The Noon Book Group meets at the Central Library, 220 State Street in the lower level Community Room on the second Tuesday of each month from noon to 1:00 p.m. Newcomers are always welcome. Ask for a copy of the book at the Second Level (Rotunda) Circulation Desk. Copies of each book are kept at the desk during the month prior to the selection discussion.

For further information, contact Lisa Lipshires at 413-263-6828 ext 395 or email

Reading Selections for 2016

January 12 — The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit (2014) fiction.
Their average age was twenty-five. They came from Berkeley, Cambridge, Paris, London, Chicago—and arrived in New Mexico ready for adventure, or at least resigned to it. But hope quickly turned to hardship as they were forced to adapt to a rugged military town where everything was a secret, including what their husbands were doing at the lab.

February 9 – The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (2011) fiction.
The story of a woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own past.

March 8 – Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig (2015) fiction.
A lively and poignant coming-of-age story about a boy and his great-uncle on a cross-country odyssey. The road trip to Wisconsin takes place during the summer of 1951.

April 12 – The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin (2012) fiction.
At the turn of the 20th century in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest, a gentle solitary orchardist, Talmadge, tends to apples and apricots. Then two feral, pregnant girls and armed gunmen set Talmadge on an irrevocable course not only to save and protect but to reconcile the ghosts of his own troubled past.

May 10 – The Hanging Judge by Michael Ponsor (2013) fiction.
Local Federal judge Ponsor presided over the Commonwealth’s first death penalty case in more than 50 years. He wrote this novel which is about a drive-by-shooting in Holyoke, MA, which claims the lives of a Puerto Rican drug dealer and a hockey mom volunteering at an inner-city clinic.

June 14 – The Round House by Louise Erdrich (2012) fiction.
When his mother, a tribal enrollment specialist living on a reservation in North Dakota, slips into an abyss of depression after being brutally attacked, 14-year-old Joe Coutz sets out with his three friends to find the person that destroyed his family.

July 12 – A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (2015) fiction.
“It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon.” This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The whole family listens contentedly as Abby tells the tale they have heard so many times before. And yet this gathering is different too: Abby and Red are growing older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them, and the fate of the house so lovingly built by Red’s father.

August 9 – The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan (2005) nonfiction.
The dust storms that terrorized America’s High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since, and the stories of the people that held on have never been fully told. Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times journalist and author Timothy Egan follows several families and their communities in their struggle to persevere despite the devastation.

September 13 – Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (1952) fiction.
Mildred Lathbury, the narrator of Pym’s excellent book, is a never-married woman in her 30s–which in 1950s England makes her a nearly-confirmed spinster. Hers is a pretty unexciting life, centered around her small church, and part-time job. But Mildred is far more perceptive and witty than even she seems to think, and when Helena and Rockingham Napier move into the flat below her, there seems to be a chance for her life to take a new direction.

October 11 – The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant (2014) fiction.
Addie Baum was born in 1900 to immigrant parents who were unprepared for and suspicious of America. Growing up in Boston, Addie’s intelligence and curiosity take her to a world her parents can’t imagine: a world of short skirts and new opportunities for women. From the one-room apartment she shared with her family, to the library group for girls she joins, to her first, disastrous love affair, Addie recalls her adventures with compassion for the naive girl she was and a wicked sense of humor.

November 8 – When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi (2016) fiction.
When her happy middle-class life in Afghanistan is shattered by the rise of the Taliban and her husband’s murder by fundamentalists, a former schoolteacher embarks on a life-risking effort to escape to England with her three children.

December 13 – The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks (2015) fiction.
Peeling away the myth to bring King David to life in Second Iron Age Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage.