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Book Club Meeting: Longbourn by Jo Baker
Thursday January 03 | 7:00PM - 8:30PM
While Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters fuss over balls and husbands, Sarah, their orphaned housemaid, is beginning to chafe against her situation in life. And when a mysterious footman arrives at Longbourn, the orderly realm of the servants' hall threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, upended.
Jo Baker reveals lives mentioned only fleetingly in Jane Austen's classic novel that has captivated the hearts of readers around the world for generations, daring to take us beyond the drawing rooms of Regency England into a vivid, fascinating, fully realized new world.
Hootdunnit: Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
Wednesday January 16 | 7:00PM - 8:30PM
Eighty-four year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly a man who died sixty years ago?
Judy Arnall: Unschooling to University
Thursday January 17 | 7:00PM - 8:30PM
School is one option for education; homeschooling is the second, and unschooling is the third.
Many parents are frustrated by the school system, perhaps because of bullying, crowded classrooms, and outdated, dull, online courses. Disengaged learners that have no say in their coerced curriculum, tend to act out, tune out, or drop out. Education must change and unschooling is the fastest-growing alternative method of learning.
Two decades ago, students registered with their local school based on their house address. Now, with the internet, students are borderless. Learning can occur anywhere, anytime, anyway and from anyone—including self-taught.
Self-directing their education, unschoolers learn through:
* Video games
This book explores the path of 30 unschooled children who self-directed all or part of their education and were accepted by universities, colleges, and other postsecondary schools. Most have already graduated.
What children need most are close relationships-parents, teachers, siblings, relatives, coaches, and mentors within a wider community, not just within an institutional school. Educational content is everywhere. Caring relationships are not.
Families that embrace unschooling, do not have to choose between a quality education and a relaxed, connected family lifestyle. They can have both.
Verne Albright: Playing Chess With God & The Wrath of God
Saturday January 26 | 11:00AM - 2:00PM
Henning Dietzel, at the urging of a Chilean prostitute named Encinas, investigates rumors of gold in California prior to the 1849 rush. Intrigued he heads to the Gold Country to stake his claim. When others flee a brutal winter, Henning perseveres, and by the time the Forty-Niners arrive, he’s already a wealthy young man.
His saga is a sweeping tale of fortune and misfortune, discovery and tragedy, love and loss. From the backwaters and boardrooms of early San Francisco to malaria infested jungles and a guano island off the coast of Peru, Henning’s search for meaning and purpose eventually brings him to realize that all that glitters is not necessarily gold.
Fiona Barton: The Suspect
Thursday January 31 | 7:00PM - 8:30PM
The New York Times bestselling author of The Widow returns with a brand new novel of twisting psychological suspense about every parent's worst nightmare...
When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft, and frantic with worry. What were the girls up to before they disappeared?
Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth--and this time is no exception. But she can't help but think of her own son, whom she hasn't seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling.
As the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think...
Book Club Meeting: The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes
Thursday February 07 | 7:00PM - 8:30PM
The book begins in 1936, with Dmitri Shostakovich petrified at the age of thirty and fearing for his livelihood and even his life. His opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District has just been denounced in Pravda in an article that certainly reflects the opinion of Joseph Stalin himself. Every night he waits on the landing outside his apartment, expecting NKVD agents to come and whisk him away. Shostakovich reflects on not only his predicament but also his own personal history, his parents and his various women and wives and his children, and all who are still alive themselves hang in the balance of his fate.
When the interrogation he fears does eventually arrive, a stroke of luck prevents him from becoming a casualty of the Great Terror that claims so many of his friends and contemporaries--"chips that had flown while the wood was being chopped." Still, the spectre of the government hovers over him for several further decades, forcing him to constantly weigh the merits of appeasing those in power against the integrity of his music. Barnes elegantly guides us through subsequent stages of Shostakovich's life, from being ground into the dirt under the thumb of despotism to being made to serve as a figurehead of Soviet values at a cultural conference in New York, and finally being forced into joining the Party. The trajectory of his career illuminates the evolution of the Soviet Union, with Nikita Khrushchev assuming its leadership, this providing no great joy to Shostakovich. The Noise of Time is both a heartbreaking account of a relentlessly fascinating man's experience and a brilliant meditation on the meaning of art and its place in society.
Hootdunnit: Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
Wednesday February 20 | 7:00PM - 8:30PM
1920s India: Perveen Mistry, Bombay's only female lawyer, is investigating a suspicious will on behalf of three Muslim widows living in full purdah when the case takes a turn toward the murderous. The author of the Agatha and Macavity Award–winning Rei Shimura novels brings us an atmospheric new historical mystery with a captivating heroine.
Perveen Mistry, the daughter of a respected Zoroastrian family, has just joined her father's law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India. Armed with a legal education from Oxford, Perveen also has a tragic personal history that makes women's legal rights especially important to her.
Mistry Law has been appointed to execute the will of Mr. Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind. But as Perveen examines the paperwork, she notices something strange: all three of the wives have signed over their full inheritance to a charity. What will they live on? Perveen is suspicious, especially since one of the widows has signed her form with an X—meaning she probably couldn't even read the document. The Farid widows live in full purdah—in strict seclusion, never leaving the women's quarters or speaking to any men. Are they being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous guardian? Perveen tries to investigate, and realizes her instincts were correct when tensions escalate to murder. Now it is her responsibility to figure out what really happened on Malabar Hill, and to ensure that no innocent women or children are in further danger.
Inspired in part by the woman who made history as India's first female attorney, The Widows of Malabar Hill is a richly wrought story of multicultural 1920s Bombay as well as the debut of a sharp new sleuth.
Book Club Meeting: The Ever After of Ashmin Rao by Padma Viswanathan
Thursday March 07 | 7:00PM - 8:30PM
In 2004, almost 20 years after the fatal bombing of an Air India flight from Vancouver that killed 329, two suspects --finally--are on trial for the crime. Ashwin Rao, an Indian psychologist trained in Canada, comes back to do a "study of comparative grief," interviewing people who lost loved ones in the attack. What he neglects to mention is that he, too, had family members who died on the plane. Then, to his delight and fear, he becomes embroiled in the lives of one family caught in the undertow of the tragedy, and privy to their secrets. This surprising emotional connection sparks him to confront his own losses. A book of post-9/11 Canada, The Ever After of Ashwin Rao imagines the lasting emotional and political consequences of a real-life act of terror, confronting what we might learn to live with and what we can live without.
Hootdunnit: Tangerine by Christine Mangan
Wednesday March 20 | 7:00PM - 8:30PM
The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the accident at Bennington, the two friends—once inseparable roommates—haven’t spoken in over a year. But there Lucy was, trying to make things right and return to their old rhythms. Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy—always fearless and independent—helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country.
But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice—she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice’s husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.
Tangerine is a sharp dagger of a book—a debut so tightly wound, so replete with exotic imagery and charm, so full of precise details and extraordinary craftsmanship, it will leave you absolutely breathless.
Optioned for film by George Clooney’s Smokehouse Pictures, with Scarlett Johansson to star
Book Club Meeting: The Grand Tour by Adam O'Fallon Price
Thursday April 04 | 7:00PM - 8:30PM
Richard Lazar is a failed novelist and an alcoholic, living in a trailer in Phoenix. But when he publishes a gritty memoir about his service in the Vietnam War, he becomes an almost instantaneous success. Sent on a book tour by his publishing house, Richard encounters his biggest fan: an awkward, depressed student named Vance.
Vance has problems of his own. But when he volunteers to chauffeur Richard for the rest of the tour, the two of them wind up on a hilariously disastrous cross-country road trip, gradually coming to bond as only two misanthropes can. The Grand Tour is the story of an unlikely frienship, and a panoramic view of America from a bold new voice in fiction.
Hootdunnit: When the Flood Falls by Jayne Barnard
Wednesday April 17 | 7:00PM - 8:30PM
When a phantom stalker targets her friend, Lacey McCrae’s crime-busting skills are tested to their limits.
With her career in tatters and her marriage receding in the rear-view mirror, ex-RCMP corporal Lacey McCrae trades her uniform for a tool belt, and the Lower Mainland for the foothills west of Calgary. Amid the oil barons, hockey stars, and other high rollers who inhabit the wilderness playground is her old university roommate, Dee Phillips. Dee’s glossy life was shaken by a reckless driver; now she’s haunted by a nighttime prowler only she can hear.
As snowmelt swells the icy river, threatening the only bridge back to civilization, Lacey must make the call: assume Dee’s in danger and get her out, or decide the prowler is imaginary and stay, cut off from help if the bridge is swept away.
Book Club Meeting: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse
Thursday May 02 | 7:00PM - 8:00PM
A devotee of Stendhal who has shunned the company of his fellow human beings to live on the outskirts of a tiny village in Savoy is kidnapped and left for dead along a forest road. A middle-aged mother who spends much of her time shuttling her numerous offspring along twisting mountain roads loses control of her car and ends up injured but alive in a gorge. Meanwhile, an elderly man of unbreakable habits is taunted and threatened by two unknown men while on his morning walk along the cliffs of Brittany. Mystery abounds but A Novel Bookstore is no everyday mystery. The victims here are not members of the underworld, toughs or thugs, but mild, meek and apparently ordinary people. In the eyes of their aggressors, they are guilty of only one crime: expressing their tastes in literature.
Indeed, all three victims are members of The Good Novel's secret selection committee. Tucked away in a corner of Paris, The Good Novel bookstore offers its clientele literary masterpieces, both contemporary and classic, selected by a top-secret committee of authors. The store has proven an instant success, but nobody could have imagined that success would unleash a tide of hatred. Now, there are those who will stop at nothing to destroy The Good Novel. One by one, the pieces of this puzzle fall ominously into place, as it becomes clear to the store's owners, Ivan and Francesca, that their dreams of an ideal place for books may be shattered by envy and violence.
Elegantly mixing the mystery and literary fiction genres, Laurence Cossé has written an enthralling fable for lovers of good books and a heartfelt tribute to fine bookselling.
Hootdunnit: Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliot
Wednesday May 15 | 7:00PM - 8:30PM
Addie Greyborne loved working with rare books at the Boston Public Library—she even got to play detective, tracking down clues about mysterious old volumes. But she didn’t expect her sleuthing skills to come in so handy in a little seaside town . . .
Addie left some painful memories behind in the big city, including the unsolved murder of her fiancé and her father’s fatal car accident. After an unexpected inheritance from a great aunt, she’s moved to a small New England town founded by her ancestors back in colonial times—and living in spacious Greyborne Manor, on a hilltop overlooking the harbor. Best of all, her aunt also left her countless first editions and other treasures—providing an inventory to start her own store.
But there’s trouble from day one, and not just from the grumpy woman who runs the bakery next door. A car nearly runs Addie down. Someone steals a copy of Alice in Wonderland. Then, Addie’s friend Serena, who owns a nearby tea shop, is arrested—for killing another local merchant. The police seem pretty sure they’ve got the story in hand, but Addie’s not going to let them close the book on this case without a fight . .
Book Club Meeting: Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig
Thursday June 06 | 7:00AM - 8:30AM
Meet Ginny Moon. She’s mostly your average teenager—she plays flute in the high school band, has weekly basketball practice, and reads Robert Frost poems in English class.
But Ginny is autistic. And so what’s important to her might seem a bit…different: starting every day with exactly nine grapes for breakfast, Michael Jackson, her baby doll, and crafting a secret plan of escape.
After being traumatically taken from her abusive birth mother and moved around to different homes, Ginny has finally found her "forever home"—a safe place with parents who will love and nurture her. This is exactly what all foster kids are hoping for, right?
But Ginny has other plans. She’ll steal and lie and exploit the good intentions of those who love her—anything it takes to get back what’s missing in her life. She’ll even try to get herself kidnapped.
Told in an extraordinary and wholly original voice, Ginny Moon is at once quirky, charming, heartbreaking, and poignant. It’s a story about being an outsider trying to find a place to belong and about making sense of a world that just doesn’t seem to add up. Taking you into the mind of a curious and deeply human character, Benjamin Ludwig’s novel affirms that fiction has the power to change the way we see the [more...]
Hootdunnit: Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor
Wednesday June 19 | 7:00PM - 8:30PM
From the No.1 bestselling author of The American Boy and The Silent Boy comes a brand new historical thriller set during the time of the Great Fire of London. The first of an exciting new series of novels.