Happy Reading, Summer 2011

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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Summer 2010 Books

Three great reads in 2010
Three great reads in 2010

The three novels we read over the summer of 2010 were Tinkers by Paul Harding, Let The Great World S…

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