2018 Classics Made Modern Book Discussion

“When you reread a classic you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than was there before.”  ~Clifton Fadiman

Each month in the Classics Made Modern Book Discussion group you’ll get to read exemplary and award-winning literature and then discuss how the book remains modern and relevant. Learn more about the author’s background, historical and cultural context, and the critic’s take in a brief presentation at the beginning of book group.

Meet on the second Monday of the month, 1:30–3pm in the library’s Marvin Auditorium 101C. Books are distributed at the previous month’s discussion or you can read your own copy. For more information contact Lissa Staley at classicsmodern@tscpl.org or 785-580-4629.

Printable List of Titles

2018 Schedule of Books for Discussion

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr tells the story of a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. This book illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.
Mon, Jan 8 | 1:30-3pm | Marvin Auditorium 101C

Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara is a 1934 novel about Julian English, a man who squanders what fate gave him, over the course of just 72 hours, with a couple of reckless gestures. That his calamity is petty and preventable only makes it more powerful.
Mon, Feb 12 | 1:30-3pm | Marvin Auditorium 101C

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is a dystopian science fiction novel set in 2044 and a 2Book Topeka selection. Wade Watts searches a virtual reality game for an Easter egg that would lead him to inherit a fortune in a world wrecked by an energy crisis.
Mon, March 12 | 1:30-3pm | Marvin Auditorium 101C

Plainsong by Kent Haruf is a 1999 National Book Award finalist. The lives of a high school teacher, a pregnant teenage girl and two elderly bachelors out in the country intersect. From these unsettled lives emerges a vision of life, and of the town and landscape that bind them together.
Mon, April 9 | 1:30-3pm | Marvin Auditorium 101C

Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat is a 2007 Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography. Until she was twelve, when she finally joined her parents in Brooklyn, the author lived in the Bel Air section of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as a member of her uncle’s family.
Mon, May 14 | 1:30-3pm | Marvin Auditorium 101C

2Book Topeka selection
Discuss a 2Book Topeka selection to be announced soon.
Mon, June 11 | 1:30-3pm | Marvin Auditorium 101C

Wonder by R.J. Palacio introduces August Pullman, who was born with a facial difference, as he begins 5th grade. The story includes perspectives from Auggie, his classmates, his family and others, which converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion and acceptance.
Mon, July 9 | 1:30-3pm | Marvin Auditorium 101C

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo is the 2012 National Book Award Nonfiction winner that carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds, and into the lives of people impossible to forget.
Mon, Aug 13 | 1:30-3pm | Marvin Auditorium 101C

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is the 2014 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction which combines unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and breathtaking suspense in an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.
Mon, Sept 10 | 1:30-3pm | Marvin Auditorium 101C

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson is a historical fiction adventure novel set around real 18th-century Scottish events and first published in 1886. The book raises moral issues around justice and the political situation of the time is portrayed from multiple viewpoints.
Mon, Oct 8 | 1:30-3pm | Marvin Auditorium 101C

2Book Topeka selection Discuss a 2Book Topeka selection to be announced soon.
Mon, Nov 12 | 1:30-3pm | Marvin Auditorium 101C

The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home by Charles Dickens is the third of his five Christmas novellas, first published in 1845. For years this story was more popular on stage than A Christmas Carol and is praised for its depiction of the Victorian ideal of the happy home.
Mon, Dec 10 | 1:30-3pm | Marvin Auditorium 101C


Lissa Staley

Lissa Staley helps people use the library. She is a Book Evangelist, Trivia Emcee, Classics Made Modern book discussion leader, NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison, HUSH podcaster, and frequent library customer. She loves her kids, being a librarian, living in Topeka, and helping people form connections and community. She reads a new book every few days, but recently enjoyed the audiobook of "Let's Go (So We Can Get Back): A Memoir of Recording and Discording with Wilco, Etc." by Jeff Tweedy, which a library customer recommended to her.