SF Book Discussion

Upcoming event

Book Discussion: The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe by David Kertzer

Thu, Oct 8 2015 - 5:30pm
Pius XI, who was pope during Mussolini’s rise to power in the 1920s, arranged to accept Il Duce’s political dominance in return for assurances of rights and privileges for the church. Over time, Pius XI became conflicted about fascism and Italy’s alliance with Nazi Germany. He prepared a statement condemning the Nazis as he was dying in 1938, but others in the Vatican prevented the original draft from being distributed. Kertzer explores ecclesiastical skullduggery and intrigue, including information revealed in recently opened Vatican archives.
Upcoming event

Book Discussion: The Pope & Mussolini

Tue, Sep 8 2015 - 5:30pm

Pius XI, who was pope during Mussolini’s rise to power in the 1920s, arranged to accept Il Duce’s political dominance in return for assurances of rights and privileges for the church. Over time, Pius XI became conflicted about fascism and Italy’s alliance with Nazi Germany. He prepared a statement condemning the Nazis as he was dying in 1938, but others in the Vatican prevented the original draft from being distributed. Kertzer explores ecclesiastical skullduggery and intrigue, including information revealed in recently opened Vatican archives.

Past event

Book Discussion: Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking by Anya Von Bremzen

Mon, Jun 1 2015 - 5:30pm

A witty, warm and engaging book about Russians and the food obsessions of Soviet life; it is also a culinary history of the Russian Revolution and its consequences. In the great tradition of Russian memoirs, it presents a view of the country's past and culture in the mode of “laughter through tears.” A delicious read complete with recipes.

Past event

Book Discussion: The Last of the Wine, by Mary Renault

Mon, May 4 2015 - 5:30pm

In The Last of the Wine, the long Peloponnesian War against Sparta underpins a story centering on the life of Athens and the circle of young men around Socrates. The novel focuses on the coming to manhood of its narrator, a young Athenian nobleman named Alexias, and of Lysis, the man who becomes the love of Alexias' life. The novel's chief concern is the sort of Greek love that inspired Plato's great dialogues, Symposium and Phaedrus. Read more »

Past event

Book Discussion: You Are One of Them: A Novel About Secrets, Betrayal, and the Friend Who Got Away, by Elliott Holt

Mon, Apr 6 2015 - 5:30pm

Though Russia figures in this book, the subtitle best describes the work: A Novel About Secrets, Betrayal, and the Friend Who Got Away. Set in Cold War America and post-Soviet Russia, it is a mystery at the heart of which lies the story of the affection between girls and young women, love and loss. Inspired by the media sensation surrounding the letter of an American girl, Samantha Smith, to Yuri Andropov, the book has intrigue, plot twists, and ambiguity.

Past event

Book Discussion: The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why it Endures by Nicholas Wade

Image - Book Discussion: The Faith Instinct
Mon, Mar 2 2015 - 5:30pm

In The Faith Instinct, Wade investigates humanity’s transforming propensity for religion, showing how our innate piety has adapted to changing needs and conditions. Beginning as hunter-gatherers, humans were able to experience independent and personal access to the divine. Read more »

Past event

Book Discussion: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

Image - Book Discussion: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (MLF)
Mon, Feb 9 2015 - 5:30pm

The Master and Margarita is woven around a visit by the devil to the fervently atheistic Soviet Union. In part, it is angled against a suffocatingly bureaucratic social order. The novel alternates between two settings. The first is 1930s Moscow, and the second setting is the Jerusalem of Pontius Pilate. Read more »

Past event

Book Discussion of The Flamethrowers by Rachael Kushner

Image - Book Discussion of The Flamethrowers by Rachael Kushner
Mon, Jan 5 2015 - 5:30pm

In The Flamethrowers, Kushner skillfully navigates huge swaths of politics and history, intimately intersecting the vivid lives of her characters with the external reality in which they move. Read more »

Past event

Book Discussion: Lawrence in Arabia, by Scott Anderson

Image - Book Discussion: Lawrence in Arabia, by Scott Anderson
Mon, Dec 1 2014 - 5:30pm

The Arab Revolt against the Turks in World War I was, in the words of T.E. Lawrence, “a sideshow of a sideshow” – a conflict shaped by a small handful of adventurers far removed from the corridors of power. At the center of it all was Lawrence himself. In early 1914 he was an archaeologist excavating ruins in Syria; by 1917 he was riding into legend at the head of an Arab army while fighting a rearguard action against his own government’s imperial ambitions. Read more »

Past event

Book Discussion: Mao II by Don DeLillo

Image - Book Discussion: Mao II by Don DeLillo
Mon, Nov 3 2014 - 5:30pm

Don DeLillo presents a novel about words and images, novelists and terrorists, the arch-individualist and the mass mind. The novel centers on Bill Gray, a famous reclusive writer who abandons the novel he has been writing for many years and enters a world of political violence, Semtex explosives and hostages locked in basement rooms. Mao II is Don DeLillo's 10th novel. It won the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1992.

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