Book Clubs for Adults

Morning Book Club

Grab a cup of coffee and join the discussion on some interesting books.  It's never a dull moment in the Morning Book Club.

  • 2nd Friday of each month
  • 10 am in Room B
  • Books available for checkout

What we're reading next:

March 26 - All Iowa Reads 2019 Selection

This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm by Ted Genoways

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The family farm lies at the heart of our national identity, and yet its future is in peril. Rick Hammond grew up on a farm, and for forty years he has raised cattle and crops on his wife's fifth-generation homestead in Nebraska, in hopes of passing it on to their four children. But as the handoff nears, their small family farm-and their entire way of life-are under siege.

Beyond the threat posed by rising corporate ownership of land and livestock, the Hammonds are confronted by encroaching pipelines, groundwater depletion, climate change, the fickle demands of the marketplace, and shifting trade policies. 

Following the Hammonds from harvest to harvest, Ted Genoways explores the rapidly changing world of small, traditional farming operations. He creates a vivid and nuanced portrait of a radically new landscape and one family's fight to preserve their legacy and the life they love.

April 12

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel by Gail Honeyman

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No one's ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she's thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond's big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .
The only way to survive is to open your heart.

May 10

Miss Julia Throws a Wedding by Ann B. Ross

miss julia throws a wedding

Readers love Miss Julia, the proper lady of a certain age with a backbone of iron and perfect Steel Magnolia poise, not to mention the sharpest tongue south of the Mason-Dixon Line. In Miss Julia Throws a Wedding, we find her feeling a little wistful when Hazel Marie, once her late husband's paramour and now her best friend, prepares to move out and live in sin with that marriage-shy Mr. Pickens. Suddenly, to Miss Julia's delight, a wedding is in the offing: Handsome Deputy Coleman Bates and attorney Binkie Enloe announce their plans to run down to the courthouse and tie the knot. But Miss Julia insists they have a real wedding ceremony and vows to make it happen. When a missing preacher, a crowd of uninvited guests, and a queasy bride threaten the happy event, Miss Julia is there to restore order, confirming her undying motto: if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself!

June 14

Windchill Summer by Norris Church Mailer

windchill summer

Cherry (short for Cheryl Ann) Marshall is the tallest, gawkiest, most unwittingly beautiful girl ever to come out of Sweet Valley, Arkansas. Her father's a deacon at the First Apostolic Holiness Church of God--a real "Don't" religion, as Cherry sees it. "They don't believe in dancing or drinking or swearing or playing cards or wearing makeup or shorts or even sleeveless dresses, much less swimming suits, to mention a few things." Together with her best friend, Baby, Cherry fights off the drudgery of her job peeling onions at the pickle plant as the rest of the country explodes. It's 1969--the summer of the first moon landing, Woodstock, the Manson murders, and raging protests against the Vietnam War.
         
But when a hip--and sexy--stranger with bedroom eyes and a winning smile comes to Sweet Valley and falls in love with Cherry, she gets a taste of everything that her Fundamentalist upbringing has taught her is bad. Setting out on an adventure, Cherry comes to see that Sweet Valley isn't quite what she thought. Everybody's got secrets: the boys who've just come back from the war, her fellow churchgoers, even Baby. And when the body of a young woman is pulled from the lake, the secrets threaten to sweep away everything good that Cherry has ever believed in.

July 12

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

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Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

August 9

Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

where’d you go, bernadette

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle--and people in general--has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence--creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world. 

Evening Book Club

Expand your reading horizons with the Evening Book Club as we read and discuss our way through the book genres this year.

  • 4th Tuesday of each month
  • 6:30 pm in Room B
  • Books available for checkout

What we're reading next:

March 26 - All Iowa Reads 2019 Selection

This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm by Ted Genoways

this blessed earth Opens in new window

The family farm lies at the heart of our national identity, and yet its future is in peril. Rick Hammond grew up on a farm, and for forty years he has raised cattle and crops on his wife's fifth-generation homestead in Nebraska, in hopes of passing it on to their four children. But as the handoff nears, their small family farm-and their entire way of life-are under siege.

Beyond the threat posed by rising corporate ownership of land and livestock, the Hammonds are confronted by encroaching pipelines, groundwater depletion, climate change, the fickle demands of the marketplace, and shifting trade policies. 

Following the Hammonds from harvest to harvest, Ted Genoways explores the rapidly changing world of small, traditional farming operations. He creates a vivid and nuanced portrait of a radically new landscape and one family's fight to preserve their legacy and the life they love.

April 23

Celine by Peter Heller

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Working out of her jewel box of an apartment at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, Celine has made a career of tracking down missing persons, and she has a better record at it than the FBI. But when a young woman, Gabriela, asks for her help, a world of mystery and sorrow opens up. Gabriela's father was a photographer who went missing on the border of Montana and Wyoming. He was assumed to have died from a grizzly mauling, but his body was never found. Now, as Celine and her partner head to Yellowstone National Park, investigating a trail gone cold, it becomes clear that they are being followed--that this is a case someone desperately wants to keep closed. Inspired by the life of Heller’s own remarkable mother, a chic and iconoclastic private eye, Celine is a deeply personal novel, a wildly engrossing story of family, privilege, and childhood loss.

May 28

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt

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Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die. The enigmatic and powerful man known only as the Commodore has ordered it, and his henchmen, Eli and Charlie Sisters, will make sure of it. Though Eli doesn’t share his brother’s appetite for whiskey and killing, he’s never known anything else. But their prey isn’t an easy mark, and on the road from Oregon City to Warm’s gold-mining claim outside Sacramento, Eli begins to question what he does for a living-and whom he does it for.

With The Sisters Brothers, Patrick deWitt pays homage to the classic Western, transforming it into an unforgettable comic tour de force. Filled with a remarkable cast of characters-losers, cheaters, and ne’er-do-wells from all stripes of life-and told by a complex and compelling narrator, it is a violent, lustful odyssey through the underworld of the 1850s frontier that beautifully captures the humor, melancholy, and grit of the Old West and two brothers bound by blood, violence, and love.

June 25

Friday Night Lights by Buzz Bissinger

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Odessa is not known to be a town big on dreams, but the Panthers help keep the hopes and dreams of this small, dusty town going. Socially and racially divided, its fragile economy follows the treacherous boom-bust path of the oil business. In bad times, the unemployment rate barrels out of control; in good times, its murder rate skyrockets. But every Friday night from September to December, when the Permian High School Panthers play football, this West Texas town becomes a place where dreams can come true. With frankness and compassion, H. G. Bissinger chronicles a season in the life of Odessa and shows how single-minded devotion to the team shapes the community and inspires--and sometimes shatters--the teenagers who wear the Panthers' uniforms. The author’s new afterword not only updates the story but also offers a sure-to-be controversial assessment of the state of football today.

July 23

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

flight behavior

Flight Behavior is a brilliant and suspenseful novel set in present day Appalachia; a breathtaking parable of catastrophe and denial that explores how the complexities we inevitably encounter in life lead us to believe in our particular chosen truths. Kingsolver's riveting story concerns a young wife and mother on a failing farm in rural Tennessee who experiences something she cannot explain, and how her discovery energizes various competing factions—religious leaders, climate scientists, environmentalists, politicians—trapping her in the center of the conflict and ultimately opening up her world.