Book Discussion Groups

Visit our Facebook Events page to see all upcoming events!

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 May 14 | 1pm & 7pm

The Red Thread by Ann Hood

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

Hood (The Knitting Circle) follows several families as they attempt to adopt daughters from China. Holding down the center is Maya Lange, who, as head of the Red Thread Adoption Agency, is the prospective parents' guide through the adoption process… Hood's sensitive depiction of her characters' hopes and fears makes for a moving story of dedication, forgiveness, and love.

 

 

Monday June 11 | 1pm & 7pm

The Heart by Maylis De Kerangal

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

De Kerangal’s novel pulses with life. When teenager Simon Limbres endures a car crash, he enters a state of irreversible brain death, or coma dépassé. The novel tracks—with panoptic precision—the various actors in the tense and quick 24-hour drama of the harvesting and transplant of his organs.

 

 

 

Monday July 9 | 1pm & 7pm

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

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

Jiles delivers a taut, evocative story of post–Civil War Texas in this riveting drama of a redeemed captive of the Kiowa tribe. Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, an elderly widower, earns his living traveling around, reading news stories to gatherings of townspeople. While reading in Wichita Falls one evening in the winter of 1870, he sees an old acquaintance…

 

 

 

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.

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 May 15 | 7pm

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

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

Bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending. Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession's ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person's last weeks or months may be rich and dignified.

 

Tuesday June 19 | 7pm

America Walks Into a Bar by Christine Sismondo

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

Christine Sismondo recounts the rich and fascinating history of an institution often reviled, yet always central to American life. She traces the tavern from England to New England, showing how even the Puritans valued "a good Beere." With fast-paced narration and lively characters, she carries the story through the twentieth century and beyond, from repeated struggles over licensing and Sunday liquor sales, from the Whiskey Rebellion to the temperance movement, from attempts to ban "treating" to Prohibition and repeal.

 

Tuesday July 17 | 7pm

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

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

In this compelling hybrid of memoir and sociological analysis, Vance digs deep into his upbringing in the hills of Jackson, Ky., and the suburban enclave of Middletown, Ohio. He chronicles with affection—and raw candor—the foibles, shortcomings, and virtues of his family and their own attempts to live their lives as working-class people in a middle-class world.

 

 

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.

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 May 29 | 7pm

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

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

Humans struggle to survive on a ruined world in this elegiac, complex, and intriguing story, the first in the Broken Earth series from acclaimed author Jemisin (the Inheritance Trilogy). The Stillness is a quiet and bitter land, sparsely populated by subsistence communities called comms. Essun lived quietly in a comm with her husband and children until her secret got out: she—and her children—are orogenes, those who have the ability to control Earth forces…

 

 

Tuesday June 26 | 7pm

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

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

Okorafor (The Shadow Speaker) returns with another successful tale of African magic. Although 12-year-old Sunny is Nigerian, she was born in America, and her Nigerian classmates see her as an outsider. Worse, she's an albino, an obvious target for bullies and suspected of being a ghost or a witch. Things change, however, when she has a vision of impending nuclear war. Then her classmate Orlu and his friend Chichi turn out to be Leopard People—witches—and insist that she is, too.

 

 

Tuesday July 31 | 7pm

The Once and Future King by T.H. White

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

T. H. White’s masterful retelling of the saga of King Arthur is a fantasy classic as legendary as Excalibur and Camelot, and a poignant story of adventure, romance and magic that has enchanted readers for generations.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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 May 8 | 6 – 8 PM
Ina Garten / The Barefoot Contessa

Make any recipe from a book by Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, who makes refined cooking deliciously easy.
 

Tuesday July 10 | 6 – 8 PM
Julia Child or Jacques Pepin

Make any recipe from a book by Julia Child or Jacques Pepin, two icons of French cuisine.

Past Book Discussions

Content

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2010-2011

2009-2010

2008-2009

2007-2008