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Adult Contemporary Book Discussion 2017

After the horror of World War I, Tom Sherbourne welcomes his new job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, an isolated island with no residents aside from him and his wife Isabel. But times on the island are tough for Isabel as she suffers multiple miscarriages and a stillbirth in just four years time. When a boat with a dead man and a young baby washes ashore, Isabel convinces Tom to let her keep the baby as their own, but the consequences to her actions may be dire. Monday, January 16, 2017

In China, there is a belief that people who are destined to be together are connected by an invisible red thread. Who is at the end of your red thread? After losing her infant daughter in a freak accident, Maya Lange opens The Red Thread, an adoption agency that specializes in placing baby girls from China with American families. Maya finds some comfort in her work, until a group of six couples share their personal stories of their desire for a child. Their painful and courageous journey toward adoption forces her to confront the lost daughter of her past. Monday, February 20, 2017

The girl on the train by Paula Hawkins

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning, flashing past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stopping at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. Their life, as she sees it, is perfect... until she sees something shocking. It's only a minute until the train moves on, but now everything is changed. Rachel goes to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Monday, March 20, 2017

When breath becomes air by Paul Kalanithi

A profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living? At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade's worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi's transformation from a naïve medical student into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality. Monday, April 17, 2017

Growing up on idyllic St. Thomas in the early 1800s, Rachel dreams of life in Paris. Rachel’s mother, a pillar of their small refugee community of Jews, has never forgiven her daughter for refusing to live by the rules. Rachel’s salvation is their maid, Adelle’s belief in her strengths, and her long friendship with Jestine, Adelle’s daughter. But Rachel’s life is not her own. She is married off to a widower with three children to save her father’s business. When her older husband dies and his handsome, young nephew, Frédérick, arrives from France to settle the estate, Rachel begins a passionate love affair that sparks a scandal that affects all of her family, including her favorite son, who will become one of the greatest artists of France. Monday, May 15, 2017

When Elizabeth Endicott arrives in Aleppo, Syria, she has a diploma from Mount Holyoke, a crash course in nursing, and only the most basic grasp of the Armenian language. It’s 1915, and Elizabeth has volunteered to help deliver food and medical aid to refugees of the Armenian Genocide during the First World War. There she meets Armen, a young Armenian engineer who has already lost his wife and infant daughter. After leaving Aleppo and traveling into Egypt to join the British Army, he begins to write Elizabeth letters, realizing that he has fallen in love with the wealthy young American. Years later, their American granddaughter, Laura, embarks on a journey back through her family’s history, uncovering a wrenching secret that has been buried for generations. Monday, June 19, 2017

Ava's twenty-five-year marriage has fallen apart, and her two grown children are pursuing their own lives outside of the country. Ava joins a book group, not only for her love of reading but also out of sheer desperation for companionship. The group's goal throughout the year is for each member to present the book that matters most to them. Ava rediscovers a mysterious book from her childhood. Alternating with Ava's story is that of her troubled daughter Maggie, who, living in Paris, descends into a destructive relationship with an older man. Ava's mission to find that book and its enigmatic author takes her on a quest that unravels the secrets of her past and offers her and Maggie the chance to remake their lives. Monday, July 17, 2017

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of poor, white Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for over forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. In Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hanging around your neck. Monday, August 21, 2017

A woman and her husband admitted to a hospital to have a baby requests that their nurse be reassigned - they are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is black, to touch their baby. The hospital complies, but the baby later goes into cardiac distress when Ruth is on duty. She hesitates before rushing in to perform CPR. When her indecision ends in tragedy, Ruth finds herself on trial, represented by a white public defender who warns against bringing race into a courtroom. As the two come to develop a truer understanding of each other's lives, they begin to doubt the beliefs they each hold most dear. Monday, September 18, 2017

A travel magazine journalist, Lo Blacklock, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime : a week on a small, luxury cruise ship. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and guests are jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, nothing is amiss: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. But all passengers remain accounted for, or are they? Monday, October 16, 2017

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. Monday, November 20, 2017

Germany is on its heels in Europe, but war rages on in the Pacific. American soldiers face an opponent who will never surrender. Killing the Rising Sun takes readers to the bloody tropical-island battlefields of Peleliu and Iwo Jima and to the embattled Philippines, where General Douglas MacArthur has made a triumphant return and is plotting a full-scale invasion of Japan. Across the globe in Los Alamos, New Mexico, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer and his team of scientists are preparing to test the deadliest weapon known to mankind. In Washington, DC, FDR dies  and Harry Truman ascends to the presidency, only to face the most important decision in history: to use the bomb and forever change the world. Monday, December 18, 2017

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