February 2016 Book Discussions

On Tuesday, February 16 at 10:00 am, the Tuesday Morning Book Group will be meeting in the 2nd floor Meeting gutenberg's apprentice jacketRoom to discuss Gutenberg’s Apprentice, by Alix Christie, a novel set in mid-15th century Germany about the early days of Johan Gutenberg’s printing press, from the point of view of scribe turned apprentice Peter Schoeffer.

On February 23 at 7:00 pm, The Tuesday Evening Book Group will discuss When the Moon is Low, by Nadia Hashimi, a contemporary novel that opens in Afghanistan, when Fereiba is a girl. She grows up to marry, teach, and have when the moon is low jacketchildren, then becomes a refugee trying to get her family to safety in London, where her sister lives.

The Crime Readers are meeting at Home Run Inn Pizza in Darien on Thursday, February 18 to discuss A Taste for Death, by P.D. James. The discussion begins at 7:00 pm, with optional dinner at 6:00 pm. The Crime Readers are co-sponsored by the Indian Prairie Public Library.


January 2016 Book Discussions

As the library’s renovations are coming to the end, I’m looking forward to January and the start up of both our Tuesday Morning and Tuesday Evening Book Groups. We will be meeting regularly in the front half of the 2nd floor Meeting Room, which is still being remodeled as I write. Due to lack of meeting space we didn’t have our usual Joint Book Group Gathering in December, but I will bring cookies to our January discussions, and offer building tours.

dead wake jacketOn January 19 at 10:00 am, the Tuesday Morning Book Group will discuss Dead Wake by Erik Larson, about the last voyage of the Lusitania in May, 1915. Here’s my earlier review of Larson’s gripping real-life adventure story.

On January 26 at 7:00 pm, the Tuesday Evening Book Group will discuss delicious jacketDelicious! by Ruth Reichl, set in the New York City offices of a food magazine, and with a mystery in the form of letters written to chef James Beard during World War II. Here’s my earlier review.

The Crime Readers are meeting at Home Run Inn Pizza in Darien on Thursday, January 21 to discuss Grave Mistake, by Ngaio Marsh.  The discussion begins at 7:00 pm, with optional dinner at 6:00 pm. The Crime Readers are co-sponsored by the Indian Prairie Public Library.


November 2015 Book Discussion

quilt christmas jacketThis is a light month for book discussions. Because of ongoing renovations at the library, the Tuesday Evening Book Group met an extra time this summer and we’re not meeting this month. Also, the Crime Readers are skipping November. The Tuesday Morning Book Group is having their 10th book discussion of 2015 at 10 am on November 17. We are discussing A Quilt for Christmas, by Sandra Dallas, set in Kansas in 1864 and 1865. Here is my earlier review. I am enjoying rereading it.


October 2015 Book Discussions

lighthouse jacketThe Tuesday Morning Book Group has decided to discuss a classic, To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. They will be meeting at 10:00 a.m. on October 20.


The Tuesday Evening Book Group is discussing The Last Policeman by Ben last policeman jacketWinters at 7:00 p.m. on October 27. This is the first book in a mystery trilogy set in pre-apocalyptic New England, and won an Edgar award. In six months, an asteroid nicknamed Maia might collide with the planet. Hank Palace is an idealistic new police detective who has chosen work over pleasure or despair, unlike many others in his uncertain time. Here is my earlier review.


The Crime Readers are meeting on Thursday, October 15 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss Blood of the Wicked by Leighton Gage. The Crime Readers, co-sponsored by the Indian Prairie Public Library, meet at Home Run Inn Pizza in Darien. Optional dinner is at 6:00 p.m. In Blood of the Wicked, Chief Inspector Mario Silva is asked to investigate the murder of a bishop in a remote Brazilian village.


September Book Discussions

wind is not a river jacket The Tuesday Morning Book Group is discussing The Wind is Not a River by Brian Payton at 10:00 a.m. on September 15. Set in Seattle and Alaska in 1942, this novel is part adventure, and part wartime love story. Helen Easley is anxious for news of her husband, John, a war correspondent. He wasn’t on an official assignment, but ends up in the Aleutian Islands at just the wrong time.

The Tuesday Evening Book Group is discussing The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant at 7:00 p.m. on September 22. Addie Baum is the Boston girl, born in 1900 to poor Russian Jewish immigrants. Addie looks back on her eventful life as her granddaughter interviews her.

The Crime Readers are meeting on Thursday, September 17 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon, the first Guido Brunetti mystery, set in contemporary Venice. The Crime Readers, co-sponsored by the Indian Prairie Public Library, meet at Home Run Inn Pizza in Darien. Optional dinner is at 6:00 p.m.boston girl jacket

Copies of all three titles are available now at the Adult/Young Adult Reference Desk.


The Seasons on Henry’s Farm

henry's farm jacketThe Seasons on Henry’s Farm by Terra Brockman

If you’ve ever wondered what life is really like on a family farm, Terra Brockman’s book will give you a good idea. The Brockman family has farmed in central Illinois for most of the time since the 1880s. The fifth generation of Brockmans is growing up, helping on two of the extended family’s three sustainable farms. Terra lived in New York City and Japan for many years, but finally came back to write, and to work on brother Henry’s sustainable vegetable farm, among other pursuits. The days are long, but no one seems to work longer hours than Henry himself. His Japanese wife and three children, a longtime farmhand, a couple of apprentices and extended family plant, grow, harvest, and sell just about every vegetable imaginable. They use plastic hoop houses to extend the growing season, and Henry intensively tracks which varieties do best in which fields and what sells best. I enjoy shopping at farmer’s markets, and I wondered what happens to the leftover produce. Imperfect vegetables and fruit and leftovers go to feed the farmers, with much of it frozen for the winter. Although Henry’s detailed analysis of crops and sales probably doesn’t make for too many leftovers. I liked the arrangement of the book, starting with November, when garlic is planted by the thousands of cloves and moving through the months of the year until the end of harvest in late October. Terra won’t scare you away from farming or intensive gardening, but you will get a good sense of what it’s like to work in the intense cold or heat, and what the long hours feel like when you’re middle-aged. The children and animals on Henry’s farm provide some lighter moments, including Lucky Tom the turkey. More moving passages describe the declining health of Henry and Terra’s father and grandfather, and their father’s surgery and aftermath. I enjoyed the vivid descriptions of the farms at different seasons and times of day, learning about the politics of plastic bags and farmer’s markets, and especially the simple recipes and photos throughout the book.


Summer Book Discussions

This summer there will be twice as many book discussions as usual. The Third Tuesday Morning group will meet in July and August, while the Fourth Tuesday Evening Group will meet in June and July. The Crime Readers do not meet in the summer. The Woodridge Public Library will be undergoing renovations this fall, and alternate meeting locations will be needed. Each group will take a different month off this fall. Also, by attending a summer book discussion, Woodridge cardholders will get another entry for our summer reading program, Escape the Ordinary. These are the books being discussed this summer:

Mornings – Third Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m.amy jacket
July 21         Amy Falls Down by Jincy Willett

Reclusive writer Amy Gallup hasn’t written anything new in years, and teaches online writing classes. A bizarre newspaper interview right after a head injury makes her slightly famous, and helps jumpstart her career. Quirky, witty, and funny.

August 18    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

A traveling troupe of musicians and Shakespearean actors perform in small towns on the coasts of Lakes Huron and Michigan fifteen years after a flu pandemic changed the world. A beautiful, complex, nonlinear novel that I’m looking forward to re-reading.

Evenings – Fourth Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m.

 June 23       You Are One of Them by Elliott Holt                                                  

 During the Cold War,  Sarah and her friend Jenny write letters to the Soviet premier asking for peace. Only Jenny’s letter is answered, and she becomes a celebrity. In 1995, Sarah travels to Moscow to find out what really happened to Jenny. A suspenseful, atmospheric, and character-driven first novel.

July 28         Some Luck by Jane Smiley                                                                                                                          This sweeping, homespun, multi-generational novel, first in a trilogy, is the story of an Iowa farm family from 1920 to 1953. Walter and Rosanna Langdon and their five children take turns narrating the chapters, describing the changes in the family and their nation.

station eleven jacket



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