Discussible Books

October is National Reading Group Month! Learn more about it here.        

I’ve updated a list of discussible books. These are books that have been discussed at the Woodridge Public Library in the past several years, and which have all led to lively discussions. Some of the titles were not universally liked, but that can make for memorable discussions.  Enjoy!  Brenda

Discussible Books 

Fiction

Benjamin, Melanie. The Aviator’s Wife

Chevalier, Tracy. The Last Runaway

Coomer, Joe. Pocketful of Names

deWitt, Patrick. The Sisters Brothers

Doig, Ivan. The Whistling Season

Donnelly, Jennifer. A Northern Light

Dunant, Sarah. Sacred Hearts

Erdrich, Louise. The Round House

Follett, Ken. Pillars of the Earth

Ford, Jamie. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Gloss, Molly. The Hearts of Horses

Hill, Lawrence. Someone Knows My Name

James, P.D. Death Comes to Pemberley

Joyce, Rachel. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

King, Laurie. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

Kingsolver, Barbara. Prodigal Summer

Kline, Christina Baker. Orphan Train

Larsson, Stieg. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

McLain, Paula. The Paris Wife

Moon, Elizabeth. The Speed of Dark

O’Nan, Stewart. Last Night at the Lobster

Parkin, Gaile. Baking Cakes in Kigali

See, Lisa. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Semple, Maria. Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Shaffer, Mary Ann and Annie Barrows. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Simonson, Helen. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

Stockett, Kathryn. The Help

Trigiani, Adriana. The Shoemaker’s Wife

Vreeland, Susan. Clara and Mr. Tiffany; Luncheon of the Boating Party

Walls, Jeannette. Half Broke Horses; Silver Star

 

Non-Fiction

Algeo, Matthew. Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure

Beavan, Colin. No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries he makes about himself and our way of life in the process

Cain, Susan. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Caputo, Philip. The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America from Key West to the Arctic Ocean

Child, Julia with Alex Prudhomme. My Life in France

Duhigg, Charles. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and in Business

Goodman, Matthew. Eighty days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World

Hillenbrand, Laura. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Krist, Gary. City of Scoundrels: The Twelve Days of Disaster That Gave Birth to Modern Chicago

Kurson, Robert. Shadow Divers : The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II

Millard, Candice. Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President

Salisbury, Laney & Aly Sujo. Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art

 


October 2014 Book Discussions

The Tuesday Morning Book Group is discussing David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell at 10:00 a.m.david and goliath jacket on October 21. In David and Goliath, Gladwell presents a wide-ranging variety of anecdotes to support his belief that underdogs have certain advantages that may help them to succeed and become overachievers.

The Tuesday Evening Book Group is discussing The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie Lovett at 7:00 p.m. on October 28. The Bookman’s Tale is a first novel set in several time periods. The main part of the book is set in North bookman's tale jacketCarolina and England in the 1980s and 1990s. Rare book dealer Peter Byerly is stunned when he finds a Victorian watercolor portrait that looks just like his wife Amanda. The portrait is linked to an Elizabethan novel that was the inspiration for Shakespeare’s play, The Winter’s Tale. A copy of the novel with margin notes and lists of the book’s owners may prove that Shakespeare really was the author of his play; or the novel could be a forgery.

The Crime Readers are meeting on Thursday, October 16 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss River of Darkness, by Rennie Airth. The Crime Readers, co-sponsored by the Indian Prairie Library, meet at Home Run Inn Pizza in Darien. Optional dinner is at 6:00 p.m. River of Darkness is the first mystery featuring Inspector John Madden, who is sent by Scotland Yard to investigate when several people are murdered in a village in Surrey. Haunted by experiences in World War I and the loss of his family, Madden teams up with a beautiful doctor to capture the killer.

Copies of all of the books are available at the Adult/Young Adult Reference Desk.

Brenda

 


September Book Discussions

On September 16 at 10:00 a.m., the Tuesday Morning Book Group will be discussing The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood, a obituary writer jackethistorical 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 jacketBartender’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 tug of war jacketdifficult, 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.

 Brenda


Summer Book Discussions

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.book of ages jacket

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.

bernadette jacketOur regular book discussion schedule will resume in September.


May 2014 Book Discussions

language of flowers jacketOn 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.

atomic city jacket

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.

 

Brenda


April Book Discussions

eighty days jacket

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.silver star jacket

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


March Book Discussions

In March, the Tuesday Morning Book Group will discuss The Art Forger by art forger jacketB. 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 longest road jacketreview. 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.


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