Book Group Books

“Touched by the Arts”: Biographies and memoirs about painters, actors, dancers, & musicians

cover of The Private Lives of the Impressionists
cover of Hamlet’s Dresser
cover of Mao’s Last Dancer
cover of The Soloist
The Private Lives of the Impressionists - Sue Roe
How do artists influence and support each other?
Hamlet’s Dresser - Bob Smith
Could Shakespeare save your life?
Mao’s Last Dancer - Cunxin Li
Ballet is the ticket out of dire poverty in Communist China.
The Soloist - Steve Lopez
Music and friendship vs. homelessness and mental illness.

Families in the Melting Pot: Novels of Immigration & Assimilation

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cover of Away
cover of The House on Mango Street
cover of  The Buddha in the Attic
Crescent - Diana-Abu Jaber
Sirine, a half-Iraqi chef in California falls in love with a Middle Eastern studies professor and through stories, food, and relationships discovers her roots and her destiny.
Away - Amy Bloom
Lilian Leyb’s quest for a better life takes her from Russia to New York to Alaska in this historical novel.
The House on Mango Street - Sandra Cisneros
Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina comes of age in Chicago, as did the author, who was born in 1954.
The Buddha in the Attic - Julie Otsuka
The story of the lives of “picture brides” brought to San Francisco from Japan in the 1920s until World War II upends their world is told in lyrical succinct writing.

Wanderlust: Let’s Go!

cover of Maphead: charting the wide, weird world of geography wonks
cover of Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education Of Two Society Girls In The West
cover of Turn Right At Machu Picchu: Rediscovering The Lost City One Step At A Time
cover of Sideways on a Scooter: life and love in India
Maphead: charting the wide, weird world of geography wonks - Ken Jennings
What is so fascinating about geography?
Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education Of Two Society Girls In The West - Dorothy Wickenden
In 1916 the author’s grandmother and her friend travel across the United States to teach school in the new settlements of Colorado.
Turn Right At Machu Picchu: Rediscovering The Lost City One Step At A Time - Mark Adams
A humorous account of an armchair traveler’s experiences in Peru, and a recounting of the wondrous discovery first made in 1911 by Hiram Bingham III.
Sideways on a Scooter: life and love in India - Miranda Kennedy
A twenty-something leaves her American life for Delhi and learns about a developing country and herself.

Tales for a Winter’s Night

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cover of The Distant Hours
cover of One Amazing Thing
cover of My name is Mary Sutter
The Ha-Ha - Dave King
A vet injured Viet Nam is mute and misunderstood by his hometown until he is transformed by a relationship with a 9-year-old boy.
The Distant Hours - Kate Morton
A lost letter, a crumbling English castle, family mystery and a tragic love story—Gothic fiction for the 21st century
One Amazing Thing - Chitra Divakaruni
Nine people trapped in a building after an earthquake make a pilgrimage without moving as they reflect on their lives—and are saved by the power of story.
My name is Mary Sutter - Robin Olivera
A 20-year-old midwife who wants to be a surgeon gets a lifetime’s experiences tending the wounded in Washington, D. C. during the Civil War.

Out of this world: Science Fiction for the rest of us

cover of Pastwatch: the redemption of Christopher Columbus
cover of  The Left Hand of Darkness
cover of The Year of the Flood
covefr of Darwin's Radio
Pastwatch: the redemption of Christopher Columbus - Orson Scott Card
Alternate history/time travel
The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula LeGuin
Classic alien worlds with contemporary implications (1970 Hugo & Nebula Best Novel)
The Year of the Flood - Margaret Atwood
Speculative fiction
Darwin's Radio - Greg Bear
Hard-science science fiction

Making a Difference

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cover of Uncommon Carriers
The Town that Food Saved - Ben Hewitt
What does a nearby Vermont community show us about food and sustainability?
Uncommon Carriers - John McPhee
How do the ways our "stuff" gets to us affect us as a nation?
Strength in What Remains From Burundi to the U.S. and back again - Tracy Kidder
Can barriers be toppled in our new small world or are some problems insurmountable?
Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet - Bill McKibben
Can we understand the planet's plight and still maintain our hope?

Novel Destinations: Individuals in Community

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A Short History of Women - Kate Walbert
Five generations of women, from the early 1900s to 2007 wrestle with the question: What do women want?
The Plague of Doves-- - Louise Erdrich
A 1911 murder in a small midwestern town near an Ojibwe reservation affects the lives of descendants who unravel the mystery.
Let the Great World Spin - Colum McCann
How can the sight of Philippe Petit’s wire-dancing connect a random ten people on a New York City street in 1974?
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand - Helen Simonson
An unlikely love story rattles two families and unsettles the most settled of English villages.

The Outsider’s View:Biographies and Memoirs

cover of The Color of Water: A black man’s tribute to his white mother
cover of Persepolis: The story of a childhood
cover of Zeitoun
cover of Welfare Brat
The Color of Water: A black man’s tribute to his white mother - James McBride
Strength and resilience in an unusual family.
Persepolis: The story of a childhood - Marjane Satrapi
Growing up in Iran and elsewhere
Zeitoun - Dave Eggers
A Syrian-American survives Katrina, but its aftermath?
Welfare Brat - Mary Childers
What determines who succeeds?

Mysteries of Emily Dickinson: Big Read

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cover of Emily Dickinson is Dead
cover of An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England--
cover of The Poet and the Murderer
Afternoons with Emily - Rose MacMurray
Historical fiction starring the poet
Emily Dickinson is Dead - Jane Langton
Death stalks the Dickinson scholars
An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England-- - Brock Clarke
Who’s torching authors’ homes?
The Poet and the Murderer - Simon Worrall
A 20th century con man forges a “new” poem

Travelers’ Tales

cover of Down the Nile: Alone in a fisherman’s skiff
cover of The  Places in Between
cover of Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World—
cover of My nvented Country: A nostalgic journey through Chile
Down the Nile: Alone in a fisherman’s skiff - Rosemary Mahoney
Solo in Egypt
The Places in Between - Rory Stewart
Walking across Afghanistan
Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World - Rita Golden Gelman
Really participating, not just visiting
My Invented Country: A nostalgic journey through Chile - Isabel Allende
A wide-ranging memoir