Contemporary Book Discussion Group
Someone by Alice McDermott. We first meet Marie, a bespectacled seven-year old who is standing on the steps of her Brooklyn townhouse waiting for her father. The story of Marie's life enfolds as we follow her through milestones of loss, love, marriage and motherhood.
The whip: a novel by Karen Kondazian — Based on the true story of a woman, Charlotte "Charley" Parkhurst (1812-1879) who lived most of her extraordinary life as a man in the old west. As a young woman in Rhode Island, she fell in love with a runaway slave and had his child. The destruction of her family drove her west to California, dressed as a man, to track the killer of her daughter.
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty. Cecilia Fitzpatrick lives to be perfect: a perfect marriage, three perfect daughters, and a perfectly organized life. Then she finds a letter from her husband, John-Paul, to be opened only in the event of his death. She opens it anyway, and everything she believed is thrown into doubt.
Home front by Kristin Hannah — After 12 years of marriage, Michael and Joleen appear to be unhappy with their marriage. They edge their way closer towards divorce when the Iraq war begins, sending one away into a dangerous war zone while leaving the other at home waiting for news.
We are water: a novel by Wally Lamb — An intricate and layered portrait of marriage and family in need of understanding and connection. Set in New England and New York during the first years of the Obama presidency, it is also a portrait of modern America, exploring issues of class, gay marriage, the legacy of racial violence, and the nature of creativity and art.
Unbroken: a World War II story of survival, resilience, and redemption by Laura Hillenbrand — On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Force bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared. The only survivor was the crew's bombardier, Lt. Louis Zamperini. His true story of endurance will take your breath away.
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini - From the bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. Hosseini explores the many way in which families interact at the times that matter the most.
Pope Joan: a novel by Donna Woolfolk Cross — One of the most controversial women of history is brought to brilliant life in this fictional tale of Pope Joan, a girl whose origins should have kept her in squalid domesticity. Instead, through her intelligence, indomitability and courage, she ascended to the throne of Rome as Pope John Anglicus.
The presidents club: inside the world's most exclusive fraternity by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy — Backroom deals, secret alliances, rivalries and rescue missions. Journalists and presidential historians Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy shine a light on the presidency by exploring the club as a hidden instrument of power that has changed the course of history.
The storyteller: a novel by Jodi Picoult — Sage Singer befriends Josef Weber, a beloved Little League coach and retired teacher. But then Josef asks Sage for a favor she never could have imagined-- to kill him. After Josef reveals the heinous act he committed, Sage feels he may deserve that fate. But would his death be murder or justice?
The storyteller: a novel by Jodi Picoult, January 20
The presidents club: inside the world's most exclusive fraternity by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, February 17
Pope Joan: a novel by Donna Woolfolk Cross, March 17
And the mountains echoed by Khaled Hosseini, April 21
Unbroken: a World War II story of survival, resilience, and redemption by Laura Hillenbrand, May 19
We are water: a novel by Wally Lamb, June 16
Home front by Kristin Hannah, July 21
A walk across the sun: a novel by Corban Addison — Teen-age sisters Ahalya and Sita are left orphaned after a tsunami destroys their coastal town. Destitute and alone, they plan to seek refuge in a convent miles away. A driver agrees to take them, but instead he sells the girls to human traffickers. On the other side of the world, Washington lawyer Thomas Clarke takes a sabbatical to escape his own heartache. He volunteers at an international anti-trafficking group in India where he meets Ahalya and Sita and makes it his personal mission to save them.
Caleb's crossing by Geraldine Brooks — Living in the isolated Puritan settlement of Great Harbor on Martha's Vineyard, Bethia Mayfield, the bright young daughter of the local minister, balances her strict religion with a passionate love of nature and a growing curiosity about the culture of the Wampanoag tribe that populates the island. When Bethia secretly strikes up a friendship with a young Wampanoag named Caleb, she unknowingly begins a journey that will shape her life.
From 7:00-7:45 PM Annie's ghosts: a journey into a family secret by Steve Luxenberg is the 2013-14 Great Michigan Read. It's part memoir, part detective story, and part history. As the author tries to understand his mom's reasons for hiding her sister's existence, he takes readers on a journey into his mother's world of the 1930s and '40s, where he explores how a poor, immigrant family manages life with a child who has special needs.
From 8:00-8:45 PM Her fearful symmetry: a novel by Audrey Niffenegger. Twin sisters learn their English aunt has left them her flat in London. The cemetery which borders the flat serves as an inspiring setting as the twins become entwined in the lives of their neighbors, both living and deceased.
Rin Tin Tin by Susan Orlean tells the powerful tale of Rin Tin Tin's journey from an orphaned pup to a Hollywood celebrity and international icon. It begins on a battlefield in France in World War I, when a young American soldier discovers a German Shepherd puppy among the ruins of a bombed out dog kennel. Not only did he see a survivor, but something very special that also captured the attention of Warner Brothers in Hollywood. The rest is Hollywood history, but if you want to know more, come join our group for an interesting discussion!
Please join the Adult Contemporary Book Discussion Group on Monday, July 15 at 7:00 PM in the Purple Room to discuss:
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn tells a masterful mystery of a deceptively perfect marriage that has gone terribly awry. On a warm summer morning and their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick discovers his wife, Amy is missing. What should have been a romantic occasion celebrating a happy life together, Nick becomes the prime suspect in her disappearance. But did Amy set him up and why?
Please join the Adult Contemporary Book Discussion Group on Monday, June 17 at 7:00 PM in the Purple Room to discuss:
Behind the beautiful forevers by Katherine Boo — Winner of the Pulitzer-Prize and National Book Award, The New Yorker writer Katherine Boo, tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century’s great, unequal cities of Mumbai, India.
Please join the Adult Contemporary Book Discussion Group on Monday, August 19 at 7:00 PM in the Purple Room to discuss:
The Buddha in the attic by Julie Otsuka tells the story of a group of young women brought from Japan to San Francisco as “picture brides” nearly a century ago. The book traces their extraordinary lives from the arduous journey across the Pacific Ocean to a country where they don't speak the language or understand the culture and to husbands they never met.
In the presence of my enemies by Gracia Burnham, with Dean Merrill — A gripping true story of American missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham’s year as hostages in the Philippine jungle, was a New York Times best seller and has sold nearly 350,000 copies. Now releasing in trade softcover for the first time, this updated edition has a new look and contains never-before-published information on the capture and trial of the Burnhams’ captors; Gracia’s secret return trip to the Philippines; and updates on recent events in Gracia’s life, ministry, and family.
The cat's table by Michael Ondaatje. The story follows 11-year-old Michael as he immerses himself in the hidden corners and relationships of a temporary floating world, overcoming its physical boundaries with the expanse of his imagination. The boy's companions at the so-called cat's table, where the ship’s unconnected strays dine together, become his friends and teachers, each leading him closer to the key that unlocks the Oronsay's mystery decades later.