Page 1

Arden
Dimick
Library
Open
Book
Club
–
Summer
2010
Books
 Particular People in Specific Places  


***


SUNDAY,
MAY
16,
2‐3:30
–
The Elegance of the Hedgehog,
by
Muriel
Barbery


 Renée
Michel
is
the
dumpy,
nondescript,
54‐year‐old
concierge
of
a
small
and
exclusive
Paris
apartment
 building.
Its
handful
of
tenants
include
a
celebrated
restaurant
critic,
high
government
officials
and
 members
of
the
old
nobility.
Every
day
these
residents
pass
by
the
loge
of
Madame
Michel
and,
unless
 they
want
something
from
her,
scarcely
notice
that
she
is
alive.
As
it
happens,
Renée
Michel
prefers
it
that
 way.
There
is
far
more
to
her
than
meets
the
eye.
 Paloma
Josse
also
lives
in
the
building.
Acutely
intelligent,
introspective
and
philosophical,
this
12‐year‐old
 views
the
world
as
absurd
and
records
her
observations
about
it
in
her
journal.
She
despises
her
coddled
 existence,
her
older
sister
Colombe
(who
is
studying
at
the
École
normale
supérieure),
and
her
well‐to‐do
 parents,
especially
her
plant‐obsessed
mother.
After
careful
consideration
of
what
life
is
like,
Paloma
has
 secretly
decided
to
kill
herself
on
her
13th
birthday.
 These
two
characters
provide
the
double
narrative
of
The
Elegance
of
the
Hedgehog,
and
you
will
‐‐
this
is
 going
to
sound
corny
‐‐
fall
in
love
with
both. (Michael
Dirda,
Washington Post Book World)


***


SUNDAY,
JUNE
13,
2‐3:30
–
Zeitoun,
by
Dave
Eggers
 Imagine
Charles
Dickens,
his
sentimentality
in
check
but
his
journalistic
eyes
wide
open,
roaming
New
 Orleans
after
it
was
buried
by
Hurricane
Katrina.
He
would
find
anger
and
pathos.
A
dark
fable,
perhaps.
 His
villains
would
be
evil
and
incompetent,
even
without
Heckuva‐Job‐Brownie.
In
the
end,
though,
he
 would
not
be
able
to
constrain
himself;
his
outrage
might
overwhelm
the
tale.
 In
Zeitoun,
what
Dave
Eggers
has
found
in
the
Katrina
mud
is
the
full‐fleshed
story
of
a
single
family,
and
 in
telling
that
story
he
hits
larger
targets
with
more
punch
than
those
who
have
already
attacked
the
 thematic
and
historic
giants
of
this
disaster.
It’s
the
stuff
of
great
narrative
nonfiction.

(Timothy
Egan,
 New York Times)


***


SUNDAY,
JULY
18,
2‐3:30
– Digging to America,
by
Ann
Tyler  The
retail
anthropologist
Paco
Underhill,
who
travels
the
world
doing
behavioral
market
research,
has
 identified
a
group
he
calls
expat‐expats:
people
who
have
left
their
own
land
to
take
up
residence
 elsewhere,
but
settle
in
an
enclave
of
foreigners
like
themselves.
In
her
17th
novel,
Anne
Tyler
reminds
us
 that
the
United
States
has
sheltered
many
such
individuals.
And
at
the
turn
of
the
21st
century,
the
littlest
 expats
—
foreign
babies
adopted
from
abroad
—
have
added
a
further
twist
to
our
national
mosaic,
linked
 not
so
much
to
a
country
as
to
an
idea
of
belonging.

 In
"Digging
to
America,"
two
families
meet
in
the
summer
of
1997
at
a
Baltimore
airport
lounge
as
each
 awaits
the
arrival
of
a
baby
girl
from
Korea.
Bitsy
and
Brad
Donaldson's
all‐American
entourage
drips
with
 adoption
"flair":
buttons
that
read
"MOM,"
"DAD,"
"GRANDMA"
and
"GRANDPA"
("twice
over");
"flotillas
 of
silvery
balloons
printed
with
IT'S
A
GIRL!";
half
a
dozen
video
cameras,
an
infant
car
seat,
a
skirted
 bassinet
and
so
on.
The
other
expectant
couple,
Sami
and
Ziba
Yazdan,
"foreign‐looking,
olive‐skinned
and
 attractive,"
linger
on
the
sidelines,
balloonless,
accompanied
only
by
Sami's
regally
reserved
Iranian‐born
 mother,
Maryam.
 Improbably,
the
two
families
strike
up
a
lasting
friendship.
(Liesl
Schillinger,
New York Times)


Summer 2010 Book Series, Particular People in Particular Places  

Introduces the three books Arden Dimick's Open Book Club will read in Summer 2010 -- The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Zeitoun and Digging to Am...

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