Books Plus - Books We've Discussed

Sundays at 2 p.m. in Program Room 2B


Compiled by:
Paula G.

This list includes titles we've featured in past Books Plus group discussions. 


Compiled by:
Paula G.
Little Songs:  Exploring the Sonnet

April 7, 2013

Discussion Leader: Dory Lynch

For over five hundred years, poets have written enduring sonnets about love, friendship, death, and nature. In only fourteen lines, authors have shared their views of the world. From Shakespeare and Petrarch to modern poets such as Billy Collins, Rita Dove, and Carol Ann Duffy, the sonnet has continued to amaze and inspire. In honor of National Poetry Month please come explore the kind of poem that Dante Gabriel Rossetti called the "moment's monument." If you don't like the tight rhyming structure of the old sonnets, we will include some contemporary ones in modern language. Please bring a poem to share—a favorite of yours—either a sonnet or one in another format that you love.


Forgotten Garden

May 5, 2013


Kate Morton
Discussion Leader: Luann Dillon

From 1913 to today, from England to Australia and back again, generations of a family keep their secrets guarded and their gardens locked.


Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

June 2, 2013


Cheryl Strayed
Discussion Leader: Sarah Bowman

"Smart, funny, and often sublime, Wild has something for everyone - a fight for survival in the wilderness, a bad girl's quest for redemption - all in the hands of a brilliant and evocative writer." - Chelsea Cain


The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

July 7, 2013


Rachel Joyce
Discussion Leader: Dory Lynch

"A novel of deep beauty and wisdom about the human condition; Harold, a deeply sympathetic protagonist, has much to teach us. A great novel; essential reading for fans of literary fiction." - Library Journal


These is my Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901

August 4, 2013


Nancy Turner
Discussion Leader: Luann Dillon

Using her ancestress' memoirs, Turner paints a vivid picture of homesteading in the Arizona Territories and how Sarah had to learn to cope with hardship.


Sweet Tooth

September 8, 2013


Ian McEwan
Discussion Leader: Dory Lynch

"Serena Frome is a smart, attractive, Cambridge-educated young woman who is recruited by her older lover for the MI5 intelligence agency. Spydom is, of course, fraught with betrayal, and Serena is not immune to that common pitfall. McEwan readers can rest assured that, in common with its predecessors, this novel has a greatly compelling story line braced by the author’s formidable wisdom about—well, the world.." - BookList


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

October 6, 2013


Ransom Riggs
Discussion Leader: Luann Dillon

"Riggs's atmospheric first novel concerns 16-year-old Jacob, a tightly wound but otherwise ordinary teenager who is 'unusually susceptible to nightmares, night terrors, the Creeps, the Willies, and Seeing Things That Aren't Really There.' When Jacob's grandfather, Abe, a WWII veteran, is savagely murdered, Jacob has a nervous breakdown, in part because he believes that his grandfather was killed by a monster that only they could see. Nearly 50 unsettling vintage photographs appear throughout, forming the framework of this dark but empowering tale. It's an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters." - Publisher's Weekly


The Last Chinese Chef

November 3, 2013


Nicole Mones
Discussion Leader; Sarah Bowman

Join us to discuss Nicole Mones' most recent book, The Last Chinese Chef, before she comes to Bloomington to speak at the Buskirk Chumley theater as part of the Friends of the Library's free author event - Culture and the Power of Words on Saturday, November 16 at 7:00 p.m.


The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

February 2, 2014


Ayana Mathis
Discussion Leader: Sarah Bowman

"Stunning. . . . Mathis writes with blazing insight into the complexities of sexuality, marriage, family relationships, backbone, fraudulence, and racism in a molten novel of lives racked with suffering yet suffused with beauty."—Booklist


Gone Girl

March 2, 2014


Gillian Flynn
Discussion Leader: Luann Dillon

"Gillian Flynn's third novel is both breakneck-paced thriller and masterful dissection of marital breakdown...wickedly plotted and surprisingly thoughtful, this is a terrifically good read." - Boston Globe


Embrace the New:  21st Century Poetry

April 6, 2014

Discussion Leader: Dory Lynch

Discover what's new in the world of poetry. We'll look at current trends, how the Internet has popularized and changed poetry, and what forms are currently hot in American poetry. Also, we’ll share a list of new poets to discover and old favorites who are still composing excellent work. Bring a poem to share that you have recently discovered.


The Woman Upstairs

May 4, 2014


Claire Messud
Discussion Leader: Ryan Stacy

"Basically, Nora is furious with herself: for failing to commit to being an artist, for settling for life as a third-grade teacher in Cambridge, Mass., for lacking the guts even to be openly enraged[…] Messud persuasively plunges us into the tortured psyche of a conflicted soul whose defiant closing assertion inspires little confidence that Nora can actually change her ways. Brilliant and terrifying." - Kirkus


Life After Life

June 1, 2014


Kate Atkinson
Discussion Leader: Dory Lynch

"From her deeply human characters to her comical dialogue to her meticulous plotting, Atkinson is working at the very top of her game. An audacious, thought-provoking novel from one of our most talented writers."


A Place in Time

July 13, 2014


Wendell Berry
Discussion Leader: Luann Dillon

Meet the Port William, Kentucky membership. A Place in Time collects stories of the residents of the imaginary town of Port William, from 1864 to 1991. All the major families are represented, the Catletts, the Coulters and the Branches. If you are new to Port William, you will meet some unforgettable characters, if you are an old acquaintance, then renew your friendship through these stories.


Bleeding Edge

August 3, 2014


Thomas Pynchon
Discussion Leader: Ryan Stacy

Set in the spring before 9/11, Bleeding Edge follows Maxine Tarnow, an “unflappable, wise-cracking, Beretta-toting, and Jewish” fraud investigator and Manhattan mother, on a dizzying and sprawling case.


The Light Between Oceans

September 7, 2014


M. L. Stedman
Discussion Leader: Dory Lynch

"The miraculous arrival of a child in the life of a barren couple delivers profound love but also the seeds of destruction. Moral dilemmas don’t come more exquisite than the one around which Australian novelist Stedman constructs her debut." - Kirkus Reviews


Under the Volcano

October 5, 2014


Malcolm Lowry
Discussion Leader: Ryan Stacy

"Lowry wanted to produce not just a novel but a cosmos-surfing, cosmos-swallowing book of books.  Under the Volcano takes place in a demi-Joycean 12 hours, on the feast of the Day of the Dead in Mexico." -- Stephen Metcalf, The New York Times


Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society

November 2, 2014


Amy Hill Hearth
Discussion Leader: Luann Dillon

Naples, Florida in 1962 was mostly a backwater without a lot of connection to national events.  Into this small, conservative town comes Jackie Hart, budding feminist, dissatisfied housewife and former boston resident.  After gathering an eclectic group of town misfits for a book club, Jackie begins shaking up the town's old Southern ideas.
 
"...a rollicking, provocative tale about how reading and meeting others who are different can be the most subversive of acts." -- Ruth Pennebaker, author of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough


Claire of the Sea Light

February 1, 2015


Edwidge Danticat
Discussion Leader: Dory Lynch

“There is something fable like about these tales; the reader is made acutely aware of the patterns of loss and redemption, cruelty and vengeance that thread their way through these characters' lives, and the roles that luck and choice play in shaping their fate…Writing with lyrical economy and precision, Ms. Danticat recounts her characters' stories in crystalline prose that underscores the parallels in their lives.”  --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times


The Ladies of Covington Send Their Love

March 8, 2015


Joan Medlicott
Discussion Leader: Luann Dillon

Three female friends of a certain age, decide to risk it all and move from their comfortable but stifling gold age home in Pennsylvania to an inherited farm in North Carolina. Once they get past the decision of which of them is able to drive that far, nothing can stop them. We will borrow a bag of eight books from the Indiana Humanities Council Novel Conversations program. We will have these available at our Feb. Books Plus meeting. Any extra will be available later at the reference desk upon request.


Short Poems:  The World in a Few Lines

April 12, 2015

Discussion Leader: Dory Lynch

One of the wonders of poetry is that you can encapsulate the whole world in just a few lines. Because poetry started out as an oral traditions, short poems have been written for thousands of years. Help us celebrate National Poetry Month with a program on short forms. These include haiku, acrostics, limericks, cinquains, tanka and concrete poetry. Please bring a short poem or two to share.


The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

May 3, 2015


Gabrielle Zevin
Discussion Leader: Wendy Rubin

“Zevin has written a near-perfect novel. Punctuated by explicit references to classic short stories, implicit literary references, self-deprecating swipes at literary snobs…with humor and flawless characterization, it fills all the bills in straightforward, no-frills prose.”-- Donna Chavez


The Invention of Wings

June 7, 2015


Sue Monk Kidd
Discussion Leader: Dory Lynch

"This compelling work of historical fiction stands out from the rest because of its layers of imaginative detail of the lives of actual abolitionists… This richly imagined narrative brings both black history and women’s history to life.” —Library Journal, starred review


March

September 13, 2015


John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
Discussion Leader: Dory Lynch
Series: Book 1 and Book 2

On September 21 civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis (GA-5), co-writer Andrew Aydin, and local artist Nate Powell will discuss their groundbreaking graphic novel series, March, an engaging and award-winning first-hand account of Lewis’s lifelong struggle for civil and human rights. Join us for a book talk about these two graphic novels in advance of the Power of Words author talk.


Jane Eyre

October 4, 2015


Charlotte Bronte
Discussion Leader: Dory Lynch

“I love that Jane Eyre is an unconventional heroine. She is not beautiful, but instead is rather plain looking. She is an underdog who the reader roots for through the entire novel. I love that Jane Eyre overcomes her troubled, impoverished past. I love that Jane Eyre does the right thing for herself. She is the epitome of a strong woman.” --Zoë Triska


The Girl on the Train

November 1, 2015


Paula Hawkins
Discussion Leader: Dory Lynch

“It’s not just the twists and turns in this complex who-dunnit that keep the pages turning; it’s the slow realization that no one, and certainly no relationship, is as simple as it first appears. Written with consummate skill and understanding, the plot never flags.” –Sue Leonard


A Lesson Before Dying

February 7, 2016


Ernest Gaines
Discussion Leader: Dory Lynch

"In this restrained but eloquent narrative, the author of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman again addresses some of the major issues of race and identity in our time. The story of two African American men struggling to attain manhood in a prejudiced society, the tale is set in Bayonne, La.... May be Gaines' crowning achievement." -- Publishers Weekly

 


Deep Down Dark

March 6, 2016


Héctor Tobar
Discussion Leader: Dory Lynch

“Tobar plunges the reader into this world of uncertainty with visceral, present-tense prose and careful pacing . . . Whether the story is completely new to you, or if you were one of the millions glued to the news reports and wondering, will they make it—physically, emotionally, spiritually—you’ll be greatly rewarded to learn how they did.” —Mac McClelland, The New York Times Book Review


Bear, Foxes, Jackals, Crows: Poems about Animals

April 3, 2016

Discussion Leader: Dory Lynch

For centuries poets have been praising, blaming, and honoring the myriad creatures we share the planet with. Come share a favorite poem or two that you have discovered about our non-human friends.


Euphoria

May 1, 2016


Lily King
Discussion Leader: Mickey Needham

“Set between the First and Second World Wars, the story is loosely based on events in the life of Margaret Mead. There are fascinating looks into other cultures and how they are studied, and the sacrifices and dangers that go along with it. This is a powerful story, at once gritty, sensuous, and captivating.”—Booklist


The Lightkeepers

June 5, 2016


Abby Geni
Discussion Leader: Dory Lynch

“Abby Geni’s debut novel The Lightkeepers is as wild as the landscape it describes: a nature photographer embarks on a one-year residency in an isolated, dangerous archipelago of islands off the Californian coast, only to encounter violence and a set of companions she cannot trust. Mysterious, vivid, and original, The Lightkeepers will quickly ensnare readers in its cruelly beautiful world.”—Buzzfeed


The Flying Circus

July 10, 2016


Susan Crandall
Discussion Leader: Luann Dillon

"An exhilarating, memorable flight into the world of barnstorming in the 1920's, with all the twists and turns of an aerial acrobat. Compelling characters and a fascinating setting make this journey a sheer joyride. Satisfying and delightful!"—Lynn Cullen


H is for Hawk

August 7, 2016


Helen Macdonald
Discussion Leader: Luann Dillon

“If birds are made of air, as the nature writer Sy Montgomery says, then writing a great bird book is a little like dusting for the fingerprints of a ghost. It calls for poetry and science, conjuring and evidence. In her breathtaking new book, H Is for Hawk…Helen Macdonald renders an indelible impression of a raptor's fierce essence—and her own…”—Vicki Constantine Croke, New York Times Book Review


Our Souls at Night

September 11, 2016


Kent Haruf
Discussion Leader: Wendy Rubin

“Acclaimed novelist Haruf captures small-town life to perfection in his signature spare style.... Poignant and eloquent, this novel resonates beyond the pages. Don't miss this exceptional work from a literary voice now stilled.”—Donna Bettencourt, Library Journal


Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

October 2, 2016


Erik Larson
Discussion Leader: Dory Lynch

“A riveting account of one of the most tragic events of WWI.... Larson crafts the story as historical suspense by weaving information about the war and the development of submarine technology with an interesting cast of characters.... By the end, we care about the individual passengers we’ve come to know.”—Publishers Weekly


LaRose

November 6, 2016


Louise Erdrich
Discussion Leader: Mickey Needham

After accidentally shooting his friend and neighbor's young son, a man on a Native American reservation subscribes to "an old form of justice" by giving his own son, LaRose, to the parents of his victim.... [A] Meditative, profoundly humane story... this novel is...about the emotions men need, but rarely get, from one another.   --Kirkus Reviews 


December 4, 2016

Celebrate books and reading at our annual holiday tea.  Recommended book lists will be handed out, including our popular Staff Favorite Reads of the Year list.


Another Brooklyn

February 5, 2017


Jacqueline Woodson
Discussion Leader: Dory Lynch

“In her first adult novel in 20 years, acclaimed children’s and YA author Woodson (winner of the National Book Award for Brown Girl Dreaming)combines grit and beauty in a series of stunning vignettes, painting a vivid mural of what it was like to grow up African-American in Brooklyn during the 1970s.” --Publishers Weekly


A Man Called Ove

March 5, 2017


Fredrik Backman
Discussion Leader: Luann Dillon

“This charming debut novel by Backman should find a ready audience with English-language readers… hysterically funny… wry descriptions, excellent pacing… In the contest of Most Winning Combination, it would be hard to beat grumpy Ove and his hidden, generous heart.” – Kirkus Reviews