Book Club Reading List – 2017

Never Knowing
January 10th & 11th
Stevens, Chevy
Struggling with a need for closure, Sara Gallagher attempts to reconnect with her birth parents only to learn that her biological father is an infamous serial killer, a discovery that causes her to fear she has inherited violent tendencies.
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The Garies & Their Friends
February 8th & 14th
Webb, Frank J.
Unjustly overlooked in its own time, Frank J. Webb's novel of pre-Civil War Philadelphia weaves together action, humor, and social commentary. The Garies and Their Friends tells the story of two families struggling for different sorts of respectability: the Garies, a well-to-do interracial couple who relocate to Philadelphia from the plantation South in order to legalize their marriage, and their friends the Ellises, free black Philadelphians hoping to make the move from the working class into the bourgeoisie. Along the way the families confront racialized violence, melodramatic villainy, and sentimental reversals. Entertaining and fast-moving, the novel has a Dickensian mix of uncanny coincidence and interwoven personal experiences. The historical documents accompanying this Broadview Edition provide reviews of the novel along with extensive materials on slavery, the color line, and contemporary Philadelphia.
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Orphan Train
March 8th & 14th
Kline, Christina Baker
Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to 'aging out' out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse ... As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren't as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance. Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life--answers that will ultimately free them both. Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.
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Once in a Great City
April 11th & 12th, An Everybody's Reading Book
Maraniss, David
Detroit in 1963 is on top of the world. The city’s leaders are among the most visionary in America: Grandson of the first Ford; Henry Ford II; Motown’s founder Berry Gordy; the Reverend C.L. Franklin and his daughter, the incredible Aretha; Governor George Romney, Mormon and Civil Rights advocate; car salesman Lee Iacocca; Police Commissioner George Edwards; Martin Luther King. The time was full of promise. The auto industry was selling more cars than ever before. Yet the shadows of collapse were evident even then.
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A Man Called Ove
May 9th & 10th
Backman, Fredrik
A curmudgeon hides a terrible personal loss beneath a cranky and short-tempered exterior while clashing with new neighbors, a boisterous family whose chattiness and habits lead to unexpected friendship.
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The Japanese Lover
June 13th & 14th
Allende, Isabel
In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco is sent away to live with a wealthy aunt and uncle in California. Her life is quickly changed when she meets the son of her aunt’s gardener, Ichimei Fukuda. Young love blossoms between them, until they are cruelly separated when Ichimei and his family are relocated to a Japanese-American internment camp. Throughout their lifetimes, they manage to reunite again and again, but theirs is a love they are forever forced to hide from the prejudiced eyes of the world.

Decades later, Alma is nearing the end of her life and forges a friendship with Irina Bazili—a care worker with her own troubled past—at a nursing home in California. As Irina begins to form a relationship with Alma’s grandson, Seth, the pair investigates a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma in an effort to uncover the secret of Alma’s mysterious Japanese lover.

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Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
July 11th & 12th
Hoffman, Beth

Relegated to the care of an eccentric great-aunt after her mentally unbalanced mother's accidental death, 12-year-old CeeCee is quickly surrounded by the strong women and cultural elements of her new Savannah community.

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Yellow Raft in Blue Water
September 12th & 13th
Dorris, Michael

A fierce saga of three generations of Indian women, beset by hardship and torn by angry secrets, yet inextricably joined together by the indissoluble bonds of kinship.

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Things Fall Apart
October 10th & 11th
Achebe, Chinua
First published in 1958, this novel tells the story of Okonkwo, the leader of an Igbo (Ibo) community who is banished for accidentally killing a clansman. The novel covers the seven years of his exile to his return, providing an inside view of the intrusion of white missionaries and colonial government into tribal Igbo society in the 1890s.
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Being Mortal
November 8th & 14th
Gawande, Atul
Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming the dangers of childbirth, injury, and disease from harrowing to manageable. But when it comes to the inescapable realities of aging and death, what medicine can do often runs counter to what it should. Through eye-opening research and gripping stories of his own patients and family, Gawande reveals the suffering this dynamic has produced. Nursing homes, devoted above all to safety, battle with residents over the food they are allowed to eat and the choices they are allowed to make. Doctors, uncomfortable discussing patients' anxieties about death, fall back on false hopes and treatments that are actually shortening lives instead of improving them.
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