Let’s Talk About It: Literature Series

Posted on January 28, 2013. Filed under: Event, Fiction | Tags: , , |

Join Benjamin Goluboff, associate professor of English and winner of the ”Great Teacher Award” at Lake Forest College, for a five-part series on the theme of “awards and accolades.” Class sessions are comprised of readings, lectures and engaging group discussions.

Registration is required at the Alliance for Lifelong Learning Office, Room A120, Skokie Campus or Room 1420, Des Plaines Campus. Registration Code: CSP E29-01 [CRN 40909]

Part 1: January 30, 7-8:30 p.m.

Seize the Day
by Saul Bellow

Seize the Day, first published in 1956, is considered … one of the great works of 20th century literature. Seize the Day was Saul Bellow’s fourth novel. It was written in the 1950s, a formative period in the creation of the middle class in the United States.

The story centers around a day in the life of Wilhelm Adler (aka Tommy Wilhelm), a failed actor in his forties. Wilhelm is unemployed, impecunious, separated from his wife (who refuses to agree to a divorce), and estranged from his children and his father. He is also stuck with the same immaturity and lack of insight which has brought him to failure. In Seize the Day Wilhelm experiences a day of reckoning as he is forced to examine his life and to finally accept the ‘burden of self'” (Wikipedia).

Part 2: February 27, 7-8:30 p.m.

book cover for What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne FrankWhat We talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank
by Nathan Englander

“These eight new stories from the celebrated novelist and short-story writer Nathan Englander display a gifted young author grappling with the great questions of modern life, with a command of language and the imagination that place Englander at the very forefront of contemporary American fiction.

The title story, inspired by Raymond Carver’s masterpiece, is a provocative portrait of two marriages in which the Holocaust is played out as a devastating parlor game. In the outlandishly dark ‘Camp Sundown’ vigilante justice is undertaken by a group of geriatric campers in a bucolic summer enclave. ‘Free Fruit for Young Widows’ is a small, sharp study in evil, lovingly told by a father to a son. ‘Sister Hills’ chronicles the history of Israel’s settlements from the eve of the Yom Kippur War through the present, a political fable constructed around the tale of two mothers who strike a terrible bargain to save a child. Marking a return to two of Englander’s classic themes, ‘Peep Show’ and ‘How We Avenged the Blums’ wrestle with sexual longing and ingenuity in the face of adversity and peril. And ‘Everything I Know About My Family on My Mother’s Side’ is suffused with an intimacy and tenderness that break new ground for a writer who seems constantly to be expanding the parameters of what he can achieve in the short form” (enriched content provided by Syndetics).

Part 3: March 20, 7-8:30 p.m.

book cover for The Septembers of ShirazThe Septembers of Shiraz
by Dalia Sofer

“In the aftermath of the Iranian revolution, rare-gem dealer Isaac Amin is arrested, wrongly accused of being a spy. Terrified by his disappearance, his family must reconcile a new world of cruelty and chaos with the collapse of everything they have known.

As Isaac navigates the terrors of prison, and his wife feverishly searches for him, his children struggle with the realization that their family may soon be forced to embark on a journey of incalculable danger” (enriched content provided by Syndetics).

Part 4: April 10, 7-8:30 p.m.

book cover for The World To ComeThe World to Come
by Dara Horn

“A million-dollar painting by Marc Chagall is stolen from a museum. The unlikely thief is Benjamin Ziskind, a thirty-year-old quiz-show writer. As Benjamin and his twin sister try to evade the police, they find themselves recalling their dead parents—the father who lost a leg in Vietnam, the mother who created children’s books—and their stories about trust, loss, and betrayal.

What is true, what is fake, what does it mean? Eighty years before the theft, these questions haunted Chagall and the enigmatic Yiddish fabulist Der Nister (‘The Hidden One’), teachers at a school for Jewish orphans. Both the painting and the questions will travel through time to shape the Ziskinds’ futures.

With astonishing grace and simplicity, Dara Horn interweaves a real art heist, history, biography, theology, and Yiddish literature. Richly satisfying, utterly unique, her novel opens the door to “the world to come”—not life after death, but the world we create through our actions right now” (Barnes and Noble).

Part 5: May 1, 7-8:30 p.m.

book cover for The FixerThe Fixer
by Bernard Malamud

“Set in Kiev in 1911 during a period of heightened anti-Semitism, the novel tells the story of Yakov Bok, a Jewish handyman blamed for the brutal murder of a young Russian boy. Bok leaves his village to try his luck in Kiev, and after denying his Jewish identity, finds himself working for a member of the anti-Semitic Black Hundreds Society. When the boy is found nearly drained of blood in a cave, the Black Hundreds accuse the Jews of ritual murder. Arrested and imprisoned, Bok refuses to confess to a crime that he did not commit” (enriched content provided by Syndetics).

-posted by Kevin Purtell

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