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 2020 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 2020 Schedule
The group meets the second Monday of the month at 1 pm in the Antiques Room

January 13, 2020
The Dog Who Came in From the Cold by Alexander McCall SmithIn the elegantly crumbling four-story mansion block in Pimlico called Corduroy Mansions, the comings and goings of the wonderfully motley crew of residents continue apace. A pair of New Age operators has determined that Terence Moongrove’s estate is the cosmologically correct place for their Centre for Cosmological Studies. Literary agent Barbara Ragg has decided to represent a man who is writing a book about his time “hanging out” with the Abominable Snowman. And our small, furry, endlessly surprising canine hero, Freddie de la Hay – belonging to failed oenophile William French – has been recruited by MI6 to infiltrate a Russian spy ring.

February 10, 2020
The Last Year of the War by Susan MeissnerElise Sontag is a typical Iowa fourteen-year-old in 1943. Her father, a legal U.S. resident for nearly two decades, is suddenly arrested on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathizer. The family is sent to an internment camp in Texas, where, she meets fellow internee Mariko Inoue, a Japanese-American teen from Los Angeles. Their friendship empowers them both to believe there will be a future for them together in New York City after the war. But soon the Sontag family is exchanged for American prisoners behind enemy lines in Germany. Elise quickly comes face to face with the horrors of war.

         

March 9, 2020
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson. The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything – except books, that is.  Troublesome’s got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter. Not only a book woman, she’s also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy’s family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any trouble. If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she’s going to have to confront prejudice and suspicion.

 

April 13, 2020
The Reckoning by John Grisham.  War hero Pete Banning shocked his small town of Clanton, Mississippi when he murdered Methodist minister Dexter Bell. Banning refused to give anyone a motive for the murder, even to save his life. When Pete’s children learned the truth about their father’s murder, they realized that the truth does not always help to clarify matters.

 

May 11, 2020
The Last Stone by Mark Bowden. On March 29, 1975, two sisters, age 10 and 12, disappeared during a trip to a shopping mall in suburban Washington, D.C. Three days later, eighteen-year-old Lloyd Welch visited the Montgomery County Police with a tip: he had seen the Lyons girls at the mall that day and had watched them climb into a strange man’s car. Welch’s tip led nowhere, and the police dismissed him as a troublemaking teen wasting their time. Then, in 2013, a detective on the department’s cold case squad reopened the Lyons files and soon discovered that the officers had missed something big about Lloyd Welch in 1975.

 

June 8, 2020
Beneath the Apple Leaves by Harmony Verna. In 1914, Andrew Houghton’s family is one of hundreds eking out an existence in the coal mines of southwestern Pennsylvania. Though he longs to be a veterinarian, he’s fated for a life underground, picking rock alongside his father. That destiny changes when his aunt arranges for her husband to secure Andrew an apprenticeship on the railroad. But on Andrew’s first week, an incident goes tragically wrong, leaving him severely injured. The family leaves the sooty city and moves to a rough-and-tumble farm.

 

July 13, 2020
The Lines We Leave Behind by Eliza Graham. A story of a female operative in Yugoslavia during World War II. She tells her story post-war, in 1947, from the Woodlands Asylum in the English countryside. Working with her psychiatrist, Dr. Rosenstein, she attempts to piece together her past. In 1943, she was Maud, a young woman working in London, enjoying the nightlife despite the war, when she was recruited by Robert. Maud may seem unprepossessing, but she’s got a keen memory and a facility with Serbo-Croatian, as her mother is Croatian. After training in Cairo, where she is renamed Amber, she parachutes into Yugoslavia, where she is tasked with joining the Partisans.

 

August 10, 2020
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead. Elwood Curtis is a straight-laced and principled boy growing up in the black neighborhood of Frenchtown in Tallahassee, Florida. He works hard and has dreams of participating in the black civil rights struggle. An unlucky encounter lands him in Nickel Academy, a state-sponsored reform school for boys. There, Elwood meets Turner and a host of other black boys looking to navigate the system and work their way out. On first glance, Nickel appears innocuous, with its neatly kept lawns and red-brick buildings, but harsh and horrific realities gradually set in. Through these boys, Whitehead provides a glimpse into Jim Crow-era America, its grisly secrets and its lessons on human nature and racial inequality.

 

September 14, 2020
The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs.
Nina Riggs was just thirty-seven years old when initially diagnosed with breast cancer – one small spot. Within a year, the mother of two sons, ages seven and nine, and married sixteen years to her best friend, received the devastating news that her cancer was terminal. How does one live each day, “unattached to outcome”? How does one approach the moments, big and small, with both love and honesty? She asks what makes a meaningful life when one has limited time?

 

October x?, 2020
Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva. Charles Dickens is not feeling the Christmas spirit. His newest book is an utter flop, the critics have turned against him, relatives near and far hound him for money. While his wife plans a lavish holiday party for their ever-expanding family and circle of friends, Dickens has visions of the poor house. But when his publishers try to blackmail him into writing a Christmas book to save them all from financial ruin, he refuses. And a serious bout of writer’s block sets in.

 

November 9, 2020
There There by Tommy Orange. A relentlessly paced multigenerational story about violence and recovery, memory and identity, and the beauty and despair woven into the history of a nation and its people. It tells the story of twelve characters, each of whom have private reasons for traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow.

 

December 14, 2020
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living.

 

 

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.