The political climate is heating up. As the clusterf*ck of great, red elephants clash tusks and trumpet about in preparation for the looming Presidential election, it is hard not to notice that slow, creeping bite that worms its way into otherwise benign conversation. We choose our colors; we parade our power animal and bandy about our political passions with bold bumper stickers (the quickest way to win hearts and minds is always on the rear of a ’93 Volvo). I don’t particularly like election years. They make me ornery and give me indigestion – mental and physical reactions assured to resume their torture as I grumble through endless rounds of fruitless debate with strangers and strange family members. Ahhh…democracy.
How’s about we ignore the newsreels, pundits and dunderheaded loudmouths and open the floor for some friendly fire (without the acidic wounds)? Brush up your literary chops and join the circle of participants of The Mayor’s Book Club at the Louisville Free Public Library. Meeting up once a month on the third Wednesday, The Mayor’s Book Club is always open to all readers, new members and checks political heat at the door.
March’s pick – chosen, as all selections are, from the Read Your Way Around the World Book List  – is the international bestseller by Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Translated by Alison Anderson, Elegance is set against the backdrop of the famed and much romanced City of Lights – Paris. Following the lives of two young women, an inconspicuous concierge and a blue-blooded pre-teen, the book uncovers the unknown – and unexpected – layers of these lives as they play out in the day to day of an elegant Parisian apartment. With the help of an unexpected outsider, the characters uncover a kinship erstwhile ignored on the surface level.
The political bellwether will soon be chiming louder, and the presidential climate (as well as that of our own physical environment) will quickly simmer towards a stifling flame. Put the brakes on the 24-hour news channel and switch your debate gears towards literary love. Pick up a copy of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, and bring your lunch to the Library this Wednesday. Really, folks, what could be better than Paris in the Spring?
The Louisville Free Public Library’s Main branch is located at 301 York Street
For more information about The Mayor’s Book Club, visit the event page 
Image: Courtesy of Louisville Free Public Library website www.lfpl.org