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Book Discussion Groups



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Fiction | Nonfiction | NEW! Speculative Fiction| Past Books

 

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Fiction Book Discussions

The library's Fiction Book Club meets one Monday each month at 1 or 7 PM. All are welcome! Whenever possible copies of each title are borrowed from New Hampshire libraries in advance. Books are available for check out with your PPL card.

 

Monday March 14 | 1pm & 7pm

Swallows of Kabul by Yasmina Khadra (2004)

 

Khadra is the nom de plume for Algerian army officer Mohamed Moulessehoul, who illustrates the effects of repression on a pair of Kabul couples… Like Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, this is a superb meditation on the fate of the Afghan people.

 

Monday April 11 | 1pm & 7pm

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld (2013)

 

Delicious insights into sisterhood and motherhood are peppered throughout Sittenfeld’s novel about identical twins with ESP. The twins… are rendered so vividly that readers would be able to pick them out of a crowd. [Sittenfeld] delivers a rich and intimate tale of imperfect, well-meaning, ordinary people struggling to define themselves and protect the people they love.

 

Monday May 9 | 1pm & 7pm

Fever by Mary Beth Keane (2013)  

 

Keane rescues Typhoid Mary from her “cautionary tale” status by telling her true story. Apprehended by the New York Department of Health in 1907, following the deaths of the family for whom she cooks, Mary Mallon is turned into a guinea pig on an East River island with little to comfort her aside from rare letters from her lover Alfred. Slowly she builds a case to win her freedom and returns to a changed New York of Chinese laundries, tenement fires, and Alfred, now-destitute.

Monday June 13 | 1pm & 7pm

The First of July by Elizabeth Speller (2013)

 

This well-told, well-plotted war epic from British novelist Speller tracks the life experiences of four disparate Allied soldiers fighting in the bloody Battle of the Somme…. Each young man is swept into the First World War’s maelstrom and serves in a different capacity. The four soldiers encounter each other on occasion, while the stark battlefield scenes evoke Hemingwayesque realism in Speller’s unsentimental, always engaging literary war narrative.

All synopses from Publishers Weekly.


Nonfiction Book Discussions

Nonfiction Book Discussion meets once monthly, on Tuesday at 7 PM in the Hilton Garden Room. All are welcome! Whenever possible copies of each title are borrowed from New Hampshire libraries in advance. Books are available for check out with your PPL card.

Tuesday March 15| 7pm

Rez Life by David Treuer (2012)

 

Treuer offers an ambitious, impressionistic study of life on Native American reservations. His blending in of the history of his Ojibwe tribe and his own family results in a nuanced view of personal and tribal identity. It’s neither definitive nor a work of full personal disclosure, but it is “the story of the paradoxically least and most American place in the twenty-first century. Welcome to the Rez.”

Tuesday April 19 | 7pm

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner (2009) 

   
Forget your image of an economist as a crusty professor worried about fluctuating interest rates: Levitt focuses his attention on more intimate real-world issues, like whether reading to your baby will make her a better student. Levitt [searches] for the hidden incentives behind all sorts of behavior.

Tuesday May 17| 7pm

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015)


Coates intimately presents the text as a letter to his son, both an expression of love and a cautionary tale about "police departments... endowed with the authority to destroy his body." As a meditation on race in America, haunted by the bodies of black men, women, and children, Coates's compelling, indeed stunning, work is rare in its power to make you want to slow down and read every word.

Tuesday June 21| 7pm

Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall (2015)


All leaders of nations are constrained by geography. Their choices are limited by mountains, rivers, seas, and concrete. To understand world events, news organizations and other authorities often focus on people, ideas, and political movements, but without geography, we never have the full picture. …Seasoned journalist Tim Marshall [provides] a context often missing from our political reportage: how the physical characteristics of these countries affect their strengths and vulnerabilities and the decisions made by their leaders.

All synopses from Publishers Weekly.



Speculative Fiction Book Discussions

The Portsmouth Public Library Speculative Fiction Book Group will meet on the final Wednesday of each month. Spec Fic is a genre that encompasses fantasy, science fiction, horror and everything in between. Speculative fiction asks, what if?


This season, we’re headed out of the library to meet at Earth Eagle Brewings in Portsmouth. Each meeting begins at 7 PM. All are welcome! Whenever possible copies of each title are borrowed from New Hampshire libraries in advance. Books are available for check out at the library, or at the meeting, with your PPL card.

xWednesday March 30 | 7pm

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

 

Eleanor Vance has always been a loner - shy, vulnerable, and bitterly resentful of the 11 years she lost while nursing her dying mother… She receives an unusual invitation from Dr. John Montague, a man fascinated by "supernatural manifestations." He organizes a ghost watch, inviting people who have been touched by otherworldly events. A paranormal incident from Eleanor's childhood qualifies her to be a part of Montague's bizarre study - along with headstrong Theodora, his assistant, and Luke, a well-to-do aristocrat. They meet at Hill House - a notorious estate in New England.

xWednesday April 27| 7pm

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

 

This adrenaline shot of uncut geekdom, a quest through a virtual world, is loaded with enough 1980s nostalgia to please even the most devoted John Hughes fans. In a bleak but easily imagined 2044, Wade Watts, an impoverished high school student who calls a vertically stacked trailer park home, lives primarily online, alongside billions of others, via a massive online game, OASIS, where players race to unravel the puzzles OASIS creator James Halliday built into the game before his death, with the winner taking control of the virtual world's parent company, as well as staggering wealth.

All synopses from Publishers Weekly.


Past Book Discussions

 

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2010-2011

2009-2010

2008-2009

2007-2008

 

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