A traditional book discussion group where everyone reads and discusses the same book. Join us! | Online | Adults
Online via Zoom
Second Tuesday of each month| 12 – 1 PM | Adults 18+
Explore great books, join in on a lively discussion, and meet others who enjoy reading too. New members are always welcome! Library copies of the book are available at the Central Library’s second-floor Circulation Desk.
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For further information, please contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reading Selections For 2023
January 10 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows: A Memoir by Ai Weiwei (2021) nonfiction.
Ai Weiwei—one of the world’s most famous artists and activists—tells a century-long epic tale of China through the story of his own extraordinary life and the legacy of his father, Ai Qing, the nation’s most celebrated poet.
February 14 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles (2021) fiction.
Relates the adventures of four boys—three 18-year-olds who met in a juvenile reformatory, plus one of their 8-year-old brothers—as they travel from Nebraska to New York City in 1954.
March 14 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning (2014) nonfiction.
Chronicles the joint effort of the U.S. government, the publishing industry, and the nation’s librarians to boost troop morale during World War II by shipping more than one hundred million books to soldiers at the front lines.
April 11 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – The Yellow Bird Sings by Jennifer Rosner (2020) fiction.
In Poland, as World War II rages, a mother hides with her young daughter, a musical prodigy whose slightest sound may cost them their lives.
May 9 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest by Suzanne Simard (2021) nonfiction.
Illuminates the fascinating truths that trees are not simply the source of timber or pulp, but are a complicated, interdependent circle of life and that forests are social, cooperative creatures connected through underground networks.
June 13 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb (2022) fiction.
Ray McMillian is a Black classical musician on the rise when a shocking theft sends him on a desperate quest to recover his great-great-grandfather’s heirloom violin on the eve of the most prestigious musical competition in the world.
July 11 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – The Secret History of Home Economics: How Trailblazing Women Harnessed the Power of Home and Changed the Way We Live by Danielle Dreilinger (2021) nonfiction.
Danielle Dreilinger traces home economics from Black colleges to Eleanor Roosevelt to Okinawa, from a Betty Crocker brigade to DIY techies, restoring a disparaged field to its rightful importance.
August 8 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – Joan is Okay by Weike Wang (2022) fiction.
Joan is a successful thirtysomething ICU doctor at a busy New York City hospital, but when her father suddenly dies in China, and her mother returns to America to reconnect with her children, a series of events sends Joan spiraling out of her comfort zone.
September 12 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan (2012) nonfiction.
A biography of Edward Curtis, the photographer who devoted 30 years to documenting the lives, stories, and rituals of Native American tribes.
October 10 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1851) fiction.
Greedy, piratical Colonel Pyncheon builds his mansion on ill-gotten ground, setting the stage for generations of suffering. Years later, a country cousin and an enigmatic young boarder attempt to reverse the tide of misfortunes surrounding the house.
November 14 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty, and War by John “Chick” Donohue and J.T. Molloy (2020) nonfiction.
A wildly entertaining memoir of an Irish-American New Yorker and former U.S. marine who embarked on a courageous, hare-brained scheme to deliver beer to his pals serving in Vietnam in the late 1960s.
December 12 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989) fiction.
A profoundly compelling portrait of Stevens, the perfect butler, and of his fading, insular world in post-World War II England.
Click to see books chosen for 2022
January 11 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer (2013) nonfiction.
Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices.
February 8 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai (2020) fiction.
The multigenerational tale of the Trần family, set against the backdrop of the Viet Nam War, brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope.
March 8 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains by Kerri Arsenault (2020) nonfiction.
In this investigative memoir, Kerri Arsenault examines what happened to her small hometown in Maine, which orbited around a paper mill that provided jobs for nearly everyone, but which also contributed to the community’s extremely high cancer rate.
April 12 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – Nobody’s Fool by Richard Russo (1993) fiction.
A slyly funny, moving novel about a blue-collar town in upstate New York—and the life of Sully, one of its unluckiest citizens, who has been doing the wrong thing triumphantly for fifty years.
May 10 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – Hooked: Food, Free Will, and How the Food Giants Exploit Our Addictions by Michael Moss (2021) nonfiction.
Moss uses the latest research on addiction to uncover what the scientific and medical communities—as well as food manufacturers—already know: that food, in some cases, is even more addictive than alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs.
June 14 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (2020) fiction.
After growing up together in a small, southern Black community and running away at age sixteen, identical twin sisters choose dramatically different paths—one embracing her identity as a Black woman, and the other passing for White.
July 12 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – Agent Sonya: The Spy Next Door by Ben Macintyre (2020) nonfiction.
The thrilling true story of the most important female spy in history: an agent code-named “Sonya,” who lived as an unassuming housewife in the English countryside and who set the stage for the Cold War.
August 9 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – Jack by Marilynne Robinson (2020) fiction.
The fourth novel in Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead series tells the story of John Ames Boughton, the beloved, erratic, and grieved-over prodigal son of a Presbyterian minister from Gilead, Iowa.
September 13 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – Children of the Land: A Memoir by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo (2020) nonfiction.
Prize-winning poet Castillo describes his and his family’s encounters with an immigration system that treats them as criminals for seeking safe, ordinary lives.
October 11 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – Gilgamesh by Joan London (2001) fiction.
Nineteen-year-old Edith and her young son leave rural Australia for Soviet Armenia in 1939, inspired by an earlier visit from her English cousin and his Armenian friend and their talk of “Gilgamesh,” only to be trapped by World War II.
November 8 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald (2014) nonfiction.
Recounts how the author, an experienced falconer grieving the sudden death of her father, endeavored to train for the first time a dangerous goshawk predator as part of her personal recovery.
December 13 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue (2020) fiction.
Julia Power, a dedicated nurse at a Dublin hospital in 1918, pours her energy into caring for patients in the women’s fever ward, tending to pregnant women who are struggling to both give birth and fight off the flu.
Click to see books chosen for 2021
January 12 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (2017) fiction.
A socially awkward, routine-oriented loner teams up with a bumbling IT guy from her office to assist an elderly accident victim, forging a friendship that saves all three from lives of isolation and secret unhappiness.
February 9 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – Plainsong by Kent Haruf (1999) fiction.
In the small town of Holt, Colorado, several intertwined lives undergo radical change. A high school teacher is confronted with raising his two boys alone after their mother abandons them, while his sons try to cope with the violent behavior of a school bully. Out in the country, two gruff, unpolished cattle farmers, bachelors for decades, must relearn the art of conversation when a pregnant teen enters their lives.
March 9 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (2014) nonfiction.
An unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.
April 13 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – The Golden Age by Joan London (2014) fiction.
Escaping the perils of World War II Hungary for Australia, Frank is diagnosed with polio and sent to a children’s hospital where he falls in love with a fellow patient while their families struggle to adjust to life in a new culture.
May 11 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice that Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer Eberhardt (2019) nonfiction.
You don’t have to be racist to be biased. Unconscious bias can be at work without our realizing it, even when we genuinely wish to treat all people equally. The good news is that we are not hopelessly doomed by our innate prejudices.
June 8 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – Chances Are… by Richard Russo (2019) fiction.
Three sixty-six-year old men convene on Martha’s Vineyard, friends ever since meeting in college circa the sixties. Each man holds his own secrets, in addition to the monumental mystery that none of them has ever stopped puzzling over since a Memorial Day weekend in 1971.
July 13 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – The Salt Path by Raynor Winn (2018) nonfiction.
Just days after Raynor Winn learns that Moth, her husband of thirty-two years, is terminally ill, their house and farm are taken away, along with their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of England’s sea-swept South West Coast Path.
August 10 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri (2019) fiction.
Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo–until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape.
September 14 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – The Library Book by Susan Orlean (2018) nonfiction.
Chronicles the Los Angeles Public Library fire and its aftermath to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives; delves into the evolution of libraries across the country and around the world, from their humble beginnings as a metropolitan charitable initiative to their current status as a cornerstone of national identity.
October 12 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks (2001) fiction.
Based on the true story of the English village of Eyam, Year of Wonders chronicles the year 1665-1666, in which the community was infected by the bubonic plague and a fictional housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer.
November 9 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – Half Broke: A Memoir by Ginger Gaffney (2020) nonfiction.
A top-ranked horse trainer’s life-affirming memoir that offers profound insight into the fascinating ways both horses and humans seek relationships to survive.
December 14 – Online Meeting Via Zoom – On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (2019) fiction.
A letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born—a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam—and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known.
Click to see books chosen for 2020
January 14 – A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline (2017) fiction.
Imagines the life story of Anna Christina Olson, the subject of Andrew Wyeth’s painting “Christina’s World,” describing the simple life she led on a remote Maine farm, her complicated relationship with her family, and the illness that incapacitated her.
February 11 – The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers (2018) nonfiction.
The incredible true story of a young Yemeni American man, raised in San Francisco, who dreams of resurrecting the ancient art of Yemeni coffee but finds himself trapped in Sana’a by civil war.
March 10 – With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo (2019) fiction.
High school senior Emoni Santiago (an aspiring chef) and her two-year-old daughter live with Emoni’s grandmother. Emoni signs up for a culinary arts class that culminates in a trip to Spain–and she begins to see a path forward, if only she dares follow it.
April 14 – Forty Autumns: A Family’s Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall by Nina Willner (2016) nonfiction.
A former American military intelligence officer goes beyond traditional Cold War espionage tales to tell the true story of her family–of five women separated by the Iron Curtain for more than forty years, and their miraculous reunion after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
May 12 – News of the World by Paulette Jiles (2016) fiction.
Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a 70-year-old veteran of the Civil war, accompanies 10-year-old Johanna Leonberger on a 400-mile odyssey to her aunt and uncle’s home. Johanna, who has been living with the Kiowa warriors who had killed her parents four years earlier, no longer speaks English, and tries to escape at every opportunity. Yet, as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors begin to trust each other, forming a bond that marks the difference between life and death.
June 9 – Afterlife by Julia Alvarez (2020) fiction.
A literature professor tries to rediscover who she is after the sudden death of her husband, even as a series of family and political jolts force her to ask what we owe those in crisis in our families, biological or otherwise.
July 14 – My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell (1956) nonfiction.
Gerald Durrell’s hilarious account of five years in his childhood spent living with his family and an assortment of animals on the island of Corfu.
August 11 – The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey (2010) nonfiction.
Bedridden with a mysterious virus, Bailey watches a wild snail that has taken up residence on her nightstand. As a result, she discovers the solace and sense of wonder that this mysterious creature brings and comes to a greater understanding of her own place in the world.
September 8 – The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk W. Johnson (2018) nonfiction.
On a cool June evening in 2009, twenty-year-old American flautist Edwin Rist grabbed hundreds of bird skins – some collected 150 years earlier – and escaped into the darkness. Two years later, Kirk Wallace Johnson was consumed by the strange case of the feather thief. What would possess a person to steal dead birds?
October 13 – The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso (2017) fiction.
Neighborliness isn’t an option for two elderly enemies [one white, one black] living in adjacent homes in Katterijn, an upscale South African residential community. What will happen when events push them into grudging cohabitation?
November 10 – Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land (2019) nonfiction.
A journalist describes the years she worked in low-paying domestic work under wealthy employers, contrasting the privileges of the upper-middle class to the realities of the overworked laborers supporting them.
December 8 – Little Faith by Nickolas Butler (2019) fiction.
A Wisconsin couple grapples with the power and limitations of faith when their adopted daughter falls under the influence of a radical church.
Click to see books chosen for 2019
January 8 – The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See (2017) fiction.
A young Chinese woman, forced to give up her daughter born out of wedlock, finds purpose, passion, and the key to a new life in the tea-growing traditions of her ancestors. Meanwhile, her daughter grows up as a privileged and well-loved California girl who wonders about her origins.
February 12 – Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland with Charisse Jones (2014) nonfiction.
As the only African American soloist dancing with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland has made history. But when she first placed her hands on the barre at an after-school community center, no one expected the undersized, anxious thirteen-year-old to become a ground-breaking ballerina.
March 12 – Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937) fiction.
An American classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God tells the story of Janie Crawford, a Southern Black woman in the 1930s, whose journey from a free-spirited girl to a woman of independence and substance has inspired writers and readers for over eighty years.
April 9 – Night by Elie Wiesel (1956) nonfiction.
Elie Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were taken from their home in Romania to the Auschwitz concentration camp, and then to Buchenwald. Night is the terrifying record of Wiesel’s memories of the death of his family, the death of his own innocence, and his despair as a deeply observant Jew confronting absolute evil.
May 14 – The Friendly Persuasion by Jessamyn West (1945) fiction.
In fourteen heartwarming vignettes, a Quaker farming family in southern Indiana at the time of the Civil War must negotiate their way through a world that constantly confronts them—sometimes with candor, sometimes with violence—and tests the strength of their beliefs.
June 11 – The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantu (2018) nonfiction.
An ex–Border Patrol agent and descendent of a Mexican immigrant finds himself on both sides of the battle over illegal immigration in this fraught memoir of his time patrolling the Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas borders from 2008 to 2012.
July 9 – Beartown by Fredrik Backman (2017) fiction.
In the tiny forest community of Beartown, the possibility that the amateur hockey team might win a junior championship, bringing the hope of revitalization to the fading town, is shattered by the aftermath of a violent act that leaves a young girl traumatized.
August 13 – The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies by Jason Fagone (2017) nonfiction.
Traces the life of Elizebeth Smith, who met and married groundbreaking cryptologist William Friedman and worked with him to discover and expose Nazi spy rings in South America by cracking multiple versions of the Enigma machine.
September 10 – On Kingdom Mountain by Howard Frank Mosher (2007) fiction.
In 1930 Vermont, Jane Hubbell Kinneson, a local bird carver and the last resident of a remote, wild mountain on the U.S.-Canadian border that is threatened by a proposed new highway, confronts some of the most important decisions of her life.
October 8 – Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (2017) nonfiction.
Presents a true account of the early twentieth-century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law-enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI that eventually uncovered a chilling conspiracy.
November 12 – The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott (2017) fiction.
A portrait of the Irish-American experience is presented through the story of an Irish immigrant’s suicide and how it reverberates through innumerable lives in early twentieth-century Catholic Brooklyn.
December 10 – Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India by Sujatha Gidla (2017) nonfiction.
A woman, born as an “untouchable” into the Indian caste system, describes how she was educated by Canadian missionaries in the 1930s and what it was like growing up in a world full of poverty and injustice but also full of incredible possibility.