Adult Book Club Past Selections

2021 Selections:

Evicted by Matthew Desmond

Tuesday, January 19th at noon &
Thursday, January 21st at 6:30 PM

A sociologist follows eight families in Milwaukee as they struggle to keep a roof over their heads, transforming our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving one of 21st-century America's most devastating problems.

Circe by Madeline Miller

Tuesday, February 16th at noon &
Thursday, February 18th at 6:30 PM

Follows the banished witch daughter of Titans as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings before a conflict with one of the most vengeful Olympians forces her to choose between the worlds of the gods and mortals.

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Tuesday, March 16th at noon &
Thursday, March 18th at 6:30 PM

Researcher and thought leader Dr. Brené Brown offers a powerful new vision that encourages us to dare greatly: to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and to courageously engage in our lives.

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

Thursday, April 15th at 6:30 PM &
Tuesday, April 20th at noon

An exquisitely moving portrait of an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family’s efforts to care for him even as they must find a way to let go.

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Tuesday, May 18th at noon &
Thursday, May 20th at 6:30 PM

Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. A richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go.

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

Tuesday, June 15th at noon &
Thursday, June 17th at 6:30 PM

As the countdown to the New Year begins, soon-to-be-19 Oona Lockhart faints and awakens 32 years in the future in her 51-year-old body; and, greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she’s told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random.

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Thursday, July 15th at 6:30 PM &
Tuesday, July 20th at noon

A chance encounter with a handsome banker in a jazz bar on New Year's Eve 1938 catapults Wall Street secretary Katey Kontent into the upper echelons of New York society, where she befriends a shy multi-millionaire, an Upper East Side ne'er-do-well, and a single-minded widow.

The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

Tuesday, August 17th at noon &
Thursday, August 19th at 6:30 PM

After the tragic death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the home of her deceased great-grandfather, but the strange house proves to be dangerous. Before long, a sinister creature lures the kids' mom through a door in the basement. Em and Navin, desperate not to lose her, follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals....

Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Thursday, September 16th at 6:30 PM &
Tuesday, September 21st at noon

A reunion with two childhood friends--Ruth and Tommy--draws Kath and her companions on a nostalgic odyssey into the supposedly idyllic years of their lives at Hailsham, an isolated private school in the serene English countryside, and a dramatic confrontation with the truth about their childhoods and about their lives in the present.

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Tuesday, October 19th at noon &
Thursday, October 21st at 6:30 PM

An agoraphobic recluse languishes in her New York City home, drinking wine and spying on her neighbors, before witnessing a terrible crime through her window that exposes her secrets and raises questions about her perceptions of reality.

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Tuesday, November 16th at noon &
Thursday, November 18th at 6:30 PM

Ralph Truitt, a wealthy businessman with a troubled past who lives in a remote nineteenth-century Wisconsin town, has advertised for a reliable wife; and his ad is answered by Catherine Land, a woman who makes every effort to hide her own dark secrets.

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

Tuesday, December 14th at noon (note: one week early) &
Thursday, December 16th at 6:30 PM

Finding unexpected support from a new friend while collecting stories from her rapidly vanishing Brooklyn community, Sydney uncovers sinister truths about a regional gentrification project and why her neighbors are moving away.

2020 Selections:

My Sister the Serial Killer

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

January 16 and 20

When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede’s long been in love with him, and isn’t prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other…

I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

February 17 and 20

Poppy is about to marry her ideal man but her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart when, in one afternoon, she loses her engagement ring and her phone is stolen. When she spots an abandoned phone in a trash can, a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events ensues as Poppy and the phone’s owner, Sam, increasingly upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

March--Facebook discussion

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding unnecessary human contact, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen, the three rescue one another from the lives of isolation that they had been living. Ultimately, it is Raymond’s big heart that will help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one. If she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.

Smart, warm, uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .the only way to survive is to open your heart.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Thursday, October 15th at 6:30 PM &
Tuesday, October 20th at noon

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Tuesday, November 17th at noon &
Thursday, November 19th at 6:30 PM

Humbert Humbert - scholar, aesthete and romantic - has fallen completely and utterly in love with Lolita Haze, his landlady's gum-snapping, silky skinned twelve-year-old daughter. Reluctantly agreeing to marry Mrs Haze just to be close to Lolita, Humbert suffers greatly in the pursuit of romance; but when Lo herself starts looking for attention elsewhere, he will carry her off on a desperate cross-country misadventure, all in the name of Love. Hilarious, flamboyant, heart-breaking and full of ingenious word play, Lolita is an immaculate, unforgettable masterpiece of obsession, delusion and lust.

Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber

Tuesday, December 15th at noon &
Thursday, December 17th at 6:30 PM

Friendly and bubbly, Julia Padden likes nearly everyone, but her standoffish neighbor, Cain Maddox, presents a particular challenge. No matter how hard she’s tried to be nice, Cain rudely rebuffs her at every turn, preferring to keep to himself. But when Julia catches Cain stealing her newspaper from the lobby of their apartment building, that’s the last straw. She’s going to break through Cain’s Scrooge-like exterior the only way she knows how: by killing him with kindness.

2019 Selections:

Beartown Book Cover

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

January 14 and 17

Winning a junior ice hockey championship means everything to the residents of Beartown, a community slowly being eaten alive by unemployment and the surrounding wilderness. A victory could attract government funding and an influx of talented athletes who would choose Beartown over the big cities. But one night at a party following a key win, something happens between the star player and the general manager's daughter—and the next day everything seems to have changed. Accusations are made, and they ripple through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Underground Railroad Book Cover

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

February 18 and 21

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. Their first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city's placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

Calypso Book Cover

Calypso by David Sedaris

March 18 and 21

When he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, David Sedaris envisions long, relaxing vacations spent playing board games and lounging in the sun with those he loves most. And life at the Sea Section, as he names the vacation home, is exactly as idyllic as he imagined, except for one tiny, vexing realization: it's impossible to take a vacation from yourself.

Immortalists Book Cover

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

April 15 and 18

It's 1969 in New York City, and word has spread of the arrival of a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The four teenaged Gold children sneak out to hear their fortunes. Their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research and the quest for immortality. Their stories probe the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next.

Cover of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

May 13 and 16

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the days before, when she lived with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now.

Cover of Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

June 17 and 20

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Cover of Elevation by Stephen King

Elevation by Stephen King

July 15 and 18

Although Scott Carey doesn’t look any different, he’s been steadily losing weight. And that’s not the only thing going on in his life. Scott is engaged in a low grade battle with the lesbians next door whose dog regularly drops his business on Scott’s lawn. The couple is trying to launch a new restaurant, but the townspeople are suspicious of them and the place is in trouble. Unlikely alliances, the annual foot race, and the mystery of Scott’s affliction bring out the best in people who have indulged the worst in themselves and others.

Cover of The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

August 12 and 15

The Allbright family—Ernt, Cora, and their 13-year-old daughter Leni—are looking for a new start when they move to Alaska in 1974. And at first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources. But as winter approaches, the family begins to fracture. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own.

The Optimists Guide to Letting Go by Amy Reichert

September 16 and 19

Gina Zoberski wants to make it through one day without her fastidious mother, Lorraine, cataloguing all her faults, and her sullen teenage daughter snubbing her. Too bad there’s no chance of that. Her relentlessly sunny disposition annoys them both no matter how hard she tries. Instead, Gina finds order and comfort in obsessive list-making and her work. But when Lorraine suffers a sudden stroke, Gina stumbles upon a family secret Lorraine's kept hidden for forty years. In the face of her mother’s failing health and her daughter’s rebellion, this optimist might find that piecing together the truth is the push she needs to let go.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

October 14 and 17

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

November 18 and 21

On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, those who had been cleared out of the building realized it wasn’t a normal alarm. As one fireman recounted, “Once that first stack got going, it was ‘Goodbye, Charlie.’” The fire was disastrous: it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed 400,000 books and damaged 700,000 more. Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

December 16 and 19

It’s Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even eldest daughter Olivia will be joining them. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she’s been told she must stay in quarantine for a week…and so too should her family. For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity—and even decent Wi-Fi—and forced into each other’s orbits. In close proximity not much can stay hidden for long, and revelations and long-held tensions are bound to come to light.