Click here for the 2011 Reading List

The Friends of the Bethesda Library has kindly allowed me to boss people around about what they should be reading for over three years now. What started as a tentative request for library space “for four or five people, tops” is now a group of roughly 30 readers who show up monthly to talk about books.

My primary interest, as a reader and a facilitator, is nineteenth century literature. Novels were novels then. They were dense and chewy and grappled with society. (Sometimes they were dark and twisted, too, but still with a chewy center.) Except for a (mostly) focused time-line, though, I have no agenda. A discussion about literature should be a discussion about literature, and not about structuralism or post-colonialism or queer studies — (maybe I do have an agenda) — I want to talk about what the author wrote. I want to gossip a little about the characters. And I believe that these novels in particular offer not just an interesting historical perspective; I think they often speak directly to our current condition.

Who hasn’t locked his mad wife away on the third floor?

The discussions are absolutely free and open to the public — whether the public has read the novel or not. We meet the third Tuesday of every month, from 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Come at the beginning, leave in the middle, stay until the end: all are welcome.

Questions about the program, the books, or the nineteenth century can be sent my way: mbevel2002 at yahoo dot com.