Classics Book Group

Classics Book Group!


Join us the third Monday of the month at 7:00pm for our classics bookgroup!   Spanning three centuries, these are the books you’ve always meant to read, but haven’t quite gotten around to.  The group will be led by RiverRun Manager Tom Holbrook.  We’ll be using the Penguin Classic editions, but you can use whatever edition you’ve got.  Come to one, or come to all: You are invited!


January 21st:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain:  Of all the contenders for the title of The Great American Novel, none has a better claim than "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." More than a century after its publication it remains a major work that can be enjoyed at many levels: as an incomparable adventure story and as a classic of American humor.


February 18th:

The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass:  Written more than a century ago by Frederick Douglass, a former slave who went on to become a famous orator, U.S. minister, and a leader of his people, this masterpiece is one of the most eloquent indictments of slavery ever recorded. Douglass's shocking narrative takes the reader into the world of the South's antebellum plantations and reveals the daily terrors he suffered as a slave, shedding invaluable light on one of the most unjust periods in the history of America. 


March 18th:

The Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe: The story of a young man driven to suicide by an unhappy love affair, "The Sorrows of Young Werther" is the first great tragic novel of Eurpean literature.  And, it's really short!  Join us.


April 15th:

Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte:  Agnes Grey is undoubtedly a deeply personal novel, in which Anne Bronte views on the 'contemporary' issue of the treatment of governesses, as well as her passionate religious sympathies, find very deliberate expression; but she also touches on issues of moral behaviour, moral responsibility, and individual integrity and its survival.  Nobody reads Anne Bronte, so let's do it!!


May 20th:

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad:  Exploring the workings of consciousness as well as the grim realities of imperialism, "Heart of Darkness" tells of Marlow, a seaman and wanderer, who journeys into the heart of the African continent to discover how the enigmatic Kurtz has gained power over the local people. 


June 17th:

My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin:  Miles Franklin began the candid, passionate, and contrary "My Brilliant Career" when she was only sixteen, intending it to be the Australian answer to "Jane Eyre." But the book she produced-a thinly veiled autobiographical novel about a young girl hungering for life and love in the outback-so scandalized her country upon its appearance in 1901 that she insisted it not be published again until ten years after her death.


July 15th:

The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore:  Set on a Bengali noble's estate in 1908, this is both a love story and a novel of political awakening. The central character, Bimala, is torn between the duties owed to her husband, Nikhil, and the demands made on her by the radical leader, Sandip. Her attempts to resolve the irreconciliable pressures of the home and world reflect the conflict in India itself, and the tragic outcome foreshadows the unrest that accompanied Partition in 1947.


August 19th:

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson:  The tale is told by an adventurous boy, Jim Hawkins, who spirits a treasure map away from the clutches of the menacing Blind Pew. Like his American soulmate Tom Sawyer, young Jim repeatedly disobeys the orders of his adult companions -- and by so doing always saves the day.  Celebrate summer with high-seas adventure.


September 16th:

A Country Doctor by Sarah Orne Jewitt: Brimming with period realism and layers of thematic depth, this novel is both a luminous portrayal of rural Maine and a semi-autobiographical look at Jewett's world in the late 19th century. In it, Nan's struggle to choose between marriage and a career as a doctor, between the confining life of a small town and a self-directed one as a professional, mirrors Jewett's own conflicts. It also eloquently gives voice to the women's issues of Jewett's time, cementing her as an icon in American literature. 


October 21st:

Passing by Nella Larsen: The landmark novel about the cultural meaning of race, first published in 1929, is a remarkably candid exploration of shifting racial and sexual boundaries which tells the story of two African-American women who must confront lies and secret fears.  


November 18th:

The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz: The Street of Crocodiles in the Polish city of Drogobych is a street of memories and dreams where recollections of Bruno Schulz's uncommon boyhood and of the eerie side of his merchant family's life are evoked in a startling blend of the real and the fantastic. Most memorable - and most chilling - is the portrait of the author's father, a maddened shopkeeper who imports rare birds' eggs to hatch in his attic, who believes tailors' dummies should be treated like people, and whose obsessive fear of cockroaches causes him to resemble one. Bruno Schulz, a Polish Jew killed by the Nazis in 1942, is considered by many to have been the leading Polish writer between the two world wars.


December 16th:

The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan: Richard Hannay has just returned to England after years in South Africa and is thoroughly bored with his life in London. But then a murder is committed in his flat, just days after a chance encounter with an American who had told him about an assassination plot that could have dire international consequences. An obvious suspect for the police and an easy target for the killers, Hannay goes on the run in his native Scotland where he will need all his courage and ingenuity to stay one step ahead of his pursuers.