Happy Reading, Summer 2020

Welcome back to the Sweet Briar Summer Book Club and our community of readers and writers. I’ve chosen three prize-winning novels for this summer’s reading: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, Small Island by Andrea Levy, and 31 Hours by Masha Hamilton. All three novels are concerned with issues of racial, ethnic, religious, or political intolerance, a theme the Sweet Briar community will contemplate during the upcoming academic year in a number of classes and seminars. These are profound books, but for those who think that summer reading ought to have about it a whiff of sun and sand, comedy or romance, I’d like to add that all three novels are also -- not secondarily -- love stories. "Literature," said the wonderful novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch, "is meant to be grasped by enjoyment." There's serious pleasure to be had in these novels, and I look forward to sharing them with you. -- Carrie Brown, Margaret Banister Writer-in-Residence, Sweet Briar College
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Carrie Brown

Masha Hamilton's 31 Hours
Masha Hamilton’s 31 Hours

Summer has officially ended — on September 23, in fact — and now, a few days into Octobe…

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Bel Canto

Thoughts on Bel Canto from Joan Habel

Ann Patchell’s Bel Canto seems to be character driven.  The quiet dignity of the Oriental per…

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Small Island

July: Andrea Levy's Small Island
July: Andrea Levy’s Small Island

Andrea Levy’s novel Small Island won the Orange Prize for Fiction 2004, the 2004 Whitbread Novel…

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31 Hours

August: Masha Hamilton's 31 Hours
August: Masha Hamilton’s 31 Hours

In August, we’ll turn to Masha Hamilton’s novel 31 Hours, the desperate story of a disenchante…

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