Book & Social Groups
Please note: Effective March 11, 2020, all in-person Library programs are canceled until further notice. Please see our events calendar for virtual events listings, or learn more about current library services.
Library staff members lead a variety of book discussion and other social groups for adults and teens — we are always excited to welcome new participants. Explore the descriptions below to find out more about each group.
For book groups, 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 library 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, please check the next meeting date on our events calendar in case of changes of time or venue.
Brookline Village Library
Where: Brookline Village Library, 2nd Floor Conference Room – 361 Washington St.
When: First Monday of the month, 7-8 PM
Led by: Will
Read a variety of fiction and nonfiction in this monthly book group. This group currently meets online via Zoom. If you have questions you can contact Will by sending us a message.
The Nickel Boys
The Nickel Boys is Colson Whitehead's follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning bestseller The Underground Railroad, in which he dramatises another strand of United States history, this time through the story of two boys sentenced to a stretch in a hellish reform school in Jim-Crow-era Florida.Read More View in Catalog
Where: Brookline Village Library Conference Room – 361 Washington St.
When: First Thursday of the month, noon – 1:30 PM
Led by: Lily
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. You can contact Lily by sending us a message.
Where: Brookline Village Library, 2nd floor Conference Room – 361 Washington St.
When: Third Tuesday of the month, noon – 1 PM
Led by: Christiana
One of the Library’s longest running book groups, the Mystery Book Group reads everything from classic, cozy whodunnits to the latest genre-crossing murder mysteries. Bring your own lunch or enjoy our coffee and snacks every third Tuesday of the month at noon. If you have questions, you may contact Christiana by sending us a message.
A Glancing Light
A museum curator travels to Italy and looks into a murder in this “fresh, funny [and] thoroughly enjoyable mystery” by the author of the Gideon Oliver series (Publishers Weekly). Mild‐mannered and law‐abiding, Chris Norgren, curator of Renaissance and Baroque art at the Seattle Art Museum, is an unlikely undercover investigator, but when a priceless Rubens portrait is discovered in a shipment of “authentic reproductions” in a local warehouse, Chris is pressed into service to find out how it got there. The quest leads him to the medieval city of Bologna, one of his favorite places, but all too soon what might have been a welcome Italian interlude turns into a bizarre journey into shady art world doings and murderous secrets . . .Read More View in Catalog
Cops can make mistakes, even when they’re not rookies. If anyone knows that it’s Cass Raines. Cass took a bullet two years ago after an incompetent colleague screwed up a tense confrontation with an armed suspect. Deeply traumatized, Cass resigned from the Chicago PD, leaving one less female African-American on the force. Now she’s the head of a one-woman private investigation agency, taking on just enough work to pay the bills. But when the only father figure she’s ever known, Father Ray Heaton, asks her to look into a recent spate of vandalism at his church, she readily agrees to handle it. Only hours later Cass is horrified to discover Father Ray’s murdered body in the church confessional, a dead gangbanger sprawled out nearby. She knew Pop, as she called him, had ticked off plenty of people, from slumlords to politicians, with his uncompromising defense of the downtrodden. But a late-night random theft doesn’t seem like much of a motive at a cash-strapped parish. The lead detective assigned to the case is all too eager to dismiss it as a burglary gone awry, just another statistic in a violent city. But Cass’s instincts tell her otherwise, and badge or no badge, she intends to see justice done . . . “An exciting new character-driven series.” —Kirkus ReviewsRead More View in Catalog
A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder
In this exciting historical mystery debut set in Victorian England, a wealthy young widow encounters the pleasures—and scandalous pitfalls—of a London social season . . . Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, enjoys more freedom as a widow than she did as a wife. With her young daughter in tow, Frances rents a home in Belgravia and prepares to welcome her sister, Lily, arriving from New York—for her first London season. But no sooner has Frances begun her new life than the Metropolitan police receive an anonymous letter implicating Frances in her husband’s death. Frances assures Inspector Delaney of her innocence, but she’s also keen to keep him from learning the scandalous circumstances of Reggie’s demise. As fate would have it, her dashing new neighbor, George Hazelton, is one of only two other people aware of the full story. While busy with social engagements on Lily’s behalf, and worrying if Reggie really was murdered, Frances rallies her wits, a circle of gossips, and the ever-chivalrous Mr. Hazelton to uncover the truth. A killer is in their midst and Frances must unmask the villain before Lily’s season—and their lives—come to a most unseemly end . . . “This lighthearted debut tale of mystery, love, and a delightful sleuth will leave you wanting more—which is presumably just what Freeman had in mind.” —Kirkus ReviewsRead More View in Catalog
The Deep, Deep Snow
In an intense, emotional mystery that spans a decade in the life of a small town, bestselling author Brian Freeman brings us an unforgettable heroine who discovers that the dead may sometimes be easier to rescue than the living. Deputy Shelby Lake was abandoned as a baby, saved by a stranger who found her in the freezing cold. Now, years later, a young boy is missing—and Shelby is the one who must rescue a child. The only evidence of what happened to ten-year-old Jeremiah Sloan is a bicycle left behind on a lonely road. After a desperate search fails to locate him, the close bonds of Shelby’s hometown begin to fray under the weight of accusations and suspicion. Everyone around her is keeping secrets. Her adoptive father, her best friend, her best friend’s young daughter—they all have something to hide. Even Shelby is concealing a mistake that could jeopardize her career and her future. Unearthing the lies of the people in Jeremiah’s life doesn’t get the police and the FBI any closer to finding him. As time passes and the case grows cold, Shelby worries that the mystery will stay buried forever under the deep, deep snow. But even the deepest snow melts in the spring. When a tantalizing clue finally comes to light, Shelby must confront the darkest lie of all. Exposing the truth about Jeremiah will leave no one’s life untouched—including her own.Read More View in Catalog
To Love and Be Wise
A witty and sophisticated mystery featuring bestselling author Josephine Tey’s popular Inspector Alan Grant, a beloved character created by a woman considered to be one of the greatest mystery writers of all time. Literary sherry parties were not Alan Grant's cup of tea. But when the Scotland Yard Inspector arrived to pick up actress Marta Hallard for dinner, he was struck by the handsome young American photographer, Leslie Searle. Author Lavinia Fitch was sure her guest "must have been something very wicked in ancient Greece," and the art colony at Salcott St. Mary would have agreed. Yet Grant heard nothing more of Searle until the news of his disappearance. Had Searle drowned by accident or could he have been murdered by one of his young women admirers? Was it a possible case of suicide or had the photographer simply vanished for reasons of his own?Read More View in Catalog
The Aosawa Murders
On a stormy summer day the Aosawas, owners of a prominent local hospital, host a large birthday party. The occasion turns into tragedy when 17 people die from cyanide in their drinks. The only surviving links to what might have happened are a cryptic verse that could be the killer's, and the physician's bewitching blind daughter, Hisako, the only person spared injury. But the youth who emerges as the prime suspect commits suicide that October, effectively sealing his guilt while consigning his motives to mystery. The police are convinced that Hisako had a role in the crime, as are many in the town, including the author of a bestselling book about the murders written a decade after the incident, who was herself a childhood friend of Hisako’ and witness to the discovery of the murders. The truth is revealed through a skilful juggling of testimony by different voices: family members, witnesses and neighbours, police investigators and of course the mesmerizing Hisako herself.Read More View in Catalog
Where: Hops N Scotch, 1306 Beacon Street
When: Second Thursday of the month, 6:30 – 8 PM
Led by: Becca
This club is for all the film nerds out there looking to meet others in the LGBTQ+ community, make friends, and explore queer cinema. Each meeting we gather at an off-site location to discuss our movie of the month and hang out. Similar to a book club, DVD copies of the films are held at the front desk at the Brookline Village and Coolidge Corner Libraries for you to pick up and watch on your own time.
Where: Brookline Village Library, the Commons — 361 Washington St.
When: Each Thursday, 6 – 7:30 PM (note: this group is on hiatus due to COVID-19
Led by: Cailey
Lace up your running shoes and join us at the Library for Read & Run, a book group with a focus on wellness and exercise. The group will meet every Thursday evening for a period of three months, April through June. The first three Thursdays of the month we meet at 6:30 PM and go for a run. On the fourth Thursday of the month, we meet at 6 PM to discuss that month’s book and then end the meeting with a run. The culmination of the three month series is the whole group running a 5K.
If you have questions, you may contact Cailey by sending us a message.
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When: Second Wednesday of the month, 1 PM
Led by: Cailey & Lauren
Join librarians Cailey and Lauren to practice your English language skills as we read or listen to materials in English and gather online for virtual discussion. This group is open to all English Language Learners but will be geared towards intermediate and advanced speakers.
- January 13 – Read Viewfinders
- February 10 – Read three poems by Joy Harjo – Eagle Poem, An American Sunrise, and Remember
- March 10 – Listen to a podcast – Falling by Radiolab
Join the Zoom Meeting using the password English1.
To join using your phone, please call 1-646-828-7666. Use the meeting ID 160 040 5548 and the password 43836084.
Coolidge Corner Library
Where: Coolidge Corner Library, Meeting Room – 31 Pleasant St.
When: On or near the third Monday of the month, 2:15-3:30 PM; check events calendar for the latest schedule.
Led by: Ricky
This group reads a variety of fiction and nonfiction. Books are limited to a maximum of 350 pages.
'There are war stories and there are love stories, but we only occasionally get war stories and love stories braided together. Tim Finch has written a wonderful novel, tiny and epic both. Laced with humour and sadness, this is an intimate account of what it means to make peace, both with others and with oneself' COLUM McCANN 'A shrewd delight' independent.co.ukEdvard Behrens is a senior diplomat of some repute, highly regarded for his work on international peace negotiations. Under his arbitration, unimaginable atrocities are coolly dissected; invisible and ancient lines, grown taut and frayed with conflict, redrawn.In his latest post, Edvard has been sent a nondescript resort hotel in the Tyrol. High up on this mountain, the air is bright and clear. When he isn't working, Edvard reads, walks, listens to music. He confides in no one - no one but his wife Anna. Anna, who he loves with all his heart; Anna, always present and yet forever absent. Honest, honourable, tragic, witty, wise, an unforgettable novel of love, loss, and the human longing for peace, Peace Talks maps the darkest and most tender territories of the human heart.Read More View in Catalog
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“One of the most vital and original novelists of her generation.” —Larissa MacFarquhar, The New Yorker From the bestselling author of Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists Fifteen-year-old Kambili and her older brother Jaja lead a privileged life in Enugu, Nigeria. They live in a beautiful house, with a caring family, and attend an exclusive missionary school. They're completely shielded from the troubles of the world. Yet, as Kambili reveals in her tender-voiced account, things are less perfect than they appear. Although her Papa is generous and well respected, he is fanatically religious and tyrannical at home—a home that is silent and suffocating. As the country begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili and Jaja are sent to their aunt, a university professor outside the city, where they discover a life beyond the confines of their father’s authority. Books cram the shelves, curry and nutmeg permeate the air, and their cousins’ laughter rings throughout the house. When they return home, tensions within the family escalate, and Kambili must find the strength to keep her loved ones together. Purple Hibiscus is an exquisite novel about the emotional turmoil of adolescence, the powerful bonds of family, and the bright promise of freedom.Read More View in Catalog
Where: Coolidge Corner Library, Meeting Room – 31 Pleasant St.
When: Second Thursday of the Month, 6:30 – 7:30 PM
Led by: Jenny
This book group is currently on hiatus.
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.
Baking with Julia
Baking with Julia Nothing promises pleasure more readily than the words "freshly baked." And nothing says magnum opus as definitively as Baking with Julia, which offers the dedicated home cook, whether a novice or seasoned veteran, a unique distillation of the baker's art. Baking with Julia is not only a book full of glorious recipes but also one that continues Julia's teaching tradition. Here, basic techniques come alive and are made easily comprehensible in recipes that demonstrate the myriad ways of raising dough, glazing cakes, and decorating crusts. This is the resource you'll turn to again and again for all your baking needs. With Baking with Julia in your cookbook library, you can become a master baker. And there's no better time to be baking than now. Quality baking today is more varied, more exciting, and simply more authentic than ever before. Baking with Julia celebrates this tremendous range with enticing recipes that marry sophisticated European techniques to American tastes and ingredients. With creative flair, napoleons are layered with tropical fruits, pumpkin and cranberries are kneaded into bread doughs, and a tart is topped with sweet stewed onions. Along the way, step-by-step photographs demonstrate the basic building blocks of the pastry and bread baker's repertoire, and from this firm foundation fancy takes flight. Baking with Julia presents an extraordinary assemblage of talent, knowledge, and artistry from the new generation of bakers whose vision is so much a part of this book. The list of contributors reads like a Who's Who of today's master bakers, including Flo Braker, Steve Sullivan, Marcel Desaulniers, Nick Malgieri, Alice Medrich, Nancy Silverton, Martha Stewart, and a host of bright new talents such as Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. With nearly two hundred recipes, and half as many pages of tantalizing full-color photographs, this incomparable kitchen companion goes far beyond what most cookbooks offer. More than fifty pages of illustrated reference sections define basic terms and techniques, and explain the hows and whys of batters and doughs to take you effortlessly through the essential techniques. If you've never made flaky pie crust, your first no-fail experience is at hand. If you've never baked bread, that most satisfying and sensual pleasure awaits the turn of a page. With recipes for breads, pastries, cookies, and cakes—from chocolate to cheesecake, from miniature gems to multi-tiered masterpieces—this cookbook is a total immersion experience in the wonder of home baking.Read More View in Catalog
A nostalgic ode to the joy of homemade cake, beautifully photographed and with easy mix-and-match recipes for a sweet lift any day of the week. Everyone has a favorite style of cake, whether it's citrusy and fresh or chocolatey and indulgent. All of these recipes and more are within your reach in Simple Cake, a love letter from Brooklyn apron and bakeware designer Odette Williams to her favorite treat. With easy recipes and inventive decorating ideas, Williams gives you recipes for 10 base cakes, 15 toppings, and endless decorating ideas to yield a treat--such as Milk & Honey Cake, Coconut Cake, Summer Berry Pavlova, and Chocolatey Chocolate Cake--for any occasion. Williams also addresses the fundamentals for getting cakes just right, with foolproof recipes that can be cranked out whenever the urge strikes. Gorgeous photography, along with Williams's warm and heartfelt writing, elevate this book into something truly special.Read More View in Catalog
Where: Coolidge Corner Library, Meeting Room – 31 Pleasant St.
When: Second Monday of the month, 12:30 – 1:30 PM
Led by: Brita
A mystery book group at the Coolidge Corner Library.
Whisper to the Blood
New York Times bestseller Dana Stabenow returns to her enormously popular Kate Shugak series with Whipser to the Blood Inside Alaska's biggest national park, around the town of Niniltna, a gold mining company has started buying up land. The residents of the Park are uneasy. "But gold is up to nine hundred dollars an ounce" is the refrain of Talia Macleod, the popular Alaskan skiing champ the company has hired to improve their relations with Alaskans and pave the way for the mine's expansion. And she promises much-needed jobs to the locals. But before she can make her way to every village in the area to present her case at town meetings and village breakfasts, there are two brutal murders, including that of a long-standing mine opponent. The investigation into those deaths falls to Trooper Jim Chopin and, as usual, he needs Kate to help him get to the heart of the matter. Between those deaths and a series of attacks on snowmobilers up the Kanuyaq River, not to mention the still-open homicide of Park villain Louis Deem last year, part-time P.I. and newly elected chairman of the Niniltna Native Association Kate Shugak has her hands very much full. Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak series continues to be beloved among crime fiction fans, but also provides a fascinating window into life and death in Alaska.Read More View in Catalog
Eight Perfect Murders
A Kirkus Best Fiction Book of 2020 “Swanson rips us from one startling plot twist to the next… A true tour de force.” —Lisa Gardner "Fiendish good fun." —Anthony Horowitz From the hugely talented author of Before She Knew Him comes a chilling tale of psychological suspense and an homage to the thriller genre tailor-made for fans: the story of a bookseller who finds himself at the center of an FBI investigation because a very clever killer has started using his list of fiction’s most ingenious murders. Years ago, bookseller and mystery aficionado Malcolm Kershaw compiled a list of the genre’s most unsolvable murders, those that are almost impossible to crack—which he titled “Eight Perfect Murders”—chosen from among the best of the best including Agatha Christie’s A. B. C. Murders, Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, Ira Levin’s Death Trap, A. A. Milne's Red House Mystery, Anthony Berkeley Cox's Malice Aforethought, James M. Cain's Double Indemnity, John D. Macdonald's The Drowner, and Donna Tartt's A Secret History. But no one is more surprised than Mal, now the owner of the Old Devils Bookstore in Boston, when an FBI agent comes knocking on his door one snowy day in February. She’s looking for information about a series of unsolved murders that look eerily similar to the killings on Mal’s old list. And the FBI agent isn’t the only one interested in this bookseller who spends almost every night at home reading. The killer is out there, watching his every move—a diabolical threat who knows way too much about Mal’s personal history, especially the secrets he’s never told anyone, even his recently deceased wife. To protect himself, Mal begins looking into possible suspects . . . and sees a killer in everyone around him. But Mal doesn’t count on the investigation leaving a trail of death in its wake. Suddenly, a series of shocking twists leaves more victims dead—and the noose around Mal’s neck grows so tight he might never escape.Read More View in Catalog
Where: Coolidge Corner Library, Meeting Room – 31 Pleasant St.
When: Third Thursday of the month, 7 – 8 PM
Led by: Brita
This group is designed for Millennials. After a one-hour discussion (snacks provided), the group moves to a local eatery to continue socializing.
They Called Us Enemy
George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott
A stunning graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei's childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon -- and America itself -- in this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love. George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father's -- and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future. In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten "relocation centers," hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard. They Called Us Enemy is Takei's firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother's hard choices, his father's faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future. What is American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do? To answer these questions, George Takei joins co-writers Justin Eisinger & Steven Scott and artist Harmony Becker for the journey of a lifetime.Read More View in Catalog
Beautifully written, thought-provoking, intense and cleverly wrought, this is the most extraordinary first novel from a mesmerising new talent. One August afternoon, on the shoreline of the north-eastern edge of Russia, two sisters are abducted. In the ensuing weeks, then months, the police investigation turns up nothing. Echoes of the disappearance reverberate across a tightly woven community, with the fear and loss felt most deeply among its women. Set on the remote Siberian peninsula of Kamchatka, Disappearing Earth draws us into the world of an astonishing cast of characters, all connected by an unfathomable crime. We are transported to vistas of rugged beauty – densely wooded forests, open expanses of tundra, soaring volcanoes and the glassy seas that border Japan and Alaska – and into a region as complex as it is alluring, where social and ethnic tensions have long simmered, and where outsiders are often the first to be accused. In a story as propulsive as it is emotionally engaging, and through a young writer's virtuosic feat of empathy and imagination, this powerful novel provides a new understanding of the intricate bonds of family and community, in a Russia unlike any we have seen before. Praise for Disappearing Earth "A genuine masterpiece, but one that is easily consumed in a feverish stay-up-all-night bout of reading pleasure." Gary Shteyngart “Suspenseful, original and compelling, Disappearing Earth is a strange and haunting voyage into a strange and haunting world.' Simon Sebag-Montefiore, author of The Romanovs “Julia Phillips is at once a careful cartographer and gorgeous storyteller... . A mystery of two missing girls burns at the center of this astonishing debut, and the complexity of ethnicity, gender, hearth and kin illuminates this question and many more.” Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage 'A knock-out... .The stitches of Phillips’s language make you go, Damn, that’s good.' The Los Angeles Review of Books 'A superb debut.' New York TimesRead More View in Catalog
One Person, No Vote
Finalist for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction Longlisted for the National Book Award in Nonfiction Named one of the Best Books of the Year by: Washington Post * Boston Globe * NPR* Bustle * BookRiot * New York Public Library From the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of White Rage, the startling--and timely--history of voter suppression in America, with a foreword by Senator Dick Durbin. In her New York Times bestseller White Rage, Carol Anderson laid bare an insidious history of policies that have systematically impeded black progress in America, from 1865 to our combustible present. With One Person, No Vote, she chronicles a related history: the rollbacks to African American participation in the vote since the 2013 Supreme Court decision that eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Known as the Shelby ruling, this decision effectively allowed districts with a demonstrated history of racial discrimination to change voting requirements without approval from the Department of Justice. Focusing on the aftermath of Shelby, Anderson follows the astonishing story of government-dictated racial discrimination unfolding before our very eyes as more and more states adopt voter suppression laws. In gripping, enlightening detail she explains how voter suppression works, from photo ID requirements to gerrymandering to poll closures. And with vivid characters, she explores the resistance: the organizing, activism, and court battles to restore the basic right to vote to all Americans.Read More View in Catalog
An Ember in the Ashes
BOOK ONE IN THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING SERIES Instant New York Times bestseller From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sabaa Tahir Amazon's Best Young Adult Book of 2015 People's Choice Award winner - Favorite Fantasy Bustle's Best Young Adult Book of 2015 "This novel is a harrowing, haunting reminder of what it means to be human -- and how hope might be kindled in the midst of oppression and fear." -- The Washington Post "An Ember in the Ashes could launch Sabaa Tahir into JK Rowling territory...It has the addictive quality of The Hunger Games combined with the fantasy of Harry Potter and the brutality of Game of Thrones."--Public Radio International "An Ember in the Ashes glows, burns, and smolders--as beautiful and radiant as it is searing."--Huffington Post "A worthy novel - and one as brave as its characters." --The New York Times Book Review Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free. Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear. It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire's impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They've seen what happens to those who do. But when Laia's brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire's greatest military academy. There, Laia meets Elias, the school's finest soldier--and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he's being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined--and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.Read More View in Catalog
An Oprah Editor's Pick and NPR Best Book of the Year From the author of the award-winning and word-of-mouth sensation Our Endless Numbered Days comes an exhilarating literary mystery that will keep readers guessing until the final page. Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan. Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he’s getting older and this unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father and to try to finally discover what happened to Ingrid. But what Flora doesn’t realize is that the answers to her questions are hidden in the books that surround her. Scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage.Read More View in Catalog
Weapons of Math Destruction
Longlisted for the National Book Award New York Times Bestseller A former Wall Street quant sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life — and threaten to rip apart our social fabric We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives—where we go to school, whether we get a car loan, how much we pay for health insurance—are being made not by humans, but by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: Everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated. But as Cathy O’Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and uncontestable, even when they’re wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination: If a poor student can’t get a loan because a lending model deems him too risky (by virtue of his zip code), he’s then cut off from the kind of education that could pull him out of poverty, and a vicious spiral ensues. Models are propping up the lucky and punishing the downtrodden, creating a “toxic cocktail for democracy.” Welcome to the dark side of Big Data. Tracing the arc of a person’s life, O’Neil exposes the black box models that shape our future, both as individuals and as a society. These “weapons of math destruction” score teachers and students, sort résumés, grant (or deny) loans, evaluate workers, target voters, set parole, and monitor our health. O’Neil calls on modelers to take more responsibility for their algorithms and on policy makers to regulate their use. But in the end, it’s up to us to become more savvy about the models that govern our lives. This important book empowers us to ask the tough questions, uncover the truth, and demand change. — Longlist for National Book Award (Non-Fiction) — Goodreads, semi-finalist for the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards (Science and Technology) — Kirkus, Best Books of 2016 — New York Times, 100 Notable Books of 2016 (Non-Fiction) — The Guardian, Best Books of 2016 — WBUR's "On Point," Best Books of 2016: Staff Picks — Boston Globe, Best Books of 2016, Non-FictionRead More View in Catalog
Black Is the Body
An extraordinary, exquisitely written memoir (of sorts) that looks at race--in a fearless, penetrating, honest, true way--in twelve telltale, connected, deeply personal essays that explore, up-close, the complexities and paradoxes, the haunting memories and ambushing realities of growing up black in the South with a family name inherited from a white man, of getting a PhD from Yale, of marrying a white man from the North, of adopting two babies from Ethiopia, of teaching at a white college and living in America's New England today. From the acclaimed editor of Remember Me to Harlem: The Letters of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten ("A major contribution," Henry Louis Gates; "Magnificent," Washington Post). "I am black--and brown, too," writes Emily Bernard. "Brown is the body I was born into. Black is the body of the stories I tell." And the storytelling, and the mystery of Bernard's storytelling, of getting to the truth, begins with a stabbing in a New England college town. Bernard writes how, when she was a graduate student at Yale, she walked into a coffee shop and, along with six other people, was randomly attacked by a stranger with a knife ("I remember making the decision not to let the oddness of this stranger bother me"). "I was not stabbed because I was black," she writes (the attacker was white), "but I have always viewed the violence I survived as a metaphor for the violent encounter that has generally characterized American race relations. There was no connection between us, yet we were suddenly and irreparably bound by a knife, an attachment that cost us both: him, his freedom; me, my wholeness." Bernard explores how that bizarre act of violence set her free and unleashed the storyteller in her ("The equation of writing and regeneration is fundamental to black American experience"). She writes in Black Is the Body how each of the essays goes beyond a narrative of black innocence and white guilt, how each is anchored in a mystery, and how each sets out to discover a new way of telling the truth as the author has lived it. "Blackness is an art, not a science. It is a paradox: intangible and visceral; a situation and a story. It is the thread that connects these essays, but its significance as an experience emerges randomly, unpredictably . . . Race is the story of my life, and therefore black is the body of this book." And what most interests Bernard is looking at "blackness at its borders, where it meets whiteness in fear and hope, in anguish and love."Read More View in Catalog
ONE OF THE 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR—THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW WINNER OF THE CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE One of the Best Books of the Year: The Washington Post, NPR, Time, O, The Oprah Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Entertainment Weekly, The Boston Globe, GQ, The Dallas Morning News, Buzzfeed, BookPage, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLER Tommy Orange’s “groundbreaking, extraordinary” (The New York Times) There There is the “brilliant, propulsive” (People Magazine) story of twelve unforgettable characters, Urban Indians living in Oakland, California, who converge and collide on one fateful day. It’s “the year’s most galvanizing debut novel” (Entertainment Weekly). As we learn the reasons that each person is attending the Big Oakland Powwow—some generous, some fearful, some joyful, some violent—momentum builds toward a shocking yet inevitable conclusion that changes everything. Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame. Dene Oxendene is pulling his life back together after his uncle’s death and has come to work at the powwow to honor his uncle’s memory. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil, who has taught himself traditional Indian dance through YouTube videos and will to perform in public for the very first time. There will be glorious communion, and a spectacle of sacred tradition and pageantry. And there will be sacrifice, and heroism, and loss. There There is a wondrous and shattering portrait of an America few of us have ever seen. It’s “masterful . . . white-hot . . . devastating” (The Washington Post) at the same time as it is fierce, funny, suspenseful, thoroughly modern, and impossible to put down. Here is a voice we have never heard—a voice full of poetry and rage, exploding onto the page with urgency and force. Tommy Orange has written a stunning novel that grapples with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and profound spirituality, and with a plague of addiction, abuse, and suicide. This is the book that everyone is talking about right now, and it’s destined to be a classic.Read More View in Catalog
Patrick Radden Keefe
One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year BEST NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR - TIME MAGAZINE ONE OF THE BEST 10 BOOKS OF THE YEAR - WASHINGTON POST NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST WINNER OF THE ORWELL PRIZE LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD "Masked intruders dragged Jean McConville, a 38-year-old widow and mother of 10, from her Belfast home in 1972. In this meticulously reported book -- as finely paced as a novel -- Keefe uses McConville's murder as a prism to tell the history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Interviewing people on both sides of the conflict, he transforms the tragic damage and waste of the era into a searing, utterly gripping saga." - New York Times Book Review, Ten Best Books of the Year From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it. In 2003, five years after an accord brought an uneasy peace to Northern Ireland, a set of human bones was discovered on a beach. McConville's children knew it was their mother when they were told a blue safety pin was attached to the dress--with so many kids, she had always kept it handy for diapers or ripped clothes. Patrick Radden Keefe's mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared not only people like the McConville children, but also I.R.A. members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland, and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war, but simple murders. From radical and impetuous I.R.A. terrorists such as Dolours Price, who, when she was barely out of her teens, was already planting bombs in London and targeting informers for execution, to the ferocious I.R.A. mastermind known as The Dark, to the spy games and dirty schemes of the British Army, to Gerry Adams, who negotiated the peace but betrayed his hardcore comrades by denying his I.R.A. past--Say Nothing conjures a world of passion, betrayal, vengeance, and anguish.Read More View in Catalog
Where: Putterham Library Meeting Room – 959 W. Roxbury Pkwy.
When: Third Monday of the month, 2 – 3 PM. There will be no sessions in July and August 2019.
Led by: Charlotte & Batia
Girl, Woman, Other
NATIONAL BESTSELLER WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE “A must-read about modern Britain and womanhood . . . An impressive, fierce novel about the lives of black British families, their struggles, pains, laughter, longings and loves . . . Her style is passionate, razor-sharp, brimming with energy and humor. There is never a single moment of dullness in this book and the pace does not allow you to turn away from its momentum.”—Booker Prize Judges Bernardine Evaristo is the winner of the 2019 Booker Prize and the first black woman to receive this highest literary honor in the English language. Girl, Woman, Other is a magnificent portrayal of the intersections of identity and a moving and hopeful story of an interconnected group of Black British women that paints a vivid portrait of the state of contemporary Britain and looks back to the legacy of Britain’s colonial history in Africa and the Caribbean. The twelve central characters of this multi-voiced novel lead vastly different lives: Amma is a newly acclaimed playwright whose work often explores her Black lesbian identity; her old friend Shirley is a teacher, jaded after decades of work in London’s funding-deprived schools; Carole, one of Shirley’s former students, is a successful investment banker; Carole’s mother Bummi works as a cleaner and worries about her daughter’s lack of rootedness despite her obvious achievements. From a nonbinary social media influencer to a 93-year-old woman living on a farm in Northern England, these unforgettable characters also intersect in shared aspects of their identities, from age to race to sexuality to class. Sparklingly witty and filled with emotion, centering voices we often see othered, and written in an innovative fast-moving form that borrows technique from poetry, Girl, Woman, Other is a polyphonic and richly textured social novel that shows a side of Britain we rarely see, one that reminds us of all that connects us to our neighbors, even in times when we are encouraged to be split apart.Read More View in Catalog
Wives and Daughters
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
In the WORDSWORTH CLASSICS series, this novel tells the story of Molly Gibson as she moves from childhood to womanhood in a complex series of interwoven plots. The sphere of action is small, but the implications are wide and carry truths of universal significance.Read More View in Catalog
The acclaimed New York Times bestselling and National Book Award–winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming delivers her first adult novel in twenty years. Running into a long-ago friend sets memory from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything—until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighborhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant—a part of a future that belonged to them. But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion. Like Louise Meriwether’s Daddy Was a Number Runner and Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina, Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn heartbreakingly illuminates the formative time when childhood gives way to adulthood—the promise and peril of growing up—and exquisitely renders a powerful, indelible, and fleeting friendship that united four young lives.Read More View in Catalog
Dolly Parton, Songteller
Dolly Parton, Robert K. Oermann
Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics is a landmark celebration of the remarkable life and career of a country music and pop culture legend. As told by Dolly Parton in her own inimitable words, explore the songs that have defined her journey. Illustrated throughout with previously unpublished images from Dolly Parton's personal and business archives. Mining over 60 years of songwriting, Dolly Parton highlights 175 of her songs and brings readers behind the lyrics. • Packed with never-before-seen photographs and classic memorabilia • Explores personal stories, candid insights, and myriad memories behind the songs Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics reveals the stories and memories that have made Dolly a beloved icon across generations, genders, and social and international boundaries. Containing rare photos and memorabilia from Parton's archives, this book is a show-stopping must-have for every Dolly Parton fan. • Learn the history behind classic Parton songs like "Jolene," "9 to 5," "I Will Always Love You," and more. • The perfect gift for Dolly Parton fans (everyone loves Dolly!) as well as lovers of music history and country Add it to the shelf with books like Coat of Many Colors by Dolly Parton, The Beatles Anthology by The Beatles, and Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen.Read More View in Catalog
Where: Putterham Library Meeting Room – 959 W. Roxbury Pkwy.
When: Thursdays at 12:30 PM
Led by: Helen
Join us for a friendly game of Mahjong. Beginners welcome. No registration necessary, drop-in any week. Co-sponsored by the Brookline Council on Aging.
Where: Putterham Library Meeting Room – 959 W. Roxbury Pkwy.
When: Second Tuesday of the Month from noon until 2 PM
Led by: Jude
Come join us for conversation and refreshments as we provide a setting for exploring topics that are of interest to you. Co-sponsored by the Brookline Council on Aging.