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Each year we read two mysteries, two historical novels, three general fiction novels, three nonfiction / biographies and devote two meetings to “What else are you reading?” discussions.
New members are welcome!
2022 Book Selections
|Month / Meeting Day||Book Selection|
The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa
Stripped of her family's privileges by the Nazi party in 1939 Berlin, Hannah Rosenthal forges a pact that she will remain true to her best friend, Leo, before embarking on a refugee ship bound for Havana, where rumors of a deadly plot force her to make an impossible choice.
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummings
Lydia Quixano Perez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. Even though she knows they'll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with four books he would like to buy--two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia's husband's tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same
The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee/David John
An extraordinary insight into life under one of the world's most ruthless and secretive dictatorships - and the story of one woman's terrifying struggle to avoid capture/repatriation and guide her family to freedom.
Edgar and Lucy by Victor Lodato
Eight-year-old Edgar Fini remembers nothing of the accident people still whisper about. He only knows that his father is gone, his mother has a limp, and his grandmother believes in ghosts. When Edgar meets a man with his own tragic story, the boy begins a journey into a secret wilderness where nothing is clear-not even the line between the living and the dead. In order to save her son, Lucy has no choice but to confront the demons of her past. Profound, shocking, and beautiful, Edgar and Lucy is a thrilling adventure and the unlikeliest of love stories.
Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell
A thrilling departure: a short, piercing, deeply moving novel about the death of Shakespeare's 11-year-old son Hamnet, a name interchangeable with Hamlet in 15th century Britain, and the years leading up to the production of his great play.
England, 1580: A young Latin tutor, penniless, bullied by a violent father, falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman. Agnes is a wild creature who walks her family's estate with a falcon on her shoulder and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer. She understands plants and potions better than she does people, but once she settles with her husband on Henley Street in Stratford Agnes becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband, whose gifts as a writer are just beginning to awaken when his beloved young son succumbs to bubonic plague.
The Woman They Could Not Silence by Kate Moore1860: As the clash between the state's rolls slowly to a boil, Elizabeth Packard, housewife and mother of six, is facing her own battle. The enemy sits across the table and sleeps in the next room. Threatened by Elizabeth's intellect, independence, and outspokenness, her husband of twenty-one years is plotting against her and makes a plan to put her back in her place. One summer morning, he has her committed to an insane asylum. The horrific conditions inside the Illinois State Hospital in Jacksonville, Illinois, are overseen by Dr. Andrew McFarland, a man who will prove to be even more dangerous to Elizabeth than her traitorous husband. But most disturbing is that Elizabeth is not the only sane woman confined to the institution. There are many rational women on her ward who tell the same story: they've been committed not because they need medical treatment, but to keep them in line; conveniently labeled 'crazy' so their voices are ignored. No one is willing to fight for their freedom, and disenfranchised both by gender and the stigma of their supposed madness, they cannot possibly fight for themselves. But Elizabeth is about to discover that the merit of losing everything is that you then have nothing to lose.
Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts
Tells the story behind The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the book that inspired the iconic film, through the eyes of author L. Frank Baum's intrepid wife, Maud.
Hollywood, 1938: As soon as she learns that M-G-M is adapting her late husband's masterpiece for the screen, seventy-seven-year-old Maud Gage Baum sets about trying to finagle her way onto the set. Nineteen years after Frank's passing, Maud is the only person who can help the producers stay true to the spirit of the book because she's the only one left who knows its secrets. But the moment she hears Judy Garland rehearsing the first notes of 'Over the Rainbow,' Maud recognizes the yearning that defined her own life story: from her youth as a suffragette's daughter to her coming of age as one of the first women in the Ivy League, from her blossoming romance with Frank to the hardscrabble prairie years that inspired The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Judy reminds Maud of a young girl she cared for and tried to help in South Dakota, a dreamer who never got her happy ending. Now, with the young actress under pressure from the studio as well as her ambitious stage mother, Maud resolves to protect her, the way she tried so hard to protect the real Dorothy.
Magpie Murders: A Novel by Anthony Horowitz
A reimagining of the classic whodunit (a la Agatha Christie) with a contemporary mystery wrapped around it.
Facing the Mountain by Daniel James Brown
A World War II saga of patriotism and courage: the special Japanese-American Army unit that overcame brutal odds in Europe; their families, incarcerated in camps back home; and a young man who refused to surrender his constitutional rights, even if it meant imprisonment. They came from across the continent and Hawaii. Their parents taught them to embrace both their Japanese heritage and the ways of their American homeland. They faced bigotry, yet they believed in their bright futures as American citizens. But within days of Pearl Harbor, the FBI was ransacking their houses and locking up their fathers. Within months many would themselves be living in internment camps.
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
Cussy Mary Carter is the last of her kind, her skin the color of a blue damselfly in these dusty hills. But that doesn't mean she's got nothing to offer. As a member of the Pack Horse Library Project, Cussy delivers books to the hill folk of Troublesome, hoping to spread learning in these desperate times. But not everyone is so keen on Cussy's family or the Library Project, and the hardscrabble Kentuckians are quick to blame a Blue for any trouble in their small town. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman's determination to bring a little bit of hope to the darkly hollers.
The Childbury Ladies Choir by Jennifer Ryan
As England becomes enmeshed in the early days of World War II and the men are away fighting, the women of Chilbury village forge an uncommon bond. They defy the Vicar's stuffy edicts to close the choir and instead "carry on singing," resurrecting themselves as the Chilbury Ladies' Choir. An enchanting ensemble story that shuttles from village intrigue to romance to the heartbreaking matters of life and death. Jennifer Ryan's debut novel thrillingly illuminates the true strength of the women in a village of indomitable spirit.
City of Thieves by David Benioff
Documenting his grandparents' experiences during the siege of Leningrad, a young writer learns his grandfather's story about how a military deserter and he tried to secure pardons by gathering hard-to-find ingredients for a powerful colonel's daughter's wedding cake.
A Book Club for Those Who Love Classics
"Every rereading of a classic is as much a voyage of discovery as the first reading."
Join us as we discuss some recognized classic literature.
New members are welcome!
2022 Book Selections
|Month / Meeting Day||Book Selection|
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Don Quixote has become so entranced reading tales of chivalry that he decides to turn knight errant himself. In the company of his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, these exploits blossom in all sorts of wonderful ways. While Quixote's fancy often leads him astray—he tilts at windmills, imagining them to be giants—Sancho acquires cunning and a certain sagacity. Sane madman and wise fool, they roam the world together-and together they have haunted readers' imaginations for nearly four hundred years.
Daisy Miller by Henry James
Traveling in Europe with her family, Daisy Miller, an exquisitely beautiful young American woman, presents her fellow countryman, Winterbourne, with a dilemma he cannot resolve. Is she deliberately flouting social convention in the outspoken way she talks and acts, or is she simply ignorant of those conventions? When she strikes up an intimate friendship with an urbane young Italian, her flat refusal to observe the codes of respectable behavior leaves her perilously exposed. In Daisy Miller, James created his first great portrait of the enigmatic and dangerously independent American woman, a figure who would come to dominate his later masterpieces.
O'Pioneers by Willa Cather
Strong-willed, intelligent Alexandra Bergson is the daughter of Swedish immigrants. She inherits her father's farmland instead of it being left to her brothers, Emil, Oscar, and Lou, because she has the vision and foresight to try new crops, buy additional lands, and take risks in order to reap future rewards.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
A classic story of love and tragedy set against the backdrop of pre-revolutionary Russia. The extravagant and dramatic story of Anna Karenina, a woman who risks everything for passion, is intertwined with the quiet story of Levin (an autobiographical character) and his own quest for true love and personal fulfillment. This psychological masterpiece is considered to be one of the greatest novels of world literature.
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Set at a boys' boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
First published on March 20, 1852, the story focuses on the tale of Uncle Tom, a long-suffering black slave, the central character around whose life the other characters, both fellow slaves and slave owners, revolve. The novel depicts the harsh reality of slavery while also showing that Christian love and faith can overcome even something as evil as the enslavement of fellow human beings.
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
Written during World War II, the novel mourns the passing of the aristocratic world Waugh knew in his youth and vividly recalls the sensuous pleasures denied him by wartime austerities; in so doing it also provides a profound study of the conflict between the demands of religion and the desires of the flesh. At once romantic, sensuous, comic, and somber, Brideshead Revisited transcends Waugh's familiar satiric exploration of his cast of lords and ladies, Catholics and eccentrics, artists and misfits, revealing him to be an elegiac, lyrical novelist of the utmost feeling and lucidity.
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
A story of expatriate Americans and British living in Paris after the First World War.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Dorian Gray is arrogant. He is pompous, selfish, devastatingly narcissistic, and for much of his life, he has never had to think twice about the ramifications of his actions. When the arrival of artist Basil Hallard forces Gray to confront his deepest insecurities, Dorian’s most vulnerable self is imminently revealed. After having traded his righteousness for riches, Dorian Gray becomes faced with many regrettable truths. Needing to own up to his actions, Gray must finally learn to deal with the consequences of living a life completely self-obsessed. Gripping with prose so relatable to the many conundrums of growing up, Wilde weaves a narrative of self-desire and self-actualization. A true coming-of-age tale in a time where the glamour of appearance was as heavy as the currency in your pocket.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
An autobiographical novel concerning a young daughter of German immigrants growing up in the slums of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in the early 20th century.
Sometimes Truth is Stranger Than Fiction
“Each of us is a book waiting to be written, and that book, if written, results in a person explained.
-Thomas M. Cirignano
Meet with us to discuss select true crime books, examine writing style, content and overall presentation of material by the author as we try to understand whether or not the people at the heart of the stories were explained.
2022 Book Selections
|Month/Meeting Day||Book Selection|
America's First Female Serial Killer: Jane Toppan and the Making of a Monster by Mary Kay McBrayer
Always cheerful, helpful, and sweet, nurse Jane Toppan was the last person you would suspect to administer a dose of death. When countless patients sought treatment for minor ailments and ended up dead, it was often thought accidental, due to the shortcomings of medicine in the late 1800s. But behind the jolly mask, there was a monster that was years in the making.
Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children's Home Society by Julie Christie/Lisa Wingate
Before and After includes moving and sometimes shocking accounts of the ways in which adoptees were separated from their first families. Often raised as only children, many have joyfully reunited with siblings in the final decades of their lives. Christie and Wingate tell of first meetings that are all the sweeter and more intense for time missed and of families from very different social backgrounds reaching out to embrace better-late-than-never brothers, sisters, and cousins. In a poignant culmination of art meeting life, many of the long-silent victims of the tragically corrupt system return to Memphis with the authors to reclaim their stories at a Tennessee Children’s Home Society reunion...with extraordinary results.
Hell in the Heartland: Murder, Meth, and the Case of Two Missing Girls by Jax Miller
The stranger-than-fiction cold case from rural Oklahoma that has stumped authorities for two decades, concerning the disappearance of two teenage girls and the much larger mystery of murder, police cover-up, and an unimaginable truth. On December 30, 1999, in rural Oklahoma, sixteen-year-old Ashley Freeman and her best friend, Lauria Bible, were having a sleepover. The next morning, the Freeman family trailer was in flames and both girls were missing. While rumors of drug debts, revenge, and police collusion abounded in the years that followed, the case remained unsolved and the girls were never found
The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple by Jeff Guinn
In the 1950s, a young Indianapolis minister named Jim Jones preached a curious blend of the Gospel and Marxism. His congregation was racially integrated, and he was a much-lauded leader in the contemporary civil rights movement. Eventually, Jones moved his church, Peoples Temple, to Northern California. He became involved in electoral politics and soon was a prominent Bay Area leader.
What are you reading/listening/watching?
Book club members discuss what they've recently read/watched/listened to.
Third Rainbow Girl by Emma Copley Eisenberg
A stunningly written investigation of the murder of two young women, showing how a violent crime casts a shadow over an entire community. In the Third Rainbow Girl, Eisenberg follows the threads of this crime through the complex history of Appalachia, forming a searing and wide-ranging portrait of America — its divisions of gender and class, and of its violence.
The Good Girls: An Ordinary Killing by Sonia Faleiro
The girls' names were Padma and Lalli, but they were so inseparable that people in the village called them Padma Lalli. Sixteen-year-old Padma sparked and burned while fourteen-year-old Lalli was an incorrigible romantic. They grew up in Katra Sadatganj, an eye-blink of a village in western Uttar Pradesh crammed into less than one square mile of land. It was out in the fields, in the middle of mango season, that the rumors started. Then one night in the summer of 2014, the girls went missing; hours later they were found hanging in the orchard. Who they were, and what had happened to them, was already less important than what their disappearance meant to the people left behind. In the ensuing months, the investigation into their deaths would implode everything that their small community held to be true, and instigate a national conversation about sex and violence. Slipping deftly behind political maneuvering, caste systems, and codes of honor in a village in northern India, The Good Girls returns to the scene of Padma and Lalli's short lives and shameful deaths, and dares to ask: What is the human cost of shame?
Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe
The Sackler name adorns the walls of many famous institutions: Harvard, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oxford, the Louvre. They are one of the richest families in the world, known for their lavish donations to the arts and sciences. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, until it emerged that the Sacklers were responsible for making and marketing OxyContin, a blockbuster painkiller that was a catalyst for the opioid crisis.
Young at Heart
| "Brave doesn't mean you're not scared. It means you go on even though you're scared."|
- Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give
Can’t get enough of Young Adult (YA) literature? Connect with fellow teens as we discuss a wide range of YA books. Visit our web calendar for upcoming titles
2022 Book Selections
|Month/Meeting Day||Book Selection|
Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales
Seventeen-year-old Darcy Phillips, a bisexual girl who gives anonymous love advice to her classmates, is hired by the "hot" guy at school to help him get his ex back.
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Liz Lighty has always done her best to avoid the spotlight in her small, wealthy, and prom-obsessed midwestern high school, after all, her family is black and rather poor, especially since her mother died; instead, she has concentrated on her grades and her musical ability in the hopes that it will win her a scholarship to elite Pennington College and their famous orchestra where she plans to study medicine--but when that scholarship falls through she is forced to turn to her school's scholarship for prom king and queen, which plunges her into the gauntlet of social media which she hates and leads her to discoveries about her own identity and the value of true friendships.
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
A gothic murder mystery set in gritty Victorian-era London, where an intrepid society girl finds herself embroiled in the investigation of a serial killer known as Jack the Ripper.
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
When apprentice librarian Elisabeth is implicated in sabotage that released the library's most dangerous grimoire, she becomes entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy that could mean the end of everything.
The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh
Deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland for generations. Floods sweep away entire villages, while bloody wars are waged over the few remaining resources. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curses them with death and despair. In an attempt to appease him, each year a beautiful maiden is thrown into the sea to serve as the Sea God’s bride, in the hopes that one day the “true bride” will be chosen and end the suffering.
Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber
Desperate to stop her beloved from marrying another, sixteen-year-old Evangeline Fox strikes a deal with the mythic Prince of Hearts leading her down a dangerous path that may ultimately end in her destruction.
Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray
Sixteen-year-old indentured beast-keeper Koffi and seventeen-year-old warrior candidate Ekon forge an unusual alliance and venture into the Greater Jungle to hunt down a monster that has been menacing their city for a century.