All adult Wilton residents are welcome to join this free book discussion group which meets at the Comstock Community Center from September through May. The book discussions are from 11 am to noon followed by an optional lunch for $3. Extra copies of each title will be available at the Wilton Library in the month the book is to be discussed. Please call the Senior Center at 203-834-6240 to reserve a place for lunch.
Although we live in an era of "fake news" and general skepticism about Science, most of us have a deep interest in how things "really" work and what Reality is "really" like. Physics works on an objective basis with no agenda other than the advancement of knowledge and its practical application. In only 80 pages, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics takes us on a guided tour of the most important concepts in modern physics using poetic imagery and vivid metaphorical language to bring those ideas to life for non-scientists. The book has sold well over a million copies worldwide and has been translated into dozens of languages. The New York Times said: "The essays in Seven Brief Lessons on Physics arrive like shots of espresso, which you can consume the way the Italians do, quickly and while standing up. As slim as a volume of poetry, Mr. Rovelli's book also has that tantalizing quality that good books of poems have; it artfully hints at meanings beyond its immediate scope."
Following our last two great discussions of first Alexander Hamilton and then John Adams, we now move on to Thomas Jefferson dubbed the "architect of American liberty" by scholar and Rice University professor John B. Boles. Published in 2017, this is the first comprehensive biography of Jefferson in nearly 50 years and Professor Boles' deep knowledge of the source material allows him to cover the full range of Jefferson's life, career, character, and philosophy. Among such career highlights as drafting the Declaration of Independence or Purchasing Louisiana from Napolean, we'll see Jefferson as a true renaissance man with wide interests in science, music, architecture, education, gourmet food and wine and books! Publishers Weekly said: "In a narrative as majestic as its subject, Boles takes a fresh, nuanced look at one of the America's most enigmatic founding fathers... This is a gem of a biography."
This collection of stories by MacArthur Fellow and Booker Prize-winner George Saunders offers something for everyone and will tantalize and move its readers. There's the pathos of the title story about an encounter between a misfit boy and a dying cancer patient on a frozen pond in December. Another delivers the intensity of love-inducing pharmaceutical experiments on prisoners by a demented warden. One is in the form of a management memo about a mysterious department whose function is never explicitly revealed. Whimsical, funny, and certainly unconventional, Saunders is an impish post-modernist following in the steps of Twain or Vonnegut. The New York Times Book Review named it one of the top ten books of 2013 and The New York Times Magazine bluntly stated when it came out: "The best book you'll read this year."
Nobel Price-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro's novel An Artist of the Floating World is a first-person narrative of an elderly Japanese artist looking back on his life and career. Masuji Ono reflects on his choices, actions, and errors particularly during the period leading up to and after World War Two. His reflections and reconsiderations span both aesthetic and political themes as well as the loyalties due to one's teacher, one's country, and one's art. Written in a lyrical style, Ishiguro's novel combines elements of historical, literary, and psychological fiction. In its review, Library Journal asks: "Should he have remained a traditional painter of the floating world, of geishas, tea houses, and such? Should an artist follow an aesthetic of pure art or of social involvement? How does a person or a society come to terms with mistakes of the past?"
Leonardo da Vinci died 500 years ago in May of 1519 so it's fitting that we take up the biography of this amazing intellectual and creative giant, the prototypical "Renaissance Man". After his highly successful biographies of Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson immersed himself in the thousands of pages of Leonardo's notebooks, among other sources and materials, to produce this multi-faceted portrait. David McCullough wrote: "To read this magnificent biography of Leonardo da Vinci is to take a tour through the life and works of one of the most extraordinary human beings of all time and in the company of the most engaging, informed, and insightful guide imaginable. Walter Isaacson is at once a true scholar and a spellbinding writer. And what a wealth of lessons there are to be learned in these pages."