Featured Books & Discussion Moderators
Choose a title listed here to read in advance of your dinner and book discussion. Discover new insights on a favorite book or one of these that you are just discovering. The mystery is who will be sitting next to you sharing a similar appreciation for the book you selected. Faculty and friends of FLCC, and in some cases, the book authors, will lead discussions.
Finger Lakes Wine and the Legacy of Dr. Konstantin Frank by Tom Russ
Moderated by Meaghan Frank, great-granddaughter of Dr. Konstantin Frank, and hosted by Trustees Dr. Karen Davison Blazey and Barbara Hamlin
Forced from his home in Soviet Ukraine during World War II, Dr. Konstantin Frank was amazed to discover the Finger Lakes Region's terroir and believed that the vinifera grapes that produced some of Europe's and California's finest wines would prosper in New York. His innovativeness led to the region's production of world-class varietals. Four generations of Franks have continued his legacy, and their winery has won record numbers of prestigious awards every year.
Ladies Night at the Dreamland by Sonja Livingston
Moderated by Sonja Livingston and hosted by Foundation Board Member Debi Jones '91
In her latest book, Sonja Livingston weaves together strands of research and imagination to conjure fascinating women from history, literature, legend, and personal memory. She breathes life into subjects who lived extraordinary lives—as rule-breakers, victims, or those whose differences made them cultural curiosities.
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
Moderated by Kris Thorsness, who won an Olympic Gold Medal in Women's Rowing in 1984, and hosted by Deborah Wilbur and Jayne Morga
With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington's eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler. The emotional heart of the tale lies with Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world.
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
Moderated by Clinton Krager, Associate Professor of Biology, and hosted by Dr. Adrienne O'Brien and Ellen Hemming
Interweaving research in half a dozen disciplines, descriptions of the fascinating species that have already been lost, and the history of extinction as a concept, Elizabeth Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring before our very eyes. She shows that the sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy, compelling us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.
A Course Called Ireland: A Long Walk in Search of a Country, a Pint, and the Next Tee by Tom Coyne
Moderated by Tom Zimmerman, FLCC Foundation board member, who played golf at courses throughout Ireland
A Course Called Ireland is the story of a walking-averse golfer who treks his way around an entire country, spending sixteen weeks playing every seaside hole in Ireland. Along the way, he searches out his family's roots, discovers that a once-poor country has been transformed by an economic boom, and finds that the only thing tougher to escape than Irish sand traps are Irish pubs.
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
Moderated by Rochelle Smith, Assistant Professor of Environmental Conservation and Horticulture
An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world. Hope Jahren's acute insights on nature enliven every page and ultimately reveal what can happen when you find the stamina, passion, and sense of sacrifice needed to make a life out of what you truly love, as you discover along the way the person you were meant to be.
The Basque History of the World: The Story of a Nation by Mark Kurlansky
Moderated by Jamie Rotter, Instructor of Culinary Arts, and hosted by Lori Vail, Instructor of Humanities, and Rebecca Hazard, who recently hiked the El Camino de Santiago through Basque country
Straddling a small corner of Spain and France in a land that is marked on no maps except their own, the Basques are a puzzling contradiction—they are Europe's oldest nation without ever having been a country. No one has ever been able to determine their origins, and even the Basques' language, Euskera—the most ancient in Europe—is related to none other on earth. Mark Kurlansky's blends human stories with economic, political, literary, and culinary history into a rich and heroic tale.
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
by Laura Hillenbrand
Moderated by Eric Duchess, Assistant Professor of History
As a teenager, Louis Zamperini channeled his rebellious spirit into running and discovered a prodigious talent that carried him to the Berlin Olympics. When World War II began, the athlete became an Army airman. When his plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean, Zamperini miraculously survived, adrift on a foundering life raft. Ahead lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater that tested the limits of endurance.
All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
Moderated by Dr. Joseph Nairn, Chief Advancement Officer
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this classic book is generally regarded as the finest novel ever written on American politics. It describes the career of Willie Stark, a back-country lawyer whose idealism is overcome by his lust for power. 2016 marks the 70th anniversary of its publication.
The Annotated Alice
by Lewis Carroll with Introduction and Notes by Martin Gardner and Original Illustrations by John Tenniel
Moderated by April Steenburgh, Electronic Resources & Online Instruction Librarian, and hosted by Nancy Wiley, nationally renowned doll artist, and Robert O'Brien, owner of Good Life Tea
"What is the use of a book,"thought Alice,"without pictures or conversations!"
2015 marked the 150th anniversary of the publication of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," a beloved tale of a young girl falling down the rabbit hole into a new world, where her adventures include tea with the Mad Hatter and her interactions with the Queen of Hearts. Delve deeper into the story in this version that includes commentary by Martin Gardner, one of the world's leading authorities on Lewis Carroll, who first decoded many of the mathematical riddles and wordplay that lay ingeniously embedded in this classic work of literature.
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
Moderated by Maureen Maas-Feary, Professor of Humanities
The New York Times bestseller Fates and Furies is a dazzling examination of a marriage over the course of twenty-four years, and also a portrait of creative partnership. With stunning revelations and multiple threads, and in prose that is vibrantly alive and original, Lauren Groff delivers a deeply satisfying novel about love, art, creativity, and power.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Moderated by Natalie Walton, Adjunct Instructor of History, Humanities, and Honors Studies, and hosted by Stephen and Ann Martin
Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women's war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France—a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women.