Quadrangle Society Book Club

Old Books

The programming for the newly named Massey College Book Club for the 2017-2018 season has been done by a committee of Quadrangle Society Members, Junior Fellows and Senior Fellows who have worked together to provide a reading list that represents the interests of the community as a whole.

We will continue our Quadrangle Society Dine in hall meetings on Book Club nights, and continue to urge Quadrangle Society members to attend and sit and socialize with the Junior Fellowship.

This year, we’ll organize the first annual Massey College Literary Trivia Evening on September 21st. We will be hosting an evening of trivia and general merriment after dinner in Ondaatje hall. Come for dinner and stay to compete and bond with your fellow readers for the 2017-2018 Massey Book Club season.

The list for the 2017-2018 is as follows:

Monday, October 2, 2017:

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, and The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis, presented by Tiff Macklem:

Kahneman is considered the most important psychologist of our era. His best-selling 2011 book, Thinking, Fast and Slow describes the series of psychological experiments he and Amos Tversky developed that have questioned traditional human judgement and decision-making. Their work has influenced many fields including medicine, politics, business and economics and led to Kahneman’s Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences. Michael Lewis’s The Undoing Project is an entertaining dual biography of Kahneman and Tversky.We’re not asking you to read both books, but in fact one will lead very easily to the other.

Our presenter, Senior Fellow Tiff Macklem, is a former senior deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, and the present Dean of the Rotman School of Management.

Monday, November 6, 2017:

Kim, by Rudyard Kipling, presented by Margaret MacMillan:

Senior Fellow of Massey College and Warden of St. Anthony’s College, Oxford, Margaret Macmillan returns to her earlier area of study, the British Raj in India. Kipling’s colonial assumptions challenge contemporary readers, but Kim remains, nearly 120 years after it was first published, a compelling adventure story and an extraordinarily rich evocation of India. As Salman Rushdie writes of Kipling’s stories of India, “There will always be plenty in Kipling that I will find difficult to forgive; but there is also enough truth in these stories to make them impossible to ignore.”

Monday, December 4, 2017:

Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis, presented by Sandra Martin

The eponymous 15 dogs who have escaped from a pound consider a range of philosophic questions as they explore and try to survive on the Toronto Waterfront. Alexis’s virtuoso exercise in anthropomorphism won the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize, The 2016 Writers’ , Trust fiction prize and 2017 CBC Canada Reads competition, and arouses a variety of readers’ responses.

Quadrangle Member Sandra Martin founded the book club. Her most recent book is A Good Death: Making the Most of Our Final Choices.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud, presented by Jean Riley and Niyosha Keyzad.

Published in French in 2014 and in English in 2015, The Meursault Investigation was described in The Guardian as “an instant classic.” and provoked death threats in the author’s native Algieria. Quadrangle member Jean Riley writes: “this a short (143 pages) haunting book revisits the intrigue of The Stranger by Albert Camus from the point of view, years later, of the brother of the Arab murdered by Meursault. The hypnotic first person narrative addresses issues of identity, memory, racism, powerlessness, anger and sorrow. It reminds readers of the stark tone of alienation of The Stranger while at the same time conveying passionate fury and deep melancholy. I believe it is perfect for a Massey discussion because it has academic resonance and contemporary relevance.”

Monday, February 5, 2018

Hunger by Roxane Gay, presenter TBA

Hunger comprises at least two stories: a partial but more or less linear telling of Gay’s life so far, and a more halting, spiraling description of her everyday experience as a fat woman. Even though she has found great success as an essayist, writer of fiction and university teacher, and attracted a large, passionate online following, it’s clear from her account that her weight is still the first thing strangers notice about her, and that she must spend much of her time dealing with their unsolicited responses to it. These range from rude to abusive, encompassing all sorts of casual mockery, faux concern and outright aggression along the way. But “it’s the world around her that comes off as out of control in its appetites – hate-filled, obsessed with women’s body parts, eager to punish what it helps create.”

Monday, March 5, 2018

In The Wake: On Blackness and Being by Christina Sharpe, presenter TBA . In this original and trenchant work, Sharpe, an English professor at Tufts University, interrogates literary, visual, cinematic, and quotidian representations of Black life that comprise what she calls the “orthography of the wake. ” She starts this deep and highly creative work with the personal tragedy of the deaths of her nephew, mother, sister, and brother in the same short period of time. She uses her own experience of the familial “wake,” and multiple meanings of that word, to open a door to the larger political and global revelations of Blackness as a force for expression, resistance, and therefore, existence in the face of the “on-going ruptures of chattel slavery.”

Monday, April 9, 2018

Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez, presenter TBA

Scarborough has already received recognition as winner of the Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop Emerging Writers Award in 2015, and finalist for the 2016 $50,000 Half the World Global Literati Award for best unpublished manuscript. It offers a raw yet empathetic glimpse into a troubled community that locates its dignity in unexpected places: a neighborhood that refuses to be undone. Scarborough, a low-income, culturally diverse neighborhood east of Toronto, like many inner-city communities, suffers under the weight of poverty, drugs, crime, and urban blight. Scarborough the novel employs a multitude of voices to tell the story of a tight-knit neighborhood under fire. It offers a raw yet empathetic glimpse into a troubled community that locates its dignity in unexpected places: a neighborhood that refuses to be undone.

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