concerning Mao's Cultural Revolution."
"RGVL system has one copy and a one copy of the book on CDs.  According to our Book Club Cook Book (page 37), the book is available in paper back from Anchor, 2002. "

For LTBC members:  you can order this book from Page 1 on-line for 25% discount from list price.  For S&H, just choose the "in-store delivery" and you can pick it up at Page 1 for NO SHIPPING CHARGES (but you still get to pay NM gross receipts tax).

(will miss this meeting:  Jack Farrell in East; Gary Ganong at AFA Reunion; Chuck Lamb on travel; Ron B. in Boston)

Thursday 28
Keith Gilbert (265-8122)

913 Parkland Circle SE

From Wyoming, go West on Zuni to Carlisle;
Go South on Carlisle until the median disappears;
(or changes drastically);
Go East;
Keith is on this street, on the North side.

 Inviation to a Beheading  
Couldn't get a quorum for our Boys weekend out, 
but we'll still get Nabokov for visit in Albuquerque.

make a donation today, as there is not a
single copy of this Nabokov in the RGLS !!!

(unavailable this meeting: Bill, Chuck)

Nabokov Visit the comprehensive Zembla site - devoted to the life and works of Vladimir Nabokov. 

  [3rd] Thursday: 
18 November 2004
[Thursday before Thanksgiving]

  Ken Gillen


331 White Oaks Dr. NE

(From Tramway and Live Oak Rd [one block N. of Paseo del Norte], go EAST 0.6 mi on Live Oak, then SOUTH 0.3 mi on White Oaks Dr. to last house on right.  Pay no attention to most of the house numbers.).


by J. M. Coetzee

From The New Yorker review, Nov 15, 1999:  

Coetzee is the most cerebral and... the least given to sentimentality of the talented novelists to have come out of South Africa.
 Coetzee, whose style has often been called "thrifty," writes with a scalpel-like economy of effect; his sentences are coiled springs, and the energy they release would take other writers pages to summon.  

From Time:
A subtly brilliant commentary on the nature and balance of power in his homeland... by a writer at the top of his form.

In his eighth novel, J.M. Coetzee is as uncompromising as his main character, though infinitely more complex.
 Disgrace made literary history by winning Coetzee an unprecedented second Booker prize.  
(unavailable this meeting:  Bill - in Las Vegas)
a few more comments about Coetzee.
He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003.
His name is pronounced something like this:
 Cot/ZEE/a. 3 syllables,
accent on the second.
I hope that some of you will have /will read
some of the following,
since it is difficult to grasp his scope
and concepts from
any one book. My 2 favorites:
"Waiting for the Barbarians"
"Life and Times of Michael K"

30 December 2004
[Thursday after Christmas]

Mike Blackledge (294-6030) 
14321 Stalgren Ct. NE 

From Tramway & Copper, go east 5 streets,
turn right onto Parkside, then left.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom [A Triumph]
by T. E. Lawrence

{relevance today}


{photos of Lawrence's Arabia}
Lawrence How would you define T.E. Lawrence -  a gifted writer or a man of action?  He would prefer the former description.  The book club is suggested to read the full Seven Pillars of Wisdom, rather than his abridged Revolt in the Desert.  For the meeting, we will discuss through Chapter LVII, which takes us to the capture of Akaba:  327 pages of 660.  There is too much of the man, and his thoughts of Arabia and Arabs and the Semitic world in Seven Pillars that was abridged from Revolt.

(unavailable this meeting:  Bill - at Grand Canyon)

LTBC Schedule for Year 2004

LTBC 2004 schedule last updated:
   29 December 2004  

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