Library staff members lead a variety of book discussion groups for adults and teens, and we are always excited to welcome new participants. Explore the descriptions below to find out more about each group. Copies of the books are available for pickup starting approximately one month in advance of the meeting and may be picked up at the circulation desk at the location hosting the group.
Click on “Show Book List” to see upcoming books and their meeting dates. Click View in Catalog to see further details.
If you plan to attend one of our book groups, we urge you to check the next meeting date on our events calendar in case of changes of time or venue.
Need a copy of this page in plain text? You can access a PDF copy here.
Where: Brookline Village Library, 2nd Floor Conference Room – 361 Washington St.
When: First Monday of the month, 7:00-8:30 PM
Led by: Will Harlan
If you have questions you can contact Will by email.
Where: Brookline Village Library Conference Room – 361 Washington St.
When: First Thursday of the month, noon – 1:30 PM
Led by: Lily Weitzman
Bring your lunch and an appetite for poetry. Each month we look at half a dozen poems by a well-known poet. We provide copies of the poems – no need to read anything in advance – and lead a discussion after reading them.
Where: Brookline Village Library, 2nd Floor Conference Room – 361 Washington St.
When: Second Monday of the month, 2:15-3:30 PM
Led by: Ryan Brennan
What Belongs to You
On an unseasonably warm autumn day, an American teacher enters a public bathroom beneath Sofia’s National Palace of Culture. There he meets Mitko, a charismatic young hustler, and pays him for sex. He returns to Mitko again and again over the next few months, drawn by hunger and loneliness and risk, and finds himself ensnared in a relationship in which lust leads to mutual predation, and tenderness can transform into violence. As he struggles to reconcile his longing with the anguish it creates, he’s forced to grapple with his own fraught history, the world of his southern childhood where to be queer was to be a pariah. There are unnerving similarities between his past and the foreign country he finds himself in, a country whose geography and griefs he discovers as he learns more of Mitko’s own narrative, his private history of illness, exploitation, and want. What Belongs to You is a stunning debut novel of desire and its consequences. With lyric intensity and startling eroticism, Garth Greenwell has created an indelible story about the ways in which our pasts and cultures, our scars and shames can shape who we are and determine how we love. A conversation between Garth Greenwell and Hanya Yanagihara is included inside the e-book edition.Read More View in Catalog
Behold the Dreamers
Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son.Working as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers, he displays the punctuality, discretion, and loyalty that Edwards demands. Neni's temporary work at the Edwardses' summer home in the Hamptons means a brighter future-- until Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers' façades. As the financial world threatens to collapse, the Jongas become desperate. And as their marriage threatens to fall apart, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.Read More View in Catalog
Song of a Captive Bird
A spellbinding debut novel about the trailblazing Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad, who defied society's expectations to find her voice and her destiny "A complex and beautiful rendering of [a] vanished country and its scattered people; a reminder of the power and purpose of art; and an ode to female creativity under a patriarchy that repeatedly tries to snuff it out"--The New York Times Book Review All through her childhood in Tehran, Forugh Farrokhzad is told that Persian daughters should be quiet and modest. She is taught only to obey, but she always finds ways to rebel--gossiping with her sister among the fragrant roses of her mother's walled garden, venturing to the forbidden rooftop to roughhouse with her three brothers, writing poems to impress her strict, disapproving father, and sneaking out to flirt with a teenage paramour over café glacé. During the summer of 1950, Forugh's passion for poetry takes flight--and tradition seeks to clip her wings. Forced into a suffocating marriage, Forugh runs away and falls into an affair that fuels her desire to write and to achieve freedom and independence. Forugh's poems are considered both scandalous and brilliant; she is heralded by some as a national treasure, vilified by others as a demon influenced by the West. She perseveres, finding love with a notorious filmmaker and living by her own rules--at enormous cost. But the power of her writing only grows stronger amid the upheaval of the Iranian revolution. Inspired by Forugh Farrokhzad's verse, letters, films, and interviews--and including original translations of her poems--this haunting novel uses the lens of fiction to capture the tenacity, spirit, and conflicting desires of a brave woman who represents the birth of feminism in Iran--and who continues to inspire generations of women around the world. Praise for Song of a Captive Bird "If poetry is emotion rendered incendiary, then Forugh Farrokhzad was made of fire. . . . Song of a Captive Bird is an unsparing account of the necessity and consequences of speaking out."--BookPage "Sometimes, simply choosing whom to love is a political act."--Vogue ("February's Best Books") "With rich empathy and gorgeous prose, Jasmin Darznik breathes life into one of Iran's most iconic women, and the result is a beautiful novel that is as compelling as it is necessary."--Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Remember Me Like This "A thrilling and provocative portrait of a powerful woman set against a sweeping panorama of Iranian history."--Kirkus ReviewsRead More View in Catalog
Where: Brookline Village Library, the Commons
When: Second Wednesday of the month, 7:00 PM
Led by: Becca Bastron
From the internationally acclaimed author of Blankets (“A triumph for the genre.”—Library Journal), a highly anticipated new graphic novel. Sprawling across an epic landscape of deserts, harems, and modern industrial clutter, Habibi tells the tale of Dodola and Zam, refugee child slaves bound to each other by chance, by circumstance, and by the love that grows between them. We follow them as their lives unfold together and apart; as they struggle to make a place for themselves in a world (not unlike our own) fueled by fear, lust, and greed; and as they discover the extraordinary depth—and frailty—of their connection. At once contemporary and timeless, Habibi gives us a love story of astounding resonance: a parable about our relationship to the natural world, the cultural divide between the first and third worlds, the common heritage of Christianity and Islam, and, most potently, the magic of storytelling. From the Hardcover edition.Read More View in Catalog
The Best We Could Do
National bestseller 2017 National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) Finalist ABA Indies Introduce Winter / Spring 2017 Selection Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Spring 2017 Selection ALA 2018 Notable Books Selection An intimate and poignant graphic novel portraying one family’s journey from war-torn Vietnam, from debut author Thi Bui. This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves. At the heart of Bui’s story is a universal struggle: While adjusting to life as a first-time mother, she ultimately discovers what it means to be a parent—the endless sacrifices, the unnoticed gestures, and the depths of unspoken love. Despite how impossible it seems to take on the simultaneous roles of both parent and child, Bui pushes through. With haunting, poetic writing and breathtaking art, she examines the strength of family, the importance of identity, and the meaning of home. In what Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen calls “a book to break your heart and heal it,” The Best We Could Do brings to life Thi Bui’s journey of understanding, and provides inspiration to all of those who search for a better future while longing for a simpler past.Read More View in Catalog
Poppies of Iraq
Brigitte Findakly, Lewis Trondheim
A personal account of an Iraqi childhood Poppies of Iraq is Brigitte Findakly’s nuanced tender chronicle of her relationship with her homeland Iraq, co-written and drawn by her husband, the acclaimed cartoonist Lewis Trondheim. In spare and elegant detail, they share memories of her middle class childhood touching on cultural practices, the education system, Saddam Hussein’s state control, and her family’s history as Orthodox Christians in the arab world. Poppies of Iraq is intimate and wide-ranging; the story of how one can become separated from one’s homeland and still feel intimately connected yet ultimately estranged. Signs of an oppressive regime permeate a seemingly normal life: magazines arrive edited by customs; the color red is banned after the execution of General Kassim; Baathist militiamen are publicly hanged and school kids are bussed past them to bear witness. As conditions in Mosul worsen over her childhood, Brigitte’s father is always hopeful that life in Iraq will return to being secular and prosperous. The family eventually feels compelled to move to Paris, however, where Brigitte finds herself not quite belonging to either culture. Trondheim brings to life Findakly’s memories to create a poignant family portrait that covers loss, tragedy, love, and the loneliness of exile.Read More View in Catalog
Where: Brookline Village Library, 2nd floor Conference Room – 361 Washington St.
When: Third Tuesday of the month, noon – 1 PM
Led by: Kerry O’Donnell
If you have questions, contact Kerry O’Donnell at (617) 730-2369 or via email.
If you’d like to view previous titles read by the group, visit the Mystery Book Group Archive.
Trust No One
"Jerry Grey is known to most of the world by his crime writing pseudonym, Henry Cutter--a name that has been keeping readers at the edge of their seats for more than a decade. Recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at the age of forty-nine, Jerry's crime writing days are coming to an end. His twelve books tell stories of brutal murders committed by bad men, of a world out of balance, of victims finding the darkest forms of justice. As his dementia begins to break down the wall between his life and the lives of the characters he has created, Jerry confesses his worst secret: the stories are real. He knows this because he committed the crimes"--Read More View in Catalog
“A” is for Alibi
A IS FOR AVENGER A tough-talking former cop, private investigator Kinsey Millhone has set up a modest detective agency in a quiet corner of Santa Teresa, California. A twice-divorced loner with few personal possessions and fewer personal attachments, she's got a soft spot for underdogs and lost causes. A IS FOR ACCUSED That's why she draws desperate clients like Nikki Fife. Eight years ago, she was convicted of killing her philandering husband. Now she's out on parole and needs Kinsey's help to find the real killer. But after all this time, clearing Nikki's bad name won't be easy. A IS FOR ALIBI If there's one thing that makes Kinsey Millhone feel alive, it's playing on the edge. When her investigation turns up a second corpse, more suspects, and a new reason to kill, Kinsey discovers that the edge is closer—and sharper—than she imagined.Read More View in Catalog
Arthur & George
Brilliantly imagined and irresistibly readable, Arthur & George is a major new novel from Julian Barnes, a wonderful combination of playfulness, pathos and wisdom. Searching for clues, no one would ever guess that the lives of Arthur and George might intersect. Growing up in shabby-genteel nineteenth-century Edinburgh, Arthur is saddled with a dad who is a disgrace and a mum he wishes to protect, and is propelled into a life of action. To his astonishment, his career as a self-made man of letters brings him riches and fame and, in the world at large, he becomes the perfect picture of the honourable English gentlemen. George is irredeemably an outsider, and has no hope of becoming such a picture. Though he’s dogged and logical, a vicar’s son from rural Staffordshire, he is set apart, and he and his family are targeted in his boyhood by a poison-pen campaign. George finds safe harbour in the reliability of rules, and grows up to become a solicitor, putting his faith in the insulating value of British justice. Then crisis upsets the uneasy equilibrium of both men’s lives. Arthur is knocked for a loop by guilt and other dishonourable emotions. George is put to the sorest test, accused of a horrible crime. And from that point on their lives weave together in the most profound and surprising way, as each man becomes the other’s salvation. Arthur & George is a masterful novel about low crime and high spirituality, guilt and innocence, identity, nationality and race. Most of all, it’s a profound and witty meditation on the fateful differences between what we believe, what we know and what we can prove.Read More View in Catalog
When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway’s latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the bestselling crime writer for years, she’s intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan’s traditional formula has proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job. Conway’s latest tale has Atticus Pünd investigating a murder at Pye Hall, a local manor house. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but the more Susan reads, the more she’s convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder. Masterful, clever, and relentlessly suspenseful, Magpie Murders is a deviously dark take on vintage English crime fiction in which the reader becomes the detective.Read More View in Catalog
Murder at the Brightwell
Shortlisted for the Edgar Awards Ashley Weaver’s debut mystery, Murder at the Brightwell, is a delicious, stylish novel in which murder invades British polite society and romance springs in unexpected places. Amory Ames, a wealthy young woman questioning her marriage to her notoriously charming playboy husband, Milo, is looking for a change. She accepts a request for help from her former fiancé, Gil Trent, not knowing that she’ll soon become embroiled in a murder investigation that will not only test her friendship with Gil, but also will upset the status quo with her husband.Read More View in Catalog
Where: Brookline Village Library, 2nd floor Conference Room – 361 Washington St.
When: Third Thursday of the month, 7:00 PM
Led by: Lily Weitzman
This program is for people in their twenties and thirties. After a one-hour discussion (snacks provided), the group moves to a local eatery to continue socializing.
Her pupils murdered her daughter. Now she will have her revenge. After calling off her engagement in the wake of a tragic revelation, Yuko Moriguchi had nothing to live for except her only child, four-year-old child, Manami. Now, following an accident on the grounds of the middle school where she teaches, Yuko has given up and tendered her resignation. But first she has one last lecture to deliver. She tells a story that upends everything her students ever thought they knew about two of their peers, and sets in motion a diabolical plot for revenge. Narrated in alternating voices, with twists you'll never see coming, Confessions probes the limits of punishment, despair, and tragic love, culminating in a harrowing confrontation between teacher and student that will place the occupants of an entire school in danger. You'll never look at a classroom the same way again.Read More View in Catalog
Shocked by a five-month arson spree that left a rural Virginia county reeling, Washington Post reporter Monica Hesse drove down to the desolate county of Accomack to cover the trial of Charlie Smith, who pled guilty to 67 counts of arson. But Charlie wasn't lighting fires alone: his crimes were galvanized by a twisted love story. Over two years of reporting, Hesse uncovered the motives of this troubled addict and his struggling accomplice, girlfriend Tonya Bundick. In depicting the dangerous shift in their passionate relationship, Hesse brilliantly brings to life the once-thriving coastal community and its distressed inhabitants, decimated by a punishing economy and increasingly terrified by a string of fires they could not explain. Incorporating this drama into the long-overlooked history of arson in the United States, American Fire re-creates the anguished nights this quiet county lit up in flames, mesmerizingly evoking a microcosm of rural America--a land half gutted before the fires even began.Read More View in Catalog
Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen
“Hilarious. . . . This book charmed my socks off.” —Patricia O’Conner, New York Times Book Review Mary Norris has spent more than three decades in The New Yorker's copy department, maintaining its celebrated high standards. Now she brings her vast experience, good cheer, and finely sharpened pencils to help the rest of us in a boisterous language book as full of life as it is of practical advice. Between You & Me features Norris's laugh-out-loud descriptions of some of the most common and vexing problems in spelling, punctuation, and usage—comma faults, danglers, "who" vs. "whom," "that" vs. "which," compound words, gender-neutral language—and her clear explanations of how to handle them. Down-to-earth and always open-minded, she draws on examples from Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, Henry James, and the Lord's Prayer, as well as from The Honeymooners, The Simpsons, David Foster Wallace, and Gillian Flynn. She takes us to see a copy of Noah Webster's groundbreaking Blue-Back Speller, on a quest to find out who put the hyphen in Moby-Dick, on a pilgrimage to the world's only pencil-sharpener museum, and inside the hallowed halls of The New Yorker and her work with such celebrated writers as Pauline Kael, Philip Roth, and George Saunders. Readers—and writers—will find in Norris neither a scold nor a softie but a wise and witty new friend in love with language and alive to the glories of its use in America, even in the age of autocorrect and spell-check. As Norris writes, "The dictionary is a wonderful thing, but you can't let it push you around."Read More View in Catalog
Where: Brookline Village Library, 2nd floor Conference Room – 361 Washington St.
When: Second Thursday of the Month, 6:30 PM
Led by: Amanda Troha and Hayley Robertson
Each month we come together to share baked goods from different cookbooks. Check out a copy of the cookbook from the library, choose a recipe to make and then bring your baked goods to the club for sharing.
If you have any questions, please contact the Amanda Troha at (617)730-2672 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yotam Ottolenghi, Helen Goh
A New York Times best seller A collection of over 110 recipes for sweets, baked goods, and confections from superstar chef Yotam Ottolenghi. Yotam Ottolenghi is widely beloved in the food world for his beautiful, inspirational, and award-winning cookbooks, as well as his London delis and fine dining restaurant. And while he's known for his savory and vegetarian dishes, he actually started out his cooking career as a pastry chef. Sweet is entirely filled with delicious baked goods, desserts, and confections starring Ottolenghi's signature flavor profiles and ingredients including fig, rose petal, saffron, orange blossom, star anise, pistachio, almond, cardamom, and cinnamon. A baker's dream, Sweet features simple treats such as Chocolate, Banana, and Pecan cookies and Rosemary Olive Oil Orange Cake, alongside recipes for showstopping confections such as Cinnamon Pavlova with Praline Cream and Fresh Figs and Flourless Chocolate Layer Cake with Coffee, Walnut, and Rosewater.Read More View in Catalog
The Perfect Cake
The Editors at America's Test Kitchen
Gathering together years of baking knowledge in their first-ever cake book, America's Test Kitchen offers a comprehensive collection of recipes for any cake you can imagine--from better-than-the-rest yellow cake layers for birthday parties to fanciful creations and elegant holiday desserts. Cakes are the ultimate all-occasion dessert. Whether you are looking for a party-worthy cake that's sure to bring smiles or a rustic treat for any time, America's Test Kitchen has the perfect recipe in this definitive guide to cake baking. The Perfect Cake opens with a valuable chapter of mix-and-match layer cakes, frostings, and fillings, allowing anyone to find just the combination they're looking for. The following chapters traverse a range of styles, touching on easy crowd-pleasers, sky-high stunners, American classics, holiday cakes, charming miniature cakes, and more. Rigorously tested to ensure the perfect outcome, these never-fail recipes will improve any baker's game, from White Cake Layers with an ultradowny crumb to a perfectly domed Pound Cake, a New York Cheesecake with a browned surface (and no cracks), and superlatively chocolaty Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes. Discover new techniques and flavors with a Blueberry Jam Cake frosted in a stunning ombré pattern, a sweet-salty Chocolate-Caramel Layer Cake, and a naked-sided Blackberry-Lemon Mascarpone Cake. And as only the test kitchen can, we fill the book with insight on everything from batter mixing methods to slicing cakes into multiple even layers. The Table of Contents: Introduction Chapter 1: Build-a-Cake: Mix-and-Match Layers and Frostings Chapter 2: Cupcakes, Cake Pops, Mug Cakes, and More Chapter 3: Crowd-Pleasing Sheet Cakes Chapter 4: Sky-High Cakes Chapter 5: Elegant Cakes and Tortes Chapter 6: Great American Cakes Chapter 7: Celebrate! Holiday Cakes Chapter 8: Snack Cakes and Rustic Fruit Cakes Chapter 9: Pound Cakes, Bundt Cakes and Tube Cakes Chapter 10: Cool Down: Cheesecakes, Ice Cream, and IceboxRead More View in Catalog
Where: Webster Bank, 297 Harvard St
When: Second Monday of the month, 12:30 PM
Led by: Amanda Troha
A mystery book group at the Coolidge Corner Library.
Cover Her Face
The first in the series of scintillating mysteries to feature cunning Scotland Yard detective, Adam Dalgliesh from P.D. James, the bestselling author hailed by People magazine as “the greatest living mystery writer.” Sally Jupp was a sly and sensuous young woman who used her body and her brains to make her way up the social ladder. Now she lies across her bed with dark bruises from a strangler’s fingers forever marring her lily-white throat. Someone has decided that the wages of sin should be death...and it is up to Chief Inspector Adam Dalgliesh to find who that someone is. Cover Her Face is P.D. James’ delightful debut novel, an ingeniously plotted mystery that immediately placed her among the masters of suspense.Read More View in Catalog
In her first case, private detective Maisie Dobbs must investigate the reappearance of a dead man who turns up at a cooperative farm called the Retreat that caters to men who are recovering their health after World War I. A first novel. 30,000 first printing.Read More View in Catalog
Where: Putterham Library Meeting Room – 959 W. Roxbury Pkwy.
When: Third Monday of the month, 2:00 – 3:00 PM. There will be no sessions in July 2018, and August 2018.
Led by: Charlotte Millman & Batia Bloomenthal
Irin Carmon, Shana Knizhnik
You can't spell truth without Ruth. Only Ruth Bader Ginsburg can judge me. The Ruth will set you free. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg never asked for fame—she was just trying to make the world a little better and a little freer. But along the way, the feminist pioneer's searing dissents and steely strength have inspired millions. Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, created by the young lawyer who began the Internet sensation and an award-winning journalist, takes you behind the myth for an intimate, irreverent look at the justice's life and work. As America struggles with the unfinished business of gender equality and civil rights, Ginsburg stays fierce. And if you don't know, now you know.Read More View in Catalog
The Wife Between Us
Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen
THE INSTANT NYT BESTSELLER "A fiendishly smart cat-and-mouse thriller" New York Times Book Review "Jaw dropping. Unforgettable. Shocking." Publishers Weekly (starred review) "The best domestic suspense novel since Gone Girl." In Touch Weekly "Buckle up, because you won't be able to put this one down." Glamour When you read this book, you will make many assumptions. It's about a jealous wife, obsessed with her replacement. It's about a younger woman set to marry the man she loves. The first wife seems like a disaster; her replacement is the perfect woman. You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships. You will be wrong. The Wife Between Us is the first collaboration between Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen; a gripping thriller with film rights sold to the creators of The Girl On the Train.Read More View in Catalog
The Radium Girls
A New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller! "the glowing ghosts of the radium girls haunt us still."—NPR Books The incredible true story of the women who fought America's Undark danger The Curies' newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War. Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these "shining girls" are the luckiest alive — until they begin to fall mysteriously ill. But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women's cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America's early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers' rights that will echo for centuries to come. Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to the "wonder" substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives...Read More View in Catalog
The Kill Artist
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of House of Spies comes the first novel in the thrilling series featuring legendary assassin Gabriel Allon. Immersed in the quiet, meticulous life of an art restorer, former Israeli intelligence operative Gabriel Allon keeps his past well behind him. But now he is being called back into the game—and teamed with an agent who hides behind her own mask...as a beautiful fashion model. Their target: a cunning terrorist on one last killing spree, a Palestinian zealot who played a dark part in Gabriel’s past. And what begins as a manhunt turns into a globe-spanning duel fueled by both political intrigue and deep personal passions...Read More View in Catalog
Brookline Community Book Groups
The community hosts a variety of book groups outside of the library, including: