January – May 2016
This book discussion group meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month, 10:00 am in the Library. Everyone is welcome to attend.
January 12, 10:00 am
The Ogallala Road by Julene Bair
When Julene Bair inherits part of a large farm on the High Plains of Kansas, she intends to honor her father’s commandment, “Hang on to your land!” But she learns some troubling facts about the ecological harm done by farms like hers, which depend on water pumped from the rapidly depleting Ogallala Aquifer. A single mother balancing multiple allegiances, she meets Ward, a rancher who she hopes will become her partner in seeking a path to save her legacy. The Ogallala Road eloquently interweaves pressing issues of environmental degradation with a deeply personal story of love and family. Bair’s moving memoir, capturing her unfolding love affair and search for a new way to farm, powerfully updates the literature of the American West. From Amazon
February 9, 10:00 am
Girl in Reverse by Barbara Stuber
Being adopted isn’t easy—especially when you’re seen as a national enemy. When Lily was three, her mother put her up for adoption, then disappeared without a trace. Or so Lily was told. Lily grew up in her new family and tried to forget her past. But with the Korean War raging and the fear of “Commies” everywhere, Lily’s Asian heritage makes her a target. Then her brainy little brother, Ralph, finds a box containing a baffling jumble of broken antiques—clues to her past left by her “Gone Mom.” Lily and Ralph attempt to match these fragments with rare Chinese artifacts at the art museum, where she encounters the artistic genius Elliot James. With the help of Ralph and Elliot, will Lily summon the courage to confront her own remarkable creation story? (edited from Publishers Weekly, starred review).
March 8, 10:00 am
Best Boy by Eli Gottlieb
Sent to a “therapeutic community” for autism at the age of eleven, Todd Aaron, now in his fifties, is the “Old Fox” of Payton LivingCenter. A joyous man who rereads the encyclopedia compulsively, he is unnerved by the sudden arrivals of a menacing new staffer and a disruptive, brain-injured roommate. His equilibrium is further worsened by Martine, a one-eyed new resident who has romantic intentions and convinces him to go off his meds to feel “normal” again. Undone by these pressures, Todd attempts an escape to return “home” to his younger brother and to a childhood that now inhabits only his dreams. Written astonishingly in the first-person voice of an autistic, adult man, Best Boy―with its unforgettable portraits of Todd’s beloved mother, whose sweet voice still sings from the grave, and a staffer named Raykene, who says that Todd “reflects the beauty of His creation”―is a piercing, achingly funny, finally shattering novel no reader can ever forget. From Amazon
April 12, 10:00 am
Some Luck by Jane Smiley
1920, Denby, Iowa: Rosanna and Walter Langdon have just welcomed their firstborn son, Frank, into their family farm. He will be the oldest of five. Each chapter in this extraordinary novel covers a single year, encompassing the sweep of history as the Langdons abide by time-honored values and pass them on to their children. With the country on the cusp of enormous social and economic change through the early 1950s, we watch as the personal and the historical merge seamlessly: one moment electricity is just beginning to power the farm, and the next a son is volunteering to fight the Nazis. Later still, a girl we’d seen growing up now has a little girl of her own. From Amazon
May 10, 10:00 am
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
The Appalachian Trail trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America–majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way–including bears.