Do you love discussing a good book with a friend? If so, please visit one of Seymour Library’s book clubs. Upcoming meeting times and book selections are listed below. Feel free to come to a book club meeting even if you didn’t make it all the way through the book.
Coffee and Crime focuses on mysteries and crime fiction. One author or series is chosen for each meeting and members pick any title to read. The club meets the second Tuesday of the month at noon. Topics are chosen at each meeting for the upcoming month.
December 12 at noon: Christmas mysteries
The Jane Austen Book Club explores Jane Austen’s classics, as well as contemporary spins offs, to celebrate our Year of Austen. The club meets the third Tuesday of each month at noon.
November 21 at noon: Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid. A modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic novel finds bookish minister’s daughter Cat Morland joining her well-to-do friends in Edinburgh and falling for an up-and-coming lawyer who may harbor unsettling secrets.
December 19 at noon: Persuasion by Jane Austen. Austen’s last novel is the crowning achievement of her matchless career. Her heroine, Anne Elliot, a woman of integrity, breeding and great depth of emotion, stands in stark contrast to the brutality and hypocrisy of Regency England.
History Book Club reads nonfiction that focuses on history. The group meets the third Saturday of the month at 11:30 a.m.
November 18 at 11:30 a.m.: Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick. This is a surprising account of the middle years of the American Revolution and the tragic relationship between George Washington and Benedict Arnold.
December 16 at 11:30 a.m.: Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly. An account of the previously unheralded contributions of NASA’s African-American women mathematicians to America’s space program describes how they were segregated from their white counterparts by Jim Crow laws in spite of their successes.
Read More Book Club at Prison City Pub and Brewery, our evening group, picks titles in support of the library’s reading challenge. The club meets the fourth Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m at Prison City Pub and Brewery, 28 State St., Auburn.
November 29 at 7 p.m.: a book published this year
December 20 at 7 p.m.: a book featuring music or a musician
Coffee and Conversation reads a wide assortment of books, fiction and nonfiction, and meets the last Thursday of the month at 10:30 a.m.
November 30 at 10:30 a.m.: Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper. Embarking on a more than 3,000-kilometer walking journey from rural Canada to the East coast so that she can see the ocean for the first time in her life, an octogenarian woman has experiences that blur her perspectives between illusion, memory and reality.
December 21 at 10:30 a.m.: Be Frank with Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson. Hired to assist a famed reclusive writer trying to recapture her lost fortunes by completing a new manuscript, Alice Whitley becomes obsessed with identifying the paternity of her employer’s precocious young son.
Previous book club picks
the Vera Stanhope series by Ann Cleeves
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. This is the story of Catherine Morland, a naive young woman whose perceptions of the world around her are greatly influenced by the romantic gothic novels to which she is addicted.
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick. Finding a mysterious bracelet among his late wife’s possessions, 69-year-old Arthur Pepper breaks from his routine life for the first time since her death and embarks on a quest to learn about his wife’s life before their marriage, a journey that leads to unexpected self-discoveries.
The Kate Shackleton series by Frances Brody
Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay. When an anonymous benefactor (calling himself “Mr. Knightley”) offers to put orphan Samantha Moore through the prestigious Medill School of Journalism, his only requirement is for Sam to write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.
Thunder at the Gates: The Black Civil War Regiments That Redeemed America by Douglas R. Egerton. Illuminates the public responses, debates and dangers that shaped the entry of black regiments into the Civil War after the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, chronicling the formation and battlefield triumphs of key regiments while discussing their role in shaping public opinion and promoting full citizenship for blacks.
The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld. Arriving at an ancient stone prison, the Lady, an investigator who searches for buried information from prisoners’ pasts that can save those soon-to-be-executed, digs into the past of a killer named York, who can sense what others cannot, and unearths shocking secrets of her own.
The Kate Burkholder series by Linda Castillo
Emma by Jane Austen. Content with her life and not interested in marriage, Emma Woodhouse, a rich and beautiful heiress, causes complications with her matchmaking schemes.
Ice Ghosts: The Epic Hunt for the Lost Franklin Expedition by Paul Watson. A journalist and member of the expedition that discovered the wreck of HMS Erebus in 2014 describes how an unlikely combination of marine science and Inuit knowledge helped solve the mystery of the Lost Franklin Expedition of 1845.
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue. Two marriages, one immigrant working class and the other from the top one percent, are shaped by financial circumstances, infidelities, secrets and the 2008 recession.
The Hanne Wilhelmsen series by the author Anne Holt
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. The private and social worlds of three families are revealed through the experiences of the heroine, Fanny Price.
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin. The American statesman, philosopher, and scientist records his personal life, career, and philosophy, and offers satirical observations on American society and a witty account of his involvement in American public life.
The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman. Documents the true story of Warsaw Zoo keepers and resistance activists Jan and Antonina Zabinski, who in the aftermath of Germany’s invasion of Poland saved the lives of hundreds of Jewish citizens by smuggling them into empty cages and their home villa.
LaRose by Louise Erdrich. Horrified when he accidentally kills his best friend’s five-year-old son while hunting, Landreaux Iron gives away his own young son to his friend’s family according to ancient tradition, a decision that helps both families reach a tenuous peace that is threatened by a vengeful adversary.
The Father Anselm series by the author William Brodrick
Austenland by Shannon Hale. Because her obsession with Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice,” is ruining her love life, Jane Hayes is delighted when she gets the chance to take a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women.
Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar. A revelatory account of the actions taken by the first president to retain his slaves in spite of Northern laws profiles one of the slaves, Ona Judge, describing the intense manhunt that ensued when she ran away.
The Phryne Fisher series by the author Kerry Greenwood
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. In nineteenth-century England, two sisters are drawn into unhappy romances despite the cool judgement of one and the emotional intensity of the other.
Princes at War: The Bitter Battle Inside Britain’s Royal Family in the Darkest Days of WWII by Deborah Cadbury. Traces the dramatic, tragic lives of George V’s four sons against the backdrop of World War II, sharing insights into the pivotal roles of Wallis Simpson and other contributors as drawn from recently discovered family letters.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. A young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal diagnosis describes his examination into what truly makes a meaningful life.
The Carpenter and Quincannon series by the writing team of Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler. As six Californians get together to form a book club to discuss the novels of Jane Austen, their lives are turned upside down by troubled marriages, illicit affairs, changing relationships, and love.
Mrs. Lincoln: A Life by Catherine Clinton. A profile of Mary Todd Lincoln evaluates how her life reflected nineteenth-century America, discussing her aristocratic family, her experiences as a southerner married to a northern politician, and her struggles with the deaths of her husband and children.
The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson. Arriving in the village of Rye, England, in 1914, Beatrice Nash, a young woman of good family, becomes the first female teacher of Latin at the local school and falls in love with her sponsor’s nephew.
Longbourn by Jo Baker. A reimagining of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” from the perspectives of its below-stairs servants captures the drama of the Bennet household from the sideline viewpoint of Sarah, an orphaned housemaid.
Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James McPherson. Focuses on the military campaigns, including strategy and logistics, military leaders, and common soldiers.
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. Commonwealth is the story of two broken families and the paths their lives take over the course of 40 years, through love and marriage, death and divorce, and a dark secret from childhood that lies underneath it all.
the Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist, mystery series by Elly Griffiths
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Elizabeth Bennett’s early determination to dislike Mr. Darcy is a prejudice only matched by his arrogant pride.
Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen. Struggling to support her family in mid-19th-century New York, writer Frances Osgood makes an unexpected connection with literary master Edgar Allan Poe and finds her survival complicated by her intense attraction to the writer and the scheming manipulations of his wife.
the Joe Gunther mystery series by Archer Mayor
Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World by Claire Harman. The author gives readers a complete biography of both Jane Austen and her lasting cultural influence.
Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War by Tony Horwitz. A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist leads readers on a high-spirited, revealing journey through the Old South, tangling with the forces of white rage, rebel grit, and regional pride in places where the Civil War is more than a memory.
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan. The book presents an oral history of the dust storms that devastated the Great Plains during the Depression, following several families and their communities in their struggle to persevere despite the devastation.