Sometimes it’s not enough to read the book, you want to discuss it with others. The Library’s Bound to Please book discussions are a great place to connect to other book lovers in the community. Chosen books include memoirs, contemporary and classic fiction and are available for check out at the Library’s Customer Service Desk. Discussions are held the last Tuesday of the month, in the Ray Bradbury Room, from 2 – 3:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Discussions moderated by Lourdes Mordini.
The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers by Harry Bernstein
Tuesday, March 26 at 2 p.m.
The narrow street where Harry Bernstein grew up, in a small English mill town, was seemingly unremarkable. It was identical to countless other streets in countless other working-class neighborhoods of the early 1900s, except for the “invisible wall” that ran down its center, dividing Jewish families on one side from Christian families on the other. Only a few feet of cobblestones separated Jews from Gentiles, but socially, it they were miles apart. (From LitLovers.com) 2007, 352 pp
1421: The Year China Discovered America by Gavin Menzies
Tuesday, April 30 at 2 p.m.
Argues that the Chinese discovered America and established colonies there before Columbus and that European explorers such as Magellan and Cook “discovered” new lands using pre-existing Chinese maps. On March 8, 1421, the largest fleet the world had ever seen sailed from its base in China. The ships, huge junks nearly five hundred feet long and built from the finest teak, were under the command of Emperor Zhu Di’s loyal eunuch admirals. Their mission was “to proceed all the way to the end of the earth to collect tribute from the barbarians beyond the seas” and unite the whole world in Confucian harmony. Their journey would last more than two years and circle the globe. (From LitLovers.com) 2003, 552 pp
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
Tuesday, May 28 at 2 p.m.
Set in New York City in 1938, Rules of Civility tells the story of a watershed year in the life of an uncompromising twenty-five-year- old named Katey Kontent. Armed with little more than a formidable intellect, a bracing wit, and her own brand of cool nerve, Katey embarks on a journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool through the upper echelons of New York society in search of a brighter future. (From LitLovers.com) 2011, 352 pp.
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
Tuesday, June 25 at 2 p.m.
One Sunday in the summer of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to reveal the details of what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. In one day, Joe’s life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared. (From LitLovers.com) 2012, 336 pp.
A Widow for One Year: A Novel by John Irving
Tuesday, July 30 at 2 p.m.
Ruth Cole is a complex, often self-contradictory character—a “difficult” woman. By no means is she conventionally “nice,” but she will never be forgotten. Ruth’s story is told in three parts, each focusing on a crucial time in her life. When we first meet her—on Long Island, in the summer of 1958—Ruth is only four. The second window into Ruth’s life opens in the fall of 1990, when Ruth is an unmarried woman whose personal life is not nearly as successful as her literary career. She distrusts her judgment in men, for good reason. A Widow for One Year closes in the autumn of 1995, when Ruth Cole is a forty-one-year-old widow and mother. She’s about to fall in love for the first time. Richly comic, as well as deeply disturbing A Widow for One Year is a multilayered love story of astonishing emotional force. (From book flap) 1998, 537 pp.
The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee
Tuesday, August 27 at 2 p.m.
Demure and unsophisticated, Claire Pendleton is the quintessential English rose when she first arrives in Hong Kong. The year is 1952 and, as the wife of an English engineer overseeing the construction of a new reservoir, Claire seems destined to lead an insulated life, socializing with the other expatriate wives. But when she takes a position giving piano lessons to Locket Chen, the daughter of a wealthy and powerful local family, she enters a world of deceit, passion, and dark secrets that will deeply shock Hong Kong society and change Claire forever. (From LitLovers.com) 2009, 336 pp.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Tuesday, September 24 at 2 p.m.
We are in the center of Paris, in an elegant apartment building inhabited by bourgeois families. Renée, the concierge, is witness to the lavish but vacuous lives of her numerous employers. Outwardly she conforms to every stereotype of the concierge: fat, cantankerous, addicted to television. Yet, unbeknownst to her employers, Renée is a cultured autodidact who adores art, philosophy, music, and Japanese culture. With humor and intelligence she scrutinizes the lives of the building’s tenants, who for their part are barely aware of her existence. (From LitLovers.com) 2007, 336 pp.
The Emperor of all Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Tuesday, October 29 at 2 p.m.
The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence. Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with—and perished from—for more than five thousand years. (From LitLovers.com) 2010, 571 pp.
New England White by Stephen L. Carter
Tuesday, November 26 at 2 p.m.
Lemaster Carlyle, the president of the country’s most prestigious university, and his wife, Julie, the divinity school’s deputy dean, are America’s most prominent and powerful African American couple. Driving home through a swirling blizzard late one night, the couple skids off the road. Near the sight of their accident they discover a dead body. (From LitLovers.com) 2007, 640 pp.
The Room by Emma Donoghue
Tuesday, December 31 at 2 p.m.
To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. (From LitLovers.com) 2010, 321 pp.