As booksellers, we often overhear customers lamenting that they've always meant to read “that other Jane Austen novel,” or Graham Greene, or Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but just never found the time. We've tried to remedy that with our Classics I Forgot to Read Book Club by providing motivation and a welcoming space to share your thoughts.

In choosing our ‘classics’ over the past few years, we've tried to select titles that had some visibility among readers, but were not necessarily included in the standard high school English class. We've also sampled a range of genres, from mystery (The Long Goodbye) to comedy (Cold Comfort Farm) to stream-of-consciousness (To the Lighthouse). So, whether our picks are already gathering dust on your bookshelves or this is your first encounter with the literary canon, we encourage you to join us on the last Wednesday evening of every month for conversation about the classics.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June 2009--Eugenie Grandet

by Honore de Balzac

Set in post-Napoleonic France, this is a straightforward, crisply told tale about a provincial miser and the suffering he visits on his family. Monsieur Grandet is a self-made millionaire but allows himself, his wife, and his daughter no luxuries. The daughter, a miraculously sweet and pious girl, naturally becomes the target of suitors looking to marry into the Grandet fortune. Unfortunately for them and herself, she falls for her decadent, spendthrift Parisian cousin, setting the stage for general disappointment and unhappiness. One of the two or three best known of the hundred or so novels that make up Balzac's great cycle, The Human Comedy, this is a grim but compelling look at the corrosive effect of the bourgeois values then taking hold in France.

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