January – June 2002

January 4

The Elegant Universe
Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory

by Brian Greene

"The Elegant Universe is compulsively readable... Greene threatens to do for string theory what Stephen Hawking did for black holes." – New York

In a rare blend of scientific insight and writing as elegant as the theories it explains, Brian Greene, one of the world's leading string theorists, peels away the layers of mystery surrounding string theory to reveal a universe that consists of eleven dimensions, where the fabric of space tears and repairs itself, and all matter – from the smallest quarks to the most gargantuan supernovas – is generated by the vibrations of microscopically tiny loops of energy.

with Tom at Tom and Jarka's

February 1

(Everyman's Library Pocket Poets)

Rimbaud is one of the most impressive poets of all time, never compromising himself to the drudgery of the world around him. If at any point in your life you have begun to feel like a free spirit, read Rimbaud's youthful verse and be prepared to perceive life transcendentally. Within his surrealistic vision you will find the vulnerability of weakness with the demonic anger of a possessed soul. There are poems that stir every feeling of what it's like to be young, and free and drunk on the pleasures of life. A true poet.

with Harald at Elizabeth and David's

March 1

by Gustave Flaubert

It seems somewhat surprising that Flaubert, a master of realism, would spend several years writing this novel set in Carthage. In his time, Salambo was a very controversial book, even though celebrated by critics and public, because of its specific detail, which was criticized by eminent archeologists. Gustave Flaubert had done exhaustive research, including several trips to Tunisia, in order to create as realistic a setting as possible for his novel and he defended his work vigorously. He had taken on this laborious task in order to satisfy his taste for the exotic and even the grotesque in life. Years later many of his conjectures were accepted as fact.

The main theme of the novel is the revolt of the mercenaries engaged by Carthage during the Punic wars against Rome. This army was formed from a bizarre collection of men from all over the Mediterranean, and like all armies of the time, it was loved in war but feared in peace. The novel opens with a feast given to honor their many years of sacrifice and loyalty. But soon after, feared by the citizens of the capital city, the men are sent off to an inner region.

It is also the story of Matho, a Libyan soldier, and Salambo, the princess from Carthage. But all this is just a point of departure for Flaubertıs displaying his ability to find the right word - le mot juste - and his amazing talent for showing the inner motivations of his characters.

This fine historical novel can be profitably read not only for the light it sheds on unfamiliar facts but also for the richness and depth of its character development.

with Lazaro at Lazaro's

April 5


May 3

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's perfect comedy of manners - one of the most popular novels of all time - that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues.

with Julie at Joel's

June 7

White Noise
by Don DeLillo


This is a stunning performance from one of our finest and most intelligent novelists. DeLillo's reach is broad and deep, combining acute observation of the textures of American life and analytic rigor. The accumulation of evidence is sometimes indistinguishable from burlesque as, for example, when DeLillo gives all three of Gladney's wives CIA connections. Although DeLillo consciously, and for the most part deftly, mixes modes, occasionally we see the seams between the real and the surreal; at times the observation seems a little too consciously shaped in the service of thematic impulses. But at his best DeLillo masterfully orchestrates the idioms of pop culture, science, computer technology, advertising, politics, semiotics, espionage, and about 30 other specialized vocabularies. From Jay McInerney - The New Republic

with Pat at Diane's

This and all other books in the series are available online
at one or more of the following book sellers:


About the

Bloomsbury West meets the first Friday of every month.

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