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What are you reading?

Reading with Book Clubs
by Stephen Kaye
Fri Jan 1st, 2016

Reid’s Book Club is reading The Year Of Lear by Columbia professor James Shapiro, a Shakespeare specialist.  It looks at Lear from the point of view of the historical events—the transition from Elizabeth to James I; the growing intolerance of the Protestant rulers to Catholicism; the Gun Powder plot; the role of Shakespeare’s company becoming the King’s Players with regular performances put on at the royal palace; the plague, which delayed the King’s entry into London, and the background issue:  Who is sovereign, the King or the people?  Shapiro uncovers the play’s references to these events that suggest the King and the general theater-going public were keen listeners.

Recent books read by the Reid Book Club included Middlemarch, thought to be the best of the 19th century novels, and one of the longest.  It was too long for many members, so they switched to a short autobiography by Fredrick Douglass.  George Eliot and Frederick Douglass are unlikely stable mates. 

Literature gets more international every year. Do you suppose that Svetlana Alexievich will be on many book club’s reading list?  She is this year’s Nobel Prize winner.

Millbrook Library Book group:  The January pick is Masie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear, the first in a series of 12 detective novels. Meets Thursday, January 21 at noon. New members are welcome. Call 677-3611 for more information and to reserve the book.

Book Clubs are invited to post their selections here.