Belfast Free Library Offers New “Let’s Talk About It” Book Discussion Series
The Belfast Free Library has been selected by the Maine Humanities Council to offer “Let’s Talk About It”, a free reading and discussion group with copies of books available through the library. This program is provided by the Maine Humanities Council’s Maine Center for the Book in cooperation with the Maine State Library.
The series, The Gilded Age: A Tale for Today? Will have its first meeting Tuesday March 3, 6:30 pm in the Abbott Room of the Belfast Free Library and will continue for four sessions, through April 21st.
The first book to be read and discussed on Tuesday March 3rd is, The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. The other books to be discussed in this series are: Tuesday March 17th, The Gilded Age, by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner, April 7th, The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton, and finally on April 21st, Poland Springs: A Tale of the Gilded Age by David Richards.
This series will examine one the most pivotal yet most neglected eras of United States history, one that began to define the parameters of the modern world in which we live, the Gilded Age. Rising out of the carnage of four years of civil war and a failed attempt both to reconstruct the South and reconcile race relations, Americans turned their attention during the last quarter of the nineteenth century from political debates over the nature of the nation and moral considerations of civil rights to economic projects of physical expansion and material wealth. The people of principle — of states rights versus federal union, of popular sovereignty versus free soil, of slave power versus abolition — became the people of progress — of railroad building, corporate trusts, street-car suburbs, and social and geographic mobility. In addition to industrialization, urbanization, and migration, the modernization of the United States brought with it the rise of a leisure class and a new therapeutic consumer culture.
The series discussions will be facilitated by Jeffrey B. Aronson, a scholar provided by the Maine Humanities Council. Mr. Aronson is a historian who has taken his passion into several fields. For 17 years he served as an administrator and faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Vermont. Since 1986 Aronson has led over 1,000 discussion programs in colleges, public libraries, family literacy organizations, adult education centers, and historical societies in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts. His historical and literary interests have been central to his participation in these programs; several have been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Maine Humanities Council.
Books for the series are available for loan at the library. Please call the library at 338-3884 ext 10 to register and come in to pick up the first book of the series. For more information about “Let’s Talk About It” and the work of the Maine Humanities Council, see www.mainehumanities.org .