by-grand-central-station-i-sat-down-and-weptElizabeth Smart’s passionate fictional account of her intense love-affair with the poet George Barker, described by Angela Carter as ‘Like Madame Bovary blasted by lightening . . .A masterpiece’. One day, while browsing in a London bookshop, Elizabeth Smart chanced upon a slim volume of poetry by George Barker – and fell passionately in love with him through the printed word. Eventually they communicated directly and, as a result of Barker’s impecunious circumstances, Elizabeth Smart flew both him and his wife from Japan, where he was teaching, to join her in the United States. Thus began one of the most extraordinary, intense and ultimately tragic love affairs of our time. They never married but Elizabeth bore George Barker four children and their relationship provided the impassioned inspiration for one of the most moving and immediate chronicles of a love affair ever written – By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept. Originally published in 1945, this remarkable book is now widely identified as a classic work of poetic prose which, more than six decades later, has retained all of its searing poignancy, beauty and power of impact.

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bob-dylanThis month in LIPs we invite you to bring along a song or lyric from Bob Dylan to discuss in the group.

the-glass-bead-gameIn the remote Kingdom of Castalia, the scholars of the Twenty Third century play the Glass Bead Game. The elaborately coded game is a fusion of all human knowledge – of maths, music, philosophy, science, and art. Intrigued as a school boy, Joseph Knecht becomes consumed with mastering the game as an adult. As Knecht fulfils his life-long quest he must contend with unexpected dilemmas and the longing for a life beyond the ivory tower.

the-ballad-of-the-sad-cafeMiss Amelia Evans, tall, strong and nobody’s fool, runs a small-town store. Except for a disastrous marriage that lasted just ten days, she has always lived alone. Then Cousin Lymon appears from nowhere, a strutting hunchback who steals Miss Amelia’s heart. Together they transform the store into a lively, popular café where the locals come to drink and gossip. But when her rejected and dangerous ex-husband Marvin Macy returns, the result is a bizarre love triangle that brings with it violence, hatred and betrayal. Among other fine works, the collection also includes ‘Wunderkind’, McCullers’s first published story written when she was only seventeen, about a musical prodigy who suddenly realizes she will not go on to become a great pianist.

song-of-solomonSong of Solomon begins in 1930s America with Macon Dead Jr, the son of a wealthy black property owner, who has been brought up to revere the white world. Macon learns about the tyranny of white society from his friend Guitar, though he is more concerned with escaping the familial tyranny of his own father. So while Guitar joins a terrorist group of poor blacks, Macon goes home to the South, lured by tales of buried family treasure. But his odyssey back home and a deadly confrontation with Guitar leads to the discovery of something infinitely more valuable than gold: his past and the origins of his true self.

Welcome to Literature in Pubs

Literature in Pubs (LIPs) is a community book group searching for literary stimulation in the relaxing atmosphere of a good pub. Currently the meetings are held at The Railway Pub on Tithebarn Street in Liverpool city centre, on the 3rd Monday of every month at 6pm-8pm.

The aim is to provide an informal setting for people to come and discuss their ideas in relation to a piece of literature once a month. No literary background is required, just a passion for discussion.

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