Daytime Book Club

1st Thursday of every month ~ 2:30-3:45 pm.

Or join our Evening Book Club that meets the last Wednesday of every month from 7:00-8:15 pm.

New attendees are always welcome for thoughtful discussion and great company.

No registration is needed.

Stop by the Information Desk for help in getting a copy of the book, or put a hold in the catalog on the titles below!

A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin, book coverDecember 7 ~ A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin. 403 pages, published 2015

With her trademark blend of humor and melancholy, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday—uncovering moments of grace in the cafeterias and Laundromats of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Northern California upper classes, and from the perspective of a cleaning woman alone in a hotel dining room in Mexico City. The women of Berlin’s stories are lost, but they are also strong, clever, and extraordinarily real. They laugh, they mourn, they drink. With the wit of Lorrie Moore and the grit of Raymond Carver, they navigate a world of jockeys, doctors, and switchboard operators

January  4th  ~ The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.  306 pages, published 2016

In the aftermath of the American Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this morally complex, multi-layered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust. Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forming a bond that marks the difference between life and death.

 

February 1st  ~ News of the World by Paulette Jiles.  209 pages, published 2016

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood – where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

 

March 1st  ~  All the Single Ladies: Unmarried women & the rise of an independent nation by Rebecca Traister. 339 pages, published 2016

A nuanced investigation into the sexual, economic, and emotional lives of women in America. In a provocative, groundbreaking work, National Magazine Award finalist Rebecca Traister, “the most brilliant voice on feminism in the country” (Anne Lamott), traces the history of unmarried and late-married women in America who, through social, political, and economic means, have radically shaped our nation.  Reading Women Award for Nonfiction 2016.

 

 

April 5th ~ Lab Girl by Hope Jahren. 290 pages, published 2016

Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also so much more.   Lab Girl is about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s stories.  Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them from the Midwest across the United States and back again, over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home.   National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee for Autobiography. (2016)

 

May 3rd  ~   The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. 311 pages, published 1985

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before… But all of that is gone now.

 

 

June 7th  ~  The American Spirit by David McCullough. 176 pages, published 2017

Over the course of his distinguished career, David McCullough has spoken before Congress, the White House, colleges and universities, historical societies, and other esteemed institutions. Now, at a time of self-reflection in America following a bitter election campaign that has left the country divided, McCullough has collected some of his most important speeches in a brief volume designed to identify important principles and characteristics that are particularly American. The American Spirit reminds us of core American values to which we all subscribe, regardless of which region we live in, which political party we identify with, or our ethnic background.

 

NeverhomeJuly 5th  ~  Neverhome by Laird Hunt.  246 pages, published 2015

An extraordinary novel about a wife who disguises herself as a man and goes off to fight in the Civil War.  She calls herself Ash, but that’s not her real name. She is a farmer’s faithful wife, but she has left her husband to don the uniform of a Union soldier in the Civil War. NEVERHOME tells the harrowing story of Ash Thompson during the battle for the South. Through bloodshed and hysteria and heartbreak, she becomes a hero, a folk legend, a madwoman and a traitor to the American cause.

 

 

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar WaoAugust 2nd  ~  The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.  335 pages, published 2007

This is the long-awaited first novel from one of the most original and memorable writers working today.  Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd, a New Jersey romantic who dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the fukú — the ancient curse that has haunted Oscar’s family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still dreaming of his first kiss, is only its most recent victim – until the fateful summer that he decides to be its last.

 

Fahrenheit 451September 6th  ~  Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. 174 pages, published 1953

Ray Bradbury’s internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of twentieth-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future.   Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.  Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

 

The North WaterOctober 4th  ~  The North Water by Ian McGuire. 272 pages, published 2016

A nineteenth-century whaling ship sets sail for the Arctic with a killer aboard in this dark, sharp, and highly original tale that grips like a thriller.
Behold the man: stinking, drunk, and brutal. Henry Drax is a harpooner on the Volunteer, a Yorkshire whaler bound for the rich hunting waters of the arctic circle. Also aboard for the first time is Patrick Sumner, an ex-army surgeon with a shattered reputation, no money, and no better option than to sail as the ship’s medic on this violent, filthy, and ill-fated voyage.   With savage, unstoppable momentum and the blackest wit, The North Water weaves a superlative story of humanity under the most extreme conditions.

 

ShelterNovember 1st  ~  Shelter by Jung Yun.  326 pages, published 2016

Kyung Cho is a young father burdened by a house he can’t afford. For years, he and his wife, Gillian, have lived beyond their means. Now their debts and bad decisions are catching up with them, and Kyung is anxious for his family’s future.  A few miles away, his parents, Jin and Mae, live in the town’s most exclusive neighborhood, surrounded by the material comforts that Kyung desires for his wife and son. Growing up, they gave him every possible advantage—but they never showed him kindness. Kyung can hardly bear to see them now, much less ask for their help. Yet when an act of violence leaves Jin and Mae unable to live on their own, the dynamic suddenly changes, and he’s compelled to take them in. Tensions quickly mount as Kyung’s proximity to his parents forces old feelings of guilt and anger to the surface,…

 

26114424December 6th  ~  They May Not Mean To, But They do by Cathleen Schine.  293 pages, published 2016

The New York Times–bestselling author Cathleen Schine has been called “full of invention, wit, and wisdom that can bear comparison to [ Jane] Austen’s own” (The New York Review of Books), and she is at her best in this intensely human, profound, and honest novel about the intrusion of old age into the relationships of one loving but complicated family. They May Not Mean To, But They Do is a radiantly compassionate look at three generations, all coming of age together.    The Bergman clan has always stuck together, growing as it incorporated in-laws, ex-in-laws, and same-sex spouses. But families don’t just grow, they grow old, and the clan’s matriarch, Joy, is not slipping into old age with the quiet grace her children, would have wished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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