Required Reading Revisited – February 2016

In The Required Reading Revisited Book Club we focus on books considered “Required Reading” by most educational institutions, i.e. books you read (or were supposed to read) in school – either high school or university.

In January we discussed Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms.

9781476764528We had a number of new book club attendees (thanks, guys!), and enjoyed a lively discussion about this great American novel. It seemed we all liked the book, at least to some degree, though it was generally agreed that all secondary characters (i.e. any character that wasn’t Frederic Henry) were fairly one dimensional… especially the women. Those who had read Hemingway before commented that this was par for the course with his work. All agreed the amount of drinking the soldiers did was incredible, though not necessarily unbelievable. And we ended the discussion by questioning if love that comes out of war is a love that can last, what Hemingway’s moral thoughts about war were and if they were at all elucidated by the novel,  and how the impact of the novel would have been different if Hemingway had decided to use any of the other 37 endings he had written.

In February, in honor of our Valentine’s Day meeting, and also just for a nice change of pace (our last year has been filled with some depressing stories to say the least), we’ll be reading Jane Austen’s Emma!

9780143106463Emma, first published in 1815, explores the difficulties of genteel women in Georgian era England. As is the case in Austen’s other novels, Emma is a strong, intelligent woman with little to do day to day. However, unlike other Austen heroines, Emma is seemingly not interested in marriage for herself, as she has ample financial means. And so, seeing as how she has not much else to do all day, she takes up matchmaking, without taking into consideration the consequences of meddling in other people’s affairs.

Emma has been adapted to film a number of times, the most notable of which are the 1996 comedy starring Gwyneth Paltrow, and Alicia Silverstone’s Clueless in 1995.

The Required Reading Revisited Book Club, hosted by Consuelo Hacker and Sarah Holdgrafer, meets on the 2nd Sunday of every month at 4pm at Book People (the next meeting is Sunday, February 14th). We typically meet on the 3rd floor. Just stop by the 1st floor information desk when you arrive if you are unsure where to go. A Farewell to Arms and Emma are both available online at Use the code BOOK CLUB when purchasing online, or if you come in to the store, mention it’s for Book Club at the registers and you’ll receive 10% off! Join our Facebook page to get all the latest information on what we’re reading! We look forward to talking with you on Sunday, February 14th!

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