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Book Groups at C.H. Booth Library
There are a few different book groups that meet regularly here at the library. These groups are open to the public. We also have special topic discussion series throughout the year. For complete scheduling and to register (if needed) please click on the event calendar on the left. This page lists the current discussion schedule for the groups. Come to one discussion or come to them all!
2017 Book Group Titles
2016 Book Group Titles
2015 Book Group Titles
Thursday Evening Reading Group 2019 Schedule
Meets the third Thursday of the month (usually) at 7:00 pm in various locations. For now, we are meeting in the Gathering Room, second floor front.
January 17, 2019
The Snow Child
by Eowyn Ivey.
Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart–he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone–but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.
February 21, 2019
Britt-Marie Was Here
by Fredrik Backman. When Britt-Marie walks out on her cheating husband and has to fend for herself in the miserable backwater town of Borg—of which the kindest thing one can say is that it has a road going through it—she finds work as the caretaker of a soon-to-be demolished recreation center. The fastidious Britt-Marie soon finds herself being drawn into the daily doings of her fellow citizens, an odd assortment of miscreants, drunkards, layabouts. Most alarming of all, she’s given the impossible task of leading the supremely untalented children’s soccer team to victory. In this small town of misfits, can Britt-Marie find a place where she truly belongs?
Mar. 21, 2019
The Little Stranger
by Sarah Waters. One postwar summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, Dr. Faraday, a country physician, is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once impressive and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. Its owners—mother, son, and daughter—are struggling to keep pace with a changing society, as well as with conflicts of their own. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr. Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become intimately entwined with his.
April 18, 2019
by Madeline Miller. In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.
May 16, 2019
by Hannah Kent is inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829. Set against Iceland’s stark landscape is the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’s death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard.
June 20, 2019
Little Fires Everywhere
by Celeste Ng. In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
July 18, 2019
by Charles Frazier. With her marriage prospects limited, teenage Varina Howell agrees to wed the much-older widower Jefferson Davis, with whom she expects a life of security as a Mississippi landowner. He instead pursues a career in politics and is eventually appointed president of the Confederacy, placing Varina at the white-hot center of one of the darkest moments in American history—culpable regardless of her intentions.The Confederacy falling, her marriage in tatters, and the country divided, Varina and her children escape Richmond and travel south on their own, now fugitives with “bounties on their heads, an entire nation in pursuit.” Ultimately, the book is a portrait of a woman who comes to realize that complicity carries consequences.
August 15, 2019
by Jennifer Egan. Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond the house and by some charged mystery between the two men.Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that once belonged to men, now soldiers abroad. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. One evening at a nightclub, she meets Dexter Styles again, and begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished.
September 19, 2019
by Tommy Orange. The story of twelve characters, each of whom have private reasons for traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow. Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame. Dene Oxendene is pulling his life back together after his uncle’s death and has come to work at the powwow to honor his uncle’s memory. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil, who has taught himself traditional Indian dance through YouTube videos and has come to the powwow to dance in public for the very first time.
October 17, 2019
The Hate U Give
Angie Thomas. Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night?
November 21, 2019
by Michael Ondaatje. It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz and years of war. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced and less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women with a shared history, all of whom seem determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all he didn’t know or understand in that time.
December 19, 2019
The Shepherd’s Hut
by Tim Winton. For years Jaxie Clackton has dreaded going home. His beloved mum is dead, and he wishes his dad was too, until one terrible moment leaves his life stripped to nothing.There’s just one person in the world who understands him, but to reach her he’ll have to cross the vast saltlands of Western Australia. It is a place that harbours criminals and threatens to kill those who haven’t reckoned with its hot, waterless vastness. This is a story of survival, solitude and unlikely friendship. Most of all it is about what it takes to keep hope alive in a parched and brutal world.
Daytime Book Discussion 2019 Schedule
The group meets the second Monday of the month at 1 pm in the Antiques Room
January 14, 2019
Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation
by Dean Jobb. A rollicking story of greed, financial corruption, dirty politics, over-the-top and under-the-radar deceit, illicit sex, and a brilliant and wildly charming con man who kept a Ponzi scheme alive perhaps for longer than anyone else in history.
February 11, 2019
The Seven Sisters
by Lucinda Reilly.
Maia D’Apliese and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home, “Atlantis”—a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva—having been told that their beloved father, who adopted them all as babies, has died. Each of them is handed a tantalizing clue to her true heritage.
March 11, 2019
The Last Ballad
by Wiley Cash.
Set in the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina in 1929 and inspired by actual events, this chronicle of an ordinary woman’s struggle for dignity and her rights in a textile mill is a moving tale of courage in the face of oppression and injustice.
April 8, 2019
Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland. Against the backdrop of New York near the turn of the twentieth century, from the Gilded Age world of formal balls and opera to the immigrant poverty of the Lower East Side, the author breathes life into this novel, bringing a woman once lost in the shadows into vivid color.
May 13, 2019
A Piece of the World
by Christina Baker Klein.
A novel of friendship, passion, and art, inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s iconic painting Christina’s World.
Fact and fiction are interwoven to illuminate a little-known part of America’s history. Bringing into focus the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, she vividly imagines the life of a woman with a complicated relationship to her family and her past, and a special bond with one of our greatest modern artists.
June 10, 2019
Small Great Things
by Jodi Picoult.
Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse with more than twenty years’ experience at a Connecticut hospital. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?
July 8, 2019
The Alice Network
by Kate Quinn.
Two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.
August 12, 2019
by Matthew Desmond.
Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality—and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship.
September 9, 2019
Anything is Possible
by Elizabeth Strout.
Short story collection explores the range of human emotion through the intimate dramas of people struggling to understand themselves and others. Here are two sisters: one trades self-respect for a wealthy husband while the other finds in the pages of a book a kindred spirit who changes her life. The janitor at the local school has his faith tested in an encounter with an isolated man he has come to help; a grown daughter longs for mother love even as she comes to accept her mother’s happiness in a foreign country; and the adult Lucy Barton (the heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton
) returns to visit her siblings after seventeen years of absence.
October 15, 2019
Husbands and Other Sharp Objects
by Marilyn Simon Rothstein. After a lifetime of marriage, Marcy Hammer is ready to get herself unhitched—just as everyone else in her life is looking for a commitment. Her new boyfriend, Jon, wants to get serious, and her soon-to-be ex-husband, Harvey, is desperate to get back together. When her headstrong daughter announces a secret engagement to Harvey’s attorney, Marcy finds herself planning her daughter’s wedding as she plans her own divorce.
November 12, 2019
by John Grisham. No crowded shops, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That’s just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on the street without a rooftop Frosty the snowman; they won’t be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash; they aren’t even going to have a tree. They won’t need one, because come December 25 they’re setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But, as this weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences – and isn’t half as easy as they’d imagined
December 9, 2019
A Wedding in Haiti
by Julia Alvarez. In a story that travels beyond borders and between families, Dominican novelist and poet Julia Alvarez reflects on the joys and burdens of love for her parents, for her husband, and for a young Haitian boy known as Piti. In this intimate true account of a promise kept, she takes us on a journey into experiences that challenge our way of thinking about history and how it can be reimagined when people from two countries traditional enemies and strangers become friends.
Non-Fiction Book Club 2019 Schedule
Meets the first Tuesday of the month (usually) at 1 pm in the Antiques Room
January 8, 2019
News of the World
by Paulette Jiles (2016). In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women
that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.
February 5, 2019
Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt
by Michael Lewis (2015). In this game-changing bestseller, a small group of Wall Street iconoclasts realize that the U.S. stock market has been rigged for the benefit of insiders. They band together—some of them walking away from seven-figure salaries—to investigate, expose, and reform the insidious new ways that Wall Street generates profits. If you have any contact with the market, even a retirement account, this story is happening to you.
March 5, 2019
Killers of the Flower Moon: Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
by David Grann (2018). In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe. Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.
April 2, 2019
Unstoppable: My Life So Far
by Maria Sharapova (2017.) In 2004, in a stunning upset against Serena Williams, seventeen-year-old Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon, becoming an overnight sensation. “Maria Mania” was born. And then—at perhaps the peak of her career—Sharapova came up against the toughest challenge yet: during the 2016 Australian Open, she was charged by the ITF with taking the banned substance meldonium.
May 7, 2019
The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
by Simon Winchester (2005). An extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary
— and literary history. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee discovered that one man, Dr. W. C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.
June 4, 2019
The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East
by Sandy Tolan (2006). In 1967, Bashir Al-Khayri, a Palestinian twenty-five-year-old, journeyed to Israel, with the goal of seeing the beloved old stone house, with the lemon tree behind it, that he and his family had fled nineteen years earlier. To his surprise, when he found the house he was greeted by Dalia Ashkenazi Landau, a nineteen-year-old Israeli college student, whose family fled Europe for Israel following the Holocaust. On the stoop of their shared home, Dalia and Bashir began a rare friendship, forged in the aftermath of war and tested over the next thirty-five years in ways that neither could imagine on that summer day in 1967.
July and August 2019: No Meetings
September 10, 2019
The Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humbodt’s New World
by Andrea Wulf (2015). Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. His restless life was packed with adventure and discovery, whether he was climbing the highest volcanoes in the world or racing through anthrax-infected Siberia or translating his research into bestselling publications that changed science and thinking. Among Humboldt’s most revolutionary ideas was a radical vision of nature, that it is a complex and interconnected global force that does not exist for the use of humankind alone.
October 1, 2019
The Finest Hours
by Michael Tougias (2009). In the winter of 1952, New England was battered by the most brutal nor’easter in years. While the storm raged, two oil tankers, the Pendleton
and the Fort Mercer
, found themselves in the same horrifying predicament. Both tankers split in two, leaving the dozens of men on board utterly at the Atlantic’s mercy. The Finest Hours
is the gripping, true story of the valiant attempt to rescue the souls huddling inside the broken halves of the two ships.
November 5, 2019
by J.D. Vance (2017). From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.
December 3, 2019
The Good, Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood
by Sy Montgomery (2006). A naturalist who spent months at a time living on her own among wild creatures in remote jungles, Sy Montgomery had always felt more comfortable with animals than with people. So she gladly opened her heart to a sick piglet who had been crowded away from nourishing meals by his stronger siblings. Yet Sy had no inkling that this piglet, later named Christopher Hogwood, would not only survive but flourish–and she soon found herself engaged with her small-town community in ways she had never dreamed possible. Unexpectedly, Christopher provided this peripatetic traveler with something she had sought all her life: an anchor (eventually weighing 750 pounds) to family and home