Thursday, April 5, 2012

Nevermore: My Name is Red, Puppetmaster, Price of Civilization

As usual, the Nevermore Book Club had a diverse selection of books under discussion.
My Name is Red by acclaimed Turkish novelist and Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk is a literary murder mystery that blends history and art.  Set in 16th century Istanbul, the tale begins when the Sultan desires to have a book created in the style of the great European manuscripts.  He summons artists to take up the task, but given the strictures about figurative art in Islamic society this could prove problematical—if not downright dangerous.  The story is told from multiple points of view, including some non-human ones, and addresses subjects from aesthetics, religion, history and culture.  Pamuk is currently a professor at Columbia University.
The recent movie “J. Edgar” spurred a renewed interest in the life of one of the most controversial figures in American history.  Puppetmaster: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover by Richard Hack and The Bureau:  The Secret History of the FBI are two newer titles that address the Bureau under Hoover’s leadership.   They make for fascinating reading. The library’s Avoca Branch also owns a DVD of “J. Edgar.”
Economist Jeffrey Sachs offers his views on reviving the American economy in his new book The Price of Civilization:  Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity. The first part of the book is devoted to Sachs’ analysis of the current economic situation and the underlying causes, while in the second he offers his solutions.  One part of this is for the government to invest in education.  Not only is there a need for training for 21st century jobs, but to create a more informed citizenry capable of taking an active part in government. Sachs is the director of Columbia’s Earth Institute. Much of the discussion revolved around the need to remove lobbyists from the political process.
Bristol Public Library's Nevermore Book Club meets at  Main every Tuesday at 11:00 AM.  Doughnuts are provided by The Blackbird Bakery, which is incentive enough to attend!

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