Registration is required for each meeting. Please see the calendar below to sign up for our book club meetings.
Mystery Book Club
Mystery Book Club
With no registration required, new members are always welcome to the Mystery Book Club. Copies of this month’s book for are available at the Circulation Desk.
The library makes every effort to ensure our programs can be enjoyed by all. If you have any concerns about accessibility or need to request specific accommodations, please contact the library.
Nonfiction Book Club
Nonfiction Book Club
With no registration required, new members are always welcome to the Nonfiction Book Club. Copies of this month’s book are available at the Circulation Desk.
The library makes every effort to ensure our programs can be enjoyed by all. If you have any concerns about accessibility or need to request specific accommodations, please contact the library.
Tuesday Night Fiction Book Club
Tuesday Night Fiction Book Club
With no registration required, new members are always welcome to the Tuesday Night Fiction Book Club. Copies of this month’s book are available at the Circulation Desk.
The library makes every effort to ensure our programs can be enjoyed by all. If you have any concerns about accessibility or need to request specific accommodations, please contact the library.
Tuesday Fiction Book Club
Meets every fourth Tuesday of the month at 6:30pm in the Brown Room.
*Asterisks indicate that the meeting will take place on the third Tuesday of the month instead.
Tuesday Night Fiction Book Club: March 28, 2023
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • This sweeping novel from the author of A Long Petal of the Sea tells the epic story of Violeta Del Valle, a woman whose life spans one hundred years and bears witness to the greatest upheavals of the twentieth century.
“An immersive saga about a passion-filled life.”—People
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: PopSugar, Real Simple, Reader’s Digest
Violeta comes into the world on a stormy day in 1920, the first girl in a family with five boisterous sons. From the start, her life is marked by extraordinary events, for the ripples of the Great War are still being felt, even as the Spanish flu arrives on the shores of her South American homeland almost at the moment of her birth.
Through her father’s prescience, the family will come through that crisis unscathed, only to face a new one as the Great Depression transforms the genteel city life she has known. Her family loses everything and is forced to retreat to a wild and beautiful but remote part of the country. There, she will come of age, and her first suitor will come calling.
She tells her story in the form of a letter to someone she loves above all others, recounting times of devastating heartbreak and passionate affairs, poverty and wealth, terrible loss and immense joy. Her life is shaped by some of the most important events of history: the fight for women’s rights, the rise and fall of tyrants, and ultimately not one, but two pandemics.
Through the eyes of a woman whose unforgettable passion, determination, and sense of humor carry her through a lifetime of upheaval, Isabel Allende once more brings us an epic that is both fiercely inspiring and deeply emotional.
Tuesday Night Fiction Book Club: April 25, 2023
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the beloved Pulitzer Prize–winning author of A Spool of Blue Thread—a funny, joyful, brilliantly perceptive journey deep into one Baltimore family’s foibles, from a boyfriend with a red Chevy in the 1950s up to a longed-for reunion with a grandchild.
“A quietly subversive novel, tackling fundamental assumptions about womanhood, motherhood and female aging.” —The New York Times Book Review
The Garretts take their first and last family vacation in the summer of 1959. They hardly ever leave home, but in some ways they have never been farther apart. Mercy has trouble resisting the siren call of her aspirations to be a painter, which means less time keeping house for her husband, Robin. Their teenage daughters, steady Alice and boy-crazy Lily, could not have less in common. Their youngest, David, is already intent on escaping his family's orbit, for reasons none of them understand. Yet, as these lives advance across decades, the Garretts' influences on one another ripple ineffably but unmistakably through each generation.
Full of heartbreak and hilarity, French Braid is classic Anne Tyler: a stirring, uncannily insightful novel of tremendous warmth and humor that illuminates the kindnesses and cruelties of our daily lives, the impossibility of breaking free from those who love us, and how close—yet how unknowable—every family is to itself.
Mercury Pictures Presents
Tuesday Night Fiction Book Club: May 23, 2023
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Winner of the David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction • The epic tale of a brilliant woman who must reinvent herself to survive, moving from Mussolini’s Italy to 1940s Los Angeles—a timeless story of love, deceit, and sacrifice from the award-winning author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
“A genuinely moving and life-affirming novel that’s a true joy to read.”—Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere
“A gorgeous book . . . sublime.”—The New York Times (Editors’ Choice)
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: NPR, The Guardian, Booklist
Like many before her, Maria Lagana has come to Hollywood to outrun her past. Born in Rome, where every Sunday her father took her to the cinema instead of church, Maria immigrates with her mother to Los Angeles after a childhood transgression leads to her father’s arrest.
Fifteen years later, on the eve of America’s entry into World War II, Maria is an associate producer at Mercury Pictures, trying to keep her personal and professional lives from falling apart. Her mother won’t speak to her. Her boss, a man of many toupees, has been summoned to Washington by congressional investigators. Her boyfriend, a virtuoso Chinese American actor, can’t escape the studio’s narrow typecasting. And the studio itself, Maria’s only home in exile, teeters on the verge of bankruptcy.
Over the coming months, as the bright lights go dark across Los Angeles, Mercury Pictures becomes a nexus of European émigrés: modernist poets trying their luck as B-movie screenwriters, once-celebrated architects becoming scale-model miniaturists, and refugee actors finding work playing the very villains they fled. While the world descends into war, Maria rises through a maze of conflicting politics, divided loyalties, and jockeying ambitions. But when the arrival of a stranger from her father’s past threatens Maria’s carefully constructed facade, she must finally confront her father’s fate—and her own.
Written with intelligence, wit, and an exhilarating sense of possibility, Mercury Pictures Presents spans many moods and tones, from the heartbreaking to the ecstatic. It is a love letter to life’s bit players, a panorama of an era that casts a long shadow over our own, and a tour de force by a novelist whose work The Washington Post calls “a flash in the heavens that makes you look up and believe in miracles.”
Tuesday Night Fiction Book Club: June 27, 2023
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES TOP TEN BOOKS OF 2022
ONE OF THE WASHINGTON POST TOP TEN BOOKS OF 2022
ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2022
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2022 BOOKER PRIZE
WINNER OF THE 2022 KIRKUS PRIZE
And named one of the BEST BOOKS OF 2022 by The New Yorker, Vogue, Time, NPR, Oprah Daily, Esquire, BookPage, and more
“Buzzy and enthralling …A glorious novel about empires and erasures, husbands and wives, staggering fortunes and unspeakable misery…Fun as hell to read.” —Oprah Daily
"A genre-bending, time-skipping story about New York City’s elite in the roaring ’20s and Great Depression."—Vanity Fair
“A riveting story of class, capitalism, and greed.” —Esquire
"Exhilarating.” —New York Times
An unparalleled novel about money, power, intimacy, and perception
Even through the roar and effervescence of the 1920s, everyone in New York has heard of Benjamin and Helen Rask. He is a legendary Wall Street tycoon; she is the daughter of eccentric aristocrats. Together, they have risen to the very top of a world of seemingly endless wealth—all as a decade of excess and speculation draws to an end. But at what cost have they acquired their immense fortune? This is the mystery at the center of Bonds, a successful 1937 novel that all of New York seems to have read. Yet there are other versions of this tale of privilege and deceit.
Hernan Diaz’s TRUST elegantly puts these competing narratives into conversation with one another—and in tension with the perspective of one woman bent on disentangling fact from fiction. The result is a novel that spans over a century and becomes more exhilarating with each new revelation.
At once an immersive story and a brilliant literary puzzle, TRUST engages the reader in a quest for the truth while confronting the deceptions that often live at the heart of personal relationships, the reality-warping force of capital, and the ease with which power can manipulate facts.
One Italian Summer
Tuesday Night Fiction Book Club: August 22, 2023
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“[A] magical trip worth taking.” —Associated Press
“Rebecca Serle is a maestro of love in all its forms.” —Gabrielle Zevin, New York Times bestselling author
The New York Times bestselling author of In Five Years returns with a powerful novel about the transformational love between mothers and daughters set on the breathtaking Amalfi Coast.
When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: to Positano, the magical town where Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.
But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and, of course, delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life.
And then Carol appears—in the flesh, healthy, sun-tanned, and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how—all she can focus on is that she has somehow, impossibly, gotten her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman before her. She is not exactly who Katy imagined she might be, however, and soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.
Rebecca Serle’s next great love story is here, and this time it’s between a mother and a daughter. With her signature “heartbreaking, redemptive, and authentic” (Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author) prose, Serle has crafted a transcendent novel about how we move on after loss, and how the people we love never truly leave us.
Tuesday Night Fiction Book Club: November 28, 2023
“Brooks’ chronological and cross-disciplinary leaps are thrilling.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Horse isn’t just an animal story—it’s a moving narrative about race and art.” —TIME
“A thrilling story about humanity in all its ugliness and beauty . . . the evocative voices create a story so powerful, reading it feels like watching a neck-and-neck horse race, galloping to its conclusion—you just can’t look away.” —Oprah Daily
Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award
A discarded painting in a junk pile, a skeleton in an attic, and the greatest racehorse in American history: from these strands, a Pulitzer Prize winner braids a sweeping story of spirit, obsession, and injustice across American history
Kentucky, 1850. An enslaved groom named Jarret and a bay foal forge a bond of understanding that will carry the horse to record-setting victories across the South. When the nation erupts in civil war, an itinerant young artist who has made his name on paintings of the racehorse takes up arms for the Union. On a perilous night, he reunites with the stallion and his groom, very far from the glamor of any racetrack.
New York City, 1954. Martha Jackson, a gallery owner celebrated for taking risks on edgy contemporary painters, becomes obsessed with a nineteenth-century equestrian oil painting of mysterious provenance.
Washington, DC, 2019. Jess, a Smithsonian scientist from Australia, and Theo, a Nigerian-American art historian, find themselves unexpectedly connected through their shared interest in the horse—one studying the stallion’s bones for clues to his power and endurance, the other uncovering the lost history of the unsung Black horsemen who were critical to his racing success.
Based on the remarkable true story of the record-breaking thoroughbred Lexington, Horse is a novel of art and science, love and obsession, and our unfinished reckoning with racism.
The Diamond Eye
Tuesday Night Fiction Book Club: September 26, 2023
New York Times Bestseller
The bestselling author of The Rose Code returns with an unforgettable World War II tale of a quiet bookworm who becomes history's deadliest female sniper. Based on a true story.
In 1937 in the snowbound city of Kyiv, wry and bookish history student Mila Pavlichenko organizes her life around her library job and her young son--but Hitler's invasion of Ukraine and Russia sends her on a different path. Given a rifle and sent to join the fight, Mila must forge herself from studious girl to deadly sniper--a lethal hunter of Nazis known as Lady Death. When news of her three hundredth kill makes her a national heroine, Mila finds herself torn from the bloody battlefields of the eastern front and sent to America on a goodwill tour.
Still reeling from war wounds and devastated by loss, Mila finds herself isolated and lonely in the glittering world of Washington, DC--until an unexpected friendship with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and an even more unexpected connection with a silent fellow sniper offer the possibility of happiness.
But when an old enemy from Mila's past joins forces with a deadly new foe lurking in the shadows, Lady Death finds herself battling her own demons and enemy bullets in the deadliest duel of her life.
Based on a true story, The Diamond Eye is a haunting novel of heroism born of desperation, of a mother who became a soldier, of a woman who found her place in the world and changed the course of history forever.
Tuesday Night Fiction Book Club: October 24, 2023
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - The Read With Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick!
"A story of love and hope as interweaving characters display: how all moments, big and small, can measure a life. If you want joy, love, romance, and hope--read with us." --Jenna Bush Hager
A luminous, spirit-lifting blockbuster for readers of The Midnight Library.
Eight ordinary people. One extraordinary choice.
It seems like any other day. You wake up, pour a cup of coffee, and head out.
But today, when you open your front door, waiting for you is a small wooden box. This box holds your fate inside: the answer to the exact number of years you will live.
From suburban doorsteps to desert tents, every person on every continent receives the same box. In an instant, the world is thrust into a collective frenzy. Where did these boxes come from? What do they mean? Is there truth to what they promise?
As society comes together and pulls apart, everyone faces the same shocking choice: Do they wish to know how long they'll live? And, if so, what will they do with that knowledge?
The Measure charts the dawn of this new world through an unforgettable cast of characters whose decisions and fates interweave with one another: best friends whose dreams are forever entwined, pen pals finding refuge in the unknown, a couple who thought they didn't have to rush, a doctor who cannot save himself, and a politician whose box becomes the powder keg that ultimately changes everything.
Enchanting and deeply uplifting, The Measure is a sweeping, ambitious, and invigorating story about family, friendship, hope, and destiny that encourages us to live life to the fullest.
Tuesday Night Fiction Book Club: July 25, 2023
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK
"A con artist story, a pop-feminist caper, a fashionable romp . . . Counterfeit is an entertaining, luxurious read--but beneath its glitz and flash, it is also a shrewd deconstruction of the American dream and the myth of the model minority. . . . Chen is up to something innovative and subversive here." -- Camille Perri, NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
Recommended by New York Times Book Review * Washington Post * People * Entertainment Weekly * USA Today * Time * Cosmopolitan * Today show * Harper's Bazaar * Vogue * Good Housekeeping * Parade * New York Post * Town & Country * GMA.com * Buzzfeed * Goodreads * Oprah Daily * Popsugar * Bustle * theSkimm * The Millions * and more!
For fans of Hustlers and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, the story of two Asian American women who band together to grow a counterfeit handbag scheme into a global enterprise--an incisive and glittering blend of fashion, crime, and friendship from the author of Bury What We Cannot Take and Soy Sauce for Beginners.
Money can't buy happiness... but it can buy a decent fake.
Ava Wong has always played it safe. As a strait-laced, rule-abiding Chinese American lawyer with a successful surgeon as a husband, a young son, and a beautiful home--she's built the perfect life. But beneath this façade, Ava's world is crumbling: her marriage is falling apart, her expensive law degree hasn't been used in years, and her toddler's tantrums are pushing her to the breaking point.
Enter Winnie Fang, Ava's enigmatic college roommate from Mainland China, who abruptly dropped out under mysterious circumstances. Now, twenty years later, Winnie is looking to reconnect with her old friend. But the shy, awkward girl Ava once knew has been replaced with a confident woman of the world, dripping in luxury goods, including a coveted Birkin in classic orange. The secret to her success? Winnie has developed an ingenious counterfeit scheme that involves importing near-exact replicas of luxury handbags and now she needs someone with a U.S. passport to help manage her business--someone who'd never be suspected of wrongdoing, someone like Ava. But when their spectacular success is threatened and Winnie vanishes once again, Ava is left to face the consequences.
Swift, surprising, and sharply comic, Counterfeit is a stylish and feminist caper with a strong point of view and an axe to grind. Peering behind the curtain of the upscale designer storefronts and the Chinese factories where luxury goods are produced, Kirstin Chen interrogates the myth of the model minority through two unforgettable women determined to demand more from life.
"If you appreciate a good caper, you'll want to pick up Kirstin Chen's novel . . . Fast-paced and fun, with smart commentary on the cultural differences between Asia and America." -- TIME
"Propulsive and captivating . . . A provocative story of fashion, friendship, and fakes (in more ways than one)." -- VOGUE
Remarkably Bright Creatures
*Tuesday Night Fiction Book Club: December 19, 2023
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A Read With Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick!
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF SUMMER by: Chicago Tribune * The View * Southern Living * USA Today
"Remarkably Bright Creatures [is] an ultimately feel-good but deceptively sensitive debut. . . . Memorable and tender." -- Washington Post
For fans of A Man Called Ove, a charming, witty and compulsively readable exploration of friendship, reckoning, and hope that traces a widow's unlikely connection with a giant Pacific octopus
After Tova Sullivan's husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she's been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago.
Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn't dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors--until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova.
Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova's son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it's too late.
Shelby Van Pelt's debut novel is a gentle reminder that sometimes taking a hard look at the past can help uncover a future that once felt impossible.
Nonfiction Book Club
Meets every 2nd Wednesday of the month at 10am in the Brown Room.
* Indicates book club will meet on the 3rd Wednesday of the month
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
Wednesday, January 11, 2023
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
Now being developed as a television series with Eva Longoria and ABC!
"Rarely have I read a book that challenged me to see myself in an entirely new light, and was at the same time laugh-out-loud funny and utterly absorbing."--Katie Couric
"This is a daring, delightful, and transformative book."--Arianna Huffington, Founder, Huffington Post and Founder & CEO, Thrive Global
"Wise, warm, smart, and funny. You must read this book."--Susan Cain, New York Times best-selling author of Quiet
From a New York Times best-selling author, psychotherapist, and national advice columnist, a hilarious, thought-provoking, and surprising new book that takes us behind the scenes of a therapist's world--where her patients are looking for answers (and so is she).
One day, Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who helps patients in her Los Angeles practice. The next, a crisis causes her world to come crashing down. Enter Wendell, the quirky but seasoned therapist in whose of-fice she suddenly lands. With his balding head, cardigan, and khakis, he seems to have come straight from Therapist Central Casting. Yet he will turn out to be anything but.
As Gottlieb explores the inner chambers of her patients' lives -- a self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young newlywed diagnosed with a terminal illness, a senior citizen threatening to end her life on her birthday if nothing gets better, and a twenty-something who can't stop hooking up with the wrong guys -- she finds that the questions they are struggling with are the very ones she is now bringing to Wendell.
With startling wisdom and humor, Gottlieb invites us into her world as both clinician and patient, examining the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others as we teeter on the tightrope between love and desire, meaning and mortality, guilt and redemption, terror and courage, hope and change.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is rev-olutionary in its candor, offering a deeply per-sonal yet universal tour of our hearts and minds and providing the rarest of gifts: a boldly reveal-ing portrait of what it means to be human, and a disarmingly funny and illuminating account of our own mysterious lives and our power to transform them.
How the Word Is Passed
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
This compelling “important and timely” (Drew Faust, Harvard Magazine) #1 New York Times bestseller examines the legacy of slavery in America—and how both history and memory continue to shape our everyday lives.
Beginning in his hometown of New Orleans, Clint Smith leads the reader on an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks—those that are honest about the past and those that are not—that offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in shaping our nation's collective history, and ourselves.
It is the story of the Monticello Plantation in Virginia, the estate where Thomas Jefferson wrote letters espousing the urgent need for liberty while enslaving more than four hundred people. It is the story of the Whitney Plantation, one of the only former plantations devoted to preserving the experience of the enslaved people whose lives and work sustained it. It is the story of Angola, a former plantation-turned-maximum-security prison in Louisiana that is filled with Black men who work across the 18,000-acre land for virtually no pay. And it is the story of Blandford Cemetery, the final resting place of tens of thousands of Confederate soldiers.
A deeply researched and transporting exploration of the legacy of slavery and its imprint on centuries of American history, How the Word Is Passed illustrates how some of our country's most essential stories are hidden in plain view—whether in places we might drive by on our way to work, holidays such as Juneteenth, or entire neighborhoods like downtown Manhattan, where the brutal history of the trade in enslaved men, women, and children has been deeply imprinted.
Informed by scholarship and brought to life by the story of people living today, Smith's debut work of nonfiction is a landmark of reflection and insight that offers a new understanding of the hopeful role that memory and history can play in making sense of our country and how it has come to be.
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction
Winner of the Stowe Prize
Winner of 2022 Hillman Prize for Book Journalism
A New York Times 10 Best Books of 2021
The Unfit Heiress
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2021 BY THE NEW YORK POST AND BOOK RIOT
NAMED A BEST TRUE CRIME BOOK OF 2021 BY CRIMEREADS
For readers of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and The Phantom of Fifth Avenue, "a sensational story told with nuance and humanity" (Susannah Cahalan, #1 New York Times bestselling author) about the sordid court battle between Ann Cooper Hewitt and her socialite mother.
At the turn of the twentieth century, emboldened American women began to seek passion and livelihood outside the home. This alarmed authorities, who feared "over-sexed" women could destroy civilization, either by crossing the color line or passing their evident defects on to their children. Set against this backdrop, The Unfit Heiress chronicles the fight for inheritance between Ann Cooper Hewitt and her socialite mother Maryon, who had her daughter sterilized without her knowledge. A sensational court case ensued, and powerful eugenicists saw an opportunity to restrict reproductive rights in America for decades to come.
This riveting story unfolds through the brilliant research of Audrey Clare Farley, who captures the interior lives of these women on the pages and poses questions that remain relevant today: What does it mean to be "unfit" for motherhood? How do racial anxieties continue to influence who does and does not reproduce? In the battle for reproductive rights, can we forgive those who side against us? And can we forgive our mothers if they are the ones who inflict the deepest wounds?
Atlas of the Heart
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In her latest book, Brené Brown writes, “If we want to find the way back to ourselves and one another, we need language and the grounded confidence to both tell our stories and be stewards of the stories that we hear. This is the framework for meaningful connection.”
Don’t miss the five-part HBO Max docuseries Brené Brown: Atlas of the Heart!
In Atlas of the Heart, Brown takes us on a journey through eighty-seven of the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human. As she maps the necessary skills and an actionable framework for meaningful connection, she gives us the language and tools to access a universe of new choices and second chances—a universe where we can share and steward the stories of our bravest and most heartbreaking moments with one another in a way that builds connection.
Over the past two decades, Brown’s extensive research into the experiences that make us who we are has shaped the cultural conversation and helped define what it means to be courageous with our lives. Atlas of the Heart draws on this research, as well as on Brown’s singular skills as a storyteller, to show us how accurately naming an experience doesn’t give the experience more power—it gives us the power of understanding, meaning, and choice.
Brown shares, “I want this book to be an atlas for all of us, because I believe that, with an adventurous heart and the right maps, we can travel anywhere and never fear losing ourselves.”
1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows
Wednesday, May 10, 2023
The “intimate and expansive” (Time) memoir of “one of the most important artists working in the world today” (Financial Times), telling a remarkable history of China over the last hundred years while also illuminating his artistic process
“Poignant . . . An illuminating through-line emerges in the many parallels Ai traces between his life and his father’s.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Time, BookPage, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews
Once a close associate of Mao Zedong and the nation’s most celebrated poet, Ai Weiwei’s father, Ai Qing, was branded a rightist during the Cultural Revolution, and he and his family were banished to a desolate place known as “Little Siberia,” where Ai Qing was sentenced to hard labor cleaning public toilets. Ai Weiwei recounts his childhood in exile, and his difficult decision to leave his family to study art in America, where he befriended Allen Ginsberg and was inspired by Andy Warhol and the artworks of Marcel Duchamp. With candor and wit, he details his return to China and his rise from artistic unknown to art world superstar and international human rights activist—and how his work has been shaped by living under a totalitarian regime.
Ai Weiwei’s sculptures and installations have been viewed by millions around the globe, and his architectural achievements include helping to design the iconic Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing. His political activism has long made him a target of the Chinese authorities, which culminated in months of secret detention without charge in 2011. Here, for the first time, Ai Weiwei explores the origins of his exceptional creativity and passionate political beliefs through his life story and that of his father, whose creativity was stifled.
At once ambitious and intimate, Ai Weiwei’s 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows offers a deep understanding of the myriad forces that have shaped modern China, and serves as a timely reminder of the urgent need to protect freedom of expression.
Chasing Me to My Grave
Wednesday, June 14, 2023
WINNER OF THE 2022 PULITZER PRIZE IN BIOGRAPHY
Booklist #1 Nonfiction Book of the Year * African American Literary Book Club (AALBC) #1 Nonfiction Bestseller * Named a Best Book of the Year by: NPR, Publishers Weekly, BookPage, Barnes & Noble, Hudson Booksellers, ARTnews, and more * Amazon Editors' Pick * Carnegie Medal of Excellence in Nonfiction Longlist
"A compelling and important history that this nation desperately needs to hear." -Bryan Stevenson, New York Times bestselling author of Just Mercy and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative
Winfred Rembert grew up in a family of Georgia field laborers and joined the Civil Rights Movement as a teenager. He was arrested after fleeing a demonstration, survived a near-lynching at the hands of law enforcement, and spent seven years on chain gangs. During that time he met the undaunted Patsy, who would become his wife. Years later, at the age of fifty-one and with Patsy's encouragement, he started drawing and painting scenes from his youth using leather tooling skills he learned in prison.
Chasing Me to My Grave presents Rembert's breathtaking body of work alongside his story, as told to Tufts Philosopher Erin I. Kelly. Rembert calls forth vibrant scenes of Black life on Cuthbert, Georgia's Hamilton Avenue, where he first glimpsed the possibility of a life outside the cotton field. As he pays tribute, exuberant and heartfelt, to Cuthbert's Black community and the people, including Patsy, who helped him to find the courage to revisit a traumatic past, Rembert brings to life the promise and the danger of Civil Rights protest, the brutalities of incarceration, his search for his mother's love, and the epic bond he found with Patsy.
Vivid, confrontational, revelatory, and complex, Chasing Me to My Grave is a searing memoir in prose and painted leather that celebrates Black life and summons readers to confront painful and urgent realities at the heart of American history and society.
Hero of Two Worlds
Wednesday, July 12, 2023
"Few in history can match the breadth and depth of the revolutionary career of the Marquis de Lafayette. Over fifty incredible years at the heart of the Age of Revolution, he fought as one with righteous revolutionaries on both sides of the Atlantic. As an idealistic and courageous teenager serving in the American Revolution, he used his considerable wealth and savvy to help the Americans defeat the British. Then he returned home, and was a principal player in the French Revolution. And in his final act, at seventy years old, he was instrumental in the dramatic overthrow of the Bourbon Dynasty during the Revolution of 1830. All the while, he never wavered from the principles he had written into the Declaration of the Rights of Man in 1789: That men are born and remain free and equal, deserving of liberty, property, safety, freedom of speech, and the ability to resist oppression. Through this age of revolutionary upheaval, Lafayette remained unshakably committed to the principles he had outlined. From the time that he was an enthusiastic 19-year-old to the time he was a world-weary 74-year-old, his resolve never wavered. As the saying goes, if we don't learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. The contemporary relevance and the life and times of the Marquis de Lafayette have never been more relevant. Today, the values codified and practiced by Lafayette are increasingly taken for granted and our society has grown complacent about their supposedly immutable and permanent force. His life is thus the story of where we came from-and what we stand to lose if we abandon the ideals for which he fought"--
Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age
Wednesday, August 9, 2023
Named a Best Book of the Year by NPR and Science Friday
A quest to explore some of the most spectacular ancient cities in human history—and figure out why people abandoned them.
In Four Lost Cities, acclaimed science journalist Annalee Newitz takes readers on an entertaining and mind-bending adventure into the deep history of urban life. Investigating across the centuries and around the world, Newitz explores the rise and fall of four ancient cities, each the center of a sophisticated civilization: the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in Central Turkey, the Roman vacation town of Pompeii on Italy’s southern coast, the medieval megacity of Angkor in Cambodia, and the indigenous metropolis Cahokia, which stood beside the Mississippi River where East St. Louis is today.
Newitz travels to all four sites and investigates the cutting-edge research in archaeology, revealing the mix of environmental changes and political turmoil that doomed these ancient settlements. Tracing the early development of urban planning, Newitz also introduces us to the often anonymous workers—slaves, women, immigrants, and manual laborers—who built these cities and created monuments that lasted millennia.
Four Lost Cities is a journey into the forgotten past, but, foreseeing a future in which the majority of people on Earth will be living in cities, it may also reveal something of our own fate.
The Man Who Hated Women
Wednesday, September 13, 2023
Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Best History Books of 2021 • "Fascinating . . . Purity is in the mind of the beholder, but beware the man who vows to protect yours.” —Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker
Anthony Comstock, special agent to the U.S. Post Office, was one of the most important men in the lives of nineteenth-century women. His eponymous law, passed in 1873, penalized the mailing of contraception and obscenity with long sentences and steep fines. The word Comstockery came to connote repression and prudery.
Between 1873 and Comstock’s death in 1915, eight remarkable women were charged with violating state and federal Comstock laws. These “sex radicals” supported contraception, sexual education, gender equality, and women’s right to pleasure. They took on the fearsome censor in explicit, personal writing, seeking to redefine work, family, marriage, and love for a bold new era. In The Man Who Hated Women, Amy Sohn tells the overlooked story of their valiant attempts to fight Comstock in court and in the press. They were publishers, writers, and doctors, and they included the first woman presidential candidate, Victoria C. Woodhull; the virgin sexologist Ida C. Craddock; and the anarchist Emma Goldman. In their willingness to oppose a monomaniac who viewed reproductive rights as a threat to the American family, the sex radicals paved the way for second-wave feminism. Risking imprisonment and death, they redefined birth control access as a civil liberty.
The Man Who Hated Women brings these women’s stories to vivid life, recounting their personal and romantic travails alongside their political battles. Without them, there would be no Pill, no Planned Parenthood, no Roe v. Wade. This is the forgotten history of the women who waged war to control their bodies.
Wednesday, October 11, 2023
A blend of Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel and Simon Winchester’s Pacific, a thrilling intellectual detective story that looks deep into the past to uncover who first settled the islands of the remote Pacific, where they came from, how they got there, and how we know.
For more than a millennium, Polynesians have occupied the remotest islands in the Pacific Ocean, a vast triangle stretching from Hawaii to New Zealand to Easter Island. Until the arrival of European explorers they were the only people to have ever lived there. Both the most closely related and the most widely dispersed people in the world before the era of mass migration, Polynesians can trace their roots to a group of epic voyagers who ventured out into the unknown in one of the greatest adventures in human history.
How did the earliest Polynesians find and colonize these far-flung islands? How did a people without writing or metal tools conquer the largest ocean in the world? This conundrum, which came to be known as the Problem of Polynesian Origins, emerged in the eighteenth century as one of the great geographical mysteries of mankind.
For Christina Thompson, this mystery is personal: her Maori husband and their sons descend directly from these ancient navigators. In Sea People, Thompson explores the fascinating story of these ancestors, as well as those of the many sailors, linguists, archaeologists, folklorists, biologists, and geographers who have puzzled over this history for three hundred years. A masterful mix of history, geography, anthropology, and the science of navigation, Sea People combines the thrill of exploration with the drama of discovery in a vivid tour of one of the most captivating regions in the world.
Sea People includes an 8-page photo insert, illustrations throughout, and 2 endpaper maps.
Mystery Book Club
Meets every second Monday of the month at 3pm in the Brown Room.
* Indicates book club will meet on the 3rd Monday of the month
Death at Breakfast
Monday, January 9, 2023
From the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of Still Missing, More Than You Know, and Gossip comes the first entry in a stylish and witty mystery series featuring a pair of unlikely investigators—a shrewd novel of manners with a dark heart of murder at its center, set in small-town New England.
Indulging their pleasure in travel and new experiences, recently retired private school head Maggie Detweiler and her old friend, socialite Hope Babbin, are heading to Maine. The trip—to attend a weeklong master cooking class at the picturesque Victorian-era Oquossoc Mountain Inn—is an experiment to test their compatibility for future expeditions.
Hope and Maggie have barely finished their first aperitifs when the inn’s tranquility is shattered by the arrival of Alexander and Lisa Antippas and Lisa’s actress sister, Glory. Imperious and rude, these Hollywood one-percenters quickly turn the inn upside-down with their demanding behavior, igniting a flurry of speculation and gossip among staff and guests alike.
But the disruption soon turns deadly. After a suspicious late-night fire is brought under control, Alex’s charred body is found in the ashes. Enter the town’s deputy sheriff, Buster Babbin, Hope’s long-estranged son and Maggie’s former student. A man who’s finally found his footing in life, Buster needs a win. But he’s quickly pushed aside by the “big boys,” senior law enforcement and high-powered state’s attorneys who swoop in to make a quick arrest.
Maggie knows that Buster has his deficits and his strengths. She also knows that justice does not always prevail—and that the difference between conviction and exoneration too often depends on lazy police work and the ambitions of prosecutors. She knows too, after a lifetime of observing human nature, that you have a great advantage in doing the right thing if you don’t care who gets the credit or whom you annoy.
Feeling that justice could use a helping hand--as could the deputy sheriff—Maggie and Hope decide that two women of experience equipped with healthy curiosity, plenty of common sense, and a cheerfully cynical sense of humor have a useful role to play in uncovering the truth.
The Witch Elm
Monday, February 13, 2023
Named a New York Times Notable Book of 2018 and a Best Book of 2018 by NPR, The New York Times Book Review, Amazon, The Boston Globe, LitHub, Vulture, Slate, Elle, Vox, and Electric Literature
“Tana French’s best and most intricately nuanced novel yet.” —The New York Times
An “extraordinary” (Stephen King) and “mesmerizing” (LA Times) new standalone novel from the master of crime and suspense and author of the forthcoming novel The Searcher.
From the writer who “inspires cultic devotion in readers” (The New Yorker) and has been called “incandescent” by Stephen King, “absolutely mesmerizing” by Gillian Flynn, and “unputdownable” (People) comes a gripping new novel that turns a crime story inside out.
Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life—he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden—and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.
A spellbinding standalone from one of the best suspense writers working today, The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of, when we no longer know who we are.
Monday, March 13, 2023
The dark earth in the piedmont of North Carolina's Randolph County is heavy with bright red clay. And it is this same rich soil that attracts many of the South's most skilled potters. Also drawn to this region is the visiting judge Deborah Knott, who is there for decidedly different reasons. Deborah faces the most exasperating case a judge can handle--overseeing the equitable distribution of marital property. The antagonists are James Lucas Nordan and Sandra Kay Hitchcock, both potters who are bitterly divorcing after almost twenty-five years of marriage. As creative as it was stormy, the Nordans' history together produced great artistic achievements. Much of the credit for this stellar legacy can go to Amos Nordan, James Lucas's father and the proud clan patriarch. At the same time, old Amos is no stranger to tragedy. Two years earlier, his more talented son, Donny, apparently committed suicide . . . in a manner so scandalous that Amos still can't bear to speak of it. Suddenly, amid the pettybickering, an even more gruesome death strikes the Nordans. Violence, seemingly borne out of Providence, stalks the family homestead as the sins
The Glass Room
Monday, April 10, 2023
From Ann Cleeves—New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, both of which are hit TV shows—comes The Glass Room.
“Ann Cleeves is one of my favorite mystery writers.”—Louise Penny
DI Vera Stanhope is not one to make friends easily, but her hippy neighbors keep her well-supplied in homebrew and conversation, and somehow bonds have formed. When one of them goes missing, Vera tracks the young woman down to the Writer’s House, a country retreat where aspiring authors work on their stories. Things get complicated when a body is discovered, and Vera’s neighbor is found with a knife in her hand.
Calling in the team, Vera knows that she should hand the case over. She’s too close to the main suspect. But the investigation is too tempting, and she’s never been one to follow the rules. Somewhere there is a killer who has taken murder off the page and is making it real . . .
The Darling Dahlias and the Eleven O'Clock Lady
Monday, May 8, 2023
New York Times bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert transports readers to the summer of 1934, when a sensational murder shakes up the small Southern town of Darling, Alabama—and pulls in the ladies of the Darling Dahlias’ garden club, who never let the grass grow under their feet when there’s a mystery to solve…
The eleven o’clock lady has always been one of garden club president Liz Lacy’s favorite spring wildflowers. The plant is so named because the white blossoms don’t open until the sun shines directly on them and wakes them up.
But another Eleven O’Clock Lady is never going to wake up again. Rona Jean Hancock—a telephone switchboard operator who earned her nickname because her shift ended at eleven, when her nightlife was just beginning—has been found strangled with her own silk stocking in a very unladylike position.
Gossip sprouts like weeds in a small town, and Rona Jean’s somewhat wild reputation is the topic of much speculation regarding who might have killed her. As the Darling Dahlias begin to sort through Rona Jean’s private affairs, it appears there may be a connection to some skullduggery at the local Civilian Conservation Corps camp. Working at the camp, garden club vice president Ophelia Snow digs around to expose the truth…before a killer pulls up stakes and gets away with murder.
Includes Southern-style Depression-era Recipes
Water Like a Stone
Monday, June 12, 2023
When Scotland Yard superintendent Duncan Kincaid takes Gemma, Kit, and Toby for a holiday visit to his family in Cheshire, Gemma is soon entranced with Nantwich's pretty buildings and the historic winding canal, and young Kit is instantly smitten with his cousin Lally.
But their visit is marred by family tensions exacerbated by the unraveling of Duncan's sister Juliet's marriage. And tensions are brought to the breaking point on Christmas Eve with Juliet's discovery of a mummified infant's body interred in the wall of an old dairy barn—a tragedy hauntingly echoed by the recent drowning of Peter Llewellyn, a schoolmate of Lally's.
Meanwhile, on her narrowboat, former social worker Annie Lebow is living a life of self-imposed isolation and preparing for a lonely Christmas, made more troubling by her meeting earlier in the day with the Wains, a traditional boating family whose case precipitated Annie's leaving her job.
As the police make their inquiries into the infant's death, Kincaid discovers that life in the lovely market town of his childhood is far from idyllic and that the dreaming reaches of the Shropshire Union Canal hold dark and deadly secrets . . . secrets that may threaten everything and everyone he holds most dear.
Monday, July 10, 2023
A supposed hunting accident becomes a dangerously complicated murder investigation in Stay Hidden, the intricately-plotted new thriller from Paul Doiron featuring Maine Game Warden Mike Bowditch.
A woman has been shot to death by a deer hunter on an island off the coast of Maine. To newly promoted Warden Investigator Mike Bowditch, the case seems open and shut. But as soon as he arrives on remote Maquoit Island he discovers mysteries piling up one on top of the other.
The hunter now claims he didn’t fire the fatal shot and the evidence proves he’s telling the truth. Bowditch begins to suspect the secretive community might be covering up the identity of whoever killed the woman, known as Ariel Evans. The controversial author was supposedly writing a book about the island's notorious hermit. So why are there no notes in her rented cottage?
The biggest blow comes the next day when the weekly ferry arrives and off steps the dead woman herself. Ariel Evans is alive, well, and determined to solve her own “murder” even if it upsets Mike Bowditch’s investigation and makes them both targets of an elusive killer who will do anything to conceal his crimes.
A Duty to the Dead
Monday, August 14, 2023
“Another winner....Todd again excels at vivid atmosphere and the effects of war in this specific time and place. Grade: A.”
—Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Readers who can’t get enough of Maisie Dobbs, the intrepid World War I battlefield nurse in Jacqueline Winspear’s novels…are bound to be caught up in the adventures of Bess Crawford.”
—New York Times Book Review
Charles Todd, author of the resoundingly acclaimed Ian Rutledge crime novels (“One of the best historical series being written today” —Washington Post Book World) debuts an exceptional new protagonist, World War I nurse Bess Crawford, in A Duty to the Dead. A gripping tale of perilous obligations and dark family secrets in the shadows of a nightmarish time of global conflict, A Duty to the Dead is rich in suspense, surprise, and the impeccable period atmosphere that has become a Charles Todd trademark.
Arsenic and Adobo
Monday, September 11, 2023
A RUSA Award-winning novel!
The first book in a new culinary cozy series full of sharp humor and delectable dishes—one that might just be killer....
When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She's tasked with saving her Tita Rosie's failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case.
With the cops treating her like she's the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila's left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case and soon finds her own neck on the chopping block…
The Mitford Murders
Monday, October 16, 2023
"A real murder, a real family and a brand new crime fiction heroine are woven together to make a fascinating, and highly enjoyable, read. I loved it."
—Julian Fellowes, creator and writer of Downton Abbey and Belgravia
The first in a series of thrilling Golden Age-style mysteries, set among the Mitford sisters, and based on a real unsolved murder, by Jessica Fellowes, author of the New York Times bestselling Downton Abbey books.
It's 1920, and Louisa Cannon dreams of escaping her life of poverty in London.
Louisa's salvation is a position within the Mitford household at Asthall Manor, in the Oxfordshire countryside. There she will become nursemaid, chaperone and confidante to the Mitford sisters, especially sixteen-year-old Nancy, an acerbic, bright young woman in love with stories.
But then a nurse—Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of her famous namesake—is killed on a train in broad daylight, and Louisa and Nancy find themselves entangled in the crimes of a murderer who will do anything to hide their secret...
Based on an unsolved crime and written by Jessica Fellowes, author of the New York Times bestselling Downton Abbey companion books, The Mitford Murders is the perfect new obsession for fans of classic murder mysteries.