Book Clubs

Seymour Library’s book club meetings are cancelled for the remainder of March, April, and May. Please join us virtually in June.

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.



Monday Nightcap Book Chat – on hiatus

This club is a collaboration between the Equal Rights Heritage Center and Seymour Library. Join them on the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Equal Rights Heritage Center, 25 South St. in Auburn.

 

Coffee and Crime

 

Coffee and Crime Book Club 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.

June 9 at noon: The Charlie Parker series by John Connolly. Many digital audiobooks in the series are available through Hoopla.

July 14 at noon: to be determined


Tea and Tales

 

Historical fiction and the classics are the focus of Tea and Tales Book Club. In 2020, the group will focus on the 1920s. The club meets the third Tuesday of each month at noon.

Upcoming date TBD: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Fowler. A tale inspired by F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald’s marriage follows their union in defiance of her father’s opposition and her transformation into a Jazz Age celebrity in the literary party scenes of New York, Paris, and the French Riviera. The digital audiobook is available through Hoopla.

Upcoming date TBD: The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty. A novel about the friendship between an adolescent, pre-movie-star Louise Brooks, and the 36-year-old woman who chaperones her to New York City for a summer, in 1922, and how it changes both their lives


History Book Club

 

The History Book Club reads nonfiction that focuses on local, American, and world history. The group meets the third Saturday of the month at 11 a.m.

Upcoming date TBD: Heirs of an Honored Name: The Decline of the Adams Family and the Rise of Modern America by Douglas R. Egerton. An award-winning author and history professor describes the slow decline of the famous political family founded by John and Abigail Adams, detailing how Charles Francis Sr. and his children left the Republicans stranded during the Civil War. 

Upcoming date TBD: Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson. A portrait of the Bard is presented in the style of a travelogue based on interviews with actors, the curator of Shakespeare’s birthplace, and academics, in an account that also shares the author’s recollections of his own adventures in Stratford-upon-Avon.


Read More Book Club

 

Our evening group, Read More Book Club, picks titles in support of the library’s reading challenge. The club meets the fourth Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m at Panera Bread, 6 Plaza Dr., Auburn.

May 27 at 7 p.m.: A book with a tree or leaves on the cover

June 24 at 7 p.m.: A book about a hobby


Coffee and Conversation

The Coffee and Conversation Book Club reads a wide assortment of books, fiction and nonfiction, and meets the last Thursday of the month at 10:30 a.m.

Upcoming date TBD: This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger. Fleeing the Depression-era school for Native American children who have been taken from their parents, four orphans share a life-changing journey marked by struggling farmers, faith healers, and lost souls.

Upcoming date TBD: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Viewed with suspicion in the aftermath of a tragedy, a beautiful hermit who has survived for years in a marsh becomes targeted by unthinkable forces.


Past Selections

March

A Very Dangerous Woman: Martha Wright and Women’s Rights by Sherry H. Penney and James D. Livingston. “A very dangerous woman” is what Martha Coffin Wright’s conservative neighbors considered her, because of her work in the women’s rights and abolition movements.

The Kate Shugak series by Dana Stabenow. Action, atmosphere, and interesting characters come together in this series by Alaskan author Dana Stabenow. The books follow native Aluet Kate Shugak, a tough yet insightful private investigator. Kate is a homesteader in an Alaskan national park with other eccentric “park rats” weaving in and out of her stories. Vivid descriptions of the land and animals round out this compelling series. Many digital audiobooks in the series are available through Hoopla.

February

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. After Cora, a slave in pre-Civil War Georgia, escapes with another slave, Caesar, they seek the help of the Underground Railroad as they flee from state to state and try to evade a slave catcher, Ridgeway, who is determined to return them to the South.

The Dr. Siri Paiboun series by Colin Cotterill. This unusual series follows 70-something Dr. Siri Paiboun, the reluctant national coroner of Laos, during the 1970s. The secondary characters, including his wife who runs the best noodle shop around, are quite eccentric and Siri’s dialogue with them is wry and full of dark humor. Siri is haunted by spirits, visiting him from the dead in his dreams. While this is all quite strange, the tales are full of intriguing mysteries and historical details of the time complete with the bureaucratic ruling regime. Many digital audiobooks in the series are available through Hoopla.

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. A chance encounter with a handsome banker in a Greenwich Village jazz bar on New Year’s Eve 1938 catapults witty Wall Street secretary Katey Kontent into the upper echelons of New York society, where she befriends a shy multi-millionaire, an Upper East Side ne’er-do-well and a single-minded widow.

Three Days at the Brink: FDR’s Daring Gamble to Win World War II by Bret Baier. The Fox political anchor and best-selling author of Three Days in Moscow presents a suspenseful history of the secret, highly influential 1943 Tehran Conference between the 32nd American President, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin.

A book featuring a love triangle

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware. When a high-paying nanny job at a luxurious Scottish Highlands home ends with her imprisonment for a child’s murder, a young woman struggles to explain to her lawyer the unraveling events that led to her incarceration.

January 2020

The Cork O’Connor series by William Kent Krueger. Corcoran “Cork” O’Connor, part Irish and part Ojibwe, was a former sheriff but now runs a burger joint and works as a private investigator in rural Aurora, Minnesota. The series features complex plots and moves at a quick pace with touches of humor along the way. The books are atmospheric, vividly portraying the Northwoods environment along with Anishinabe tradition, and have rich characters who go through a range of emotional issues throughout the series.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Jay Gatsby had once loved beautiful, spoiled Daisy Buchanan, then lost her to a rich boy. Now, mysteriously wealthy, he is ready to risk everything to woo her back.

Leadership in Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of No Ordinary Time draws on five decades of scholarship to offer an illuminating exploration of the early development, growth and exercise of leadership as demonstrated by Presidents Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, FDR and Johnson.

A book that became a movie

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. Presents a true account of the early twentieth-century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law-enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI that eventually uncovered one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

December

Christmas mysteries

The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict. A tale inspired by the extraordinary first wife of Albert Einstein follows the experiences of a solitary female physics student at an elite late-19th-century school in Zurich, where she falls in love with a charismatic fellow student who eclipses her contributions to his theory of relativity.  The ebook is also available through Hoopla.

D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II by Sarah Rose. Documents the story of the extraordinary women recruited by Britain’s elite spy agency to sabotage the Nazis and help pave the way for Allied victory during World War II.

A book published in 2019

The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman. A holiday novella about a successful businessman contemplating the choices he made in his life and the little girl battling cancer who provides him with the inspiration he needs.

November

The Aimee Leduc series by Cara Black. This suspenseful series follows chic computer security analyst and private investigator Aimee Leduc through the streets of contemporary Paris at a breakneck speed, occasionally on a scooter. The vivid stories often focus on political tensions and the treatment of immigrant groups in Parisian neighborhoods. Aimee’s mother vanished as a child and her continuing search for information runs through the series.  A few digital audiobook titles are also available through Hoopla.

Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland. Hoping to honor his father and the family business with innovative glass designs, Louis Comfort Tiffany launches the iconic Tiffany lamp as designed by women’s division head Clara Driscoll, who struggles with the mass production of her creations and grieves the losses of two husbands. 

Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow (part two). The author presents a monumental biography of the legendary oilman, capitalist, Baptist, and philanthropist, the first portrait to draw on Rockefeller’s own papers.  The digital audiobook is also available through Hoopla.

A book about a family

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce. An adventurous young woman takes a typist job to assist the war effort and lands in the employ of a renowned advice columnist before she begins secretly replying to heart-wrenching letters rejected as unsuitable.

October

The Bruno, Chief of Police series by Martin Walker. Benoit “Bruno” Courreges is the chief of police of St. Denis, a small village in the south of France. The stories are as much about good food and wine as crime, with captivating main and supporting characters. Rich details and a strong sense of the French countryside fill out the mysteries. The books contain enough suspense and occasionally dark details to keep them from being cozies, though. 

Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley. As war is raging, young French Canadian lieutenant Jean-Philippe de Sabran is captured and billeted with a Long Island family, becoming an unwilling and unwelcome guest that soon has feelings for the daughter of the house, Lydia Wilde. The ebook is also available through Hoopla.

Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow (part one). The author presents a monumental biography of the legendary oilman, capitalist, Baptist, and philanthropist, the first portrait to draw on Rockefeller’s own papers.  The digital audiobook is also available through Hoopla.

A ghost story

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. After Cora, a slave in pre-Civil War Georgia, escapes with another slave, Caesar, they seek the help of the Underground Railroad as they flee from state to state and try to evade a slave catcher, Ridgeway, who is determined to return them to the South.

September

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. A chilling look at the near future presents the story of Offred, a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, once the United States, an oppressive world where women are no longer allowed to read and are valued only as long as they are viable for reproduction.

The John Rebus series by Ian Rankin. Many ebooks and digital audiobooks in this series are also available through Hoopla.

The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard. A novel inspired by the stories of everyday women who contributed to the Manhattan Project during World War II follows the experiences of 18-year-old June, who, in 1944, travels to a city that does not officially exist to work alongside hundreds of other young women operating massive secret machines in support of the war effort. The ebook and digital audiobook are also available through Hoopla.

Spying on the South: An Odyssey Across the American Divide by Tony Horwitz. Recounts the author’s effort to retrace Frederick Law Olmstead’s epic journey across the pre-Civil War American South one hundred fifty years later, reporting on what remains of Olmstead’s “Cotton Kingdom.” 

A challenged or banned book

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson, Parts 4 through Epilogue (pages 223-538). In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America.

August

The Simon Serrailler series by Susan Hill. Many ebooks and digital audiobooks in this series are also available through Hoopla.

The Bourbon Thief by Tiffany Reisz. Waking up from a night spent with a beautiful stranger to discover he has been robbed of a million-dollar bottle of bourbon she claims is hers, Cooper McQueen listens to the woman’s lurid tale of how her prestigious family distillery went out of business. The ebook and digital audiobook are also available through Hoopla.

The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789 by Joseph J. Ellis. Shares historical insights into America’s post-Revolution efforts for independence, citing key debates over the creations of the Articles of Confederation and the Bill of Rights.

A book set in space

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson, Parts 1 through 3 (pages 1-221). In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America.

July

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez. Moving from Mexico to the United States when their daughter suffers a near-fatal accident, the Riveras confront cultural barriers, their daughter’s difficult recovery, and her developing relationship with a Panamanian boy.

The Inspector Alan Banks series by Peter Robinson. Many ebooks and digital audiobooks in this series are also available through Hoopla.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. In early 1900s Korea, prized daughter Sunja finds herself pregnant and alone, bringing shame on her family until a young tubercular minister offers to marry her and bring her to Japan, in the saga of one family bound together as their faith and identity are called into question. 

The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough. A graphic account of the collapse of a poorly constructed dam and the resulting flood which killed 2,000 people and caused a nationwide scandal.

A book you would normally consider a guilty pleasure

If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin. When a pregnant Tish’s boyfriend Fonny, a sculptor, is wrongfully jailed for the rape of a Puerto Rican woman, their families unite to prove the charge false. 

June

Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution by David Carter. The 1969 riots over police action against The Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village, brought to light to years of oppression and is now considered a starting point for the LGBTQ equality movement.

The Decker and Larzarus series by Faye Kellerman. Many digital audiobooks in this series are also available through Hoopla.

Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick. A history of the Pilgrim settlement of New England challenges popular misconceptions, discussing such topics as the diseases of European origin suffered by the Wampanoag tribe, the fragile working relationship between the Pilgrims and their Native American neighbors, and the devastating impact of the King Philip’s War.

A book that includes a wedding

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. An international best-seller based on the true story of an Auschwitz-Birkenau survivor traces the experiences of a Jewish Slovakian who uses his position as a concentration-camp tattooist to secure food for his fellow prisoners. The digital audiobook is also available through Hoopla.

May

This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody Warnick. Recounts how, after several moves around the country, the author decided to adopt their latest town as a permanent home by identifying reasons to love it, sharing her findings about the psychology of place attachment and the motivations of people dedicated to improving their cities.

The Shetland series by Ann Cleeves. Many digital audiobooks in this series are also available through Hoopla.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. In 1947, pregnant Charlie St. Clair, an American college girl banished from her family, arrives in London to find out what happened to her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, and meets a former spy who, torn apart by betrayal, agrees to help her on her mission. The digital audiobook is also available through Hoopla.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance. Shares the poignant story of the author’s family and upbringing, describing how they moved from poverty to an upwardly mobile clan that included the author, a Yale Law School graduate, while navigating the demands of middle-class life and the collective demons of the past.

A coming of age book

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler. A lifetime of painful milestones and fading grandchild prospects compel a woman to help her son’s ex, whose 9-year-old daughter needs protection from violent local dynamics.

April

The Under Suspicion series by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. Deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal in 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin, where he endures life in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history unfold.The digital audiobook is also available through RB Digital.

Most Blessed of the Patriarchs: Thomas Jefferson & The Empire of the Imagination by Annette Gordon-Reed & Peter Onuf. A noted historian and a leading Jefferson scholar clarify philosophical questions about the Founding Father to trace his youth and development through the inconsistencies attributed to his character and his old age. 

A book set during the current season. You can decide if it is winter or spring.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. A socially awkward, routine-oriented loner teams up with a bumbling IT guy from her office to assist an elderly accident victim, forging a friendship that saves all three from lives of isolation and secret unhappiness.

March

The Tess Monaghan series by Laura Lippman

The Gods of Newport by John Jakes. Determined to secure entry into the elite social circles of late nineteenth-century Rhode Island, former robber baron Sam Driver enlists the help of a pair of social gadflies but finds his efforts complicated by his daughter’s dangerous romance with an impoverished young Irishman. The digital audiobook is also available through Hoopla.

In The Hurricane’s Eye: The Genius of George Washington & The Battle of Yorktown by Nathaniel Philbrick. Details the campaign that ultimately won the Revolutionary War for the Americans, from the Battle of the Chesapeake–fought without a single American ship–to the victory at Yorktown.

A book set in a different country

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant. Recounting the story of her life to her granddaughter, octogenarian Addie describes how she was raised in early-twentieth-century America by Jewish immigrant parents in a teeming multicultural neighborhood. The digital audiobook is also available through Hoopla.

February

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline. Imagines the life story of Christina Olson, the subject of Andrew Wyeth’s painting “Christina’s World,” describing the simple life she led on a remote Maine farm, her complicated relationship with her family, and the illness that incapacitated her. The digital audiobook is also available through Hoopla.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass. Written more than a century ago by Frederick Douglass, a former slave who went on to become a famous orator, writer, journalist, minister, and leader, this masterpiece is one of the most eloquent indictments of slavery ever recorded.

Something short (a novella, short story/stories)

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. Newlyweds Celestial and Roy, the living embodiment of the New South, are settling into the routine of their life together when Roy is sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. An insightful look into the lives of people who are bound and separated by forces beyond their control. The ebook and digital audiobook are also available through Hoopla.

January

The Spenser series by Robert B. Parker

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Viewed with suspicion in the aftermath of a murder, Kya Clark, who has survived alone for years in a marsh near the North Carolina coast, becomes targeted by unthinkable forces.

The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels by Jon Meacham. Pulitzer Prize–winning author Jon Meacham helps us understand the present moment in American politics and life by looking back at critical times in our history when hope overcame division and fear.

A book with stars on the cover or in the title

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. A chance encounter with a handsome banker in a Greenwich Village jazz bar on New Year’s Eve 1938 catapults witty Wall Street secretary Katey Kontent into the upper echelons of New York society, where she befriends a shy multi-millionaire, an Upper East Side ne’er-do-well and a single-minded widow.