On September 16 at 10:00 a.m., the Tuesday Morning Book Group will be discussing The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood, a historical novel set in two different time periods. Vivien lives in California in 1919, and survived the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. We learn about her life and her connection to Claire, living in Virginia in the early 1960s. Claire, a former flight attendant, is married with a toddler, and volunteers for JFK’s presidential campaign. Here is my review.
On September 28 at 7:00 p.m., the Tuesday Evening Book Group will be discussing The Bartender’s Tale by Ivan Doig, a coming of age novel set in Gros Ventre, Montana in 1960. Rusty is growing in the back room of his father Tom’s bar, the Medicine Lodge. Tom won’t talk about his past or Rusty’s mother, so Rusty and his friend Zoe sit in the bar’s back room listening to the customers and trying to make sense of what they hear. The past, including the construction of the Fort Peck dam, comes to life when oral historian Delano comes to town, along with Francine, who might be Tom’s daughter. Here’s my earlier review.
The Crime Readers are meeting at Home Run Inn Pizza on Thursday, September 18 to discuss Tug of War by Barbara Cleverly. A well-earned vacation takes a sharp detour when Scotland Yard inspector Joe Sandilands is called to a chateau in Champagne, France, where a shell-shocked patient has amnesia. Trying to determine his identity proves a difficult, delicate task: several families are claiming the unknown soldier as their own. The discussion begins at 7:00 p.m., with optional dinner at 6:00 p.m. The Crime Readers are co-sponsored by the Indian Prairie Public Library.
The Tuesday Morning Book Group will meet on June 17 at 10:00 a.m. to discuss Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore.
Jane was Benjamin Franklin’s younger sister, born in Boston in 1712. Benjamin taught her to read and write, and Jenny and Benny were very close, exchanging letters for over 60 years. They outlived their other siblings, and many of Jane’s children. During Jane’s long and eventful life she raised children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and lived through the American Revolution. She was a woman with wide interests, who loved news and gossip, religion and politics, and anything her brother wrote. Books are available now at the Adult/Young Adult Reference Desk.
The Tuesday Evening Book Group will be discussing the contemporary novel, Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple on July 22 at 7:00 p.m.
Bernadette was an award-winning architect in Los Angeles, but no longer works. She lives in Seattle now with her husband Elgie, who works for Microsoft on an artificial intelligence project, and 15-year-old daughter, Bee, who attends a private school. Bernadette hates Seattle and its weather, and has become agoraphobic, secretly using a personal assistant service in India to run her life. Bee and Elgie are looking forward to a family vacation to Antarctica, somewhat problematic for agoraphobic Bernadette. Right before the trip Bernadette disappears, leaving Bee to trace her steps through emails and bills. Funny, quirky, and heartwarming. Copies of the book will be available soon.
On May 20 at 10:00 a.m., the Tuesday Morning Book Group will be discussing the Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, a contemporary novel. At 18, Victoria is aging out of foster care in California. Alternate chapters describe her placement as an angry, unloved 9-year-old girl with kind Elizabeth, who teaches her about the meaning of flowers. In the present, Victoria uses this knowledge in her part-time job with Renata, a florist. Re-connecting with Elizabeth’s nephew Grant, Victoria must deal with a secret from her childhood.
On May 27 at 7:00 p.m., the Tuesday Evening Book Group will be discussing The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan, a non-fiction book. This is the true story of 10 of the thousands of young women who lived and worked in Oak Ridge, Tennessee on the top-secret Manhattan Project during World War II. Here is my earlier review.
The Crime Readers are meeting at Home Run Inn Pizza at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 15 to discuss Garden of Beasts by Jeffery Deaver. Called the reigning “master of ticking-bomb suspense” (“People”), Deaver has written a gripping international thriller–with a range of real political figures and Olympic athletes–that introduces his most psychologically complex hero to date. The Crime Readers are co-sponsored by the Indian Prairie Public Library.
On April 15 at 10:00 a.m., the Tuesday Morning Book Group will be discussing Eighty Days by Matthew Goodman, a remarkable true story. Here’s what I wrote about it last summer, when this title was being considered for The Big Read: On November 14,1889, Nellie Bly, an investigative reporter for the New York World, left New York City on a steamship headed east. Her goal: to travel around the world in 75 days, outdoing Jules Verne’s fictional Phileas Fogg. Traveling by steamship and train, she briefly visited several points in Europe, even meeting Jules Verne in France, then headed through the Suez Canal for points east, observing and commenting on the British Empire in the Victorian era. Traveling with only one small bag, she took the world by storm, visiting Ceylon, Hong Kong, and Japan. Half-way around the world, she was informed that journalist Elizabeth Bisland was traveling in the other direction, in a last-minute attempt by her publisher to beat Nellie Bly. Elizabeth sets out for the American west, on the new transatlantic railroad, a Southern literary critic surprised to be blazing a trail for American women. The story of their eventful journeys and the aftermath make for a great armchair travel experience for the reader.
On April 22 at 7:00 p.m., The Tuesday evening Book Group is reading Silver Star by Jeannette Walls, a novel set in 1970, featuring two sisters, Liz and Jean, known as Bean.
Growing up in California with an artistic, loving, yet sometimes neglectful mother, the girls, now 12 and 15, rely on each other. When their mother is absent from time to time, they eat a lot of chicken pot pies. When two weeks have gone by and the neighbors are getting suspicious, Liz decides they should take the bus to visit their uncle Tinsley in Virginia. Bean and Liz learn about their family’s history, and meet extended family. The Vietnam War and school integration are becoming issues in conservative mill town Byler, Virginia, and the girls will have to decide where their loyalties lie.
The Crime Readers are meeting at Home Run Inn Pizza at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 15 to discuss Garden of Beasts, by Jeffery Deaver. The Crime Readers book group is co-sponsored by the Indian Prairie Public Library.
Copies of the books are available now at the Adult/Young Adult Reference Desk.
In March, the Tuesday Morning Book Group will discuss The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro on March 18 at 10:00 a.m. in Group Study Room 2. The Art Forger is contemporary fiction, set in Boston. Painter Claire Roth was working on her master’s degree when her boyfriend Isaac got painter’s block. With a deadline looming, Claire painted a picture in Isaac’s style to inspire him. Three years later, Claire is asked to copy a painting stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner in 1990. Claire suspects the Degas painting may be a forgery itself, and looks for a connection between Isabella and Degas. This novel is both a thriller and a romance, but art is the main focus.
The Tuesday Evening Book Group will discuss The Big Read selection: The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America from Key West to the Arctic Ocean by Philip Caputo on March 25 at 7:00 p.m. Here is a link to my review. There are also a wide variety of programs connected to the book at the 10 Big Read libraries. For more information and to register for programs, visit www.thebigread.org.
The Crime Readers will discuss Boy in The Water by Stephen Dobyns on Thursday, March 20 at 7pm at Home Run Inn Pizza in Darien. The Crime Readers book group is co-sponsored by the Indian Prairie Public Library.
Copies of these books are available now at the Adult/Young Adult Reference Desk.
The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro
Painter Claire Roth was working on her master’s degree when her boyfriend Isaac got painter’s block. With a deadline looming, Claire painted a picture in Isaac’s style to inspire him. Predictably, when the painting is successful Isaac claims it as his own work. Three years later, Claire is a struggling artist, painting reproductions for an online art store. Then she is approached about copying a painting stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner in 1990, and has a chance at her own gallery showing. Claire suspects the Degas painting may be a forgery itself, and looks for a connection between Isabella and Degas. This novel is both a thriller and a romance, but art is the main focus. The morning book group will be reading this book in March, and I look forward to the discussion.
On February 18 at 10:00 a.m., the Tuesday Morning Book Group will be discussing Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, a novel with two parallel stories. Vyvian, also known as Niamh and Dorothy, emigrates from Ireland to New York City with her family, and ends up on an orphan train sent to Minnesota in 1929, where she has a hard time finding a new family. In the present, in Maine, 17-year-old Molly has to complete court-ordered volunteer work and helps Vyvian sort through boxes and trunks in her attic. Molly is half Penobscot Indian, and lives with a foster family. Vyvian sees her troubled childhood reflected in angry goth girl Molly, and befriends her, telling the story of her life.
On February 25 at 7:00 p.m. the Tuesday Evening Book Group is reading something very different: a book of short stories. Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro is the 14th collection of stories by the Canadian author, who was recently awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. All of the stories are memorable, the last four stories are semi-autobiographical, and most of them are set in small-town western Ontario. Read these stories and find out why Munro is considered one of the great short story writers of all time.
The Crime Readers are meeting at Home Run Inn Pizza at 7:00 p.m on Thursday, February 20 to discuss Brimstone Wedding by Barbara Vine. The Crime Readers book group is co-sponsored by the Indian Prairie Public Library.
Copies of the books are available now at the Adult/Young Adult Reference Desk.
In December, the Tuesday morning and evening book discussion groups will have a Joint Book Gathering on Tuesday, December 17, at 7:00pm in the Mahlke Meeting Room upstairs. Come and talk about the best books you’ve enjoyed reading this year. I will share a list of staff favorites from 2013, and refreshments will be provided. No signup needed.
The Crime Readers will meet on Thursday, December 19, at 7:00 pm to discuss S is for Silence by Sue Grafton. This group is co-sponsored by the Indian Prairie Public Library, and meets at Home Run Inn Pizza in Darien.
In January, all three book groups will be meeting. The Crime Readers will meet on Thursday, January 16, at 7:00 pm for a discussion of The Crocodile Bird by Ruth Rendell. For a change, both Tuesday book groups will be reading non-fiction.
The morning book discussion group will met at 10:00 am on Tuesday, January 21 in Group Study Room 2 to talk about City of Scoundrels by Gary Krist.
The subtitle is : the 12 days of disaster that gave birth to modern Chicago, and the setting is summer, 1919, after World War I veterans have returned home, the influenza epidemic is winding down, and a very chaotic two weeks is vividly described, from the first major aviation disaster, a transit strike, a child kidnapping, race riots, and clashes between Chicago’s mayor and the governor. Readalikes include Devil in the White City by Erik Larson and One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson.
The evening book group will meet at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, January 28 in the Mahlke Meeting Room to discuss The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. Here is my earlier review.
Books will be available at the Adult/Young Adult Reference Desk a month before each discussion.
On November 19 at 10:00am, the Tuesday Morning Group will discuss The Aviator’s Wife, by Melanie Benjamin. Anne Morrow Lindbergh, shy daughter of an ambassador is starstruck by famous aviator Charles Lindbergh. She finds that she likes to fly, and is thrilled when Lindbergh picks her to be his wife and partner in aviation. She is expected to learn to fly, to navigate, and to put Charles’ wishes ahead of her own. He dislikes media attention, and his fame greatly affects their lives over the years. Anne’s passion to write and her desire for independence make her life with her Charles challenging, as do his political views. A fascinating view of the marriage of two famous, complicated individuals.
On Tuesday, November 26 at 7:00pm, the Tuesday Evening Group will discuss The Roots of the Olive Tree, by Courtney Miller Santo. Five generations of women live in the olive groves of Northern California, where Anna, now 112, longs to be the oldest person in the world. A geneticist studies them, hoping to find the secrets of successful super-agers. Is it the olive oil, their environment, or their genes? The relationships between the generations of women are varied, and the reader learns about their past and the struggles and secrets that bind and divide them. Anna, the eldest, and Erin, the youngest, are the main narrators, but all of the women get a turn while they await the arrival of Erin’s child.
The Crime Readers will meet at 7:00pm at Home Run Inn Pizza in Darien on Thursday, November 21 to discuss The Moving Target, by Ross Macdonald. The Crime Readers is co-sponsored by the Indian Prairie Public Library.
Copies of all of the books are available now at the Reference Desk in the Adult/Young Adult Department.
The Tuesday morning book group will be discussing The River of Doubt by Candice Millard on Tuesday, October 15 at 10:00 a.m. in Group Study Room 2. Candice Millard’s newest book, The Destiny of the Republic was so interesting that we decided to read her earlier book. this is a tale of real-life adventure and exploration, set in the Amazon rain forest in 1913. Former President Theodore Roosevelt, 55, needed a new challenge. He isn’t planning to explore a completely unknown river, but when the opportunity is offered, he agrees, which results in the Roosevelt-Rondon Scientific Expedition to explore and chart the Ria da Duvida, or the River of Doubt. Naturalists from the American Museum of Natural History plan to collect specimens, a travel-writing priest, Father Zahm, helps make arrangements, and a failed explorer, Anthony Fiala, arranges for provisions. At his mother’s urging, Kermit Roosevelt, 24 and in love, reluctantly joins his father’s party. The expedition turns into a real test of endurance, with whitewater, theft, piranhas, and illness being just some of the dangers they faced.
The Tuesday evening book group will discuss Sweet Tooth, by Ian McEwan on Tuesday, October 22 at 7:00 p.m. in the 2nd floor Mahlke Meeting Room. Serena Frome loves literature but is encouraged to study Math at Cambridge. When she graduates in 1972, she is recruited by a professor for MI-5. The Cold War is ongoing, and her assignment is to help encourage and fund writers whose views are politically correct.
The Crime Readers will be discussing The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler on Thursday, October 17 at 7:00 p.m. at Home Run Inn Pizza in Darien. This book group is co-sponsored by the Indian Prairie Public Library.
Copies of all three titles are available now at the Reference Desk.