Book Discussion – on Zoom!

Book Discussion Group takes place virtually over Zoom.

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2021 Selections

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Wednesday, May 26th @ 7pm

Bowlaway

by Elizabeth McCracken

2019, 373 pages

A novel about three generations of an unconventional New England family who own and operate a candlepin bowling alley. From the day she is discovered unconscious in a New England cemetery at the turn of the twentieth century– nothing but a bowling ball, a candlepin, and fifteen pounds of gold on her person– Bertha Truitt is an enigma to everyone in Salford, Massachusetts. She has no past to speak of, or at least none she is willing to reveal, and her mysterious origin scandalizes and intrigues the townspeople, as does her choice to marry and start a family with Leviticus Sprague, the doctor who revived her. But Bertha is plucky, tenacious, and entrepreneurial, and the bowling alley she opens quickly becomes Salford’s most defining landmark– with Bertha its most notable resident. When Bertha dies in a freak accident, her past resurfaces in the form of a heretofore-unheard-of son, who arrives in Salford claiming he is heir apparent to Truitt Alleys. Soon it becomes clear that, even in her death, Bertha’s defining spirit and the implications of her obfuscations live on, infecting and affecting future generations through inheritance battles, murky paternities, and hidden wills.

Wednesday, June 30th @ 7pm

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

by Kim Michele Richardson

2019, 308 pages

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.

Wednesday, July 28th @ 7pm

This Is How It Always Is

by Laurie Frankel

2017, 327 pages

This how a family keeps a secret . . . and how that secret ends up keeping them. This is how a family lives happily ever after . . . until happily ever after becomes complicated. This is how children change . . . and then change the world. When Rosie and Penn and their four boys welcome the newest member of their family, no one is surprised it’s another baby boy. At least their large, loving, chaotic family knows what to expect. But Claude is not like his brothers. One day he puts on a dress and refuses to take it off. He wants to bring a purse to kindergarten. He wants hair long enough to sit on. When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl. Rosie and Penn aren’t panicked at first. Kids go through phases, after all, and make-believe is fun. But soon the entire family is keeping Claude’s secret. Until one day it explodes.

Wednesday, August 25th @ 7pm

Homegoing

by Yaa Gyasi

Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

 

Wednesday, September 29th @ 7pm

I Am the Messenger

by Markus Zusak

2002, 357 pages

Ed Kennedy is a nineteen-year-old cab driver who doesn’t think much of his life. He inadvertently helps stop a bank robbery, and that is when his life starts to change. He begins to receive mysterious messages that instruct him to go to addresses where people need help. Ed becomes the messenger, but who is behind the messages?

 

Wednesday, October 27th @ 7pm

The Leftovers

by Tom Perrotta

2002, 355 pages

When a bizarre phenomenon causes the cataclysmic disappearances of numerous people all over the world, Kevin Garvey, the new mayor of a once-comfortable suburban community, struggles to help his neighbors heal while enduring the fanatical religious conversions of his wife and son.

 

Wednesday, November 17th @ 7pm

The Dutch House

by Ann Patchett

2019, 337 pages

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves. Cyril’s son Danny and his older sister Maeve are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another.

Wednesday, December 29th @ 7pm

Dear Mrs. Bird

by A.J. Pearce

2018, 281 pages

London, 1940. Emmeline Lake is doing her bit for the war effort, volunteering as a telephone operator with the Auxiliary Fire Services. When Emmy sees an advertisement for a job at the London Evening Chronicle, her dreams of becoming a lady war correspondent suddenly seem achievable. But the job turns out to be working as a typist for the fierce and renowned advice columnist, Henrietta Bird. Emmy is disappointed, but gamely bucks up and buckles down. Mrs. Bird is very clear: letters containing any unpleasantness must go straight in the bin. But when Emmy reads poignant notes from women who may have gone too far with the wrong men, or who can’t bear to let their children be evacuated, she is unable to resist responding. As the German planes make their nightly raids, and London picks up the smoldering pieces each morning, Emmy secretly begins to write back to the readers who have poured out their troubles.