Go Beyond Books – Book Club starts on 16 October

Culture Local News

The American Corner Debrecen starts a new program series called Go Beyond Books on 16 October.

Registration is required at debrecen@americancorner.hu no later than October 10, 2014.

A book club is a group of readers who participate in the regular discussion of books. This reading community consists of several members who meet in person once each month to talk about a specific work.

The primary aim of the club is NOT to practice the language, but to read for joy and to share ideas and opinions.


Moderator: Nancy Stevens

Bio: Nancy Stevens has been an instructor since 2008 in the English Department of Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, Texas. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Indiana University, with an emphasis in American and English fiction. She has also been an editor for a university press, a major art museum, and a travel magazine. She currently lives in Debrecen while her husband is a visiting professor at Debrecen University.

Sometimes a work of fiction captures a nation’s psyche during a period of great change. The novels To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, and My Antonía illustrate such moments in American history and culture. The fall 2014 book club will focus on these three novels and the big issues of American life that each represents. A unifying theme among the three novels is the complicated definition of success in the United States.


The first novel in the series, To Kill a Mockingbird, is also the most recent. In it, Harper Lee explores issues of racial and social prejudice in the American South as seen through the eyes of Scout, a young girl who is trying to understand the big events that swirl around her. Published in 1960, as America squarely confronted its legacy of racial injustice, the novel is set in 1936, when a worldwide economic depression made life difficult for all Americans, white as well as black. Through vividly drawn characters and compelling storytelling, Lee provides insight into a world that was much more complex than the history books alone could capture.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s great novel from the 1920s, The Great Gatsby, captures the optimism of the United States after World War I and the seemingly limitless possibilities for men with ambition. These modern men clashed, however, with the social world of “old” money and family status. The story of the fabulously wealthy and mysterious Jay Gatsby as he tries to fulfill his greatest dream reveals the boundless energy and sometimes desperate hopefulness of America during the Roaring Twenties.

During the nineteenth century, millions of Europeans immigrated to America seeking a better life. In My Antonía, Willa Cather traces the friendship of Jim Burden, a boy from Virginia, and Antonía Shimerda, a newly arrived teenager from Bohemia, as their families work to turn the Nebraska prairie into productive farms. Following Jim and Antonía into adulthood, the novel traces their very different paths toward success in America.



October 16, 2014 5 PM

Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird

November 20, 2014 5 PM

F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby

December 11, 2014 5 PM

Willa Cather: My Antonia



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