Book Discussion Groups

Our book groups are free and open to all!

This page covers Adult Book Clubs. For Youth & Teen Book Clubs, visit our Youth Programs or Teen Programs pages. Or view all upcoming book clubs!

Copies of each title are available for checkout with a library card. Click the title below, or call the library at 603-427-1540 to place a hold.

Mystery Book Covers

Mystery Book Club

The library's Mystery Book Club meets at 1 PM on the first Tuesday of each month. All are welcome.

Registration is optional. Click the date below to register and get reminders for upcoming book clubs!

This club will be held in hybrid format. Come in person at the library, or attend online! Click this link to connect via Zoom. Password: 3GWdHC

Blueberry Muffin Murder by Joanne Fluke
Tuesday February 6

Preparations are underway for Lake Eden, Minnesota's annual Winter Carnival—and Hannah Swensen is set to bake up a storm at her popular shop, The Cookie Jar. Too bad the honor of creating the official Winter Carnival cake went to famous lifestyle maven Connie Mac—a half-baked idea, in Hannah's opinion. Turns out America's "Cooking Sweetheart" is bossy, bad-tempered, and downright domineering. Things finally boil over when Hannah arrives at The Cookie Jar to find the Winter Carnival cake burnt to a crisp--and Connie Mac lying dead in her pantry, struck down while eating one of Hannah's famous blueberry muffins….

Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
Tuesday March 5

The year is 1948, the town is Los Angeles.

Easy Rawlins, a black war veteran, has just been fired from his job at a defense factory plant. Drinking in his friend’s bar, he’s wondering how he’ll manage to make ends meet, when a white man in a linen suit approaches him and offers him good money if Easy will simply locate Miss Daphne Money, a missing blonde beauty known to frequent black jazz clubs.

Easy has no idea that by taking this job, his life is about to change forever.

Death in Brittany by Jean-Luc Bannalec
Tuesday April 2

Commissaire Georges Dupin, a cantankerous, Parisian-born caffeine junkie recently relocated from the glamour of Paris to the remote (if picturesque) Breton coast, is dragged from his morning croissant and coffee to the scene of a curious murder. The local village of Pont-Aven―a sleepy community by the sea where everyone knows one other and nothing much seems to happen―is in shock. The legendary ninety-one-year-old hotelier Pierre-Louis Pennec, owner of the Central Hotel, has been found dead.


Classics Book Covers

Classics Book Club

We define a classic not by its specific time period, but by its staying power and recognized value to society and the literary canon. We will endeavor to include a diverse group of authors, across gender, race, nationality and sexuality. Classics Book Club meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 7 PM.

Registration is optional. Click the date below to register and get reminders for upcoming book clubs!

This club will be held in hybrid format. Come in person at the library, or attend online! Click this link to connect via Zoom. Password: 3GWdHC

Not Without Laughter by Langston Hughes
Tuesday February 6

This stirring coming-of-age tale unfolds in 1930s rural Kansas. A poignant portrait of African-American family life in the early twentieth century, it follows the story of young Sandy Rogers as he grows from a boy to a man. We meet Sandy's mother, Annjee, who works as a housekeeper for a wealthy white family; his strong-willed grandmother, Hager; Jimboy, Sandy's father, who travels the country looking for work; Aunt Tempy, the social climber; and Aunt Harriet, the blues singer who has turned away from her faith.

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Tuesday March 5

When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows us the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip, and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.

Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust (Any Translation)
Tuesday April 2

Swann’s Way, the first of the seven volumes that con­stitute Marcel Proust’s lifework, In Search of Lost Time, introduces the larger themes of the whole work while standing on its own as a brilliant evocation of childhood, hopeless love, and the French Belle Époque….


Fiction Book Covers

Fiction Book Club

The library's Fiction Book Club meets the second Monday each month at 1 PM and 7 PM. Attend at either time!

Registration is optional. Click the date below to register and get reminders for upcoming book clubs!

This club will be held in hybrid format. Come in person at the library, or attend online! Click this link to connect via Zoom. Password: 3GWdHC

Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Monday February 12

Montgomery, Alabama, 1973. Fresh out of nursing school, Civil Townsend intends to make a difference, especially in her African American community. At the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic, she hopes to help women shape their destinies, to make their own choices for their lives and bodies.

Decades later, with her daughter grown and a long career in her wake, Civil is ready to retire, to find her peace, and to leave the past behind. But there are people and stories that refuse to be forgotten. That must not be forgotten. Because history repeats what we don’t remember….

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
Monday March 11

Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. A disorganized cutlery drawer ranks high on her list of unforgivable sins. She is not one to judge others—no matter how ill-mannered, unkempt, or morally suspect they might be. It’s just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention.

But hidden inside the socially awkward, fussy busybody is a woman who has more imagination, bigger dreams, and a warmer heart that anyone around her realizes….

Pocketful of Names by Joe Coomer
Monday April 8

Inhabiting an island off the coast of Maine left to her by her great-uncle Arno, Hannah finds her life as a dedicated and solitary artist rudely interrupted one summer when a dog, matted with feathers and seaweed, arrives with the tide. He is only the first of a series of unexpected visitors and is soon followed by a teenager running from an abusive father, a half sister in trouble, a mainland family, and a forlorn trapped whale. In the engrossing drama that unfolds, Hannah's love of her island solitude competes with her instinctive compassion for others.


Nonfiction Book Covers

Nonfiction Book Club

The library's Nonfiction Book Club meets the third Monday each month, at 1 PM.

Registration is optional. Click the date below to register and get reminders for upcoming book clubs!

This club will be held in hybrid format. Come in person at the library, or attend online! Click this link to connect via Zoom. Password: 3GWdHC

Fen, Bog and Swamp: A Short History of Peatland Destruction and its Role in the Climate Crisis by Annie Proulx
Monday February 26

A lifelong acolyte of the natural world, Annie Proulx brings her witness and research to the subject of wetlands and the vitally important role they play in preserving the environment—by storing the carbon emissions that accelerate climate change. Fens, bogs, swamps, and marine estuaries are crucial to the earth’s survival, and in four illuminating parts, Proulx documents their systemic destruction in pursuit of profit….

Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America by Marcia Chatelain
Monday March 18

Chatelain investigates the complex interrelationship between black communities and America’s largest, most popular fast food chain. Taking us from the first McDonald’s drive-in in San Bernardino to the franchise on Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Missouri, in the summer of 2014, Chatelain shows how fast food is a source of both power―economic and political―and despair for African Americans. As she contends, fast food is, more than ever before, a key battlefield in the fight for racial justice.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: And Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks
Monday April 15

Oliver Sacks tells the stories of individuals afflicted with perceptual and intellectual disorders: patients who have lost their memories and with them the greater part of their pasts; who are no longer able to recognize people and common objects; whose limbs seem alien to them; who lack some skills yet are gifted with uncanny artistic or mathematical talents. In Dr. Sacks’s splendid and sympathetic telling, his patients are deeply human and his tales are studies of struggles against incredible adversity. A great healer, Sacks never loses sight of medicine’s ultimate responsibility: “the suffering, afflicted, fighting human subject.”


Spec Fic Book Covers

Speculative Fiction Book Club

The Portsmouth Public Library Speculative Fiction Book Club will meet on the final Tuesday of each month at 7 PM. Spec Fic is a genre that encompasses fantasy, science fiction, horror and everything in between. Speculative fiction asks, what if? 

Registration is optional. Click the date below to register and get reminders for upcoming book clubs!

This club will be held in hybrid format. Come in person at the library, or attend online! Click this link to connect via Zoom. Password: 3GWdHC

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
Tuesday February 27

Carolyn's not so different from the other human beings around her. After all, she was a normal American herself once. That was a long time ago, of course - before the time she calls "adoption day", when she and a dozen other children found themselves being raised by a man they learned to call Father. Carolyn and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father's ancient Pelapi customs. They've studied the books in his library and learned some of the secrets behind his equally ancient power. Sometimes they've wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God. Now Father is missing. And if God truly is dead, the only thing that matters is who will inherit his library - and with it power over all of creation….

Dhalgren by Samuel Delany
Tuesday March 26

Bellona is a city at the dead center of the United States. Something has happened there.... The population has fled. Madmen and criminals wander the streets. Strange portents appear in the cloud-covered sky. Into this disaster zone comes a young man—poet, lover, and adventurer—known only as the Kid.

Tackling questions of race, gender, and sexuality, Dhalgren is a literary marvel and groundbreaking work of American magical realism.

The Library of the Dead by T. L. Huchu
Tuesday April 30

Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker – and they sure do love to talk. Now she speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to those they left behind. A girl’s gotta earn a living, and it seems harmless enough. Until, that is, the dead whisper that someone’s bewitching children – leaving them husks, empty of joy and strength. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honor-bound to investigate. But what she learns will rock her world….


Shakespeare Art

Shakespeare Discussion Group

How now good friends? Dost thou seek a monthly passtime to broaden the mind and entice the senses? Look no further than Shakespearean Discussion Group! Enjoy the selected play of the month in the way ‘twas presented: to the masses! Pick up a video recording of the play to view at your leisure, and then join us on the last Tuesday of the month at 4 PM to discuss your experience with The Bard’s work. Mayhaps thou shalt stumble upon some new friends there as well… Be not perturbed of your knowledge of Shakespeare’s works, for we encourage fellows of all ages, areas of interest and expertise to attend!

Shakespeare Discussion Group meets in person, in the library's MacLeod Board Room. Registration is optional - register to receive reminders. Visit our library calendar to register!

Print and DVD copies of this play will be available for checkout with a library card. Library cardholders also have streaming access to the BBC production on Kanopy – visit cityofportsmouth.com/library/kanopy to connect. Or, watch any of the freely available productions linked from the calendar.

February 27: Cymbeline

March 26: Taming of the Shrew


 

Past Book Discussions

Content

2024

2023

2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2010-2011

2009-2010

2008-2009

2007-2008