LAVA, a book group of the First Unitarian Church of Rochester, NY, reads a variety of books, especially literary fiction.    Reading and discussion resources are available for our selections since 2004.

Upcoming Discussions

The preliminary list of candidate books for 2021 is ready for inspection.

2020
Nov 13 Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips, 256 pages, 2019.

Set in the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula, located about mid-way between Japan and Alaska, this literary thriller centers around the disappearance of two young sisters and is told by a series of women. Los Angeles Review of Books: "A sophisticated and powerful literary thriller... By taking us through the year after the sisters were kidnapped, character by character, slowly spiraling back, Phillips is able to strike at so much of what ails not only Russia but also most tradition-bound areas all over the world today." This novel was one of five finalists for the National Book Award.   LAVA's reading resources

Dec 11 The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War by Ben Macintyre, 338 pages, 2018.

The true story of Oleg Gordievsky, the KGB bureau chief in London who, as a double agent, funneled a steady stream of information to British intelligence. The CIA wanted to know his identity, but the person they assigned to find out was himself a Soviet double agent. His identity discovered, Gordievsky was spirited out of the USSR in a daring rescue. San Francisco Chronicle: "It's nonfiction, but it reads like the best of thriller."

2021
Jan In January we hold a special meeting to share information and opinions about the books that have been proposed for the coming year. 
Feb 12 Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, 2017, 336 pages.

In this novel, a single mother and her teenage daughter rent a house in a wealthy suburb of Cleveland, where their lives begin to intersect with an established family. New York Times: "She offers a nuanced and sympathetic portrait of those terrified of losing power... the magic of this novel lies in its power to implicate all of its characters - and likely many of its readers - in that innocent delusion. Who set the little fires everywhere? We keep reading to find out, even as we suspect that it could be us with ash on our hands." This novel was on several lists of the best books of the year.