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.