Book Group — Tuesday, February 14 — 2 pm

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On Tuesday, February 14, at 2 pm we will be discussing The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout. This is the second Tuesday of the month, as usual. To RSVP, please email tonilin@aol.com.

The list of the books for the rest of 2023 is included below.

February 14, 2023 — The Burgess Boys – Elizabeth Strout – 2013, 352 pp —
Elizabeth Strout is a Pulitzer prize-winning American writer whose reputation has grown steadily since her first novel, Amy and Isabelle, which was shortlisted for the Orange prize. She also works as a lawyer, and her expertise informs the plot of The Burgess Boys, where a legal drama is at the center of the story.

In the end …, this is not a story of good versus evil but a complex and bold examination of political and family relationships, of the long-term effect of guilt and lies, of people’s motives and failures and muddled intentions.

March 14, 2023    Self-Made Man: One Woman’s Journey into Manhood and Back Again – by Norah Vincent, 2006, 287 pp.

There’s so much codification of pronouns and pressure now at prepubescent ages to make irreversible sex changes (many of them later regretted), that this book seems refreshing.. It’s about a woman who is a tomboy going to see what it’s like to be a man, without wanting to be one. I think the politically correct stuff with transgender in the States is a bit stultifying and here’s a book that precedes it, but shows a way that might be less traumatic for young people. (Like, skip the procedures and just be gay.) Right now society says one has to be transgender, and choose one gender over the other; it’s rather homophobic really, right? I’m not sure but would love to discuss and to read this book, which apparently shows the problems of being either sex.

April 11, 2023   Warlight by Michael Ondaatje – 305 pp, 2018 — From the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author of The English Patient: a mesmerizing new novel that tells a dramatic story set in the decade after World War II through the lives of a small group of unexpected characters and two teenagers whose lives are indelibly shaped by their unwitting involvement.

“Warlight is a quiet new masterpiece from Michael Ondaatje…An elegiac thriller [with] the immediate allure of a dark fairy tale. In Warlight, all is illuminated, at first dimly then starkly, but always brilliantly.” —Anna Mundow, The Washington Post

“Mr. Ondaatje has stepped into John de la Carré’s world of spies and criminals…his novel views history as a child would, in ignorance but also innocence and wonder.” —Sam Sacks, WSJ 

May 9, 2023  A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh, 288 pages, a classic, 1934

Evelyn Waugh’s 1934 novel is a bitingly funny vision of aristocratic decadence in England between the wars. It tells the story of Tony Last, who, to the irritation of his wife, is inordinately obsessed with his Victorian Gothic country house and life. When Lady Brenda Last embarks on an affair with the worthless John Beaver out of boredom with her husband, she sets in motion a sequence of tragicomic disasters that reveal Waugh at his most scathing.


June 13, 2023      The Alignment Problem by Brian Christian – 496 pp. Online blurb: “Today’s “machine-learning” systems, trained by data, are so effective that we’ve invited them to see and hear for us―and to make decisions on our behalf. But alarm bells are ringing. Recent years have seen an eruption of concern as the field of machine learning advances. When the systems we attempt to teach will not, in the end, do what we want or what we expect, ethical and potentially existential risks emerge. Researchers call this the alignment problem.

Systems cull résumés until, years later, we discover that they have inherent gender biases. Algorithms decide bail and parole―and appear to assess Black and White defendants differently. We can no longer assume that our mortgage application, or even our medical tests, will be seen by human eyes. And as autonomous vehicles share our streets, we are increasingly putting our lives in their hands.

July 11, 2023    When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, Abraham Verghese, 256 pp – 2016

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

August 8, 2023    Less – Andrew Sean Greer – 272 pp. — 2017

Well written, insightful in humorous ways. Reminds me of Stegner a bit. Gay writer on world tour of writing retreats, trying to forget ex and get handle on with his life at 50. Light and funny… with dabs of dark.

A struggling novelist travels the world to avoid an awkward wedding in this hilarious Pulitzer Prize-winning novel full of “arresting lyricism and beauty” (The New York Times Book Review).

September 12, 2023   Mendeleyev’s Dream, by Paul Strathern. 2019, 320 pp. The history of chemistry is filled with quirky characters like Dimitri Mendeleyev, the Russian scientist who first proposed the periodic table after it allegedly came to him in a dream. Strathern’s book traces that history all the way back to its origins in ancient Greece. It’s a fascinating look at how science develops and how human curiosity has evolved over the millennia.

October 10, 2023    Silverview by John le Carré – 2021 – 215 pp.     In his last completed novel, John le Carré turns his focus to the world that occupied his writing for the past sixty years—the secret world itself.

“[Le Carré] was often considered one of the finest novelists, period, since World War II. It’s not that he ‘transcended the genre,’ as the tired saying goes; it’s that he elevated the level of play… [Silverview’s] sense of moral ambivalence remains exquisitely calibrated.” —The New York Times Book Review

Silverview is the mesmerizing story of an encounter between innocence and experience and between public duty and private morals. In his inimitable voice John le Carré, the greatest chronicler of our age, seeks to answer the question of what we truly owe to the people we love.

November 14, 2023    Mouth to Mouth by Antoine Wilson – 2022, 192 pp.   ONE OF BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2022 * An NPR and Time Best Book of the Year * Longlisted for the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize (Canada) * Finalist for CALIBA’s 2022 Golden Poppy Awards

A successful art dealer confesses the story of his meteoric rise in this “powerful, intoxicating, and shocking” (The New York Times) novel that’s a “slow burn à la Patricia Highsmith” (Oprah Daily). “You’ll struggle not to rip through in one sitting” (Vogue).

December 12, 2021   Kindred by  Octavia Butler – 2009, 264 pp. “In what is considered a literary masterpiece and Butler’s most popular novel, Kindred follows a young Black woman named Dana. Though she lives in 1976 L.A., she’s suddenly transported to a Civil War-era plantation in Maryland. Soon, the more frequently Dana travels back in time, the longer she stays, as she faces a danger that threatens her life in the future.”

Book Group — Tuesday, January 10, 2023 — 2 pm on Google Meet

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On Tuesday, January 10, we are invited to lunch at a member’s home. Then at 2 pm on Google Meet, we will be discussing Round House by Louise Erdrich. This is the second Tuesday of the month, as usual. To RSVP and to let the host know you will be coming to lunch and/or to receive the Google Meet ID, please email tonilin@aol.com.

The February book will be The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout.

Details on these two books and the rest of the books for 2023 are included below.

January 10, 2023 —  The Round House by Louise Erdrich – 2012, 336 pp, One of the most revered novelists of our time—a brilliant chronicler of Native-American life—Louise Erdrich returns to the territory of her bestselling, Pulitzer Prize finalist The Plague of Doves with The Round House, transporting readers to the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. It is an exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family.

Riveting and suspenseful, arguably the most accessible novel to date from the creator of Love Medicine, The Beet Queen, and The Bingo Palace, Erdrich’s The Round House is a page-turning masterpiece of literary fiction—at once a powerful coming-of-age story, a mystery, and a tender, moving novel of family, history, and culture.

February 14, 2023 — The Burgess Boys – Elizabeth Strout – 2013, 352 pp —
Elizabeth Strout is a Pulitzer prize-winning American writer whose reputation has grown steadily since her first novel, Amy and Isabelle, which was shortlisted for the Orange prize. She also works as a lawyer, and her expertise informs the plot of The Burgess Boys, where a legal drama is at the center of the story.

In the end …, this is not a story of good versus evil but a complex and bold examination of political and family relationships, of the long-term effect of guilt and lies, of people’s motives and failures and muddled intentions.

March 14, 2023    Self-Made Man: One Woman’s Journey into Manhood and Back Again – by Norah Vincent, 2006, 287 pp.

There’s so much codification of pronouns and pressure now at prepubescent ages to make irreversible sex changes (many of them later regretted), that this book seems refreshing.. It’s about a woman who is a tomboy going to see what it’s like to be a man, without wanting to be one. I think the politically correct stuff with transgender in the States is a bit stultifying and here’s a book that precedes it, but shows a way that might be less traumatic for young people. (Like, skip the procedures and just be gay.) Right now society says one has to be transgender, and choose one gender over the other; it’s rather homophobic really, right? I’m not sure but would love to discuss and to read this book, which apparently shows the problems of being either sex.

April 11, 2023   Warlight by Michael Ondaatje – 305 pp, 2018 — From the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author of The English Patient: a mesmerizing new novel that tells a dramatic story set in the decade after World War II through the lives of a small group of unexpected characters and two teenagers whose lives are indelibly shaped by their unwitting involvement.

“Warlight is a quiet new masterpiece from Michael Ondaatje…An elegiac thriller [with] the immediate allure of a dark fairy tale. In Warlight, all is illuminated, at first dimly then starkly, but always brilliantly.” —Anna Mundow, The Washington Post

“Mr. Ondaatje has stepped into John de la Carré’s world of spies and criminals…his novel views history as a child would, in ignorance but also innocence and wonder.” —Sam Sacks, WSJ 

May 9, 2023  A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh, 288 pages, a classic, 1934

Evelyn Waugh’s 1934 novel is a bitingly funny vision of aristocratic decadence in England between the wars. It tells the story of Tony Last, who, to the irritation of his wife, is inordinately obsessed with his Victorian Gothic country house and life. When Lady Brenda Last embarks on an affair with the worthless John Beaver out of boredom with her husband, she sets in motion a sequence of tragicomic disasters that reveal Waugh at his most scathing.


June 13, 2023      The Alignment Problem by Brian Christian – 496 pp. Online blurb: “Today’s “machine-learning” systems, trained by data, are so effective that we’ve invited them to see and hear for us―and to make decisions on our behalf. But alarm bells are ringing. Recent years have seen an eruption of concern as the field of machine learning advances. When the systems we attempt to teach will not, in the end, do what we want or what we expect, ethical and potentially existential risks emerge. Researchers call this the alignment problem.

Systems cull résumés until, years later, we discover that they have inherent gender biases. Algorithms decide bail and parole―and appear to assess Black and White defendants differently. We can no longer assume that our mortgage application, or even our medical tests, will be seen by human eyes. And as autonomous vehicles share our streets, we are increasingly putting our lives in their hands.

July 11, 2023    When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, Abraham Verghese, 256 pp – 2016

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

August 8, 2023    Less – Andrew Sean Greer – 272 pp. — 2017

Well written, insightful in humorous ways. Reminds me of Stegner a bit. Gay writer on world tour of writing retreats, trying to forget ex and get handle on with his life at 50. Light and funny… with dabs of dark.

A struggling novelist travels the world to avoid an awkward wedding in this hilarious Pulitzer Prize-winning novel full of “arresting lyricism and beauty” (The New York Times Book Review).

September 12, 2023   Mendeleyev’s Dream, by Paul Strathern. 2019, 320 pp. The history of chemistry is filled with quirky characters like Dimitri Mendeleyev, the Russian scientist who first proposed the periodic table after it allegedly came to him in a dream. Strathern’s book traces that history all the way back to its origins in ancient Greece. It’s a fascinating look at how science develops and how human curiosity has evolved over the millennia.

October 10, 2023    Silverview by John le Carré – 2021 – 215 pp.     In his last completed novel, John le Carré turns his focus to the world that occupied his writing for the past sixty years—the secret world itself.

“[Le Carré] was often considered one of the finest novelists, period, since World War II. It’s not that he ‘transcended the genre,’ as the tired saying goes; it’s that he elevated the level of play… [Silverview’s] sense of moral ambivalence remains exquisitely calibrated.” —The New York Times Book Review

Silverview is the mesmerizing story of an encounter between innocence and experience and between public duty and private morals. In his inimitable voice John le Carré, the greatest chronicler of our age, seeks to answer the question of what we truly owe to the people we love.

November 14, 2023    Mouth to Mouth by Antoine Wilson – 2022, 192 pp.   ONE OF BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2022 * An NPR and Time Best Book of the Year * Longlisted for the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize (Canada) * Finalist for CALIBA’s 2022 Golden Poppy Awards

A successful art dealer confesses the story of his meteoric rise in this “powerful, intoxicating, and shocking” (The New York Times) novel that’s a “slow burn à la Patricia Highsmith” (Oprah Daily). “You’ll struggle not to rip through in one sitting” (Vogue).

December 12, 2021   Kindred by  Octavia Butler – 2009, 264 pp. “In what is considered a literary masterpiece and Butler’s most popular novel, Kindred follows a young Black woman named Dana. Though she lives in 1976 L.A., she’s suddenly transported to a Civil War-era plantation in Maryland. Soon, the more frequently Dana travels back in time, the longer she stays, as she faces a danger that threatens her life in the future.”

Book Group Meeting — December 13, 2022 — In Person and Google Meet — 12:30 or 2 pm

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In December we will discuss Captains of the Sands by Jorge Amado. We are invited to lunch together in Palermo and to discuss the book in person afterwards or you can join us on Google Meet at 2 pm, Tuesday, December 13. This is the second Tuesday of the month, as usual. To RSVP and to receive the address or Google Meet ID, please email tonilin@aol.com.

This will be the last book we discuss in 2022. What a good reading and discussing year it has been!

The list of books to be read and discussed by the BAIN Downtown Book Group for 2023 is now being prepared. If you would like to participate in the selection, if you want to see the draft list, or if you have a suggestion for next year, please email tonilin@aol.com. Your input is vital!

December 2022 — Captains of the Sands – Jorge Amado – 288 pp – 2013 — A Brazilian Lord of the Flies, about a group of boys who live by their wits and daring in the slums of Bahia.  “Amado was writing to save his country’s soul. . . . The scenes where the captains of the sands manage to fool the rich of the city and get away with it would have made Henry Fielding or Charles Dickens proud.” —Colm Tóibín, from the Introduction
“Amado is Brazil’s most illustrious and venerable novelist.”—The New York Times

“Brazil’s leading man of letters . . .  Amado is adored around the world!” —Newsweek

Book Group Meeting — Tuesday, November 8, 2 pm, Google Meet and In Person

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In November we will discuss The Post Office Girl by Stefan Zweig. We are invited to lunch together in Palermo and discuss the book in person afterwards or you can join us on Google Meet at 2 pm, Tuesday, November 8. This is the second Tuesday of the month, as usual. To RSVP and to receive the address or Google Meet ID, please email tonilin@aol.com.

The list of books to be read and discussed by the BAIN Downtown Book Group for the remainder of 2022 appears below. Recommendations for 2023 are welcome. Please!

November 2022 — The Post Office Girl – Stefan Zweig —  2008 – 278 pp — Never before published in English, this extraordinary book is an unexpected and haunting foray into noir fiction by one of the masters of the psychological novel.

December 2022 — Captains of the Sands – Jorge Amado – 288 pp – 2013 — A Brazilian Lord of the Flies, about a group of boys who live by their wits and daring in the slums of Bahia.  “Amado was writing to save his country’s soul. . . . The scenes where the captains of the sands manage to fool the rich of the city and get away with it would have made Henry Fielding or Charles Dickens proud.” —Colm Tóibín, from the Introduction
“Amado is Brazil’s most illustrious and venerable novelist.”—The New York Times

“Brazil’s leading man of letters . . .  Amado is adored around the world!” —Newsweek

Book Group Meeting — Tuesday, October 11

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In October we will discuss Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy. We can have lunch together in Palermo and discuss the book in person afterwards or you can join us on Google Meet at 2 pm, Tuesday, October 11. This is the second Tuesday of the month, as usual. To RSVP and to receive the address or Google Meet ID, please email tonilin@aol.com.

The list of books to be read and discussed by the BAIN Downtown Book Group for the remainder of 2022 appears below. Recommendations for 2023 are welcome. Please!

October 2022 — Migrations – Charlotte McConaghy — 228 pp – 2021— An Amazon Best Book of August 2020: Clear your calendar and settle in for a brilliant and breathless read. Migrations is about a woman who goes to the ends of the earth in search of herself and to track what just might be the last migration of Arctic terns, birds that travel from pole to pole every year. It’s also about love, adventure, climate change, and what happens when a person simultaneously runs away from her past and runs straight towards it. Migrations gets richer with every scene as you learn more about Franny Stone—why she boards a boat full of fishermen, why birds call to her, how she fell in love with her husband, and how death stalks her at every turn. From Antarctica to a prison in Ireland, Australia to Galway, Franny traverses the world and with every turn of the page, you learn more about why she’s always on the move. The novel’s pacing is phenomenal—and the candor, veracity, and clarity with which it’s written make it feel like a memoir. Migrations is confessional, intimate and one of the best books I’ve read this year. —Al Woodworth, Amazon Book Review

November 2022 – The Post Office Girl – Stefan Zweig —  2008 – 278 pp — Never before published in English, this extraordinary book is an unexpected and haunting foray into noir fiction by one of the masters of the psychological novel.

December 2022 — Captains of the Sands – Jorge Amado – 288 pp – 2013 — A Brazilian Lord of the Flies, about a group of boys who live by their wits and daring in the slums of Bahia.  “Amado was writing to save his country’s soul. . . . The scenes where the captains of the sands manage to fool the rich of the city and get away with it would have made Henry Fielding or Charles Dickens proud.” —Colm Tóibín, from the Introduction
“Amado is Brazil’s most illustrious and venerable novelist.”—The New York Times

“Brazil’s leading man of letters . . .  Amado is adored around the world!” —Newsweek

Virtual Book Group on Google Meet — Tuesday, September 13, 2 pm

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In September we will discuss How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue. The meeting will be on Google Meet at 2 pm, Tuesday, September 13. This is the second Tuesday of the month, as usual. To receive the Google Meet ID, please email tonilin@aol.com. The meeting will start at 2 pm.

The list of books to be read and discussed by the BAIN Downtown Book Group for the remainder of 2022 appears below. Recommendations for 2023 are welcome. Please!

September 2022 — How Beautiful We Were — Imbolo Mbue — 2021 — 363 pages — A fearless young woman from a small African village starts a revolution against an American oil company in this sweeping, inspiring novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Behold the Dreamers.

ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times, People ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review,The Washington Post,Esquire, Good Housekeeping,The Christian Science Monitor, Marie ClaireMs. magazine, BookPage,Kirkus Reviews

October 2022 — Migrations – Charlotte Mcconaghy — 228 pp – 2021— An Amazon Best Book of August 2020: Clear your calendar and settle in for a brilliant and breathless read. Migrations is about a woman who goes to the ends of the earth in search of herself and to track what just might be the last migration of Arctic terns, birds that travel from pole to pole every year. It’s also about love, adventure, climate change, and what happens when a person simultaneously runs away from her past and runs straight towards it. Migrations gets richer with every scene as you learn more about Franny Stone—why she boards a boat full of fishermen, why birds call to her, how she fell in love with her husband, and how death stalks her at every turn. From Antarctica to a prison in Ireland, Australia to Galway, Franny traverses the world and with every turn of the page, you learn more about why she’s always on the move. The novel’s pacing is phenomenal—and the candor, veracity, and clarity with which it’s written make it feel like a memoir. Migrations is confessional, intimate and one of the best books I’ve read this year. —Al Woodworth, Amazon Book Review

November 2022 – The Post Office Girl – Stefan Zweig —  2008 – 278 pp — Never before published in English, this extraordinary book is an unexpected and haunting foray into noir fiction by one of the masters of the psychological novel.

December 2022 — Captains of the Sands – Jorge Amado – 288 pp – 2013 — A Brazilian Lord of the Flies, about a group of boys who live by their wits and daring in the slums of Bahia.  “Amado was writing to save his country’s soul. . . . The scenes where the captains of the sands manage to fool the rich of the city and get away with it would have made Henry Fielding or Charles Dickens proud.” —Colm Tóibín, from the Introduction
“Amado is Brazil’s most illustrious and venerable novelist.”—The New York Times

“Brazil’s leading man of letters . . .  Amado is adored around the world!” —Newsweek

Virtual Book Group on Google Meet — Tuesday, August 9, 2022 — at 2 pm

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In August we will discuss The Spectator Bird by Wallace Stegner. The meeting will be on Google Meets at 2 pm, August 9. This is the second Tuesday of the month, as usual. To receive the Google Meet ID, please email tonilin@aol.com. The meeting will start at 2 pm.

The list of books to be read and discussed by the BAIN Downtown Book Group for the remainder of 2022 appears below. Hope to see you there.

August 2022 — The Spectator Bird – Wallace Stegner – 224 pp — 1976 — This tour-de-force of American literature and a winner of the National Book Award is a profound, intimate, affecting novel from one of the most esteemed literary minds of the last century and a beloved chronicler of the West.  “A fabulously written account of regret, memory and the subtleties and challenges of a long successful marriage. Stegner deals with the dual threads of the novel with aplomb…. A thoughtful, crystalline book.” —Matthew Spencer, The Guardian

September 2022 — How Beautiful We Were — Imbolo Mbue — 2021 — A fearless young woman from a small African village starts a revolution against an American oil company in this sweeping, inspiring novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Behold the Dreamers.

ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times, People ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review,The Washington Post,Esquire, Good Housekeeping,The Christian Science Monitor, Marie ClaireMs. magazine, BookPage,Kirkus Reviews

October 2022 — Migrations – Charlotte Mcconaghy — 228 pp – 2021— An Amazon Best Book of August 2020: Clear your calendar and settle in for a brilliant and breathless read. Migrations is about a woman who goes to the ends of the earth in search of herself and to track what just might be the last migration of Arctic terns, birds that travel from pole to pole every year. It’s also about love, adventure, climate change, and what happens when a person simultaneously runs away from her past and runs straight towards it. Migrations gets richer with every scene as you learn more about Franny Stone—why she boards a boat full of fishermen, why birds call to her, how she fell in love with her husband, and how death stalks her at every turn. From Antarctica to a prison in Ireland, Australia to Galway, Franny traverses the world and with every turn of the page, you learn more about why she’s always on the move. The novel’s pacing is phenomenal—and the candor, veracity, and clarity with which it’s written make it feel like a memoir. Migrations is confessional, intimate and one of the best books I’ve read this year. —Al Woodworth, Amazon Book Review

November 2022 – The Post Office Girl – Stefan Zweig —  2008 – 278 pp — Never before published in English, this extraordinary book is an unexpected and haunting foray into noir fiction by one of the masters of the psychological novel.

December 2022 — Captains of the Sands – Jorge Amado – 288 pp – 2013 — A Brazilian Lord of the Flies, about a group of boys who live by their wits and daring in the slums of Bahia.  “Amado was writing to save his country’s soul. . . . The scenes where the captains of the sands manage to fool the rich of the city and get away with it would have made Henry Fielding or Charles Dickens proud.” —Colm Tóibín, from the Introduction
“Amado is Brazil’s most illustrious and venerable novelist.”—The New York Times

“Brazil’s leading man of letters . . .  Amado is adored around the world!” —Newsweek

Virtual Book Group — June 14 — 2 pm — NOTE NEW TIME

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In June we will discuss No Time to Spare by Ursula Leguin. The meeting will be on Google Meets at 2 pm, June 14. This is the second Tuesday of the month, as usual. To receive the meeting ID, please email tonilin@aol.com. The meeting will be an hour later than usual, to accommodate schedules. Please let us know how this time works for you.

The list of books to be read and discussed by the BAIN Downtown Book Group for the remainder of 2022 appears below. Hope to see you there.

June 2022 — No Time to Spare – Ursula Leguin – 240 pagesAn Amazon Best Book of December 2017: Ursula K. Le Guin is comfortable with her age. Or at least she’s comfortable with the fact that it’s not a completely comfortable arrangement. In the opener to this collection of personal essays, Le Guin notes that, now that she’s in her eighties, all her time is occupied by the activities of life—she has no spare time and no time to spare. Le Guin is a thoughtful and careful writer, and so her opinions are thoughtfully and carefully organized. She knows what she thinks, and she writes so well that you’ll want to return to these candid essays—the product of a blog she started when she was 81 years old—like returning to an older, wiser friend. —Chris Schluep, The Amazon Book Review

July 2022 — The Museum of Modern Love – 304 pp — 2018 —  An Amazon Best Book of December 2018: In any other hands, this novel centered around performance artist Marina Abramovic’s famous 2010 MoMA exhibit titled The Artist Is Present might not have worked. But Heather Rose’s poetic language, at once both accessible and heart-searing, is also a work of art. Movie composer Arky Levin is depressed and isolated from the family he’s known for 24 years after being written out of his wife’s legal wishes when she falls into a coma. He should be working on music for a new animated movie, but instead he finds himself sitting on the sidelines watching Marina’s silent performance every day, and over time, he is completely changed by the experience. This is a captivating story on the improbability of life, the power of art to transform our pain, a meditation on the fluidity of time, and the ruse of human separation. –Marlene Kelly

August 2022 — The Spectator Bird – Wallace Stegner – 224 pp —  2017This tour-de-force of American literature and a winner of the National Book Award is a profound, intimate, affecting novel from one of the most esteemed literary minds of the last century and a beloved chronicler of the West.  “A fabulously written account of regret, memory and the subtleties and challenges of a long successful marriage. Stegner deals with the dual threads of the novel with aplomb…. A thoughtful, crystalline book.” —Matthew Spencer, The Guardian

September 2022 — How Beautiful We Were – 284 pp – 2021 — A fearless young woman from a small African village starts a revolution against an American oil company in this sweeping, inspiring novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Behold the Dreamers.

ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times, People  ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, The Christian Science Monitor, Marie ClaireMs. magazine, BookPage, Kirkus Reviews

October 2022 — Migrations – 228 pp – 2021An Amazon Best Book of August 2020: Clear your calendar and settle in for a brilliant and breathless read. Migrations is about a woman who goes to the ends of the earth in search of herself and to track what just might be the last migration of Arctic terns, birds that travel from pole to pole every year. It’s also about love, adventure, climate change, and what happens when a person simultaneously runs away from her past and runs straight towards it. Migrations gets richer with every scene as you learn more about Franny Stone—why she boards a boat full of fishermen, why birds call to her, how she fell in love with her husband, and how death stalks her at every turn. From Antarctica to a prison in Ireland, Australia to Galway, Franny traverses the world and with every turn of the page, you learn more about why she’s always on the move. The novel’s pacing is phenomenal—and the candor, veracity, and clarity with which it’s written make it feel like a memoir. Migrations is confessional, intimate and one of the best books I’ve read this year. —Al Woodworth, Amazon Book Review

November 2022 – The Post Office Girl – Stefan Zweig —  2008 – 278 pp — Never before published in English, this extraordinary book is an unexpected and haunting foray into noir fiction by one of the masters of the psychological novel.

December 2022Captains of the Sands – Jorge Amado – 288 pp – 2013 — A Brazilian Lord of the Flies, about a group of boys who live by their wits and daring in the slums of Bahia.  “Amado was writing to save his country’s soul. . . . The scenes where the captains of the sands manage to fool the rich of the city and get away with it would have made Henry Fielding or Charles Dickens proud.” —Colm Tóibín, from the Introduction
“Amado is Brazil’s most illustrious and venerable novelist.”—The New York Times

“Brazil’s leading man of letters . . .  Amado is adored around the world!” —Newsweek

Virtual Book Group Meeting – June 8th – 1 pm

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The June book is Treasure Island!!! by Sara Levine.  The meeting will be on Google Meets at 1 pm, June 8. This is the second Tuesday of the month, as usual. To receive the meeting ID, please email tonilin@aol.com.

The list of books to be read and discussed by the BAIN Downtown Book Group for the remainder of 2021 appears below. Hope to see you there.

July 21 lessons for the 21st century Yuval Harari — non-fiction 372 pages, 2019
August Train Dreams  Denis Johnson 116 pages, 2012  
September Shuggie Bain Douglas Stuart 384 pages, 2020
October The Dutch House Anne Patchett 352 pages, 2019
November Margaret the First  Danielle Dutton 160 pages, 2016
December One True Thing  Anna Quindlen 289 pages, 1994
January A Pale View of Hills Kazuo Ishiguro 192 pages, 1982
February Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road Kate Harris – non-fiction 320 pp, 2019

Virtual Book Group Meeting – May 11 – 1 pm

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The May book is Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner.  The meeting will be on Google Meets at 1 pm, the second Tuesday of the month, as usual. To receive the meeting ID, please email tonilin@aol.com.

The list of books to be read and discussed by the BAIN Downtown Book Group for the remainder of 2021 appears below. Hope to see you there.

June Treasure Island!!! Sara Levine 172 pages – 2011
July 21 lessons for the 21st century Yuval Harari — non-fiction 372 pages, 2019
August Train Dreams  Denis Johnson 116 pages, 2012  
September Shuggie Bain Douglas Stuart 384 pages, 2020
October The Dutch House Anne Patchett 352 pages, 2019
November Margaret the First  Danielle Dutton 160 pages, 2016
December One True Thing  Anna Quindlen 289 pages, 1994
January A Pale View of Hills Kazuo Ishiguro 192 pages, 1982
February Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road Kate Harris – non-fiction 320 pp, 2019