Adult Book Club Past Selections

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.