Join the debate as we review each month’s book selection. The Alumni Book Club usually meets the fourth Thursday of each month (see schedule below) at 6:30 p.m. at Panera Bread, 4864 211th St, Matteson, IL (corner of Cicero and Rt 30).

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  • Schedule

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    December 2013– No Meeting – Happy Holidays

    Thursday, January 23, 2014 – The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson - 6:30 p.m. - Panera Bread

    Thursday, February 27, 2014 – The Stranger by Albert Camus

  • Summaries of upcoming books

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    January 23, 2014 – The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

    Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book's categorization to be sure that The Devil in the White City is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor. Burnham's challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous "White City" around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair's incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, and Thomas Edison.

    The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World's Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims. Combining the stories of an architect and a killer in one book, mostly in alternating chapters, seems like an odd choice but it works. The magical appeal and horrifying dark side of 19th-century Chicago are both revealed through Larson's skillful writing. [Amazon.com Reviews]

    February 27, 2014 – The Stranger by Albert Camus

    The Stranger is not merely one of the most widely read novels of the 20th century, but one of the books likely to outlive it. Written in 1946, Camus's compelling and troubling tale of a disaffected, apparently amoral young man has earned a durable popularity (and remains a staple of U.S. high school literature courses) in part because it reveals so vividly the anxieties of its time. Alienation, the fear of anonymity, spiritual doubt--all could have been given a purely modern inflection in the hands of a lesser talent than Camus, who won the Nobel Prize in 1957 and was noted for his existentialist aesthetic. The remarkable trick of The Stranger, however, is that it's not mired in period philosophy.

    The plot is simple. A young Algerian, Meursault, afflicted with a sort of aimless inertia, becomes embroiled in the petty intrigues of a local pimp and, somewhat inexplicably, ends up killing a man. Once he's imprisoned and eventually brought to trial, his crime, it becomes apparent, is not so much the arguably defensible murder he has committed as it is his deficient character. The trial's proceedings are absurd, a parsing of incidental trivialities--that Meursault, for instance, seemed unmoved by his own mother's death and then attended a comic movie the evening after her funeral are two ostensibly damning facts--so that the eventual sentence the jury issues is both ridiculous and inevitable. [Amazon.com Review]

  • Past Books Reviewed

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    November 21, 2013 - Where are the Children by Mary Higgins Clark
    October 24, 2013 – Revolutionary Road  by Richard Yates
    September 26, 2013 - Native Son by Richard Wright
    August 15, 2013 - Native Tongue by Carl Hiaason
    July 25, 2013 - Life of Pi  by Yann Martel
    June 25, 2013 - The Kite Runner  by Khaled Hosseini 
    May 23, 2013 - Unbroken  by Laura Hillenbrand
    April 25, 2013 - The Next Time You See Me by Holly Goddard Jones
    March 21, 2013 - Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
    February 28, 2013 - No Easy Day by Mark Owen with Kevin Maurer
    January 24, 2013 - Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
    December, 2013 - No meeting
    November 15, 2012 - Nop's Trials by Donald McCaig
    October 25, 2012 - The Other Wes Moore  by Wes Moore
    September 27, 2012 - The Host  by Stephanie Meyer
    August 27, 2012 - The Pacific Vortex  by Clive Cussler
    July 26, 2012 - A Tale of Two Cities  by Charles Dickens
    June 26, 2012 - The Lucky One  by Nicholas Sparks
    May 24, 2012 - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    April 26, 2012 - The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
    March 22, 2012 - The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo by Stieg Larsson
    February 23, 2012 - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
    January 26, 2012 - Mountain Windsong: A Novel of the Trail of Tears by Robert Conley
    December 22, 2012 - Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
    November 17, 2011 - High Fiveby Janet Evanovich
    October 27, 2011 - The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Stockett
    September 22, 2011 - The Help by Kathryn Stockett
    August 25, 2011 - The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
    July 28, 2011 -The Lost Symbolby Dan Brown
    June 16, 2011 -The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

     

  • Celebrating GSU Alumni Authors

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    GSU applauds its many alumni authors.  If you have authored and published a book, please let us know.