Our Daytime Book Club meets on the first Thursday of every month from 2:30-3:45pm.
To download a PDF copy of the schedule for 2017, click here.
We also have an Evening Book Club that meets the last Wednesday of every month from 7:00-8:15pm.
New attendees are always welcome for thoughtful discussion and great company, and no registration is needed. Stop by the reference desk for help in getting a copy of the book, or put a hold in the catalog on the titles below!
May 6 ~ Mr. Muo’s Travelling Couch by Dai Sijie. 287 pages, published 2005
After studying Freud in Paris, Mr. Muo returns home to introduce psychoanalysis to 21st century China. But his hidden purpose—to free his sweetheart, now a political prisoner—leads him to the sadistic magistrate, Judge Di. The price of the bureaucrat’s clemency? A virgin maiden. Muo’s quest will take him from a Chengdu mortuary to a panda habitat, from an insane asylum to the marauding Lolo people. He will lose a tooth, his virginity, and his faith in psychoanalytic insight. But his quixotic idealism will not waver, even as he comes to see that the chivalrous heart may have room for more than one true love.
June 1 ~ The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal. 418 pages, published 2010
Edmund de Waal is a world-famous ceramicist. When he inherited a collection of 264 tiny Japanese carvings, called netsuke, he wanted to know who had touched them, and how the collection had managed to survive. So begins this moving memoir and detective story as de Waal discovers both the story of the netsuke and of his family, the Ephrussis, over five generations. A nineteenth-century banking dynasty in Paris and Vienna, the Ephrussis were as rich and respected as the Rothchilds. Yet by the end of the World War II, when the netsuke were hidden from the Nazis in Vienna, this collection was all that remained of their vast empire.
July 6 ~ Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron. 365 pages, published 2012
Running the Rift follows the progress of Jean Patrick Nkuba from the day he knows that running will be his life to the moment he must run to save it. A naturally gifted athlete, he sprints over the thousand hills of Rwanda and dreams of becoming his country’s first Olympic medal winner in track. But Jean Patrick is a Tutsi in a world that has become increasingly restrictive and violent for his people. As tensions mount between the Hutu and Tutsi, he holds fast to his dream that running might deliver him, and his people, from the brutality around them.
August 3 ~ Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi. 336 pages, published 2011
Fairytale romances end with a wedding. The fairytales that don’t get more complicated. In this book, celebrated writer Mr. Fox can’t stop himself from killing off the heroines of his novels, and neither can his wife, Daphne. It’s not until Mary, his muse, comes to life and transforms him from author into subject that his story begins to unfold differently. Meanwhile, Daphne becomes convinced that her husband is having an affair, and finds her way into Mary and Mr. Fox’s game. And so Mr. Fox is offered a choice: Will it be a life with the girl of his dreams, or a life with an all-too-real woman who delights him more than he cares to admit?
September 7 ~ Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. 390 pages, published 2015
At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed. With stunning revelations and multiple threads, and in prose that is vibrantly alive and original, Groff delivers a deeply satisfying novel about love, art, creativity, and power that is unlike anything that has come before it. Profound, surprising, propulsive, and emotionally riveting, it stirs both the mind and the heart.
October 5 ~ H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. 300 pages, published 2015
When Helen Macdonald’s father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer, she’d never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk’s fierce and feral temperament mirrored her own. Resolving to raise the deadly creature to cope with her loss, she adopted Mabel, and turned to the guidance of The Once and Future King author T.H. White’s chronicle The Goshawk to begin her endeavor. Projecting herself “in the hawk’s wild mind to tame her” tested the limits of Macdonald’s humanity and changed her life.
November 2 ~ Good Kings Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum. 298 pages, published 2013
Bellwether Award winner Susan Nussbaum’s powerful novel invites us into the lives of a group of typical teenagers—alienated, funny, yearning for autonomy—except that they live in an institution for juveniles with disabilities. This unfamiliar, isolated landscape is much the same as the world outside: friendships are forged, trust is built, love affairs are kindled, and rules are broken. But those who call it home have little or no control over their fate. Good Kings Bad Kings challenges our definitions of what it means to be disabled in a story told with remarkable authenticity and in voices that resound with humor and spirit.
December 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.