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.
Most of the books on this list are favorites from discussions held at the library between 2007 and 2013. A few of the titles are books we haven’t discussed yet, but will soon and are potential favorites. Not every title will appeal to all readers, but all will promote lively discussions. Brenda
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
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
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
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
Caputo, Philip. The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America from Key West to the Arctic Ocean
Child, Julia. My Life in France
Eggers, Dave. Zeitoun
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
Peacock, Nancy. A Broom of One’s Own: Words on Writing, Housecleaning, and Life
Salisbury, Laney & Aly Sujo. Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art
The Tuesday morning book group will be discussing The Round House by Louise Erdrich on Tuesday, September 17 at 10:00 am in Group Study Room 2. This book recently won the National Book Award for Fiction. Here is Brenda’s earlier review.
The Tuesday evening book group will be discussing The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier on Tuesday, September 24 at 7:00pm. For this date only, we will be meeting in the Administrator’s Office, next to the lobby. Tracy Chevalier’s books are well known by book groups, and by readers of historical fiction. Here is Brenda’s review.
The Crime Readers will also begin their discussion schedule in September, meeting every third Thursday at 7:00pm at Home Run Inn Pizza in Darien. This book group is co-sponsored by the Indian Prairie Public Library, which will also be featuring film discussions related to this fall’s books. On September 19, they will be discussing The Postman Always Rings Twice, by James M. Cain.
The Tuesday morning group will be discussing Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain on Tuesday April 16 at 10 a.m.
Susan worked as a corporate lawyer for many years but found herself envious of college classmates who became writers or psychologists. In exploring and writing about introversion, she found her calling. Cain writes about how our current culture favors extroverts at work and in school, how many introverts struggle to find their strengths, and introduces us to successful introverts. As an introvert married to an extrovert, she gives advice on working and living with people of different personality types.
The Tuesday evening group will be discussing the contemporary novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce on Tuesday, April 23 at 7 p.m. Harold has recently retired and is all but estranged from his wife Maureen. A letter from a former colleague Queenie upsets Harold and he goes out to mail her a card. The card seems inadequate, so he keeps walking while he thinks about it, and unexpectedly decides to walk the length of England to visit Queenie, without discussing it first with his wife. My review is here.
The Crime Readers will be discussing High Country by Nevada Barr on Thursday, April 18 at 7pm at Home Run Inn Pizza. This group is co-sponsored by the Indian Prairie Public Library.
Copies of all three books are available now at the Adult/Young Adult Reference Desk. Enjoy!