Since 1985, Let’s Talk About It (LTAI) has been bringing adult reading discussion groups together with humanities scholars in Idaho’s public libraries to discuss literature. These book readings and discussions explore American values, history, culture, aging, classics, and much more. The presentation by, and interaction with, a program scholar is what sets these sessions apart from traditional book club discussions.
Wednesday, November 1, 2023, 6:30pm Driggs Branch
Empire Falls, by Richard Russo. Published 2002, 483 pages
Richard Russo’s 2001 novel follows the fortunes and declines of both its setting (Empire Falls, a formerly prosperous mill town in Maine) and its protagonist, the once-promising but now-struggling Miles Roby. Miles manages the Empire Grill for the imperious Whiting family, which controls much of life in Empire Falls. The novel spans many decades and generations, and considers the interactions of class, family, and history in a small town. Empire Falls was awarded the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.
Richard Russo was born in 1949 in Johnstown, New York. He earned a BA, MFA, and PhD from the University of Arizona, and has taught at Southern Illinois University (Carbondale). He is a screenwriter and film producer, and has authored eight novels, two short story collections, and a memoir. Russo is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
Thursday, February 1, 2024, 6:30pm Driggs Branch
Faithful and Virtuous Night: Poem, by Louise Glick. Published 2015, 71 pages.
Faithful and Virtuous Night is Louise Glück’s twelfth book of poetry. The collection alternates between more traditionally structured poems and prose selections. The book marks the first time Glück has included prose in her work. The poems are described as “inscrutable” and like parables, and many critics have suggested that this work is a departure from the poet’s earlier, more concrete and descriptive work. One wrote that the book “may be Glück’s strangest yet.” The collection was awarded the National Book Award for Poetry in 2014. The judges wrote that “Faithful and Virtuous Night emanates from a world where darkness blurs ordinarily sharp edges around the oppositions we summon to think our lives—loss and renewal, male and female, the living and dead.”
Louise Glück is one of America’s most celebrated poets. She was born in 1943 in New York City. Though she attended both Sarah Lawrence and Colombia University, her physical and mental health concerns prevented her from earning a degree from either school. She opted instead to pursue several years of psychoanalysis in order to recover from an eating disorder; psychoanalysis has long been an acknowledged influence on her work. Glück published her first collection of poetry in 1968 and has been publishing them steadily since then. She has served as a visiting faculty member at many universities. Glück is the recipient of dozens of honors and awards for her work, including, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pulitzer Prize in 1993, her tenure as the US Poet Laureate 2003-2004, the National Book Award in 2014, and a Nobel Prize in Literature in 2020.
Friday, March 1, 2024, 6:30pm Driggs Branch
Less, by Andrew Sean Greer. Published 2018, 272 pages.
Andrew Sean Greer’s Less is a satirical novel about the misadventures of “failed novelist” Arthur Less. Less is turning 50, has suffered recent literary disappointments, and has just received an invitation to the wedding of his ex-boyfriend, Freddy. In an effort to reevaluate his life (and avoid the wedding), Less concocts a scheme to travel the world by accepting a series of professional invitations. He embarks on a comedic series of unfortunate events in his efforts to run away from his problems. The novel won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for fiction; the Pulitzer foundation described Less as “A generous book, musical in its prose and expansive in its structure and range, about growing older and the essential nature of love.” The novel also won the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award for 2018.
Andrew Sean Greer was born in 1970 in Washington D.C., alongside his identical twin. He was raised in Maryland and graduated from Brown University and the University of Montana. He is primarily a novelist, but has also taught creative writing, and served as the first Executive Director of the Santa Maddalena Foundation. He is a multiple award winner, as well as the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Less is his fifth novel.