VB Reads...General Literature

Join Cindi and discuss books from a variety of genres at 7 pm, the first Monday of each month. Authors DO NOT attend.

Monday, November 5th, 7:00pm

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose.

Man's Search for Meaning Cover Image
By Viktor E. Frankl, Harold S. Kushner (Foreword by), William J. Winslade (Afterword by)
$15.00
ISBN: 9780807014271
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Beacon Press - June 1st, 2006

Monday, December 3rd, 7:00pm

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

The Snow Child: A Novel Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780316175661
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Reagan Arthur / Back Bay Books - November 6th, 2012

Monday, January 7th, 7:00pm

Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian

On a balmy July night in New Hampshire a shot rings out in a garden, and a man falls to the ground, terribly wounded. The wounded man is Spencer McCullough, the shot that hit him was fired–accidentally?–by his adolescent daughter Charlotte. With this shattering moment of violence, Chris Bohjalian launches the best kind of literate page-turner: suspenseful, wryly funny, and humane.

Before You Know Kindness (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781400031658
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - August 9th, 2005

Monday, February 4th, 7:00pm

The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan

On the afternoon of August 20, 1910, a battering ram of wind moved through the drought-stricken national forests of Washington, Idaho, Montana, whipping the hundreds of small blazes burning across the forest floor into a roaring inferno that jumped from treetop to ridge as it raged, destroying towns and timber in an eyeblink. Forest rangers had assembled nearly ten thousand men -- college boys, day-workers, immigrants from mining camps -- to fight the fires. But no living person had seen anything like those flames, and neither the rangers nor anyone else knew how to subdue them.

The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780547394602
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - September 7th, 2010

Monday, March 4th, 7:00pm

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder

From the beet fields of North Dakota to the National Forest campgrounds of California to Amazon's CamperForce program in Texas, employers have discovered a new, low-cost labor pool, made up largely of transient older Americans. Finding that Social Security comes up short, often underwater on mortgages, these invisible casualties of the Great Recession have taken to the road to form a growing community of nomads: migrant laborers who call themselves "workampers."

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780393356311
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 4th, 2018

Monday, April 1st, 7:00pm

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant--and that her lover is married--she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home, and to reject her son's powerful father, sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations.

Pachinko (National Book Award Finalist) Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9781455563920
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - November 14th, 2017

Monday, May 6th, 7:00pm

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg

Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over 400 years, Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. Reconstruction pitted poor white trash against newly freed slaves, which factored in the rise of eugenics–-a widely popular movement embraced by Theodore Roosevelt that targeted poor whites for sterilization. These poor were at the heart of New Deal reforms and LBJ’s Great Society; they haunt us in reality TV shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty. Marginalized as a class, white trash have always been at or near the center of major political debates over the character of the American identity.

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143129677
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - April 4th, 2017

Monday, June 3rd, 7:00pm

The Overstory by Richard Powers

An Air Force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies, and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another. These four, and five other strangers--each summoned in different ways by trees--are brought together in a last and violent stand to save the continent's few remaining acres of virgin forest.

The Overstory Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780393635522
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 3rd, 2018

Monday, July 1st, 7:00pm

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body.

From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.

Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812985405
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - February 6th, 2018

Monday, August 5th, 7:00pm

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton with Lara Love Hardin

With a foreword by Bryan Stevenson, The Sun Does Shine is an extraordinary testament to the power of hope sustained through the darkest times. Destined to be a classic memoir of wrongful imprisonment and freedom won, Hinton’s memoir tells his dramatic thirty-year journey and shows how you can take away a man’s freedom, but you can’t take away his imagination, humor, or joy.

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row (Oprah's Book Club Summer 2018 Selection) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250309471
Availability: Not Yet Published
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - June 4th, 2019

Monday, September 9, 7:00pm

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Monday, October 7th, 7:00pm

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Douglas Carlton Abrams

Nobel Peace Prize Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than 50 years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Despite their hardships—or, as they would say, because of them—they are two of the most joyful people on the planet.

We get to listen as they explore the Nature of True Joy and confront each of the Obstacles of Joy—from fear, stress, and anger to grief, illness, and death. They then offer us the Eight Pillars of Joy, which provide the foundation for lasting happiness. Throughout, they include stories, wisdom, and science. Finally, they share their daily Joy Practices that anchor their own emotional and spiritual lives.

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780399185045
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avery - September 20th, 2016

Monday, November 4th, 7:00pm

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780812993547
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Spiegel & Grau - July 14th, 2015

Monday, December 2nd, 7:00pm

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan

A unique and elegant blend of science, memoir, travel writing, history, and medicine, How to Change Your Mind is a triumph of participatory journalism. By turns dazzling and edifying, it is the gripping account of a journey to an exciting and unexpected new frontier in our understanding of the mind, the self, and our place in the world. The true subject of Pollan's "mental travelogue" is not just psychedelic drugs but also the eternal puzzle of human consciousness and how, in a world that offers us both suffering and joy, we can do our best to be fully present and find meaning in our lives.