Classic Book Club

“Classic” books are classic for a reason – their literary excellence transcends passing fads, and they continue to engage readers generation after generation. If there are classics you have always meant to read “someday,” or if you read them in school before you were ready to appreciate them, now is the time to enjoy them with other adult readers.

Join the Classic Book Club in 2017 as we explore classic titles in genre fiction. These are books that were written for popular audiences, not scholars, but whose literary merit and entertainment value have stood the test of time. Throughout the year we will be reading classics books in romance, mystery, horror, science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction.

Discussion groups will meet at 7:00 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every other month. Please note: Our August meeting will take place on the THIRD Tuesday of the month. Anyone is welcome to attend any session, but advanced registration is required if you would like the library to reserve you a book. Register here!

Next Meeting: August 15, 2016

Theme: Mystery

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

The Maltese Falcon book cover

A coolly glittering gem of detective fiction that has haunted three generations of readers, from one of the greatest mystery writers of all time.

A treasure worth killing for. Sam Spade, a slightly shopworn private eye with his own solitary code of ethics. A perfumed grafter named Joel Cairo, a fat man name Gutman, and Brigid O’Shaughnessy, a beautiful and treacherous woman whose loyalties shift at the drop of a dime. These are the ingredients of Dashiel Hammett’s iconic, influential, and beloved The Maltese Falcon.


Discussion Questions

  1. Sam Spade’s attitude toward authority is patently clear in remarks like “It’s a long while since I burst out crying because policemen didn’t like me” or “At one time or another I’ve had to tell everyone from the Supreme Court down to go to hell, and I’ve got away with it” How is Spade’s distrust of power manifested in his actions? How important is distrust as an aspect of his character?
  2. Of the three women in the book–Brigid O’Shaughnessy, Effie Perine, and Iva Archer–are any fully realized, or are perhaps all three, as stereotypes, three sides of one woman? As a stereotype, what does each woman represent? What does Spade mean, and what does it say about Spade, when he tells Effie, “You’re a damned good man, sister”?
  3. “By Gad, sir, you’re a character,” says Gutman, laughing, when Spade suggests making Wilmer the fall-guy. Is the Spade-Gutman relationship one of justice versus corrupt wealth or one of equals competing for the same prize? How does Gutman’s sophistication and erudition reveal another side of Spade?

Questions from ReadingGroupGuides