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

Oct 13 Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel by Carl Safina, 409 pages, 2015.

Through narrative portraits of elephants, wolves and dolphins, the author examines their rich social environment and their capacity for perception, thought and emotion. He combines those observations with the latest findings on the human brain, which leads him to question previously held distinctions between humans and other animals. The author was the recipient of the MacArthur "genius grant."   LAVA's reading resources

Nov 3 The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen, 382 pages, 2016.

The narrator is a half-French, half-Vietnamese army captain who comes to America after the Fall of Saigon. While building a new life with other Vietnamese refugees in Los Angeles, he secretly works as a spy and reports back to his communist superiors in Vietnam. This novel is a fast-paced and savagely funny exploration of identity. It won the Pulitzer Prize.

Dec 8 The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, 320 pages, 2016.

In this imaginative work of fiction, the underground railroad is not a metaphor for the network of paths and people who help slaves escape to the north, but literally a railroad beneath the ground with the same purpose. According to the publisher: "Like the protagonist of Gulliver's Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey -- hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. This novel won the National Book Award.

Jan In January we hold a special meeting to share information and opinions about the books that have been proposed for the coming year.  Please note that this meeting is on a Saturday instead of the usual Friday.  Details for this meeting are sent via email.
Feb 9 Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance, 272 pages, 2016.

After World War II, Vance's parents moved from the poverty-stricken mountains of Kentucky to Ohio, where they raised a middle-class family. Even though their son went to Yale, things did not go smoothly for them. Vance shows how he himself still carries the demons of his chaotic family history of abuse and alcoholism."