Book Discussion Groups

The library will offer book groups ONLINE until further notice.

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

January 11 - Pieces of Happiness: A Novel of Friendship, Hope and Chocolate by Anne Ostby

Copies of this title will be available for checkout with a library card. Place a hold online or by calling us at 427-1540.

When Sina, Maya, Ingrid, and Lisbeth each receive a letter in the mail posing the same question, the answer is obvious. Their old high school friend Kat - Kat the adventurer, Kat who ran away to the South Pacific as soon as they graduated - has extended the invitation of a lifetime: come live with me on my cocoa farm in Fiji. Come spend the days eating chocolate and gabbing like teenagers once again, free from men, worries, and cold. Come grow old in paradise, together, as sisters. Who could say no? Now in their sixties, the friends have all but resigned themselves to the cards they've been dealt. There's Sina, a single mom with financial woes; gentle Maya who feels the world slipping away from her; Ingrid, the perennial loner; Lisbeth, a woman with a seemingly picture-perfect life; and then Kat, who is recently widowed. As they adjust to their new lives together, the friends are watched over by Ateca, Kat's longtime housekeeper, who oftentimes knows the women better than they know themselves and recognizes them for what they are: like "a necklace made of shells: from the same beach but all of them different." Surrounded by an azure-blue ocean, cocoa trees, and a local culture that is fascinatingly, joyfully alien, the friends find a new purpose in starting a business making chocolate: bittersweet, succulent pieces of happiness.

February 8 - Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

Copies of this title will be available for checkout with a library card. Place a hold online or by calling us at 427-1540.

Squeezed into a coat closet with his classmates and teacher, first grader Zach Taylor can hear gunshots ringing through the halls of his school. A gunman has entered the building, taking nineteen lives and irrevocably changing the very fabric of this close-knit community. While Zach's mother pursues a quest for justice against the shooter's parents, holding them responsible for their son's actions, Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and art. Armed with his newfound understanding, and with the optimism and stubbornness only a child could have, Zach sets out on a captivating journey towards healing and forgiveness, determined to help the adults in his life rediscover the universal truths of love and compassion needed to pull them through their darkest hours.

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

January 26 - Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

Copies of this title will be available for checkout with a library card. Place a hold online or by calling us at 427-1540.

Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: "He has a nose," people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.

As Tracker follows the boy's scent - from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers - he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?

Drawing from African history and mythology and his own rich imagination, Marlon James has written a novel unlike anything that's come before it: a saga of breathtaking adventure that's also an ambitious, involving read. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is both surprising and profound as it explores the fundamentals of truth, the limits of power, and our need to understand them both.

February 23 - Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Copies of this title will be available for checkout with a library card. Place a hold online or by calling us at 427-1540.

Seraphina is a half-dragon, descended from a dragon mother who took human form and a father who has no particular fondness for Seraphina's kind.

Not that anyone else does either. Hers is a world where dragons and humans live and work side by side--but below the surface, tensions and hostilities are on the rise. Seraphina guards her true self with all of her being, but when a member of the royal family is brutally murdered, she's suddenly thrust into the spotlight, drawn into the investigation alongside the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian.

As the two uncover a sinister plot to destroy the wavering peace of the kingdom, Seraphina's struggle to protect her secret becomes increasingly difficult… and its discovery could mean her very life.

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. Classics Book Club meets 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

January 5 - Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Copies of this title will be available for checkout with a library card. Place a hold online or by calling us at 427-1540. Available as an audiobook and ebook on Hoopla.

Heralded as Virginia Woolf's greatest novel, this is a vivid portrait of a single day in a woman's life. When we meet her, Mrs. Clarissa Dalloway is preoccupied with the last-minute details of party preparation while in her mind she is something much more than a perfect society hostess. As she readies her house, she is flooded with remembrances of faraway times. And, met with the realities of the present, Clarissa reexamines the choices that brought her there, hesitantly looking ahead to the unfamiliar work of growing old.

February 2 - The Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson

Copies of this title will be available for checkout with a library card. Place a hold online or by calling us at 427-1540. If you find your own copy, please be sure it is Emily Wilson’s translation.

The first great adventure story in the Western canon, The Odyssey is a poem about violence and the aftermath of war; about wealth, poverty, and power; about marriage and family; about travelers, hospitality, and the yearning for home. In this fresh, authoritative version - the first English translation of The Odyssey by a woman -his stirring tale of shipwrecks, monsters, and magic comes alive in an entirely new way. Written in iambic pentameter verse and a vivid, contemporary idiom, this engrossing translation matches the number of lines in the Greek original, thus striding at Homer's sprightly pace and singing with a voice that echoes Homer's music. Wilson's Odyssey captures the beauty and enchantment of this ancient poem as well as the suspense and drama of its narrative. Its characters are unforgettable, from the cunning goddess Athena, whose interventions guide and protect the hero, to the awkward teenage son, Telemachus, who struggles to achieve adulthood and find his father; from the cautious, clever, and miserable Penelope, who somehow keeps clamoring suitors at bay during her husband's long absence, to the "complicated" hero himself, a man of many disguises, many tricks, and many moods, who emerges in this translation as a more fully rounded human being than ever before.

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

January 19 - Bingo Love by Tee Franklin

Copies of this title will be available for checkout with a library card. Place a hold online or by calling us at 427-1540. This graphic novel is also instantly available on Hoopla as an ebook.

When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid-'60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage…. Bingo Love is a touching story of love, family, and resiliency that spans over 60 years.

February 16 - Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

Copies of this title will be available for checkout with a library card. Place a hold online or by calling us at 427-1540. This graphic novel is also instantly available on Hoopla as an ebook.

In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em.

Now, Gender Queer is here.

Maia's intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears.

Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be non-binary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity-what it means and how to think about it-for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.

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! Upcoming book talks:

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

Past Book Discussions

Content

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2010-2011

2009-2010

2008-2009

2007-2008