Together, we love sharing ideas — so come ready for eye-opening conversations. Book genres and topics vary. All will strengthen your sense of togetherness with others in the JCCSF community in a social and relaxed setting.
Afternoon Book Group
We’re excited to re-start our afternoon book club! The afternoon book group met for over ten years and was on hiatus during the pandemic, but we’re back! The group will continue to read a variety of fiction and nonfiction books chosen by the members.
Interested? Please connect with Shiva Schulz, Director of Lifelong Learning, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 415-292-1260 to get on the list to join.
2nd Wednesday of the month unless noted • 2:45 – 4:15 pm at JCCSF.
JUNE 14: THE WORLD AND ALL THAT IT HOLDS, BY ALEKSANDAR HEMON
As the Archduke Franz Ferdinand arrives in Sarajevo one June day in 1914, Rafael Pinto is busy crushing herbs and grinding tablets behind the counter at the pharmacy he inherited from his estimable father. It’s not quite the life he had expected during his poetry-filled student days in libertine Vienna, but it’s nothing a dash of laudanum from the high shelf, a summer stroll, and idle fantasies about passersby can’t put in perspective. And then the world explodes. In the trenches in Galicia, fantasies fall flat. Heroism gets a man killed quickly. War devours all that they have known, and the only thing Pinto has to live for are the attentions of Osman, a fellow soldier, a man of action to complement Pinto’s introspective, poetic soul; a charismatic storyteller; Pinto’s protector and lover. Together, Pinto and Osman will escape the trenches, survive near-certain death, tangle with spies and Bolsheviks. Over mountains and across deserts, from one world to another, all the way to Shanghai, it is Pinto’s love for Osman―with the occasional opiatic interlude―that keeps him going.
JULY 12: MURDER IN THE SHADOW OF THE PYRAMID, BY ROBERTA PRESSMAN
This is a fast-paced modern mystery in which the action takes place internationally but is centered around the Transamerica Pyramid Building in San Francisco. It begins with a series of murders on the grounds of the Pyramid and in a nearby law office, followed by a chain of suspenseful events, the likes of which even San Francisco has rarely seen or heard. Former Nazis in San Francisco, Argentina, Germany, and Egypt are involved, along with a pyramid-worshipping cult in San Francisco, a young lawyer, and SFPD detectives. All is revealed at the end in a spectacular illuminated sequence of events at the Pyramid Building.
Author Roberta Pressman will lead this month’s discussion.
How to purchase this book – only through Amazon, it is not available at the public library.
AUGUST 9: A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD, BY JENNIFER EGAN
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan tracks the passage of time in the lives of individuals in the rock music industry. The chapters defy conventional temporal and narrative chronologies, and each one is a self-contained episode in an unfolding network of stories, spanning six decades from the 1970s to the 2020s. The novel employs various narrative formats, such as the short story, the magazine article, and the graphic slide presentation. The variety of storytelling methods provides a variety of perspectives on the characters.
SEPTEMBER 13: HAPPENING, BY ANNIE ERNEAU
In 1963, Annie Ernaux, 23 and unattached, realizes she is pregnant. Shame arises in her like a plague: Understanding that her pregnancy will mark her and her family as social failures, she knows she cannot keep that child. This is the story, written forty years later, of a trauma Ernaux never overcame. In a France where abortion was illegal, she attempted, in vain, to self-administer the abortion with a knitting needle. Fearful and desperate, she finally located an abortionist, and ends up in a hospital emergency ward where she nearly dies. In Happening, Ernaux sifts through her memories and her journal entries dating from those days. Clearly, cleanly, she gleans the meanings of her experience.
In 2022, Annie Erneau was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Evening Book Group
3rd Tuesday of the month unless noted • 7:30 – 8:30 pm
The Evening Book Club is now meeting in person at the JCCSF. To join the Evening Book Group, please contact Shiva Schulz at email@example.com.
APRIL 18: RULES OF CIVILITY BY AMOR TOWLES
MAY 16: PERSONAL LIBRARIAN BY MARIE BENEDICT AND VICTORIA C. MURRAY
JUNE 20: WHEN I’M GONE LOOK FOR ME IN THE EAST BY QUAN BARRY
Proving once again that she is a writer of immense range and imagination, Quan Barry carries us across a terrain as unforgiving as it is beautiful and culturally varied, from the western Altai mountains to the eerie starkness of the Gobi Desert to the ancient capital of Chinggis Khaan. As their country stretches before them, questions of faith—along with more earthly matters of love and brotherhood—haunt the twins. Are our lives our own, or do we belong to something larger? When I’m Gone, Look for Me in the East is a stunningly far-flung examination of our individual struggle to retain our convictions and discover meaning in a fast-changing world, as well as a meditation on accepting what simply is.