Book club home Forthcoming books Previous books Frequently Asked Questions Finding books Contact us
The Connect Book Club
  Forthcoming books
Book for August 21, 2019
Group 4
Nothing To Be frightened Of
Nothing To Be frightened Of
Two years after the best-selling Arthur & George, Julian Barnes gives us a memoir on mortality that touches on faith and science and family as well as a rich array of exemplary figures who over the centuries have confronted the same questions he now poses about the most basic fact of life: its inevitable extinction. If the fear of death is “the most rational thing in the world,” how does one contend with it? An atheist at twenty, an agnostic at sixty, Barnes looks into the various arguments for and against and with God, and at the bloodline whose archivist, following his parents’ death, he has become—another realm of mystery, wherein a drawer of mementos and his own memories (not to mention those of his philosopher brother) often fail to connect. There are other ancestors, too: the writers—“most of them dead, and quite a few of them French"—who are his daily companions, supplemented by composers and theologians and scientists whose similar explorations are woven into this account with an exhilarating breadth of intellect and felicity of spirit. Deadly serious, masterfully playful, and surprisingly hilarious, Nothing to Be Frightened Of is a riveting display of how this supremely gifted writer goes about his business and a highly personal tour of the human condition and what might follow the final diagnosis.

Author: Julian Barnes
(born 19 January 1946 in Leicester, England) is a contemporary English writer, and winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize, for his book The Sense of an Ending. Three of his earlier books had been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize: Flaubert's Parrot (1984), England, England (1998), and Arthur & George (2005).

Barnes has written crime fiction under the pseudonym Dan Kavanagh. Barnes is one of the best-loved English writers in France, where he has won several literary prizes, including the Prix Médicis for Flaubert’s Parrot and the Prix Femina for Talking It Over. He is an officer of L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Book for September 04, 2019
Group 3
Meeting at Vicky's place
Everything is Illuminated
Everything is Illuminated

was first published in 2002. The novel's protagonist, also named Jonathan Safran Foer, travels to Ukraine to find a woman who might or might not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Accompanied by an old man haunted by memories of the war and a young Ukrainian translator Jonathan makes a quixotic journey into an unexpected past.

More about this novel.


Author: Jonathan Safran Foer
(born February 21, 1977) is an American novelist. He is best known for his novels Everything Is Illuminated (2002), Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2005), and for his non-fiction work Eating Animals (2009). His most recent novel, Here I Am, was published in 2016. He teaches creative writing at New York University.
Book for September 11, 2019
Group 2
Milkman
Milkman
Milkman is a novel written by Anna Burns. It won the 2018 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, the first time a Northern Irish writer has been awarded the prize.

Set during The Troubles in Northern Ireland, the story follows an 18-year-old girl who is harassed by an older married man known as the "milkman". The novel received positive reviews from The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and The Irish Times.

‘The language of Anna Burns’ Milkman is simply marvellous; beginning with the distinctive and consistently realised voice of the funny, resilient, astute, plain-spoken, first-person protagonist. From the opening page her words pull us into the daily violence of her world — threats of murder, people killed by state hit squads — while responding to the everyday realities of her life as a young woman, negotiating a way between the demands of family, friends and lovers in an unsettled time. The novel delineates brilliantly the power of gossip and social pressure in a tight-knit community, and shows how both rumour and political loyalties can be put in the service of a relentless campaign of individual sexual harassment. Burns draws on the experience of Northern Ireland during the Troubles to portray a world that allows individuals to abuse the power granted by a community to those who resist the state on their behalf. Yet this is never a novel about just one place or time. The local is in service to an exploration of the universal experience of societies in crisis.’

Author: Anna Burns
Anna Burns (born 1962) is a Northern Irish Booker Prize winning author.

Her first novel, No Bones, is an account of a girl's life growing up in Belfast during the Troubles. Among the novels that depict the Troubles within the Literature of Northern Ireland, No Bones is considered an important work, and has been compared to Dubliners by James Joyce for its capture of the everyday language of the people of Belfast. Dysfunctional family in the novel symbolizes the Northern Ireland political situation. No Bones won the 2001 Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize presented by the Royal Society of Literature for the best regional novel of the year in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Her second novel, Little Constructions, was published in 2007 by Fourth Estate (an imprint of HarperCollins). It is a darkly comic and ironic tale centered on a woman from a tightly-knit family of criminals on a mission of retribution.

In 2018, Burns won the Man Booker Prize for her novel Milkman making her the first Northern Irish writer to win the award. After the ceremony, Graywolf Press announced that it will publish "Milkman" in the U.S. on December 11, 2018. Milkman is an experimental novel in which the narrator is an unnamed 18 year old girl known as “middle sister”, who is being stalked by a much older paramilitary figure, the Milkman.
Book for September 13, 2019
Group 1
Pachinko
Pachinko
A saga about four generations of a poor Korean immigrant family fight to control their destiny in 20th-century Japan, exiled from their home. Pachinko follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan.

So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity.

Author: Min Jin Lee
Min Jin Lee is a recipient of fellowships in Fiction from the Guggenheim Foundation (2018) and the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study at Harvard (2018-2019). Her novel Pachinko (2017) was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction, a runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and a New York Times 10 Best Books of 2017.
Book for September 18, 2019
Group 4
The Rules Do Not Apply
The Rules Do Not Apply
When thirty-eight-year-old New Yorker writer Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true. Levy picks you up and hurls you through the story of how she built an unconventional life and then watched it fall apart with astonishing speed. Like much of her generation, she was raised to resist traditional rules--about work, about love, and about womanhood. "I wanted what we all want: everything. We want a mate who feels like family and a lover who is exotic, surprising. We want to be youthful adventurers and middle-aged mothers. We want intimacy and autonomy, safety and stimulation, reassurance and novelty, coziness and thrills. But we can't have it all." In this memoir, Levy chronicles the adventure and heartbreak of being "a woman who is free to do whatever she chooses." Her own story of resilience becomes an unforgettable portrait of the shifting forces in our culture, of what has changed--and of what is eternal.

Author: Ariel Levy
Ariel Levy (born 1974) is an American staff writer at The New Yorker magazine and the author of the books The Rules do Not Apply and Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Vogue, Slate, and The New York Times. Levy was named one of the "Forty Under 40" most influential out individuals in the June/July 2009 issue of The Advocate. Levy was raised in a Jewish family in Larchmont, New York, and attended Wesleyan University in the 1990s, graduating in 1996. She says that her experiences at Wesleyan, which had "coed showers, on principle," strongly influenced her views regarding modern sexuality. After graduating from Wesleyan, she was briefly employed by Planned Parenthood, but claims that she was fired because she is "an extremely poor typist." She was hired by New York magazine shortly thereafter.
Book for October 02, 2019
Group 3
Moby Dick; or, The Whale
Moby Dick; or, The Whale

is an 1851 novel by American writer Herman Melville. The book is sailor Ishmael's narrative of the obsessive quest of Ahab, captain of the whaling ship Pequod, for revenge on Moby Dick, the giant white sperm whale that on the ship's previous voyage bit off Ahab's leg at the knee.

More information on this novel.


Author: Herman Melville
(August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, and poet of the American Renaissance period. Among his best known works are Typee (1846), a romantic account of his experiences of Polynesian life, and his masterpiece Moby-Dick (1851).
Book for October 11, 2019
Group 1
A Ladder to the Sky
A Ladder to the Sky
Maurice Swift is handsome, charming, and hungry for fame. The one thing he doesn’t have is talent – but he’s not about to let a detail like that stand in his way. After all, a would-be writer can find stories anywhere. They don’t need to be his own.

Working as a waiter in a West Berlin hotel in 1988, Maurice engineers the perfect opportunity: a chance encounter with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann. He quickly ingratiates himself with the powerful – but desperately lonely – older man, teasing out of Erich a terrible, long-held secret about his activities during the war. Perfect material for Maurice’s first novel.

Once Maurice has had a taste of literary fame, he knows he can stop at nothing in pursuit of that high. Moving from the Amalfi Coast, where he matches wits with Gore Vidal, to Manhattan and London, Maurice hones his talent for deceit and manipulation, preying on the talented and vulnerable in his cold-blooded climb to the top. But the higher he climbs, the further he has to fall…

Sweeping across the late twentieth century, A Ladder to the Sky is a fascinating portrait of a relentlessly immoral man, a tour de force of storytelling, and the next great novel from an acclaimed literary virtuoso.

Author: John Boyne
John Boyne, born in Ireland in 1971, is the author of seven novels for adults and three for children. The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas won two Irish Book Awards, was shortlisted for the British Book Award, reached no.1 on the New York Times Bestseller List and was made into an award-winning film. His novels are published in over 45 languages. He lives in Dublin.
Book for November 06, 2019
Group 3
Nightwood
Nightwood

was first published in London in 1936. It is one of the earliest prominent novels to portray explicit homosexuality between women, it is also notable for its intense, gothic prose style. The novel features a thinly veiled portrait of Barnes in the character of Nora Flood, whereas Nora’s lover Robin Vote is a composite of Thelma Wood and the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven.

More on this novel


Author: Djuna Barnes
(June 12, 1892 – June 18, 1982) was an American artist, illustrator, journalist, and writer best known for her novel Nightwood (1936), a cult classic of lesbian fiction and an important work of modernist literature.
Book for November 08, 2019
Group 1
Meeting at Anca's place
Born a Crime
Born a Crime
Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

Author: Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah (born 20 February 1984) is a South African comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actor, and television host. He is best known for being the host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central since September 2015.

Noah began his career as an actor, presenter, and comedian in his native South Africa. He held several television hosting roles with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), and was the runner-up in their fourth season of Strictly Come Dancing in 2008. From 2010 to 2011, Noah was the creator and host of Tonight with Trevor Noah on M-Net and DStv. His stand-up comedy career attained international success, leading to appearances on American late-night talk shows and British panel shows.

In 2014, Noah became the Senior International Correspondent for The Daily Show, an American satirical news program. The following year, he was announced as the successor of long-time host Jon Stewart. Although ratings for the show declined following Stewart's departure, Noah's tenure has been generally favourably reviewed, attracting particular attention for his interview with young conservative personality Tomi Lahren in late 2016.

On January 2016, it was announced that Noah signed a book deal with Spiegel & Grau. His book, Born a Crime was published on November 15, 2016 and was received favorably by major U.S. book reviewers. It became a #1 New York Times Bestseller and was named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, Newsday, Esquire, NPR, and Booklist. It was announced that a film adaptation based on the book will star Lupita Nyong'o as Trevor's mother Patricia. She will also serve as the film's co-producer alongside Noah. In February 2018, it was announced that Noah would write a second book.
Book for December 04, 2019
Group 3
Madame Bovary
Madame Bovary

was first published in Paris in 1856. Emma Bovary, married to a boring Doctor with a medical practice in provincial Normandy, begins an affair with an unscrupulous landowner ...

When the novel was first serialized in La Revue de Paris in 1856, public prosecutors attacked the book for obscenity. The resulting trial in January 1857 made it notorious. After Flaubert's acquittal on 7 February 1857, Madame Bovary became a bestseller. A seminal work of literary realism, the novel is now considered one of the most influential literary works in history.


Author: Gustave Flaubert
(12 December 1821 – 8 May 1880) was a French novelist and the leading exponent of literary realism in 19th century France. He is known especially for his debut novel Madame Bovary (1857), his Correspondence, and his scrupulous devotion to style and aesthetics.