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Change Your Life One Book at a Time!

Start reading today or join the discussion even if you didn’t read the book!

Tuesdays, 12:30 PM in the Great Hall

Reservations are greatly appreciated in order to provide seating
Contact CSL Co-President Sandra Vuitel at or 314.300.8858

September 27
Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life
by CS Lewis describes his life from early childhood in the 1890s to his 1930s-era conversion to Christianity. Lewis’s goal was to identify and describe the events surrounding his accidental discovery of, and the consequent search for, the phenomenon he labeled “Joy”—his best translation of the idea of longing. This “Joy” was so intense for something so good and so high up it could not be explained with words. He is struck with “stabs of joy” throughout his life. “”Joy’ is distinct not only from pleasure in general but even from aesthetic pleasure. It must have the stab, the pang, the inconsolable longing,” he wrote. Lewis discovers the true nature and purpose of “Joy” and its place in his own life. The book’s last two chapters cover the end of his search as he makes the leap from atheism to theism, from theism to Christianity and, as a result, he realizes that “Joy” is like a “signpost” to those lost in the woods, pointing the way.

October 25
Trail Blazers: The Free-Spirited and Extraordinary Lives of Ted and Pat Jones by Jeannette Cooperman tells the story of unselfish philanthropy and savvy business judgment — in this case uniquely paired in a most remarkable couple, Ted and Pat Jones. Ted Jones built what’s now one of the world’s most widely held and successful financial partnerships—Edward Jones Investments. Pat crusaded for environmental issues and restored acres of land to an 1840s prairie landscape. The two were driving forces and major private donors behind the creation of the Katy Trail, the nation’s longest recreational rail trail, which is 240 miles, largely along the northern bank of the Missouri River. Proceeds from the book support Magnificent Missouri, an organization that works to conserve and enhance the corridor along the Katy Trail and in the Missouri River Valley west of St. Louis. On November 1, the man behind Magnificent Missouri and the publication of the book – Dan Burkhardt – will be the featured speaker at CSL. Buy the book at Trail Blazers is not available on Amazon but is available from the Magnificent Missouri website. It is available at the Missouri Botanical Garden and the History Museum.

November 29
Two Dogs and a Parrot, by Joan Chittister
This leading inspirational writer invites readers to embrace and celebrate the deep bond between humans and animals. Two Dogs and a Parrot offers both heart-warming stories and thought-provoking reflections about sharing life with an animal companion. She believes companion animals draw us out of ourselves and show us what it truly means to be alive. They teach us to accept life’s struggles and cherish its pleasures and the importance of being able to accept ourselves and respect others. They help us to find purpose and meaning in what we do, and to overcome challenges and setbacks. In our treasured animals we observe varying degrees of excitement and play, of love and fear. And we realize their beautiful uniqueness, their sensitivities and strong sense of purpose. Two Dogs and a Parrot will speak to us all. It illuminates the significance of sharing our lives with a pet and celebrates the great gift of animals in our world.


January 24
The Girl with the Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier. Tracy Chevalier transports readers to a bygone time and place in this richly-imagined portrait of the young woman who inspired one of Vermeer’s most celebrated paintings. History and fiction merge seamlessly in this luminous novel about artistic vision and sensual awakening. The Girl with a Pearl Earring tells the story of sixteen-year-old Griet, whose life is transformed by her brief encounter with genius even as she herself is immortalized in canvas and oil.