The Czech/American Reading Circle

​The Nebraska Czechs of Lincoln are proud to sponsor the Czech/American Reading Circle.  Started in January, 2019, the Reading Circle shares significant books about, by, for, and important to, people of Czech Heritage.

Attendees are not required to have read the book being discussed, however, it helps to have some familiarity
with it, and we encourage all participants to contribute any relevant information they may have.

Please join us!   The circle meets the last Tuesday of each month (except December) at 6:15 pm central time
on ZOOM.   Everyone is welcome.   

​​Please contact the following or any Board Member for additional information and/or to get your Zoom Link.

                                                   Lois Shimerda Rood

                                                   ​Layne Pierce 

                                                   ​Mila Saskova-Pierce

​​​​​​​​​The Czech/American Reading Circle is continuing with its fifth year of reviewing great books. 
 ​Please join us on  Tuesday, October 31, 2023  for our next review...see you there!  







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​​​​​​​​​​​​                          ​​Click here for a high resolution copy of the  2023 Reading Circle Brochure


​​​​​​Past Reading Circle Brochures:

           2022 Reading Circle Brochure
           2021 Reading Circle Brochure
           2020 Reading Circle Brochure
           2019 Reading Circle Brochure



     Český čtenářský kroužek



                   Jiří Karásek ze Lvovic                            Layne Pierce                          

​​​MONTH: OCTOBER 31, 2023
BOOK: A GOTHIC SOUL (1900/2015)
AUTHOR: Jiří Karásek ze Lvovic 

OUR LEADER LAYNE PIERCE, was born and raised in Kansas.  He graduated from Emporia St. University with a minor in Spanish.  Layne is a veteran of the United States Army, graduate of the Defense Language Institute in Monterey California, with an emphasis on Czech language.  He has a Master’s degree in German Languages and Literatures from the University of Kansas and a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from Emporia State University.  He has worked as reference Librarian at Bellevue University, and Reference and Community Outreach Librarian with the Lincoln City Libraries in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Layne co-authored Czech language textbook with Dr. Mila Šašková-Pierce.  He has taught Czech classes and tutored students in Czech at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  At present he is retired from the library, but continues to work as Czech translator.  He is currently translating František Vavák’s 18th Century Chronicle together with Dr. Mila Šašková-Pierce.  He continues to be active in American and Nebraska Czech organizations.  He is President of the Czech Language Foundation, which supports the teaching of Czech language and culture classes at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Past President of the Nebraska Czechs of Lincoln, Treasurer of the Czech and Slovak Educational Center and Cultural Museum; and Secretary of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences, Nebraska Chapter.  He is the moderator for the Nebraska Czechs of Lincoln Reading Circle. 
​​​​​​​​​​​ ​
BOOK: A GOTHIC SOUL (1900/2015)
AUTHOR: Jiří Karásek ze Lvovic

A Gothic Soul is the most acclaimed work of Czech Decadent prose.  Expressing concerns that are unique to the Czech movement while alluding creatively and ironically to Joris-Karl Huysman's Against Nature, the novella is set in Prague, which is portrayed as a dead city, a city peopled by shades, who, like the protagonist – a nihilist and the "last scion of a noble line" – are only a dim reflection of the city's medieval splendor.  The man lives in a dreamworld, the labyrinth of his soul giving rise to visions.  In his quest for meaning, he walks the city, often hallucinating, while pondering questions of religious fervor and loss of faith, the vanity of life, his own sense of social alienation, human identity and its relationship to a "nation," the miserable situation of the Czechs under Habsburg rule, and Prague's loss of its soul on the cusp of modernity as old sections, such as much of the squalid Jewish Quarter, are demolished to make way for gaudy new buildings and streets.  With a history of madness running in the family and afraid the same fate awaits him, he ultimately retreats into seclusion, preferring the monastic way of life as the epitome of unity and wholeness and a tonic to presentday fragmentation.  Yet Karásek eschews the mawkish, opting instead for darker tones that play with the tropes and motifs of Decadence while conflating the same-sex desires of his protagonist, the fatalism and futility of such an existence within the social construct of the day, with concerns for the dual fates of his nation and city.    (source: Amazon)