2016 Book Group Titles


Thursday Evening Reading Group 

Meets the second Thursday of the month (usually) at 7:30 pm in the Board Room. Note: this has been changed from the third Thursday.

February 11, 2016
“Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline. A captivating story of two very different women who build an unexpected friendship: a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever thought to ask.


Mar. 10, 2016
“Brooklyn” by Colm Toibin. Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America, she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind. Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.


April 14, 2016
“Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel. A fresh and brilliantly told memoir from a cult favorite comic artist, marked by gothic twists, a family funeral home, sexual angst, and great books.This breakout book by Alison Bechdel is a darkly funny family tale, pitch-perfectly illustrated with Bechdel’s sweetly gothic drawings.


May 12, 2016
“A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson. In the grand tradition of the travel memoir, writer Bill Bryson tells the story of his trek through the wilderness along the Appalachian Trail. With no real outdoors experience or knowledge of the trail’s difficulty, he walks into a sporting goods store in his hometown of Hanover, New Hampshire, and spends a small fortune on the necessary gear, most of which is a mystery to him. His plan is to hike the entire 2,200-mile trail in one season. He has a companion who is as comically unprepared for the trek as he is. Stephen Katz is an old school friend, who climbs off the plane with a large stomach and a duffel bag of Snickers.

Walk in Woods

June 9, 2016
Alexander Masters has created a moving portrait of a troubled man, an unlikely friendship, and a desperate world few ever see. A gripping who-done-it journey back in time, it begins with Masters meeting a drunken Stuart lying on a sidewalk in Cambridge, England, and leads through layers of hell…back through crimes and misdemeanors, prison and homelessness, suicide attempts, violence, drugs, juvenile halls and special schools–to expose the smiling, gregarious thirteen-year-old boy who was Stuart before his long, sprawling, dangerous fall.


July 14, 2016
“H is for Hawk” by Helen Macdonald. When Helen Macdonald’s father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer, Helen had never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk, but in her grief, she saw that the goshawk’s fierce and feral temperament mirrored her own. Resolving to purchase and raise the deadly creature as a means to cope with her loss, she adopted Mabel. Projecting herself “in the hawk’s wild mind to tame her” tested the limits of Macdonald’s humanity and changed her life.

H is for Hawk

No August Meeting

September 8, 2016
“The Wolf Border” by Sarah Hall. For almost a decade, zoologist Rachel Caine has lived a solitary existence far from her estranged family in England, monitoring wolves in a remote section of Idaho as part of a wildlife recovery program. But a surprising phone call takes her back to the peat and wet light of the Lake District where she grew up. The eccentric Earl of Annerdale has a controversial scheme to reintroduce the Grey Wolf to the English countryside, and he wants Rachel to spearhead the project. Though she’s skeptical, the earl’s lands are close to the village where she grew up, and where her aging mother now lives.

The Wolf Border

October 13, 2016
“Kitchens of the Great Midwest” by J. Ryan Stradal. When Lars Thorvald’s wife, Cynthia, falls in love with wine—and a dashing sommelier—he’s left to raise their baby, Eva, on his own. He’s determined to pass on his love of food to his daughter—starting with puréed pork shoulder. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. From Scandinavian lutefisk to hydroponic chocolate habaneros, each ingredient represents one part of Eva’s journey as she becomes the star chef behind a legendary and secretive pop-up supper club, culminating in an opulent and emotional feast that’s a testament to her spirit and resilience.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest

November 10, 2016
“My Brilliant Friend” by Elena Ferrante. From one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila, set in a vibrant and colorful modern-day Naples.  The story begins in the 1950s, in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets, Elena and Lila learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone else. As they grow, as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge, Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country undergoing momentous change. The first in a trilogy, My Brilliant Friend introduces readers to two unforgettable protagonists and to the famed and flawed beauty of modern Naples.

My Brilliant Friend51PUTD03R7L__SX317_BO1,204,203,200_

December 8, 2016
“My Name is Lucy Barton” by Elizabeth Strout. Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable. By the author of Olive Kittredge.


Daytime Book Discussion 2016 Schedule
The group meets the second Monday of the month at 1 pm in the Antiques Room

January 11, 2016

Inside the Kingdom by Carmen bin Laden

Osama bin Laden’s former sister-in-law provides a penetrating, unusually intimate look into Saudi society and the bin Laden family’s role within it, as well as the treatment of Saudi women. On September 11th, 2001, Carmen bin Ladin heard the news that the Twin Towers had been struck. She instinctively knew that her ex-brother-in-law was involved in these horrifying acts of terrorism, and her heart went out to America.


February 8, 2016

The Sea Runners by Ivan Doig

In this timeless survival story, four indentured servants escape their Russian Alaska work camp in a stolen canoe, only to face a harrowing journey down the Pacific Northwest coast. Battling unrelenting high seas and fierce weather from New Archangel, Alaska, to Astoria, Oregon, the men struggle to avoid hostile Tlingit Indians, to fend off starvation and exhaustion, and to endure their own doubt and distrust.


March 14, 2016

Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova

Joe O’Brien is a forty-four-year-old police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, proud father of four children in their twenties, and respected officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to the stress of his job, but as these symptoms worsen, he agrees to see a neurologist.


April 11, 2016
Me Before You by Jo Jo Moyes
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

May 9, 2016

The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott

Determined to forge her own destiny, Alice Barrow joins the legions of spirited young women better known as the Mill Girls. From dawn until dusk, these ladies work the looms, but the thrill of independence, change in their pockets, and friendships formed along the way mostly make the backbreaking labor worthwhile. In fact, Hiram Fiske, the steely-eyed titan of industry, has banked on that. But the working conditions are becoming increasingly dangerous.


June 13, 2016

Tigers in Red Weather by Lisa Klaussmann

Nick and her cousin, Helena, have grown up sharing sultry summer heat, sunbleached boat docks, and midnight gin parties on Martha’s Vineyard in a glorious old family estate known as Tiger House. In the days following the end of the Second World War the two women are on the cusp of their ‘real lives’: Helena is off to Hollywood and a new marriage, while Nick is heading for a reunion with her own young husband, Hughes, about to return from the war.


July 11, 2016

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child. So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes.


August 8, 2016

Queen of Ambition by Fiona Buckley

Ursula and her small daughter, Meg, are at their Sussex manor house, Withysham, when Ursula is summoned to court. The queen will soon set out on a Royal Progress to Cambridge, the university town known for its Protestant sympathies. Accompanied by a huge entourage and two hundred wagonloads of goods, Her Majesty will spend five nights at King’s College, where she will be kept in comfort and entertained in style. Nothing must go wrong.


September 12, 2016

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life. Thirty-five years earlier, when Miri was fifteen, and in love for the first time, a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving a community reeling. Against this backdrop of actual events that Blume experienced in the early 1950s, when airline travel was new and exciting and everyone dreamed of going somewhere, Judy Blume imagines and weaves together a haunting story of three generations of families, friends, and strangers, whose lives are profoundly changed by these disasters.


October 10, 2016

The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende

In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco’s parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There, as the rest of the world goes to war, she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family’s Japanese gardener.


November 14, 2016

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.


December 12, 2016

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbach

The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.


Non-Fiction Book Club 2016 Schedule

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

January 5, 2016
Yes, Please! by Amy Poehler (2014) Inspirational memoir by “Saturday Night Live” comedian combines hilarious anecdotes with words to live by.

February 2, 2016
A Voyage for Madmen by Peter Nichols (2001) In 1968, nine sailros seeking fame and glory set off alone in a race to be the first to circumnavigate the globe.

March 1, 2016
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast (2014) Graphic memoir by New Yorker magazine cartoonist Chast brings wit and compassion to the difficult topic of caring for aging parents.

April 5, 2016
Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick (2013) The epic 1775 battle for Boston is described with fresh perspective as the author brings the revolutionary landscape and its dynamic personalities to life.

May 3, 2016
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald (2014) Beautifully written account of the author’s journey from grief to healing as she undertakes the taming of a wild goshawk.
H is for Hawk

June 7, 2016
One Summer: America 1927 by Bill Bryson (2013) When Lindbergh flew, the Yankees soared, rain poured down, Al Capone reigned, and America prospered.

July and August: No Meetings

September 13, 2016
The Big House by George Howe Holt (2013) A century in the life of a Cape Cod summer home and an affectionate farewell to a vanishing way of life.

October 4, 2016
A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal by Ben Macintyre (2014) High Level British spymaster turns out to be a Russian mole.

November 1, 2016
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough (2015) On a winter day in 1903, two brothers from Ohio change history and usher in the Age of Flight.

December 6, 2016
The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell (Or, How Mollusks Made Manhattan) by Mark Kurlansky (2006) Renowned author of Salt and Cod follows the history of New York City in relation to abundant oyster beds that once thrived in the Hudson River estuary.