Book Discussion Groups

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Fiction Book Discussions

The library's Fiction Book Club meets the second Monday each month at 1 and 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 January 8 | 1pm & 7pm

Andy Catlett: Early Travels by Wendell Berry

Cover of Andy Catlett - links to library catalog search results for this book

Port William is a fictional town in rural Kentucky. Narrator Andy Catlett is looking back, 60 years later, at his nine-year-old self enjoying his “last year of innocence” before the shocking summer of 1944. His memories encompass three days between Christmas and New Year’s in 1943, when Andy embarks on his first journey alone, a ten-mile bus ride from his home in Hargrave to Port William, where both sets of grandparents live…

 

Monday February 12 | 1pm & 7pm

Reflex by Dick Francis

Cover of current title - links to library catalog search results for this book

Longtime jockey Philip Nore suspects that a racetrack photographer's fatal accident was really murder--and unravels some nasty secrets of corruption, blackmail, and murder.

 

 

 

Monday March 12 | 1pm & 7pm

My Wish List by Greg Delacourt

Cover of current title - links to library catalog search results for this book

The melancholy protagonist of Delacourt’s novel, the first by this French author to be published in English, has the chance to answer a perennial hypothetical question, “What would you do if you won the lottery?” Jocelyne, a 47-year-old shop owner, knitting blogger, and empty nester in Arras, France, wrestles with how to spend her €18.5 million jackpot… This dark fable about how money changes everything, and nothing, was a bestseller in France, and the aching need for comfort, safety and love that it describes is universal…

 

Monday April 9 | 1pm & 7pm

La's Orchestra Saves the World by A. McCall-Smith

Cover of current title - links to library catalog search results for this book

Set mainly during WWII in England, this quiet story about a woman who makes a new life for herself falls short of bestseller Smith's best work. After La Stone's husband leaves her for another woman in France, La retreats to a small cottage in Suffolk given to her by her mortified in-laws. The isolation and peacefulness suit La, who joins the Women's Land Army soon after the outbreak of war. When Feliks Dabrowski, an attractive Polish ex-pat, is assigned to the same farm where La is assisting with chores, La is attracted to him, despite her suspicions that Feliks hasn't been fully truthful about his past…

All synopses from Publishers Weekly.

Nonfiction Book Discussions

Nonfiction Book Discussion meets the third Tuesday each month 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 January 16 | 7pm

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Cover of Turn of Mind - links to library catalog search results for this book

When small numbers of people start behaving differently, that behavior can ripple outward until a critical mass or “tipping point” is reached, changing the world. Gladwell's thesis that ideas, products, messages and behaviors “spread just like viruses do” remains a metaphor as he follows the growth of “word-of-mouth epidemics” triggered with the help of three pivotal types. These are Connectors, sociable personalities who bring people together; Mavens, who like to pass along knowledge; and Salesmen, adept at persuading the unenlightened.

 

Tuesday February 20 | 7pm

The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner

Cover of current title - links to library catalog search results for this book

With the right lifestyle, experts say, chances are that you may live up to a decade longer. What’s the prescription for success? National Geographic Explorer Dan Buettner has traveled the globe to uncover the best strategies for longevity found in the Blue Zones: places in the world where higher percentages of people enjoy remarkably long, full lives.

 

Tuesday March 20 | 7pm

Tribe by Sebastian Junger

Cover of current title - links to library catalog search results for this book

National Magazine Award–winning journalist Junger meditates on tribal sentiment, how it aids “loyalty and belonging and the eternal human quest for meaning,” and how the disappearance of this sentiment has had toxic consequences for modern societies… In the present day, the close interdependence of a tribal lifestyle and its shared resources are things Westerners only experience in combat situations and disasters.

 

Tuesday April 17 | 7pm

Better Together by Robert Putnam

Cover of current title - links to library catalog search results for this book

[Putnam] and fellow public policy expert Feldstein… offer a dozen case studies of what groups of varying size have accomplished by cultivating networks of mutual assistance. Examples range from a neighborhood subdivision in Boston to an entire Mississippi county as well as the "virtual community" of Craigslist, an online bulletin board that has become the prime "go-to" source for job and apartment listings in San Francisco and elsewhere. The authors stress the importance of participatory involvement, championing networks that create opportunities for people to find their own public voice rather than relying on organizers to speak for them.

All synopses from Publishers Weekly.

Speculative Fiction Book Discussions

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

Venues will be announced prior to each meeting. 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.

Tuesday January 29 | 7pm

The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman

Cover of current book - links to library catalog search results for this book

On the run after inadvertently killing one of the sinister men who have been stalking his emotionally disturbed mother, Will, 12, hitchhikes to Oxford to seek information about his father, an explorer who vanished in the Arctic over a decade ago… Will and Lyra join forces and travel between worlds…  the grandly exuberant storytelling is sure to enthrall.

 

Tuesday February 26 | 7pm

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

Cover of current title - links to library catalog search results for this book

By 2025, global warming, pollution, racial and ethnic tensions and other ills have precipitated a worldwide decline. Lauren Olamina, a young black woman, flees when the “paints” overrun her community, heading north with thousands of other refugees seeking a better life. Lauren suffers from “hyperempathy,'' a genetic condition that causes her to experience the pain of others as viscerally as her own—a heavy liability in this future world of cruelty and hunger.

 

Tuesday March 26 | 7pm

Contact by Carl Sagan

Cover of current title - links to library catalog search results for this book

Who could be better qualified than the author of the highly successful Cosmos to turn the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence, and humankind's first contact with it, into imaginative reality? A worldwide system of radio telescopes, in the charge of brilliant astrophysicist Ellie Arroway, picks up a “Message” from outer space. Ellie is instrumental in decoding the message and building the “Machine” for which it gives instructions.

 

Tuesday April 23 | 7pm

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

Cover of current title - links to library catalog search results for this book

Those entering the world of carnival freaks described by narrator Olympia Binewski, a bald, humpbacked albino dwarf, will find no escape from a story at once engrossing and repellent, funny and terrifying, unreal and true to human nature… Art and Lily, owners of Binewski's Fabulon, a traveling carnival, decide to breed their own freak show by creating genetically altered children through the use of experimental drugs.

 

All synopses from Goodreads.

Cookbook Book Club Discussions

Our new bimonthly cookbook book club will meet every other month on the second Tuesday,6 - 8 PM at the library. These are themed potluck meetups! This discussion group requires registration. Please call 766-1703 to register.

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.

Tuesday January 9 | 6 – 8 PM
Return to Healthy Eating

Whatever it means to you, we'll start the year with books on healthy, delicious foods. And if there is a food you've been meaning to try or a cooking skill that has intimidated you (yeast? stocks?) feel free to test - you are among friends. Here is a list of suggested titles:

•    The Pollan Family Table by Corky Pollan
•    At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin
•    My New Roots by Sarah Britton
•    The Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook by Fania Lewando
•    Paleo Perfected
•    Food Health and Happiness by Oprah Winfrey
•    The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
•    Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison
•    In My Kitchen by Deborah Madison
•    Near & Far by Heidi Swanson
•    The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook
•    The First Mess Cookbook  by Laura Wright
•    Food 52 Vegan by Gena Hamshaw
•    Vegan 101 by Heather Bell
•    The Moosewood Restaurant Table
•    The Smart Girl’s Guide to Going Vegetarian by Rachel Meltzer Warren
•    Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore by Anna Thomas
•    Brodo by Marco Canora
•    Roots by Diane Morgan
•    Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
•    The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook by Barbara Damrosch
•    Plant-Powered for Life by Sharon Palmer

Tuesday March 13 | 6 – 8 PM
Cooking for Special Diets

Whether for health, religious or other reasons, you may be cooking for yourself, your family or your guests based on diets with special requirements. Let's look at cookbooks that introduce great options for meals that are Gluten-free, Vegan, Kosher, or best for people with Diabetes or other health issues.

Past Book Discussions

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2009-2010

2008-2009

2007-2008