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 August 13 | 1pm & 7pm

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

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

The gulf that separates expatriate Bengali parents from their American-raised children—and that separates the children from India remains Lahiri's subject for this follow-up to Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake… Lahiri's stories of exile, identity, disappointment and maturation evince a spare and subtle mastery that has few contemporary equals.

 

 

 

Monday September 10 | 1pm & 7pm

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

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

Diffenbaugh's affecting debut chronicles the first harrowing steps into adulthood taken by a deeply wounded soul who finds her only solace in an all-but-forgotten language. On her 18th birthday, Victoria Jones ages out of the foster care system, a random series of living arrangements around the San Francisco Bay Area the only home she's ever known. Unable to express herself with words, she relies on the Victorian language of flowers to communicate…
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Monday October 1 | 1pm & 7pm

The Daugher of Time by Josephine Tey

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

Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, recuperating from a broken leg, becomes fascinated with a contemporary portrait of Richard III that bears no resemblance to the Wicked Uncle of history. Could such a sensitive, noble face actually belong to one of the world’s most heinous villains—a venomous hunchback who may have killed his brother’s children to make his crown secure? Or could Richard have been the victim, turned into a monster by the usurpers of England’s throne? Grant determines to find out once and for all, with the help of the British Museum and an American scholar, what kind of man Richard Plantagenet really was and who killed the Little Princes in the Tower.
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Monday November 5 | 1pm & 7pm

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

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

Marra’s sobering, complex debut intertwines the stories of a handful of characters at the end of the second war in bleak, apocalyptic Chechnya. Though the novel spans 11 years, the story traces five days in 2004 following the arrest of Dokka, a villager from the small Muslim village of Eldar.
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Monday December 10 | 1pm & 7pm

Eleanor Oliphant is Comletely Fine by Gail Honeyman

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

Thirty-year-old narrator Eleanor Oliphant’s life in Glasgow is one of structure and safety, but it doesn’t offer many opportunities for human connection. At her job of 10 years as a finance clerk, she endures snickers and sidelong glances from her coworkers because she is socially awkward and generally aloof, and her weekends are spent with copious amounts of vodka…
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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 August 21 | 7pm

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

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

Writing with wit and verve, Harari, professor of history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, attempts to explain how Homo sapiens came to be the dominant species on Earth as well as the sole representative of the human genus. He notes that from roughly two million years ago until about 10,000 years ago, we were not the only humans on the planet; many species preceded us, and some overlapped our tenure. Harari argues persuasively that three revolutions explain our current situation.

 

 

Tuesday September 18 | 7pm

Forward From Here: Leaving Middle Age by Reeve Lindbergh

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

In this collection of poignant essays, Lindbergh struggles to extract meaning, and even solace, from an imperfect everyday reality. Heading her list of concerns is her looming 60th birthday and the change and decline that it symbolizes—the departure from home of her children, a benign brain tumor, the therapeutic drug culture that is the hallmark of old age in America. Despite her anxieties and losses, she manages to find in fragile, flawed things—a broken sea shell, a heron that's lost a leg—a kind of beauty.
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Tuesday October 16 | 7pm

The B Side by Ben Yagoda

Cover of current title - links to library catalog search results for this bookDrawing on previously unavailable archival materials, as well as interviews with Linda Ronstadt, Randy Newman, and Jimmy Webb, among others, essayist Yagoda energetically conducts a journey through the development of popular music in this vibrant piece of cultural history.
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Tuesday November 20 | 7pm

The Flamingo's Smile by Stephen Jay Gould

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

Evolutionary theory is the theme that binds together these essays on such seemingly disparate topics as the feeding habits of flamingos, flowers and snails that change from male to female and sometimes back again, and the extinction from baseball of the .400 hitter.
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Tuesday December  | 7pm

The Book That Changed America by Randall Fuller

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

Throughout its history America has been torn in two by debates over ideals and beliefs.  Randall Fuller takes us back to one of those turning points, in 1860, with the story of the influence of Charles Darwin’s just-published On the Origin of Species on five American intellectuals, including Bronson Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, the child welfare reformer Charles Loring Brace, and the abolitionist Franklin Sanborn.
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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 August 28 | 7pm

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

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

Kivrin, a history student at Oxford in 2048, travels back in time to a 14th-century English village, despite a host of misgivings on the part of her unofficial tutor. When the technician responsible for the procedure falls prey to a 21st-century epidemic, he accidentally sends Kivrin back not to 1320 but to 1348--right into the path of the Black Death.

 

 

 

Tuesday September 25 | 7pm

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

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

Originally published in 1968, Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea marks the first of the six now beloved Earthsea titles. Ged was the greatest sorcerer in Earthsea, but in his youth he was the reckless Sparrowhawk. In his hunger for power and knowledge, he tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tumultuous tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death's threshold to restore the balance.
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Tuesday October 30 | 7pm

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

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

NOS4A2 is a spine-tingling novel of supernatural suspense from master of horror Joe Hill. Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country…
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Tuesday Novemeber 27 | 7pm

This Census-Taker by China Mieville

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

In a remote house on a hilltop, a lonely boy witnesses a profoundly traumatic event. He tries—and fails—to flee. Left alone with his increasingly deranged parent, he dreams of safety, of joining the other children in the town below, of escape. When at last a stranger knocks at his door, the boy senses that his days of isolation might be over…
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Tuesday December 18 | 7pm

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein

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

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious lithe boofe, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum.
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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.

September 11
Finger Foods
This meetup will be at a special time and place! Four Tree Island Pavilion, 5:30 – 7:30.
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November 13 | 6  - 8 PM
Super Challenge: Squash!
Sweet or savory, summer or winter.
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Past Book Discussions

Content

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2010-2011

2009-2010

2008-2009

2007-2008