Wednesday Afternoon Book Group

  • Wednesday Afternoon Book Group

Our Wednesday Afternoon Book Groups meets on the last Wednesday of every month from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm in the Fireplace Room. We read both fiction and nonfiction.  Copies of each title are available at the Circulation Desk approximately one month prior to each meeting. Downloadable and audio editions are also made available whenever possible. New members are always welcome.

Registration is required for any online meetings due to COVID19, so that we can send you the login information. Please register for each meeting separately, using our online calendar.

Past Titles

2020 SCHEDULE


Piece of the World
by Christina Baker Kline
November 25, 2020 – Online

Imagines the life story of Christina Olson, the subject of Andrew Wyeth’s painting “Christina’s World, ” describing the simple life she led on a remote Maine farm, her complicated relationship with her family, and the illness that incapacitated her.

Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society by Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate
December 30, 2020 – Online

“From the 1920s through 1950, Georgia Tann ran a black-market baby business at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis. The publication of Lisa Wingate’s novel Before We Were Yours brought new awareness of Tann’s lucrative career in child trafficking. Adoptees who knew little about their pasts gained insight into the startling facts behind their family histories. Encouraged by their contact with Wingate and journalist Judy Christie, who documented the stories of fifteen adoptees in this book, many determined Tann survivors set out to trace their roots and find their birth families. Here many victims return to Memphis with the authors to reclaim their stories at a Tennessee Children’s Home Society reunion … with extraordinary results.”

2021 SCHEDULE

The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott
January 27, 2021

SUMMARY: “Moving to the mill city of Lowell in 1832 to escape farm life, young Alice is disillusioned by the local factory’s harsh working conditions and struggles to advocate on their behalf while recklessly falling in love with the mill owner’s son, a situation that is complicated by a murder and sensational trial.”

Lunch with Buddha by Roland Merullo
February 24, 2021

SUMMARY: “Facing one of life’s greatest emotional challenges, Otto Ringling takes comfort in a loving family and offbeat lessons from the eccentric spiritual teacher Volya Rinpoche. Funny at times, heartbreaking at others, Lunch with Buddha offers a fresh and engaging perspective on the life we live now.”

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover – MEETING CANCELLED
March 31, 2021

SUMMARY: “Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag.” In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. As a way out, Tara began to educate herself, learning enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge would transform her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Tara Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.”

The End of the Day by Bill Clegg
April 28, 2021

SUMMARY: “A retired widow in rural Connecticut wakes to an unexpected visit from her childhood best friend whom she hasn’t seen in forty-nine years. An older man who has traveled from Manhattan to meet his newborn granddaughter collapses in a hotel lobby in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. A sixty-seven-year-old taxi driver in Kauai receives a phone call from the mainland that jars her back to a traumatic past. Seemingly disconnected lives come together as half-century old secrets begin to surface in Bill Clegg’s second novel. At its heart, The End of the Day is about the phenomenon of female friendship, its force and its breaking points, as well its most shaping influences-family, class, age, and power.”

The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukyama
June 2, 2021

SUMMARY:” In 1938, Stephen Chan, 20, who lives in Hong Kong, is sent to recover from tuberculosis in his family’s summer house in Japan. While there he becomes privy to a romantic triangle between a beautiful woman leper and two men, a romance he records in his diary.”

A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland Indiana by Haven Kimmel
June 30, 2021

SUMMARY: “When Haven Kimmel was born in 1965 in Mooreland, Indiana, was a sleepy little hamlet of three hundred people. Nicknamed “Zippy” for the way she would bolt around the house, this small girl was possessed of big eyes and even bigger ears. In this witty and lovingly told memoir, Kimmel takes readers back to a time when small-town America was caught in the amber of the innocent postwar period–people helped their neighbors, went to church on Sunday, and kept barnyard animals in their backyards. To three-year-old Zippy, it made perfect sense to strike a bargain with her father to keep her baby bottle–never mind that when she did, it was the first time she’d ever spoken.”

The Same Sweet Girls by Cassandra King
July 28, 2021

SUMMARY: “None of the Same Sweet Girls are really girls anymore, and none of them have actually ever been that sweet. But this spirited group of Southern women, who have been holding biannual reunions ever since they were together in college, are nothing short of compelling. There’s Julia Stovall, the First Lady of Alabama, who, despite her public veneer, is a down-to-earth gal who only wants to know who her husband is sneaking out with late at night. There’s Lanier Sanders, whose husband won custody of their children after he found out about her fling with a colleague. Then there’s Astor Deveaux, a former Broadway showgirl who simply can’t keep her flirtations in check. And Corinne Cooper, whose incredible story comes to light as the novel unfolds.”

Benjamin Franklin’s Bastard by Sally Gunning
August 25, 2021

SUMMARY: “William Franklin, the son of Benjamin and his favorite mistress, Anne, is raised by Deborah, Benjamin’s wife. A steadfast loyalist, he and his father cannot reconcile their wildly disparate views, causing a rift in the bond both thought unbreakable. Fascinating and heartbreaking, Benjamin Franklin’s Bastard is a gripping tale of family, love, and war, set against one of America’s most fascinating periods of history.”

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep
September 29, 2021

SUMMARY: “Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell’s murderer was acquitted–thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend. Sitting in the audience during the vigilante’s trial was Harper Lee, who had traveled from New York City to her native Alabama with the idea of writing her own ‘In Cold Blood,’ the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research seventeen years earlier. Lee spent a year in town reporting, and many more years working on her own version of the case. ”

Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian
October 27, 2021

SUMMARY: “On a balmy July night in New Hampshire a shot rings out in a garden, and a man falls to the ground, terribly wounded. The wounded man is Spencer McCullough, the shot that hit him was fired (accidentally?) by his adolescent daughter Charlotte. It’s a family saga that is timely in its examination of some of the most important issues of our era, and timeless in its exploration of the strange and unexpected places where we find love.”

The Reluctant Midwife by Patricia Harman
November 24, 2021

SUMMARY: “The Great Depression has hit West Virginia hard; men are out of work and women struggle to feed hungry children. Luckily, nurse Becky Myers has returned to care for them. While she can handle most situations, Becky is still uneasy helping women deliver their babies. For these mothers-to-be, she relies on an experienced midwife, her dear friend Patience Murphy. Though she is happy to be back in Hope River, time and experience have tempered Becky’s cheerfulness. Tragedy has destroyed the vibrant spirit of her former employer, Dr. Isaac Blum, who has accompanied her. Patience has changed as well. Married and expecting a baby herself, she is relying on Becky to keep the mothers of Hope River safe. But becoming a midwife and ushering precious new life into the world is not Becky’s only challenge.”

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
December 29, 2021

SUMMARY: “The inspiring story of a son and his dying mother, who form a “book club” that brings them together as her life comes to a close.”

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