Book Discussion Group
The Book Discussion Group meets the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m.
November - any biography or autobiography
December - history or historical fiction
January -  Read a “hot” book while it’s cold outside
February - sharing format
March - Origin by Dan Brown
April - sharing format
May - The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
June - sharing format 

Book Club Recommendations

October 2017


Macbeth: A Novel by A. J. Hartley and David Hewson – This violent, sad novel seeks to fill in the story of Macbeth. The character of Lady Macbeth is particularly well-developed. The book is a great illustration as to why computer effects on a screen can never compete with the words of an author.      A related read: Haunt Me Still by Jennifer Lee Carrell


Short stories of Edgar Allan Poe – This is a great time of year to explore Poe, the father of the horror story


Reader, I Married Him by Tracy Chevalier – Chavalier asked a group of writers to write a story around the title phrase, which is the last line in the novel Jane Eyre. The resulting set of short stories explores the points of view and background stories of various characters. Through these different perspectives, the reader is drawn back into Jane Eyre.


Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – As the novel begins, Mrs. Richardson stands outside of her burning home in Shaker Heights. Her tenants, Mia, a photographer and her daughter, are driving out of town.   Mia has shaken the “perfect” Richardson family as she serves as their part-time housekeeper. The Richardsons’ friends have adopted an abandoned Chinese baby whose mother regrets her decision. Who should be raising this child? The reader was struck by the imaginative descriptions of Mia’s artwork.

September 2017


Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann – NF Members of the Osage tribe become the richest people in America after oil is discovered on their reservation.   They start to die under mysterious circumstances.   A hard book to put down.


The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve – Woman in a dead end marriage discovers her own strength after surviving historic Maine wildfire of the 40s.


Russia in Revolution by S. A. Smith – NF – 2017 marks the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. Smith concludes that the revolution was a failure. He discusses how Russian society was rebuilt after the devastation.


Clouds of Glory by Michael Corda – NF – biography of Robert E. Lee. Lee’s difficult decision to leave the Union to fight for Virginia is highlighted.   Life after the war saw him with an ill wife and property-less.


Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton – fictional account of the fossil wars in Montana. Published posthumously


Settle for More by Megyn Kelly – Memoir of Kelly’s career in which she shifted to media from the law after deciding that all she was doing was fighting over money. She relied on her seventh grade experience of being the girl “on the outs” to survive her experience with Donald Trump at the presidential debate.

August 2017 Group Recommendations

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger – The reader is rereading and annotating the book with his thoughts to leave to his grandchildren


Brilliant Beacons: A History of American Lighthouses by Eric Jay Dolin – NF – fascinating story laced with feats of engineering and courage


How to Read Water: Clues and Patterns from Puddles to the Sea by Tristan Gooley – NF - a little natural history, a little physics… teaches the reader how to interpret the signs in the water


Nutshell by Ian McEwan – a reinterpretation of Hamlet told from a fetus’s point of view


The Boilerplate Rhino: Nature in the Eye of the Beholder by David Quammen – a collection of essays from Quammen’s popular column in Outside magazine


Total War Rome: Destroy Carthage by David Gibbons - historical fiction based on the final battle in Macedonia at Carthage


When Breathe Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – neurosurgeon’s memoir of his two year struggle with brain cancer. Beautifully written.


Remember Me Like This by Bret Anthony Johnston – An abducted teen is returned to his family in Corpus Christi.   His family has coped with his absence and now surrounds him with love. Can they keep him safe?


Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America by Jill Leovy – NF - Leovy spent a year embedded at the 77th Street Division of the LAPD.   She explores the causes of murder in the Division through her focus on the shooting of a police officer’s son.

July 2017 Group Recommendations


The Hello Girls by Elizabeth Cobbs – NF – story of the Army Signal Corps women who manned the telephone switchboards during WWI.   Their service is entertwined with the suffrage movement. Also explores the impact of telephone technology on war communications.


Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance – NF – memoir of growing up in poverty in the extended Appalachian community and the people and factors who helped the author make it into the middle class


Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen – NF – a reflective memoir seven years in the making. Parts of it sound like song lyrics; all of it is heartfelt.   A great read to pair with Hillbilly Elegy as Springsteen also credits those who helped him to make it.


Monitor: The Story of the Legendary Civil War Ironclad and the Man Whose Invention Changed the Course of History by James Tertius DeKay – NF – Both this and the next book are particulary recommended for those who have an interest in The Alligator


Ironclad Down: CSS Virginia from Construction to Destruction by Carl D. Park – The Virginia was burned and sunk by the Union, but became the Merrimac.


The Girls by Emma Cline – a fictional account of a Manson-like cult in California in the late 60s told from the point of view of a young girl who gets involved on the fringes. Lots of period detail.


Echoes of Sherlock Holmes by Laurie R. King – 17 short stories inspired by Holmes


Stay Tuned: Television’s Unforgettable Moments by Joe Garner – NF – includes DVD and CDs. Interviews and broadcasts from 1952-2001 divided into categories such as entertainment, news and sports. Selections range from I Love Lucy to MASH to O. J. Simpson chase.


So We Read On by Maureen Corrigan – NF - In depth exploration of The Great Gatsby and its place in literature


Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War for Independence by John Ferling – NF - Our reader sums it up in four words – sacrifice, suffering, slaughter and sorrow on both sides


The World Economy Since the Wars by John Kenneth Galbraith – NF – A clearly written summary of economic policy and its impact from the 1930s to the 90s.


Half Moon by Douglas Hunter – NF – Details the exploration of NY Harbor and the lower Hudson by Henry Hudson who sailed behalf of a Dutch syndicate.   The author is a sailor and brings his experience to bear on the telling of this story.

June 2017 Group Recommendations


In honor of the opening of the Museum of the American Revolution, the theme was the American Revolution


Of Arms and Artists by Paul Staiti - NF - Author explores how five painters helped to forge a new united nation through their portraits of the founding fathers and iconic historical images. George Washington was quite savvy in structuring his image.   A fascinating read.


The American Revolution by Gordon Wood – NF – a quick read that provides an overview of the events and politics of the time. A great starting point for learning more about the American Revolution.


Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention by Catherine Drinker Bowen – NF – Details the work of Madison and the crafting of the Constitution in Philadelphia. The delegates worked secretly in a closed room.


What They Didn’t Teach You About the American Revolution by Mike Wright -NF – an easy, fun read filled with interesting facts. One example is the theory that George Washington had XXY Syndrome which would explain his hot temper and erratic behavior. Includes information about the founding mothers. Well-researched.


Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore - NF - Jane is Ben’s sister. Her Book of Ages” is her list of the births and deaths of the members of her family. Jane is able to read and write and carries on a correspondence with her beloved brother throughout her life.   This engrossing read is the story of day to day life in a colonial household.  


Burr: A Novel by Gore Vidal - Aaron Burr tells his side of his feud with Alexander Hamilton.

Turbo Twenty-three by Janet Evonovich – bounty hunter gets involved in investigating murders in Trenton resulting from a rivalry between two ice cream companies. Clown theme.


May 2017 Group Recommendations


Lincoln in the Bardo by George Sauders - In the transition from death to the better place, unresolved issues make you stay stuck in the middle. Lincoln went to Willie’s grave, exhumed and held him. The story of the night Willie died and those of the ghosts who are in the bardo with him are told in an unusual format.


Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout – Strout expresses tremendous insight into people and expresses it in beautiful writing. She explores the lives of ordinary people in this collection of interrelated pieces.


Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in the Age of Extinction by Mary Ellen Hannibal – NF - details the contributions of nonprofessional scientists who have made contributions to the natural world from Darwin and Linaeus to today’s volunteers using the latest technology


Beatleness by Candy Leonard – NF - Our reader said that reading this book was like growing up with that soundtrack again. The author points out that the Beatles arrived when the nation was still grieving from the loss of JFK. They made people feel better and were a hit with the press. In 1970, the Beatles era came to an end and it was time to grow up.


Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee by Michael Korda – NF – a well-told biolgraphy of Lee


So We Read On by Maureen Corrigan – NF – Corrigan writes of the enduring quality and lessons of The Great Gatsby


Half Moon: Henry Hudson and the Voyage of the Map by Douglas Hunter – NF - Account of Hudson’s exploration of New York


Beartown by Fredrik Backman - Beartown is a hockey town on the edge of a forest. Its hopes for a new school, shopping center, and development hang on the impending championship of its A team.   After the semifinal, an incident occurs which makes everyone in town think about what it means to be a team member – to be an insider, to put the team first, to be a hometown hero.


The Generals: Patton, MacArthur, Marshall, and the Winning of World War II by Winston Groom – NF – remarkable story of how the generals led the allies to victory.

March 2017 Group Recommendation:

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. Winner of the Man Booker Prize; being made into a movie. A divorced man gets a letter that he has been left a diary. His memory of the events in the diary is so different from how he remembers them. Beautifully written

Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in the Age of Extinction by Mary Ellen Hannibal (NonFiction). The role that citizens have played in scientific inquiry from volunteers who do animal surveys to Darwin. The author also deals with the terminal illness of a parent.

The Genius of Birds by Ackerman (Non-Fiction). Ackerman dispels the concept of “birdbrain” as a put-down as she explores the now better understood extraordinary abilities of birds as navigators, communicators, and tool users.

Justice Hall by Laurie E. King. Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series (15 novels total). This book is recommended for lovers of Downton Abbey.

My Father and Atticus Finch: A Lawyer’s Fight for Justice in 1930s Alabama by Joseph Madison Beck. Memoir by the son of a lawyer who defended a black man accused of raping a white woman. This may have been the case that inspired Harper Lee to write To Kill a Mockingbird.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry. Thomas, an Irish immigrant fights in the Indian and Civil Wars. He develops an intimate relationship with Handsome John Cole that lasts a lifetime. Gorgeous writing that contrasts the carnage of war with the delicate strength of love.

Not That Kind of Book Club

Do you love to read?  Do you like to talk about books, but are too busy to read for a deadline?  Do you want to hear about books that other readers have enjoyed?

Join us for a nontraditional take on books clubs – read whatever you want and attend whenever you can.  Share a recent read or an old favorite.