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Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter

Vista Book Group, Spring 2014

Vista Book Group returns in January, 2014 to discuss a new series of interesting reads. Join us at 6 p.m. on the 4th Wednesday of every month in Film and Sound at the Main Library.

Interested readers can pick up a book group copy of our monthly reads at the Research Desk on the second level of Richland Library Main. For more information please contact either Chantal Wilson or Elizabeth Hill at 929-3400.

January 22, 2014 Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter
February 26, 2014 My Reading Life, by Pat Conroy
March 19, 2014 Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, by Piper Kerman
April 23, 2014 Life after Life, by Kate Atkinson
May 28, 2014 The Dinner, by Howard Koch
June 25, 2014 Seating Arrangements, by Maggie Shipstead

My Reading Life, by Pat Conroy, is this year’s One Book, One Columbia read and will be our February read. Vista Book Group is meeting to discuss this book on Wednesday, February 26, but you should also try to make the Live with Pat Conroy event at the Township Auditorium on Thursday, February 27 at 7 pm. (p.s. If you can’t make the Vista Book Group meeting for One Book, One Columbia try one of our many other Richland Library Book Groups ).

One other note, this year our March book group meeting will be on the third Wednesday of the month rather than the fourth Wednesday since the library will be closed for our Customer Service Improvement Day.

This should be another great year of reading and discussion and we look forward to seeing you this year!


Amazon Says: The acclaimed, award-winning author of the national bestseller The Financial Lives of the Poets returns with his  funniest, most romantic, and most purely enjoyable novel yet more...
Amazon Says: The acclaimed, award-winning author of the national bestseller The Financial Lives of the Poets returns with his  funniest, most romantic, and most purely enjoyable novel yet: the story of an almost-love affair that begins on the Italian coast in 1962 . . . and is rekindled in Hollywood fifty years later.  “Why mince words? Beautiful Ruins is an absolute masterpiece.” —Richard Russo“A ridiculously talented writer.” —New York Times less...
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My Reading Life by Pat Conroy
Amazon Says: Bestselling author Pat Conroy acknowledges the books that have shaped him and celebrates the profound effect reading has had on his life. Pat Conroy, the beloved Amer more...
Amazon Says: Bestselling author Pat Conroy acknowledges the books that have shaped him and celebrates the profound effect reading has had on his life. Pat Conroy, the beloved American storyteller, is a voracious reader. Starting as a childhood passion that bloomed into a life-long companion, reading has been Conroy’s portal to the world, both to the farthest corners of the globe and to the deepest chambers of the human soul. His interests range widely, from Milton to Tolkien, Philip Roth to Thucydides, encompassing poetry, history, philosophy, and any mesmerizing tale of his native South. He has for years kept notebooks in which he records words and expressions, over time creating a vast reservoir of playful turns of phrase, dazzling flashes of description, and snippets of delightful sound, all just for his love of language. But for Conroy reading is not simply a pleasure to be enjoyed in off-hours or a source of inspiration for his own writing. It would hardly be an exaggeration to claim that reading has saved his life, and if not his life then surely his sanity.   In My Reading Life, Conroy revisits a life of reading through an array of wonderful and often surprising anecdotes: sharing the pleasures of the local library’s vast cache with his mother when he was a boy, recounting his decades-long relationship with the English teacher who pointed him onto the path of letters, and describing a profoundly influential period he spent  in Paris, as well as reflecting on other pivotal people, places, and experiences. His story is a moving and personal one, girded by wisdom and an undeniable honesty. Anyone who not only enjoys the pleasures of reading but also believes in the power of books to shape a life will find here the greatest defense of that credo. less...
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Amazon Says: NOW A NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES • #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER   With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young w more...
Amazon Says: NOW A NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES • #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER   With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424—one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.   Praise for Orange Is the New Black   “Fascinating . . . The true subject of this unforgettable book is female bonding and the ties that even bars can’t unbind.”—People (four stars)   “I loved this book. It’s a story rich with humor, pathos, and redemption. What I did not expect from this memoir was the affection, compassion, and even reverence that Piper Kerman demonstrates for all the women she encountered while she was locked away in jail. I will never forget it.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love   “This book is impossible to put down because [Kerman] could be you. Or your best friend. Or your daughter.”—Los Angeles Times   “Moving . . . transcends the memoir genre’s usual self-centeredness to explore how human beings can always surprise you.”—USA Today   “It’s a compelling awakening, and a harrowing one—both for the reader and for Kerman.”—Newsweek.com   Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more. less...
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Life After Life: A Novel by Kate Atkinson
Amazon Says: What if you could live again and again, until you got it right? On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she more...
Amazon Says: What if you could live again and again, until you got it right? On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war. Does Ursula's apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny? And if she can -- will she? Darkly comic, startlingly poignant, and utterly original -- this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best. less...
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The Dinner by Herman Koch
Amazon Says: "A European Gone Girl." --The Wall Street Journal An internationally bestselling phenomenon: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggli more...
Amazon Says: "A European Gone Girl." --The Wall Street Journal An internationally bestselling phenomenon: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives -- all over the course of one meal. It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse -- the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.      Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.      Tautly written, incredibly gripping, and told by an unforgettable narrator, The Dinner promises to be the topic of countless dinner party debates. Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy. less...
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Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
Amazon Says: Maggie Shipstead’s irresistible social satire, set on an exclusive New England island over a wedding weekend in June, provides a deliciously biting glimpse into the lives of more...
Amazon Says: Maggie Shipstead’s irresistible social satire, set on an exclusive New England island over a wedding weekend in June, provides a deliciously biting glimpse into the lives of the well-bred and ill-behaved. Winn Van Meter is heading for his family’s retreat on the pristine New England island of Waskeke. Normally a haven of calm, for the next three days this sanctuary will be overrun by tipsy revelers as Winn prepares for the marriage of his daughter Daphne to the affable young scion Greyson Duff.  Winn’s wife, Biddy, has planned the wedding with military precision, but arrangements are sideswept by a storm of salacious misbehavior and intractable lust: Daphne’s sister, Livia, who has recently had her heart broken by Teddy Fenn, the son of her father’s oldest rival, is an eager target for the seductive wiles of Greyson’s best man; Winn, instead of reveling in his patriarchal duties, is tormented by his long-standing crush on Daphne’s beguiling bridesmaid Agatha; and the bride and groom find themselves presiding over a spectacle of misplaced desire, marital infidelity, and monumental loss of faith in the rituals of American life. Hilarious, keenly intelligent, and commandingly well written, Shipstead’s deceptively frothy first novel is a piercing rumination on desire, on love and its obligations, and on the dangers of leading an inauthentic life, heralding the debut of an exciting new literary voice.  less...
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