Selections from the Hoboken Public Library’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club Part 5: Rosemary’s Baby, Slaughterhouse-Five, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

6 Jan

This was the second year of the library’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club and we’ve read a great and diverse collection of books.  We already have a few books planned for next year.  In January we will ring in the New Year with the dystopian classic 1984 by George Orwell.  Then in February we will read one of my favorites, Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass (I’ll even be bringing my replica alethiometer to show off).  I hope you will join us and help plan the books we will be reading for the rest of the year.  Email hplwriters AT gmail  DOT com to be added to our mailing list for the group.  You can see previous book club posts here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.


Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby

Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby was our October read in honor of Halloween.  This classic horror novel builds suspense as Rosemary wonders if the nice old neighbors next door might not have diabolical plans for her unborn baby.  Beforehand we watched the Roman Polanski 1968 movie adaptation that was very faithful to the novel and even used some of the original dialogue.  The group was impressed by Sharon Tate’s performance as Rosemary and Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer’s portrayal of the Castevets.  The group felt that the novel depicted some of the limitations and frustration women felt in the traditional role of mother and housekeeper they have often been allotted.  The novel and movie are perfect for those that prefer their horror to be more psychological than gory.


Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five
In November we read Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five.  I had first read the novel when I was in college and remember being a fan of Vonnegut’s work at the time.  I was interested to reread his most famous novel and see if it still captured my imagination.  The group on the whole enjoyed the book and the movie.  They felt that the movie was visually stunning though sometimes lost some of the dialogue in translation.  The book is told in a very nonlinear fashion since the main character has become “unstuck” from time, but the movie was able to do a good job of handling the transitions.  The book even years later still resonates with its themes dealing with war and whether life is a predetermined path or something we can choose to change.

C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

In December, both the family book discussion group and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Discussion group for adults, discussed C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  The book is a charming tale for children, but it is notable that although written for a younger audience, we still found a lot of topics to discuss within the book including its use of religious symbolism and depiction of childhood during times of war.  The group enjoyed the movie.  The special effects are holding up well and the group was impressed by Tilda Swinton’s malevolent portrayal of the White Witch.

I hope you’ll check out these great science fiction and fantasy works, which are all are available in print from the Hoboken Public Library or as an eBook on one our eReaders for loan at the reference desk.  The movies are all available from BCCLS libraries on DVD.  You can borrow The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as an eBook from Hoopla, eLibraryNJ, and eBCCLS.  eLibaryNJ and eBCCLS also have it available as a digital audiobook.  Slaughterhouse-Five is available as an eBook from 3M Cloud Library, a digital audiobook from eLibraryNJ and the movie version can be borrowed from Hoopla.

Hope to see you for our discussion of 1984 on Monday January 25 at 6 PM!  There will be a special movie screening beforehand starting at 4 PM (email hplwriters AT gmail DOT com for more details).  The Family Book Discussion will be meeting on Thursday January 7, 6:00 PM to discuss The Bad Beginning (the first from A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler).  The Mile Square City Readers Book Club, will meet on Thursday January 28 at 7:30 PM to discuss the classic Walden by Henry David.  You can get a copy of Walden or 1984 from the Reference Desk or stop by the Children’s Desk for a copy of The Bad Beginning.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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