Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A variety of reading topics this evening!

Book Club for Adults discusses Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

Leif Enger's debut is an extraordinary novel—an epic of generosity and heart that reminds us of the restorative power of great literature. The story of a father raising his three children in 1960s Minnesota, Peace Like a River is at once a heroic quest, a tragedy, a love story, and a haunting meditation on the possibility of magic in the everyday world.

Raised on tales of cowboys and pirates, eleven-year-old Reuben Land has little doubt that miracles happen all around us, and that it's up to us to "make of it what we will." Reuben was born with no air in his lungs, and it was only when his father, Jeremiah, picked him up and commanded him to breathe that his lungs filled. Reuben struggles with debilitating asthma from then on, making him a boy who knows firsthand that life is a gift, and also one who suspects that his father is touched by God and can overturn the laws of nature.

The quiet Midwestern life of the Lands is upended when Davy, the oldest son, kills two marauders who have come to harm the family; unlike his father, he is not content to leave all matters of justice in God's hands. The morning of his sentencing, Davy—a hero to some, a cold-blooded murderer to others—escapes from his cell, and the Lands set out in search of him. Their journey is touched by serendipity and the kindness of strangers—among them a free spirit named Roxanna, who offers them a place to stay during a blizzard and winds up providing them with something far more permanent. Meanwhile, a federal agent is trailing the Lands, convinced they know of Davy's whereabouts.

With Jeremiah at the helm, the family covers territory far more extraordinary than even the Badlands where they search for Davy from their Airstream trailer. Sprinkled with playful nods to biblical tales, beloved classics such as Huckleberry Finn, the adventure stories of Robert Louis Stevenson, and the westerns of Zane Grey, Peace Like a River unfolds like a revelation.

Dennis Lehane, author of  Moonlight Mile

Dennis Lehane  more info to follow - but do you really need any more info? Dennis Lehane! isn't that enough? 

Amanda McCready was four years old when she vanished from a Boston neighborhood twelve years ago. Desperate pleas for help from the child's aunt led investigators Kenzie and Gennaro to take on the case. The pair risked everything to find the young girl—only to orchestrate her return to a neglectful mother and a broken home.

Now Amanda is sixteen—and gone again. A stellar student, brilliant but aloof, she seemed destined to escape her upbringing. Yet Amanda's aunt is once more knocking on Patrick Kenzie's door, fearing the worst for the little girl who has blossomed into a striking, clever young woman—a woman who hasn't been seen in weeks.

Haunted by their consciences, Kenzie and Gennaro revisit the case that troubled them the most. Their search leads them into a world of identity thieves, methamphetamine dealers, a mentally unstable crime boss and his equally demented wife, a priceless, thousand-year-old cross, and a happily homicidal Russian gangster. It's a world in which motives and allegiances constantly shift and mistakes are fatal.

In their desperate fight to confront the past and find Amanda McCready, Kenzie and Gennaro will be forced to question if it's possible to do the wrong thing and still be right or to do the right thing and still be wrong. As they face an evil that goes beyond broken families and broken dreams, they discover that the sins of yesterday don't always stay buried and the crimes of today could end their lives.  

Dennis Lehane is the author of nine novels—including the New York Times bestsellers Gone, Baby, Gone; Mystic River; Shutter Island; and The Given Day—as well as Coronado, a collection of short stories and a play. He and his wife, Angie, divide their time between Boston and the Gulf Coast of Florida. 

Before becoming a full-time writer, Mr. Lehane worked as a counselor with mentally handicapped and abused children, waited tables, parked cars, drove limos, worked in bookstores, and loaded tractor-trailers. His one regret is that no one ever gave him a chance to tend bar.

Joel Hoffman, PhD, author of And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible's Original Meaning

From Publishers Weekly: Author Hoffman, a linguist and a translator, uses his knowledge and his skills to correct some of the common errors in translating the language of the Bible from Hebrew into English. His initial three chapters are devoted to explaining linguistics and translation theory, skillfully clarifying complex concepts. The remaining five chapters ably apply these ideas to biblical phrases that, according to Hoffman, require rewording. 

He begins with the important commandment, And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. He convincingly claims that the Hebrew words for heart and soul have been severely mistranslated and should be rendered as mind and body. Similarly, Hoffman effectively demonstrates errors in rendering shepherd, my sister, my bride, two of the Ten Commandments, and virgin. Attentive readers will find this book to be valuable for properly understanding the Bible. (Feb.)

Dr. Joel M. Hoffman, an expert in translation, Hebrew, and the Bible, is a much sought-after speaker who presents to dozens of popular and academic audiences each year. He holds a Ph.D. in linguistics and has served on the faculties of Brandeis University and Hebrew Union College.

Dr. Hoffman is the chief translator for the popular 10-volume series, My People's Prayer Book (winner of the National Jewish Book Award) and for My People's Passover Haggadah, both from Jewish Lights Publishing. He is the author of the critically acclaimed In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language (NYU Press).

Ticket are $5 per person. They can be purchased at the JCC or by calling Sandee Kayser, 414-967-8228. For additional information contact Dorene Paley , 414-967-8217 or or visit our web-site:

Linda and Allen Anderson, authors of Dogs and the Women Who Love Them
Co-Sponsored by the Wisconsin Humane Society and Ecopet on Brady Street
Nobody who has lived with, loved, or been loved by a dog can deny the human-canine bond. Yet women, with their predisposition to being nurturers, seem to forge the deepest and most harmonious connections with their non-speaking furred companions.  

Dogs and the Women Who Love Them looks into the lives of some inspiring women whose relationships with their dogs have had long-lasting, positive effects on not only their own lives, but those of humans and canines alike.  Stories include an abused German Shepherd who saved the life of a nationally recognized, award-winning police dog trainer while serving as her partner; a rescued pit bull whose time in dog fighting pits inspired a New Orleans shelter for special needs dogs; a wheelchair-bound Dachshund who visits children in schools, teaching them how to appreciate people’s differences; and a rescued Lab who, with his human, “co-founded” a Texas non-profit that trains service dogs for disabled veterans.
Allen_Linda Anderson 
10% of designated sales for this event will be donated to the Wisconsin Humane Society.  Volunteers from WHS will be on hand with an information table and will be selling Mini Cooper raffle tickets, with proceeds from ticket sales going to help the many pets that pass through their doors.

Author bio: Allen and Linda Anderson are speakers and authors of a series of twelve popular books about the spiritual relationships between people and animals. They co-founded the Angel Animals Network in 1996 to increase love and respect for all life through the power of story. Their award-winning work has been featured on local, national, and international media and news outlets. They donate a portion of revenue from their projects to animal shelters and animal welfare organizations. The Andersons’ website is 

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