Book Clubs

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.

May 8 at noon: The Homer Kelly series by Jane Langton

June 12 at noon: the Eve Duncan series by Iris Johansen

 

 

Tea and Tales Book Club, the library’s newest group, reads a mix of historical fiction and the classics. The club meets the third Tuesday of each month at noon.

May 15 at noon: The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman. In late eighteenth-century England, two very different women–Ruth, who fights bare-knuckled in the prize rings of Bristol, and Charlotte, a wealthy aristocrat–have a life-changing encounter that helps them to discover the power of their own strength.

June 19 at noon: The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin. An intimate reimagining of the powerful creative partnership between Hollywood superstars Frances Marion and Mary Pickford traces their friendship and boundary-breaking achievements against a backdrop of pre-World War I Hollywood.

 

 

History Book Club reads nonfiction that focuses on history. The group meets the third Saturday of the month at 11:30 a.m.

May 19 at 11:30 a.m.: Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen Ambrose. A chronicle of the two-and-a-half year journey of Lewis and Clark covers their incredible hardships and the contributions of Sacajawea.

June 16 at 11:30 a.m.: Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. The author looks at the making of history from a woman’s perspective, looking at three key works–the fifteenth-century Book of the City of Ladies by Christine de Pizan, Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s memoirs, and Virginia Woolf’s essay, A Room of One’s Own, to reveal how women both make and record history.

 

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.

May 23 at 7 p.m.: A book featuring royalty

June 27 at 7 p.m.: A book set at sea

 

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.

May 31 at 10:30 a.m.: The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries by Marilyn Johnson. A wry study of the cult and culture of the obituary assesses what our fascination with these unique human-interest stories reveals about our feelings about death, offering a survey of the obituary in all its diversity.

June 28 at 10:30 a.m.: to be determined

 

Previous book club picks

April

The Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear

An Appetite for Violets by Martine Bailey. After accompanying her new mistress to Italy, Biddy Leigh, the under-cook at Mawton Hall begins a culinary adventure that includes secrets and a murderous conspiracy. Includes authentic 18th-century European recipes.

Truman by David McCullough, Parts 4 and 5. A biography of the U.S. president explores Truman’s brutal frontier childhood, his education, his dogged optimism, his rise through the ranks of the Pendergast machine that controlled Missouri politics, and more.

A book featuring an animal/animals

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. A fable about undauntedly following one’s dreams, listening to one’s heart, and reading life’s omens features dialogue between a shepherd boy and an unnamed being.

March

James Grippando’s Jack Swyteck series

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston. Using an array of vintage memorabilia, a novel told in the form of a scrapbook follows Frankie Pratt, who goes to Vassar in 1920 with dreams of becoming a writer, which becomes a stepping stone to an international adventure.

Truman by David McCullough, Parts 1 through 3. A biography of the U.S. president explores Truman’s brutal frontier childhood, his education, his dogged optimism, his rise through the ranks of the Pendergast machine that controlled Missouri politics, and more.

A book from your “to be read” pile/list

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. Oskar Schell, the 9-year-old son of a man killed in the World Trade Center attacks, searches the five boroughs of New York City for a lock that fits a key his father left behind.

February

Craig Johnson’s Sheriff Walt Longmire series

Ross Poldark by Winston Graham. Tired from a grim war in America, Ross Poldark returns to his land and his family. But the joyful homecoming he has anticipated turns sour, for his father is dead, his estate is derelict and the girl he loves is engaged to his cousin. But his sympathy for the destitute miners and farmers of the district leads him to rescue a half-starved urchin girl from a fairground brawl and take her home – an act which alters the whole course of his life.

Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad by Eric Foner. Traces the workings of the underground railroad in slave-dependent New York by three lesser-known heroes who coordinated with black dockworkers and counterparts in other states to help thousands of fugitive slaves between 1830 and 1860.

A book by an author of a different ethnicity than you

The Gathering by Anne Enright. As nine members of the Hegarty clan gather for the wake of their drowned brother Liam, his sister Veronica remembers the secret he shared with her about what happened in their grandmother’s house thirty years ago, a betrayal that spans three generations.

January 2018

Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Pollifax series

The Address by Fiona Davis. Interior designer Bailey Camdenis leaps at a chance to renovate her heiress cousin’s lavish apartment at The Dakota, and learns the scandalous history of a distant ancestor’s connection to the murder of the building’s architect a century earlier.

The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For by David McCullough. Collects some of the author’s speeches delivered throughout the course of his career that celebrate distinctly American principles and characteristics.

March, Book Three by John Lewis. Congressman John Lewis, one of the key figures of the civil rights movement, joins co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell to bring the lessons of history to vivid life for a new generation, urgently relevant for today’s world.

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. Tired of living on a failing farm and suffering oppressive poverty, bored housewife Dellarobia Turnbow, on the way to meet a potential lover, is detoured by a miraculous event on the Appalachian mountainside that ignites a media and religious firestorm that changes her life forever.

December 2017

Christmas mysteries

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.

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.

a book featuring music or a musician

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.

November

The Chee, Manuelito, and Leaphorn series by Tony Hillerman and Anne Hillerman

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.

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.

a book published this year

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.

October

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 Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff. The book analyzes the Salem Witch Trials to offer key insights into the role of women in its events while explaining how its tragedies became possible.

a book that scares you

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.

September

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.

book about a book or books

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.

August

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.

A fantasy or science fiction book

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.

 

July

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.

A book that makes you laugh

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.

 

June

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.

a book that takes place somewhere you’ve always wanted to go

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.

 

May

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.

a book for kids or teens

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.

 

April

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.

a book set on a college campus

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.

 

March

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.

a Western

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.

 

February

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.

a book with a one word title

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.

 

January

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.

a mystery

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.