The Upper Moreland Free Public Library holds monthly book discussion meetings for anyone who wants thoughtful discussion and great company. Our Daytime Book Discussion Group meets on the first Thursday of every month from 2:30-3:45pm.
We also have an Evening Book Discussion Group that meets the last Wednesday of every month from 7:00-8:15pm.
New attendees are always welcome at these groups, 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!
Upcoming Daytime Book Discussion Group Schedule
To download a PDF copy of the schedule for the coming year, click here
January 2 ~ The Towers of Trebizond by Rose Macauley, 277 pages, published 1957
This is the gleefully absurd story of Aunt Dot, Father Chantry-Pigg, Aunt Dot’s deranged camel, and our narrator, Laurie, who are traveling from Istanbul to legendary Trebizond on a mission. They encounter spies, a Greek sorcerer, a precocious ape, and Billy Graham with a busload of evangelists. Part travelogue, part comedy, it is also a meditation on love, faith, doubt, and the difficulties, moral and intellectual, of being a Christian in the modern world.
February 6 ~ The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. 163 pages, published 2011
This intense novel follows Tony Webster, a middle-aged man, as he contends with a past he never thought much about—until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance: one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present. Tony thought he left this all, and his career has provided him with a secure retirement and an amicable relationship with his ex-wife and daughter, who now has a family of her own. But when he is presented with a myste-rious legacy, he is forced to revise his estimation of his nature and place in the world.
March 6 ~ Despair by Vladimir Nabokov. 212 pages, published 1965
Extensively revised by Nabokov in 1965–thirty years after its original publication—Despair is the wickedly inventive and richly derisive story of Hermann, a man who undertakes the per-fect crime—his own murder.
April 3 ~ When We Danced On Water by by Evan Fallenberg. 237 pages, published 2011
From acclaimed author Evan Fallenberg, an exquisitely crafted debut novel tells the story of a preeminent male ballet dancer in the autumn of his career—a Jew whose talent once saved him from the Nazis—whose fading passion for life will flare back to life after a new romance links him to a younger woman fleeing the ghosts of her past as an Israeli Soldier.
May 1 ~ The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. 259 pages, published 1890
More than 120 years after Oscar Wilde submitted “The Picture of Dorian Gray” for publication in “Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine,” the uncensored version of his novel appears for the first time from Harvard Press. This volume restores all of the material removed by the novel’s first editor.
After Basil Hallward paints a beautiful, young man’s portrait, his subject’s frivolous wish that the picture change and he remain the same comes true. Dorian Gray’s picture grows aged and corrupt while he continues to appear fresh and innocent. What ensues is a gothic tale of wit and depravity.
June 5 ~ A Death in the Family by James Agee. 310 pages, published 1957
As Jay Follet hurries back to his home in Knoxville, Tennessee, he is killed in a car accident—a tragedy that destroys not only a life, but also the domestic happiness and contentment of a young family. An autobiographical novel of great courage, lyric force, and powerful emotion, A Death in the Family is a masterpiece of American literature.
July 3 ~ Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata. 175 pages, published 1956.
Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata’s Snow Country is widely considered to be the writer’s masterpiece: a powerful tale of wasted love set amid the desolate beauty of western Japan. At an isolated mountain hot spring, with snow blanketing every surface, Shimamura, a wealthy dilettante meets Komako, a lowly geisha. She gives herself to him fully, despite know-ing that their passion cannot last and that the affair can have only one outcome.
August 7 ~ Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell. 256 pages, published 2013
Brilliant and surreal short stories follow, among others: a dejected teenager who discovers that the universe is communicating with him through talismanic objects left in a seagull’s nest; a community of girls captive in a silk factory who slowly transmute into human silkworms, and escape by seizing the means of production for their own revolutionary ends; and in the collec-tion’s title story—an parable of addiction and appetite, mortal terror and mortal love—two vampires in a sun-drenched lemon grove try helplessly to slake their thirst.
September 4 ~ Omensetter’s Luck by William H. Gass. 336 pages, published 1966
Greeted as a masterpiece when it was first published in 1966, Omensetter’s Luck is the quirky, impressionistic story of an ordinary community galvanized by the presence of an extraordi-nary man. Set in a small Ohio town in the 1890s, it chronicles the confrontation between Brackett Omensetter, a man of preternatural goodness, and the Reverend Jethro Furber, a preacher crazed with a propensity for violent thoughts.
October 2 ~ Benediction by Kent Haruf. 257 pages, published 2013
When Dad Lewis is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he and his wife, Mary, must work togeth-er to make his final days comfortable. Their daughter, Lorraine, hastens back from Denver to help look after him; her devotion softens the bitter absence of their estranged son, Frank, but it remains a palpable presence for all three of them. Next door, a young girl named Alice moves in with her grandmother and contends with the painful memories that Dad’s condition stirs up of her own mother’s death. Meanwhile, the town’s newly arrived preacher attempts to mend his strained relationships with his wife and teenaged son.
November 6 ~ The Dead of the House by Hannah Green. 239 pages, published 1972
Told from the perspective of a young girl growing up in the 1930s and ’40s, one can feel the mellow Ohio summer, smell the musty family history books and know the degree of love felt by the members of the family. Part one, “In My Grandfather’s House,” is largely Grandpa Nye’s stories of childhood, youth, marriage and death. He recalls swimming so much it seemed to him they never dressed. He shows his grandchildren the rough tattoo carved by a penknife. The second part, “Summer Afternoon, Summer Afternoon,” is largely Vanessa’s story. She is typically adolescent: she worries about her looks, is jealous of her prettier sister and day-dreams about a boy kissing her. During the annual summer vacation on the shores of Lake Michigan, Vanessa learns of the death of her first love, a boy from this summer place, and some of the magic dissolves into reality. The last section, “And Here Tecumseh Fell,” is the story of the girls returning home to reminisce with their family and wait for Grandpa Nye’s death.
December 4 ~ Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. 256 pages, published 2012
In this book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human. Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formi-dable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive daughter—Annawadi’s “most-everything girl”—will soon become its first female college graduate.
But then Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the imaginations and courage of the people of Annawadi.