CBE Book Group
September 26, 2016 - "The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
For readers of Unbroken, out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.
It was an unlikely quest from the start. With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler. The emotional heart of the tale lies with Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world. Drawing on the boys’ own journals and vivid memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, Brown has created an unforgettable portrait of an era, a celebration of a remarkable achievement, and a chronicle of one extraordinary young man’s personal quest.
October 24, 2016 - "The Door" by Magda Szabo
One of The New York Times Book Review's "10 Best Books of 2015" An NYRB Classics Original, The Door is an unsettling exploration of the relationship between two very different women. Magda is a writer, educated, married to an academic, public-spirited, with an on-again-off-again relationship to Hungary’s Communist authorities. Emerence is a peasant, illiterate, impassive, abrupt, seemingly ageless. She lives alone in a house that no one else may enter, not even her closest relatives. She is Magda’s housekeeper and she has taken control over Magda’s household, becoming indispensable to her. And Emerence, in her way, has come to depend on Magda. They share a kind of love—at least until Magda’s long-sought success as a writer leads to a devastating revelation. Len Rix’s prizewinning translation of The Door at last makes it possible for American readers to appreciate the masterwork of a major modern European writer.
November 21, 2016 - "The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer" by Anne-Marie O'Connor
National Bestseller The true story that inspired the movie Woman in Gold starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds. Contributor to the Washington Post Anne-Marie O’Connor brilliantly regales us with the galvanizing story of Gustav Klimt’s 1907 masterpiece—the breathtaking portrait of a Viennese Jewish socialite, Adele Bloch-Bauer. The celebrated painting, stolen by Nazis during World War II, subsequently became the subject of a decade-long dispute between her heirs and the Austrian government. When the U.S. Supreme Court became involved in the case, its decision had profound ramifications in the art world. Expertly researched, masterfully told, The Lady in Gold is at once a stunning depiction of fin-de siècle Vienna, a riveting tale of Nazi war crimes, and a fascinating glimpse into the high-stakes workings of the contemporary art world. One of the Best Books of the Year: The Huffington Post, The Christian Science Monitor. Winner of the Marfield National Award for Arts Writing. Winner of a California Book Award.
December 19, 2016 - "Confessions" by Rabee Jaber and (Optional Additional Book) "The Mehlis Report" by Rabee Jaber
A powerful novel about trauma and forgiveness, from the winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. During the violence and chaos of the Lebanese Civil War, a car pulls up to a roadblock on a narrow side street in Beirut. After a brief and confused exchange, several rounds of bullets are fired into the car, killing everyone inside except for a small boy of four or five. The boy is taken to the hospital, adopted by one of the assassins, and raised in a new family. “My father used to kidnap and kill people …” begins this haunting tale of a child who was raised by the murderer of his real family. The narrator of Confessions doesn’t shy away from the horrible truth of his murderous father―instead he confronts his troubled upbringing and seeks to understand the distortions and complexities of his memories, his war-torn country, and the quiet war that rages inside of him. The author of eighteen novels, the Lebanese writer Rabee Jaber was born in Beirut in 1972. He is the editor of Afaaq, the weekly cultural supplement of Al-Hayat, the daily pan-Arab newspaper. Kareem James Abu-Zeid is an award-winning translator of poets and novelists from across the Arab world, including Najwan Darwish, Tarek Eltayeb, and Dunya Mikhail.
The English-language debut of 2012’s International Arabic Fiction Prize winner. A complex thriller, The Mehlis Report introduces English readers to a highly talented Arabic writer. When former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri is killed by a massive bomb blast, the U.N. appoints German judge Detlev Mehlis to conduct an investigation of the attack ― while explosions continue to rock Beirut. Mehlis’s report is eagerly awaited by the entire Lebanese population. First we meet Saman Yarid, a middle-aged architect who wanders the tense streets of Beirut and, like everyone else in the city, can’t stop thinking about the pending report. Saman’s sister Josephine, who was kidnapped in 1983, narrates the second part of The Mehlis Report: Josephine is dead, yet exists in a bizarre underworld in the bowels of Beirut where the dead are busy writing their memoirs. Then the ghost of Hariri himself appears.
January 2017 (Date TBA) - "All Who Go Do Not Return" by Shulem Deen
A moving and revealing exploration of Hasidic life, and one man's struggles with faith, family, and community. Shulem Deen was raised to believe that questions are dangerous. As a member of the Skverers, one of the most insular Hasidic sects in the US, he knows little about the outside world--only that it is to be shunned. His marriage at eighteen is arranged and several children soon follow. Deen's first transgression--turning on the radio--is small, but his curiosity leads him to the library, and later the Internet. Soon he begins a feverish inquiry into the tenets of his religious beliefs, until, several years later, his faith unravels entirely. Now a heretic, he fears being discovered and ostracized from the only world he knows. His relationship with his family at stake, he is forced into a life of deception, and begins a long struggle to hold on to those he loves most: his five children. In All Who Go Do Not Return, Deen bravely traces his harrowing loss of faith, while offering an illuminating look at a highly secretive world.
"Honeydew" by Edith Pearlman
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