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Book Discussion Groups

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Nonfiction Book Discussion:

The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family’s Century of Art and Loss  by Edmund De Waal

Thursday February 10th at 1:30 p.m.

Please join us for a discussion of The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family’s Century of Art and Loss  by Edmund De Waal on Thursday February 10th at 1:30 p.m.

The Ephrussis were a grand banking family, as rich and respected as the Rothschilds, who burned like a comet in nineteenth-century Paris and Vienna society. Yet by the end of World War II, almost the only thing remaining of their vast empire was a collection of 264 wood and ivory carvings, none of them larger than a matchbox.

The renowned ceramicist Edmund de Waal became the fifth generation to inherit this small and exquisite collection of netsuke. Entranced by their beauty and mystery, he determined to trace the story of his family through the story of the collection.

The netsuke “drunken monks, almost-ripe plums, snarling tigers” were gathered by Charles Ephrussi at the height of the Parisian rage for all things Japanese. Charles had shunned the place set aside for him in the family business to make a study of art, and of beautiful living. He gave the carvings as a wedding gift to his cousin Viktor in Vienna; his children were allowed to play with one netsuke each while they watched their mother, the Baroness Emmy, dress for ball after ball. 

The Anschluss changed their world beyond recognition. Ephrussi and his cosmopolitan family were imprisoned or scattered, and Hitler’s theorist on the  ”Jewish question” appropriated their magnificent palace on the Ringstrasse. A library of priceless books and a collection of Old Master paintings were confiscated by the Nazis. But the netsuke were smuggled away by a loyal maid, Anna, and hidden in her straw mattress. Years after the war, she would find a way to return them to the family she’d served even in their exile.

In The Hare with Amber Eyes, Edmund de Waal unfolds the story of a remarkable family and a tumultuous century. Sweeping yet intimate, it is a highly original meditation on art, history, and family, as elegant and precise as the netsuke themselves.

An exhibition telling the story of the Ephrussi Family will be on view at the Jewish Museum from November 19, 2021 through May 15, 2022.

Copies of the book are available on Libby and Hoopla and may also be reserved for pickup at the library.

Please note that this will be a hybrid event. Participants are invited to join us in person or via zoom.

Click HERE to receive the zoom meeting link if participating remotely.  In person participants can register HERE.

 

Fiction Book Discussion

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Tuesday, February 22th at 7:30 p.m.

Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Please join us for a discussion of The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates on Tuesday, February 22th at 7:30 p.m.

Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage–and lost his mother and all memory of her when he was a child–but he is also gifted with a mysterious power. Hiram almost drowns when he crashes a carriage into a river, but is saved from the depths by a force he doesn’t understand, a blue light that lifts him up and lands him a mile away. This strange brush with death forces a new urgency on Hiram’s private rebellion. Spurred on by his improvised plantation family, Thena, his chosen mother, a woman of few words and many secrets, and Sophia, a young woman fighting her own war even as she and Hiram fall in love, he becomes determined to escape the only home he’s ever known. So begins an unexpected journey into the covert war on slavery that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia’s proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the deep South to dangerously utopic movements in the North. Even as he’s enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, all Hiram wants is to return to the Walker Plantation to free the family he left behind–but to do so, he must first master his magical gift and reconstruct the story of his greatest loss. 

Copies of the book are available on Libby and may also be reserved for pickup at the library.

Please note that this will be a hybrid event. Participants are invited to join us in person or via zoom.

Click HERE to receive the zoom meeting link if participating remotely. In person participants can register HERE.

 

 

 

The library has many digital resources for ebooks and audiobooks. Click here to learn more.

Please check our events page for a complete list of our virtual programs.