Glen Ellyn Public Library Book Discussion
GEPL book discussions are held in the Board Room. Copies of book discussion titles are available near the 2nd Floor Information Desk. Reserve your spot.
Summer Book Discussions
Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel by George Saunders
Wednesday, June 14 | 7–8 pm
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 a story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into the supernatural realm. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel and enact bizarre acts of penance — a transitional state called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo — a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.
Lincoln in the Bardo is an exploration of death, grief and the powers of good and evil. It is also, in the end, an exploration of the deeper meaning and possibilities of life. How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?
Dust Bowl Girls: The Inspiring Story of the Team That Brainstormed Its Way to Basketball Glory by Lydia Reeder
Wednesday, July 12 | 7–8 pm
In the early 1930s, during the worst drought and financial depression in American history, Sam Babb, the charismatic basketball coach of tiny Oklahoma Presbyterian College, began dreaming. Like so many others, he wanted a reason to have hope. Traveling from farm to farm, he recruited talented, hardworking young women and offered them a chance at a better life: a free college education if they would come play for his basketball team, the Cardinals.
Despite their fears of leaving home and the sacrifices faced by their families, the women followed Babb and his dream. He shaped the Cardinals into a formidable team, and something extraordinary began to happen: with passion for the game and heartfelt loyalty to one another and their coach, they won every game.
Dust Bowl Girls captures a moment in history when female athletes faced intense scrutiny from influential figures in politics, education and medicine who denounced women’s sports as unhealthy and unladylike. At a time when a struggling nation was hungry for inspiration, this unlikely group of trailblazers achieved much more than a championship season.