All book discussions will meet on Mondays in the Hodges Reading Room
Monday, February 24, 2014 at 4:00 pm: Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves.
Faculty Discussion Leader: Dr. Ron Cassell, History.
In 1929, Robert Graves published his memoir of World War I. Now remembered more perhaps for I, Claudius and his poetry, Goodbye to All That was an instant best seller--running "through some 30,000 copies within the first few weeks of its publication," according to the Times of London. In his introduction of the book, historian Paul Fussell notes "one thing that makes Goodbye to All That so permanently readable is its happy management of the literal by imposing on it such devices of fiction as suspense, surprise, and irony."
Abe Books produced a great video review of the book, which you can see here.
Monday, March 17, 2014 at 7:00 pm: The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West.
Faculty Discussion Leader: Dr. Keith Cushman, English.
Rebecca West was a renowned journalist, critic, and novelist. Her first novel, The Return of the Soldier, was published before the war ended. An early review in The New York Times sums up the plot,"Since the outbreak of the great war all sorts of situations have entered into hitherto peaceful and commonplace private lives, situations many of which are full of dramatic and tragic possibilities. And although the case of amnesia upon which Rebecca West founds her novel would not have been impossible in time of peace, it is far more probable in time of war. It was shell-shock which made Christopher Baldry lose his memory, forget all that had taken place during fifteen years, and go back to the time when he was a boy of 21. . . It is of what happened after he came back home to the wife, whose very existence he had forgotten, that the book tells."
Open Road Media has produced a brief video to introduce readers to West.
Monday, April 21, 2014 at 4:00 pm: Serena by Ron Rash.
Faculty Discussion Leader: Dr. Elizabeth Chiseri-Strater, English.
The Washington Post's review sums up the novel well: "Serena, the Lady Macbeth of Ron Rash's stirring new novel, wouldn't fret about getting out the damned spot. She wouldn't even wash her hands; she'd just lick it off. I couldn't take my eyes off this villainess, and any character who does ends up dead. Alluring and repellant, she's the engine in a gothic tale of personal mayhem and environmental destruction set in the mountains of North Carolina during the Depression."