Check It Out Category: Books

Nonfiction: The British Royal Family

The British royal family welcomed a new heir to the throne, with the arrival of the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan. If you are looking for true stories about England’s current royalty, you may be interested in some of these biographies.

 

My Husband and I book coverMy Husband & I
by Ingrid Seward
Elizabeth the Queen book coverElizabeth the Queen
by Sally Bedell Smith
by Philip Eade

 

Prince Charles book coverPrince Charles
by Sally Bedell Smith
Charles and Diana book coverCharles and Diana
by Penny Junor
by Christopher Andersen

 

Prince William book coverPrince WIlliam
by Penny Junor
Kate the Future Queen book coverKate: The Future Queen
by Katie Nicholl
by Andrew Morton

 

Harry: A Biography of a Prince book coverHarry
by Angela Levin
Meghan: A Hollywood Princess book coverMeghan
by Andrew Morton
by Katie Nicholl

Book Discussion Questions: The Paris Architect

Tthe paris architect book coveritle: The Paris Architect
Author: Charles Belfoure
Page Count: 388 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Tone: Suspenseful

Summary: A Parisian architect is paid handsomely to devise secret hiding spaces for Jews in his Nazi-occupied country but struggles with risking his life for a cause he is ambivalent towards, until a personal failure brings home their suffering.

 

 

SPOILER WARNING: These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points if you have not read the book.

The Library is happy to share these original questions for your use. If reproducing, please credit with the following statement: 2019 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.

  1. 1. The story begins with Lucien Bernard rounding a corner at the Rue La Boetie and a man almost collides with him. The man is almost immediately shot down by the German soldiers.  What did you think of Lucien’s reaction to this and did it set a tone for his character?
  2. 2. Lucien is an out of work architect, desperate for work. He meets with Auguste Manet who asks him to build a hiding space for a Jewish man being hunted by the Gestapo.  Let’s talk about this interaction.
  3. 3. What did you think about Celeste and Lucien’s relationship?
  4. 4. Collaboration was a very sensitive topic for the French. Let’s talk about this
  5. 5. Let’s talk about Adele, Lucien’s mistress.
  6. 6. “The Occupation hadn’t just bred hatred of Jews; it had brought out the very worst in human beings, neighbor against neighbor and even friend against friend. People would screw over each other for a lump of butter”.  Let’s discuss.
  7. 7. It was dangerous to hide Jewish people. What did you think of anyone hiding a Jewish person? Would you?
  8. 8. What did you think about Celeste’s reaction when Lucien admitted that he had saved two Jewish people?
  9. 9. Let’s talk about some of the German characters, did any stand out? If so why?
  10. 10. Most WW2 fiction, including this book, seems to portray most Germans in a less than pleasant light. What do you think of this?
  11. 11. The book is a series of vignettes describing the plight of Jewish people that were hiding. Did any of the stories particularly strike you?
  12. 12. Did you imagine yourself in any of the situations the Jewish people found themselves in? What would you have done if Captain Bruckner lined up the people in your neighborhood or you were forced to hide under a set of stairs?
  13. 13. We meet Adele’s right-hand “man”, Bette Tullard. Let’s talk about her.
  14. 14. Why do you think it was so important to Schlegel to find any hidden Jews?
  15. 15. Let’s talk about Father Jacques, the priest that took in Pierre.
  16. 16. Lucien ended up loving Pierre like a son. Why do you think Lucien took Pierre in?
  17. 17. Pierre realizes that there is something “off” about Alain and follows him. Let’s talk about this chapter.
  18. 18. Lucien’s attitude about helping Jewish people has an abrupt change, let’s talk about this
  19. 19. Lucien is approached by the Resistance. What is/was your opinion of France’s Resistance?
  20. 20. “The Resistance does its best under extremely difficult conditions.  But we must fight back.  To live defeated is to die every day”.  Do you agree, or do you think it is better to choose your battles?  Which side do you believe you would end up in, Resistance or Collaborator?
  21. 21. What did you think of Lucien helping the Resistance to sacrifice his factory?
  22. 22. Let’s talk about the ending.
  23. 23. “When all this Madness if over, I hope we meet again,” said Lucien to Herzog. Do you think they will?  If so, what do you think would happen if they did meet after the war?
  24. 24. Did you have a favorite character?
  25. 25. Do you think history could repeat itself in today’s world?

Want help with your book discussion group? Check out tips, advice, and all the ways the Library can help support your group!

OTHER RESOURCES:

New York Journal of Books The Paris Architect: A Novel
Reading Group Guides Guide to The Paris Architect
Charles Belfoure’s Official Website
Lit Lovers Guide to The Paris Architect

READALIKES:

Sarah's Key book coverSarah’s Key
by Tatiana de Rosnay

Schindler's List book coverSchindler’s List
by Thomas Keneally

by Monica Hesse

Books: If You Are a Fan of Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones, the first book in George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series, was the basis for the wildly popular HBO series, Game of Thrones, now airing in its final season. If you just cannot get enough of either the TV series or the book series (or both!), explore these engaging readalikes that offer adventures in similar realms.
 
 

The Ruin of Kings book coverThe Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons
Large cast of characters, World-building, Epic fantasy

When destiny calls, there’s no fighting back. Kihrin grew up in the slums of Quur, a thief and a minstrel’s son raised on tales of long-lost princes and magnificent quests. When he is claimed against his will as the missing son of a treasonous prince, Kihrin finds himself at the mercy of his new family’s ruthless power plays and political ambitions.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Malice book coverMalice by John Gwynne
Epic fantasy, Large cast of characters, World-building

The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed in battle, but now giants are seen, the stones weep blood and giant wyrms are stirring. Those who can still read the signs see a threat far greater than the ancient wars. For if the Black Sun gains ascendancy, mankind’s hopes and dreams will fall to dust … and it can never be made whole again.

 

 

 

 

 

The Emperor's Blades book coverThe Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley
Epic fantasy, Court intrigue, World-building, Large cast of characters

The children of an assassinated emperor try to stay alive and avenge their father’s death while continuing down their individual life-paths, one in a monastery, another training with elite soldiers, and one appointed a minister determined to prove herself to her people.

 

 

 

 

 

Epic fantasy, World-building, Large cast of characters
A wholly seductive tale of war, passion, and intrigue, evoking the spirit of medieval Japan. It is the story of a boy who is suddenly plucked from his life in a remote and peaceful village to find himself a pawn in a political scheme filled with treacherous warlords, rivalry and the intensity of first love.

 

 

 

 

 

Prince of Thorns book coverPrince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
Epic fantasy, World-building, Court drama, Violent
After witnessing the murder of his mother and brother and leading a band of bloodthirsty thugs, Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath returns to his father’s castle and his birthright, but faces treachery and dark magic once he arrives.

 

 

 

 

 

The Mists of Avalon book coverThe Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Strong female, World-building, Dramatic, Mystical
The tumult and adventures of Camelot’s court seen through the eyes of the women who bolstered the king’s rise and schemed for his fall. As Morgaine and Gwenhwyfar struggle for control over the fate of Arthur’s kingdom, as the Knights of the Round Table take on their infamous quest, as Merlin and Viviane wield their magics for the future of Old Britain, the Isle of Avalon slips further into the impenetrable mists of memory.

April Short Story Discussion: The Short of It

The Short of It book coverIf you are a short story reader you won’t want to miss The Short of It, our upcoming discussion on Monday, April 29 at 7:00pm in first floor Meeting Room B. Enjoy a compelling discussion and engage with other literature lovers! Join retired high school teacher Ron Crowley-Koch for a discussion revolving around the following three short stories freely available online and linked below. Please read the stories twice to glean their true beauty.

The Overcoat book cover

 

The Overcoat” by Nikolai Gogol

 

 

 

 

 

The Boor book coverThe Boor” by Anton Chekhov

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thief book coverThe Thief” by Walter Mosely
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc