Book Review Luncheon to be held at library

The Friends of the James V. Brown Library will present their next Book Review Luncheon at 12:30 p.m. March 7, and will feature Dr. James E. Douthat, recently retired president of Lycoming College, as the presenter.

Douthat will discuss “The Hare with Amber Eyes,” by Edmund de Waal.

The author is a noted British potter and ceramist, and a great grandson of one of the major characters in the book.

When he inherited a collection of 264 netsuke (tiny Japanese wood and ivory carvings), the author decided to research the story of his family, the Ephrussi, through the story of their netsuke collection.

The Ephrussis were a Jewish family of great wealth in Paris, France, and Vienna, Austria, during the 19th century. By the end of World War II they had lost everything with the exception of the small netsuke carvings that had been hidden by a family maid.

De Waal first saw the collection in Tokyo, Japan, and soon after it was reunited with the family.

His research led to this memoir, which shares the story of his remarkable family during a tumultuous period in history – economically, socially and politically.

A native of Petersburg, Va., Douthat and his wife, Emily, have made Williamsport their home since 1989, when he assumed presidency at Lycoming College.

He retired in June 2013 after 23 years of leadership at the college. He now has the time to pursue his interests, which include the study of American and English history, 18th and 19th century Japanese netsuke and international travel.

“The Hare with Amber Eyes” was reviewed in both The Economist and The New York Times in 2010 and 2011, and it was these reviews that led Douthat to the book.

It was honored with several awards after its publication in 2010.

The luncheons are open to the public and free of charge unless participants choose to order the light lunch that is available. Attendees may bring their own lunch at no cost.

There is a cost for available lunch and can be reserved by calling the library information desk at 570-326-0536 no later than 3 p.m. March 5.