MSSU Themed Semesters Research Guide

A guide of library resources from current and past themed semesters at Missouri Southern State University

The Unbearable Lightness of Being


In The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984), distinguished Czech novelist Milan Kundera tells the story of two couples following the Prague Spring of 1968: a young woman in love with a man fighting between his love for her and his unending womanizing, and one of his mistresses and her faithful lover. Kundera combines pieces of philosophical brilliance and artistic beauty to create snapshots of imperfect humans facing life-changing decisions. When The Unbearable Lightness of Being was first published in English, critic Elizabeth Hardwick, writing in Vanity Fair , described it as a “a work of the boldest mastery, originality, and richness.” It was named one of the best books of 1984 by the New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction. It quickly became an international bestseller.


7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 8, 2022 (Parts 1-4)

George A. Spiva Library Room 413A, MSSU

Admission: Free

Pick up a copy of the book in Webster Hall 337 or Kuhn Hall 203 while supplies last.

6 p.m. Thursday, September 22, 2022 (complete book)

Joplin Public Library, Community Room East, 1901 E. 20th St.

Admission: free

Check it out from the Library's collection!

The Metamorphosis

Pick up a copy of the book in Webster Hall 337 or Kuhn Hall 203 while supplies last.  

The Czech-themed book club would not be complete without one of Prague-born, German-speaking novelist Franz Kafka’s best-known works, his famous novella The Metamorphosis (1915).  

  Picture this… your life consists of the monotonous day in and day out of a job that society tells you is the most important aspect of your life. You are the sole provider for your household. Then one morning, you wake up to discover you have been transformed into a giant insect and are unable to continue your daily duties. In The Metamorphosis , readers are taken on a journey with Gregor Samsa as he deals with life after being transformed into a “monstrous insect.” The story explores themes of family duty, alienation, economic effects on human relationships, and feelings of guilt. The phrase “Kafkaesque” was coined to describe the most unpleasant and bizarre aspects of modern life because of the nightmarish scenarios in Kafka’s novels and stories. Join us to find out more!  

The Czech Semester Book Club is hosted by the Missouri Southern chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English honor society. Light refreshments will be provided. (The illustration is Metamorphosis of Kafka by James LeGros.)  


6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022  

Bookhouse Cinema, 715 E. Broadway 

Admission: free 

Check it out from the Library's collection!

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