Book Discussion Groups

 

The library will offer book groups ONLINE through the end of 2020.

Our book groups are free and open to all! This page covers Adult Book Discussion Groups. For Youth Book Clubs, visit our Youth Programs page. For Teen Book Clubs, visit our Teen Programs page. 

Fiction Book Discussions

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

This book discussion will be held online on the Zoom platform. Click here to connect! Password: 3GWdHC

November 9 - Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Place a hold online or by calling us at 766-1740, and schedule a time for curbside pickup

In Jesmyn Ward's first novel since her National Book Award-winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. Drawing on Morrison and Faulkner, The Odyssey and the Old Testament, Ward gives us an epochal story, a journey through Mississippi's past and present that is both an intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle. Ward is a major American writer, multiply awarded and universally lauded, and in Sing, Unburied, Sing she is at the height of her powers. Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she's high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie's children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise. Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family. Rich with Ward's distinctive, musical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a majestic new work and an essential contribution to American literature.

December 14 - The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

Place a hold online or by calling us at 766-1740, and schedule a time for curbside pickup. This book is also available on Hoopla as an audiobook or ebook.

College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe's life is ever the same. Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran-and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder. As Joe writes about Carl's life, especially Carl's valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict. Joe, along with his skeptical female neighbor, throws himself into uncovering the truth, but he is hamstrung in his efforts by having to deal with his dangerously dysfunctional mother, the guilt of leaving his autistic brother vulnerable, and a haunting childhood memory. Thread by thread, Joe unravels the tapestry of Carl's conviction. But as he and Lila dig deeper into the circumstances of the crime, the stakes grow higher. Will Joe discover the truth before it's too late to escape the fallout?

 

Speculative Fiction Book Discussions

The Portsmouth Public Library Speculative Fiction Book Group 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? 

This book discussion will be held online on the Zoom platform. Click here to connect! Password: 3GWdHC

October 27 - Creatures of Will and Temper by Molly Tanzer

Copies of this title will be available for checkout with a library card. Place a hold online or by calling us at 766-1740, and schedule a time for curbside pickup. This title is available as an ebook on Hoopla!

Victorian London is a place of fluid social roles, vibrant arts culture, fin-de-siècle wonders . . . and dangerous underground diabolic cults. Fencer Evadne Gray cares for none of the former and knows nothing of the latter when she's sent to London to chaperone her younger sister, aspiring art critic Dorina. At loose ends after Dorina becomes enamored with their uncle's friend, Lady Henrietta "Henry" Wotton, a local aristocrat and aesthete, Evadne enrolls in a fencing school. There, she meets George Cantrell, an experienced fencing master like she's always dreamed of studying under. But soon, George shows her something more than fancy footwork-he reveals to Evadne a secret, hidden world of devilish demons and their obedient servants. George has dedicated himself to eradicating demons and diabolists alike, and now he needs Evadne's help. But as she learns more, Evadne begins to believe that Lady Henry might actually be a diabolist . . . and even worse, she suspects Dorina might have become one too. Combining swordplay, the supernatural, and Victorian high society, Creatures of Will and Temper reveals a familiar but strange London in a riff on Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray that readers won't soon forget.

November 24 - Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand by Samuel Delany

Copies of this title will be available for checkout with a library card. Place a hold online or by calling us at 766-1740, and schedule a time for curbside pickup. This title is available as an ebook and audiobook on Hoopla!

In a universe where information flows freely, lack of knowledge can be cataclysmic With a burst of radiation to the brain, an angry young man is transformed into a dim-witted slave-suitable only for the most brutal work. But the tragedy of Rat Korga is the prologue to the story of Marq Dyeth, an "industrial diplomat," who travels from world to world in this exciting, sprawling future, solving problems that come with the spread of "General Information." The greatest fear in this future is Cultural Fugue, a critical mass of shared knowledge that can destroy life over the surface of an entire world in hours. In this dizzyingly original novel, information is perilous, but without it a human is only a rat in a cage. This is the book in which, a decade before the fact in 1984, Delany predicted the Internet.

 

Classics Book Discussions

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. Now, we are launching the Classics Book Club online. This means we have chosen new titles based on their easy, free availability in digital format. We will meet on the first Tuesday of each month at 7 PM.

This book discussion will be held online on the Zoom platform. Click here to connect! Password: 3GWdHC

December 1 - Middlemarch by George Eliot

Place a hold online or by calling us at 766-1740, and schedule a time for curbside pickupAvailable as an audiobook and ebook on Hoopla.

We will not meet in November, so you’ll have more time to read this month’s book!  We suggest reading books I – IV in October, and V – VIII in November.

An epic study of provincial life at a time when England was facing rapid industrialization and increasingly fluid social mobility, Eliot's depiction of the small community of Middlemarch weaves an intricate web of different characters disparate lives as they strive to adapt to the changing world around them. Eliot was one of the first of her female contemporaries to write a novel that dealt with real-life issues and complex yet ordinary human life. 

 

LGBTQ Book Club

Join us for our newest book group at Portsmouth Public Library! LGBTQ Book Club is for those who identify as LGBTQ or simply want to learn more about LGBTQ stories, narratives and experiences. All are welcome. Copies of each title will be available for library cardholders to place on hold for curbside pickup. LGBTQ Book Club will meet on the third Tuesday of each month at 7 PM.

This book discussion will be held online on the Zoom platform. Click here to connect! Password: 3GWdHC

November 17 - Sissy by Jacob Tobia

Copies of this title will be available for checkout with a library card. Place a hold online or by calling us at 766-1740, and schedule a time for curbside pickup.

From the moment a doctor in Raleigh, North Carolina, put 'male' on Jacob Tobia's birth certificate, everything went wrong. Alongside 'male' came many other, far less neutral words: words that carried expectations about who Jacob was and who Jacob should be, words like 'masculine' and 'aggressive' and 'cargo shorts' and 'SPORTS!' Naturally sensitive, playful, creative, and glitter-obsessed, as a child Jacob was given the label 'sissy.' In the two decades that followed, 'sissy' joined forces with 'gay,' 'trans,' 'nonbinary,' and 'too-queer-to-function' to become a source of pride and, today, a rallying cry for a much-needed gender revolution. Through revisiting their childhood and calling out the stereotypes that each of us have faced, Jacob invites us to rethink what we know about gender and offers a bold blueprint for a healed world--one free from gender-based trauma and bursting with trans-inclusive feminism. From Jacob's Methodist upbringing and the hallowed halls of Duke University to the portrait-laden parlors of the White House, Sissy takes you on a gender odyssey you won't soon forget.

 

Book Talks

At our Online Book Talk, connect with other readers online, and share your recommendations! Bring a three-line description of an adult book (or two) that you enjoyed, or just come and listen to community favorites. We’ll be there to guide the discussion and share how you can find more titles you’ll like – especially ones that are available online!

No registration necessary. Click here to connect! Password: 3GWdHC

Upcoming Book Talk:

Past Book Discussions

Content

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2012

2010-2011

2009-2010

2008-2009

2007-2008