Book Groups

Are you a member of a book group? Check our Recommended Reads for copies of books that have been popular with local book groups. If you have a title you’d like us to consider for the Corner, let us know! Looking for other suggestions? Try Novelist for ideas about what to read next.

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 usually in the Gathering Room, second floor front.

January 16, 2020
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders is based on the true story of the death of a son of President Abraham Lincoln. In 1862, Willie Lincoln died of typhoid fever at the age of 11. The novel opens in the bardo, which is an intermediary state between life and the afterlife. This is a story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.

 

 

February 20, 2020
Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon. Eighty-four-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, she thinks about her friend Elsie and wonders if a terrible secret from their past is about to come to light. If the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly like a man who died sixty years ago?

 

Mar. 19, 2020
Whiskey When We’re Dry by John Larison is set in the American West of 1885 and chronicles the adventures of seventeen-year-old Jessilyn Harney, who, after being orphaned, rides west on her beloved mare posing as boy in search of her infamous outlaw brother, Noah.

 

April 16, 2020
Florida by Lauren Groff. The author brings her electric storytelling and intelligence to a world in which storms, snakes, and sinkholes lurk at the edge of everyday life, but the greater threats and mysteries are of a human, emotional, and psychological nature.

 

May 21, 2020
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje is the story of fourteen-year-old Nathaniel and his older sister, Rachel. In 1945 after World War II, they stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and they grow both more convinced and less concerned as they come to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women joined by a shared history of unspecified service during the war, all of whom seem, in some way, determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be?

June 18, 2020
A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan is a set of thirteen interrelated stories with a large cast of characters all connected to Bennie Salazar, a record company executive, and his assistant, Sasha. The book centers on the mostly self-destructive characters, who, as they grow older, are sent in unforeseen, and sometimes unusual, directions by life. The stories shift back and forth in time from the 1970s to the present and into the near future.

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July 16, 2020
Fleishman is in Trouble  by Taffy Brodesser-Akner deals with Toby Fleishman, 41, newly separated from his wife and entranced by the dating apps that now populate his phone. But as Toby revels in his new freedom, he slowly realizes that his soon-to-be-ex-wife, Rachel, isn’t just absent from his life. She seems to have fully disappeared. This is a novel about how we don’t really see women for who they are. The real mystery of the book is: what are women really up to? Who are they really?

August 20, 2020
Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk. In a remote Polish village, Janina devotes the dark winter days to studying astrology, translating the poetry of William Blake, and taking care of the summer homes of wealthy Warsaw residents. Her reputation as a crank and recluse is amplified by her not-so-secret preference for the company of animals over humans. Then a neighbor, Big Foot, turns up dead. Soon other bodies are discovered, in increasingly strange circumstances. As suspicions mount, Janina inserts herself into the investigation, certain that she knows whodunit. If only anyone would pay attention….

  

September 17, 2020
The Topeka School by Ben Lerner is a tender and expansive family drama set in the American Midwest at the turn of the century: a tale of adolescence, transgression, and the conditions that have given rise to the trolls and tyrants of the New Right.

October 15, 2020
I Remember You by Yrsa Sigurdardottir. In this terrifying Icelandic tale, partly based on a true story, three friends set to work renovating a rundown house in a remote, totally isolated location. But they soon realize they are not as alone as they thought. Something wants them to leave. Meanwhile, in a nearby town, a young doctor investigating the suicide of an elderly woman discovers that she was obsessed with his vanished son. When the two stories collide, the truth becomes horribly clear.

November 19, 2019
Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout. The story of the indomitable Olive Kitteridge follows on two years after her husband Henry’s death. Olive is more introspective on how she, as a person, her behaviour and relationships have evolved as she ages into her eighties, especially as she experiences loss and loneliness.

My Brilliant Friend

 

December 17, 2020
Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips. One August afternoon, on the shoreline of the Kamchatka peninsula at the northeastern edge of Russia, two girls – sisters, eight and eleven – go missing. In the ensuing months, the police investigation turns up nothing. Echoes of the disappearance reverberate across a tightly woven community, with the fear and loss felt most deeply among its women.Taking us through a year in Kamchatka, Disappearing Earth enters with emotional acuity the worlds of a cast of characters connected by the crime: a witness, a neighbor, a detective, a mother. We are transported to vistas of rugged beauty – densely wooded forests, open expanses of tundra, soaring volcanoes, and the glassy seas that border Japan and Alaska – and into a region as complex as it is alluring, where social and ethnic tensions have long simmered, and where outsiders are often the first to be accused.

 

 

 

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 ReillyMaia 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 VreelandAgainst 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 KleinA 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 PicoultRuth 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 QuinnTwo 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
Evicted 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
Skipping Christmas 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 2020 Schedule

Meets the first Tuesday of the month at 1 pm in the Antiques Room

 

January 7, 2020
The Weather Machine by Andrew Blum (2019). Learn how tomorrow’s weather is predicted today as science and technology are combined with global cooperation to create the infrastructure behind the weather forecast.

        

February 4, 2020
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William KamKulamba and Bryan Mealer. (2009). A prolonged drought in 2001 devastates a small village in Malawi, Africa, and prompts a young boy to use his inventiveness to overcome disaster.

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March 3, 2020
Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (2018). Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, the author was 17 before she set foot in a classroom. This is a tale of self-realization combined with fierce family loyalty that is both amazing and inspiring.

April 7, 2020
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (2010.) Though she has been dead for 60 years, the cells of a poor Southern tobacco farmer taken and preserved without her knowledge live on today and are the basis for continuing scientific medical research.

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May 5, 2020
The Library Book  by Susan Orlean (2018). Reopens the unsolved mystery of a catastrophic library fire occurring in 1986 in Los Angeles. The author explores possible motives of the alleged arsonist while also celebrating the venerable history of the American public library.

June 2, 2020
The Pioneers by David McCullough (2019). Early American settlers set out in 1788 to explore the Northwest Territory – an immense wilderness that will someday include Ohio. Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Rare diaries and letters by the key figures help tell the tale.

 

July and August 2020: No Meetings

 

September 1, 2020
The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck (2015). The epic 2,000 mile migration West took place between 1840 and 1860. Yet the author and his brother decide to follow the original route the old fashioned way – in a covered wagon with a team of mules!

October 6, 2020
The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben (2016). Are trees social beings? What do they feel and how do they communicate? The author reveals discoveries from a secret world while sharing his deep love of woods and forests.

November 5, 2020
Lincoln’s Last Trial by Dan Abrams (2018). This engrossing legal thriller from more than 150 years ago recounts the murder case that propelled Abraham Lincoln to the presidency while capturing dramatic courtroom confrontations in vivid detail.

December 1, 2020
The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson (2018). A true-crime tale that weaves seemingly unrelated threads – a museum break-in, the development of evolutionary theory, endangered birds, and the murky and obsessive underworld of fly-fishing devotees.