Book Club Reading List – 2016

Gertruda's Oath
January 12 & 13th
Oren, Ram
Michael Stolowitzky, the only son of a wealthy Jewish family in Poland, was just three years old when war broke out and the family lost everything. His father, desperate to settle his business affairs, traveled to France, leaving Michael in the care of his mother and Gertruda Bablinska, the family's devoted Catholic nanny. When Michael's mother had a stroke, Gertruda promised the dying woman that she would make her way to Palestine and raise him as her own son. Written with the assistance of Michael, now 72, this book re-creates Michael and Gertruda's amazing journey. Vignettes bring to life the people who helped ensure their survival, including SS officer Karl Rink, who made it his mission to save Jews after his own Jewish wife was murdered. This is a story of extraordinary courage and moral strength in the face of horrific events.
Our Catalog
If Beale Street Could Talk
February 9th & 10th
Baldwin, James
This novel is a moving story of love in the face of injustice. Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, the story mixes the sweet and the sad. Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions: affection, despair, and hope. In a love story that evokes the blues, where passion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, the author has created two characters so alive and profoundly realized that they are unforgettably ingrained in the American psyche.
Our Catalog
Shanghai Girls
March 8th & 9th
See, Lisa
Two sisters leave Shanghai to find new lives in 1930s Los Angeles in this fresh, fascinating adventure.
Our Catalog
Station Eleven
April 112th & 13th
Mandel, Emily St. John
One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production. Jeevan Chaudhary, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur's chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside as life disintegrates outside. This novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor's first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.
Our Catalog
The Boston Girl
May 10th & 11th
Diamant, Anita
Addie Baum is The Boston Girl, born in 1900 to immigrant parents who were unprepared for and suspicious of America and its effect on their three daughters. Growing up in the North End, then a teeming multicultural neighborhood, Addie's intelligence and curiosity take her to a world her parents can't imagine--a world of short skirts, movies, celebrity culture, and new opportunities for women. Addie wants to finish high school and dreams of going to college. She wants a career and to find true love. Eighty-five-year-old Addie tells the story of her life to her twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, who has asked her "How did you get to be the woman you are today." She begins in 1915, the year she found her voice and made friends who would help shape the course of her life. From the one-room tenement apartment she shared with her parents and two sisters, to the library group for girls she joins at a neighborhood settlement house, to her first, disastrous love affair, Addie recalls her adventures with compassion for the naive girl she was and a wicked sense of humor.
Our Catalog
Gateway to Freedom
June 8th & 14th
Foner, Eric
The author relates the dramatic story of fugitive slaves and the antislavery activists who defied the law to help them reach freedom.
Our Catalog
The Art of Racing in the Rain
July 12th & 13th
Stein, Garth
Nearing the end of his life, Enzo, a dog with a philosopher's soul, tries to bring together the family, pulled apart by a three year custody battle between daughter Zoe's maternal grandparents and her father Denny, a race car driver.
Our Catalog
Maus: A Survivor's Tale
August 9th & 10th
Spiegelman, Art
In this work Spiegelman takes the comic book to a new level of seriousness, portraying Jews as mice and Nazis as cats. Depicting himself being told about the Holocaust by his Polish survivor father, Spiegelman not only explores the concentration-camp experience, but also the guilt, love, and anger between father and son.
Our Catalog
Calling Me Home
September 13th & 14th
Kibler, Julie
Eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle McAllister has a favor to ask her hairdresser Dorrie Curtis: drop everything and drive from Arlington, Texas, to a funeral in Cincinnati. Tomorrow. Dorrie, fleeing problems of her own, agrees. It's a journey that changes both their lives, as she learns Isabelle's tale of a forbidden relationship and its tragic consequences-- a tale that just might help Dorrie find her own way.
Our Catalog
Orange is the New Black
October 11th & 12th
Kerman, Piper
When the author was sent to prison for a ten-year-old crime, she barely resembled the reckless young woman she had been when she committed the misdeeds that would eventually catch up with her. Happily ensconced in a New York City apartment, with a promising career and an attentive boyfriend, she was suddenly forced to reckon with the consequences of her very brief, very careless dalliance in the world of drug trafficking. She spent thirteen months in prison, eleven of them at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, where she met a surprising and varied community of women living under exceptional circumstances. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Here she tells the story of those long months locked up in a place with its own codes of behavior and arbitrary hierarchies, where a practical joke is as common as an unprovoked fight, and where the uneasy relationship between prisoner and jailer is constantly and unpredictably recalibrated. This is a look into the lives of women in prison; why we lock so many away and what happens to them when they are there.
Our Catalog
Blink
November 8th & 9th
Gladwell, Malcolm
How do we think without thinking, seem to make choices in an instant--in the blink of an eye--that actually aren't as simple as they seem? Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept? Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others end up stumbling into error? And why are the best decisions often those that are impossible to explain to others? Drawing on cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology, the author reveals that great decision makers aren't those who process the most information or spend the most time deliberating, but those who have perfected the art of filtering the very few factors that matter from an overwhelming number of variables.
Our Catalog