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December 2023 Book, Crossing to Safety

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  Talk About Books meets every third Wednesday of the month at the Guilford Free Library at 6:30. On December 20th we will be discussing Wallace Stegner's novel, Crossing to Safety. Stegner is known as one of the "grand masters of American fiction". Set during the Depression in the mid 1930's, this is the story of two couples who form a fast, lifelong friendship. There is the open, couple from the West, with talents and dreams, but no prospects or connections who meets an open couple from the East with wealth, lakeside cottages, long lines of family certainties and generosity. Through the magic of friendship, what could have been a story of dreams and broken lives becomes a story of acceptance and affirmation. Stegner writes of the pleasures and perils and occasional penalties of closeness and about how much forgiveness can ever be given, or asked.

November 2023 Book, West With Giraffes

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  Talk About Books meets every third Wednesday of the month at Guilford Free Library at 6:30. In this novel of historical fiction, Woodrow Wilson Nickel, age 105, feels his life ebbing away. But when he learns giraffes are going extinct, he finds himself recalling the unforgettable experience he cannot take to his grave. It’s 1938. The Great Depression lingers. Hitler is threatening Europe, and world-weary Americans long for wonder. They find it in two giraffes who miraculously survive a hurricane while crossing the Atlantic. What follows is a twelve-day road trip in a custom truck to deliver Southern California’s first giraffes to the San Diego Zoo. Behind the wheel is the young Dust Bowl rowdy Woodrow. Inspired by true events, the tale weaves real-life figures with fictional ones, including the world’s first female zoo director, a crusty old man with a past, a young female photographer with a secret, and assorted reprobates as spotty as the giraffes. Part adventure, part

October 2023 Book , Go with Me

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Talk About Books meets every third Wednesday of the month at 6:30 at Guilford Free Library.  The October 2023 selection is a short novel of only 160 pages, set in backwoods Vermont where the local villain, Blackway, is making life hellish for Lillian, a young woman from outside the area. Her boyfriend has fled the state in fear, and local law enforcement can do nothing to protect her. She resolves to stand her ground, and to fight back. Lillian enlists the powerful brute Nate and the wily old-timer Lester to take the fight to her tormenter whilst an eccentric Greek chorus of locals ponders her likely fate.   The novel was inspired by Thomas Malory's King Arthur Tales, specifically "The Tale of Sir Gareth of Orkney".  This unusual little gem of a book is part comic romp and part nail-biting thriller. Castle Freeman writes with both wit and a deep understanding of the human psyche, and he does not cheat us out of a dramatic climax.

September 2023 Book, The House of Spirits

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  Isabel Allende's first novel, The House of the Spirits, takes place in Chile and tells the story of four generations of characters, beginning with the intersection of the del Valle family and the Trueba family before the start of World War I. As a young man, Esteban Trueba becomes engaged to the beautiful Rosa del Valle, who looks strikingly like a mermaid. Later, Esteban becomes a wealthy landowner, or patron . He eventually marries Rosa's sister Clara, the youngest of the wealthy and politically active del Valles, who communicates with spirits and can see the future. Esteban becomes a senator, but his way of life is threatened by political war between the right-wing conservatives he supports and the Marxist underclasses, and then by a violent government takeover by militarists. Meanwhile, the Trueba children follow very different paths in their choice of lovers and careers. Two generations -- Esteban and his granddaughter, Alba -- tell their family's story,

July 2023 Book, Altar to an Erupting Sun

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Talk About Books meets every third Wednesday of the month at the Guilford Free Library at 6:30.  As we are anticipating a larger than usual turn-out, we will hold the July discussion at the Broad Brook Community Center, next door to the library. Altar to an Erupting Sun  is a near-future story of one community facing climate disruption in the critical decade ahead.   Rae Kelliher is a veteran environmental activist and pioneer in the death-with-dignity movement. Facing a diagnosis of terminal illness, she engages in a shocking suicide murder, taking the life of an oil company CEO for his role in delaying responses to climate disruption. Seven years later, Rae’s friends and family gather at her Vermont farm community to try to understand her violent exit and the rapid social transformations around them.     Chuck Collins  is a Guilford Vermont resident. He is a campaigner and storyteller who has worked for decades on environmental and economic justice campaigns. He is the Dire

June 2023 Book, In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss

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Talk About Books meets every third Wednesday of the month at 6:30 at Guilford Free Library. All are welcome to join the discussion. Contact the library if you wish to get a copy of the current book.  Amy Bloom's memoir is an illuminating story of two people whose love leads them to find a courageous way to part--and of a woman's struggle to go forward in the face of loss. Amy Bloom began to notice changes in her husband, Brian: He retired early from a new job he loved; he withdrew from close friendships; he talked mostly about the past. Suddenly, it seemed there was a glass wall between them, and their long walks and talks stopped. Their world was altered forever when an MRI confirmed what they could no longer ignore: Brian had Alzheimer's disease. Forced to confront the truth of the diagnosis and its impact on the future he had envisioned, Brian was determined to die on his feet, not live on his knees. Supporting each other in their last journey together, Brian

May 2023 Book, Half Broke Horses

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  Talk About Books meets every third Wednesday of the month at 6:30 at the Guilford Free Library.   In Half Broke Horses , Jeannette Walls brings us the story of her grandmother, told in a first-person voice that is authentic, irresistible, and triumphant. "Those old cows knew trouble was coming before we did." So begins the story of Lily Casey Smith, Jeannette Walls's no nonsense, resourceful, and spectacularly compelling grandmother. By age six, Lily was helping her father break horses. At fifteen, she left home to teach in a frontier town -- riding five hundred miles on her pony, alone, to get to her job. She learned to drive a car ("I loved cars even more than I loved horses. They didn't need to be fed if they weren't working, and they didn't leave big piles of manure all over the place") and fly a plane. And, with her husband Jim, she ran a vast ranch in Arizona. She raised two children, one of whom is Jeannette's memorable moth