Book & Social Groups

Please note: All Library programs are being held virtually 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 social groups — we are always excited to welcome new participants. Explore the descriptions below to find out more about each group. Have a question for a book group leader? Send us a message!

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


Brookline Village Book Group

Where: Zoom Meeting — register for the Brookline Village Book Group Zoom Meeting
When: First Monday of the month, 7-8 PM
Led by: Will

Read a variety of fiction and nonfiction in this monthly book group.


Clap When You Land Elizabeth Acevedo Cover
May 3, 2021

Clap When You Land

Elizabeth Acevedo

In a novel-in-verse that brims with grief and love, National Book Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives. Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people… In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash. Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other. Great for summer reading or anytime! Clap When You Land is a Today show pick for “25 children’s books your kids and teens won’t be able to put down this summer!" Plus don't miss Elizabeth Acevedo's The Poet X and With the Fire on High!

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The Personality Brokers Merve Emre Cover
April 5

The Personality Brokers

Merve Emre

*A New York Times Critics' Best Book of 2018* *An Economist Best Book of 2018* *A Spectator Best Book of 2018* *A Mental Floss Best Book of 2018* An unprecedented history of the personality test conceived a century ago by a mother and her daughter--fiction writers with no formal training in psychology--and how it insinuated itself into our boardrooms, classrooms, and beyond The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is the most popular personality test in the world. It is used regularly by Fortune 500 companies, universities, hospitals, churches, and the military. Its language of personality types--extraversion and introversion, sensing and intuiting, thinking and feeling, judging and perceiving--has inspired television shows, online dating platforms, and Buzzfeed quizzes. Yet despite the test's widespread adoption, experts in the field of psychometric testing, a $2 billion industry, have struggled to validate its results--no less account for its success. How did Myers-Briggs, a homegrown multiple choice questionnaire, infiltrate our workplaces, our relationships, our Internet, our lives? First conceived in the 1920s by the mother-daughter team of Katherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, a pair of devoted homemakers, novelists, and amateur psychoanalysts, Myers-Briggs was designed to bring the gospel of Carl Jung to the masses. But it would take on a life entirely its own, reaching from the smoke-filled boardrooms of mid-century New York to Berkeley, California, where it was administered to some of the twentieth century's greatest creative minds. It would travel across the world to London, Zurich, Cape Town, Melbourne, and Tokyo, until it could be found just as easily in elementary schools, nunneries, and wellness retreats as in shadowy political consultancies and on social networks. Drawing from original reporting and never-before-published documents, The Personality Brokers takes a critical look at the personality indicator that became a cultural icon. Along the way it examines nothing less than the definition of the self--our attempts to grasp, categorize, and quantify our personalities. Surprising and absorbing, the book, like the test at its heart, considers the timeless question: What makes you, you?

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Pride Ibi Zoboi Cover
Monday, March 1

Pride

Ibi Zoboi

Pride and Prejudice gets remixed in this smart, funny, gorgeous retelling of the classic, starring all characters of color, from Ibi Zoboi, National Book Award finalist and author of American Street. Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable. When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding. But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all. In a timely update of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.

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The Nickel Boys Colson Whitehead Cover
February 1

The Nickel Boys

Colson Whitehead

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.

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A Taste of Poetry

Where: Zoom Meeting — register for the Taste of Poetry Zoom Meeting
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. Request a copy of this month’s poems through our contact form.


Jan 7: Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Jan 7: Lawrence Ferlinghetti

February 4, 2021: Gwendolyn Brooks

Feb 4: Gwendolyn Brooks

March 4, 2021: Edna St Vincent Millay

Mar 4: Edna St. Vincent Millay

Common Threads Poetry Packet (April is Poetry Month!)

Apr 2: Common Threads

May 6, 2021: Bob Dylan

May 6: Bob Dylan

June 3, 2021: Walt Whitman

June 3: Walt Whitman

July 1: Ada Limón

July 1: Ada Limón

August 5, 2021: Natasha Trethewey

Aug 5: Natasha Trethewey

September 2, 2021: William Carlos Williams

Sep 2: William Carlos Williams

October 7, 2021: Fernando Pessoa

Oct 7: Fernando Pessoa

Nov 4, 2021: Lisel Mueller

Nov 4: Lisel Mueller

December 2, 2021: Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Dec 2: Aimee Nezhukumatathil


Mystery Book Discussion Group

Where: Zoom Meeting — register for the Mystery Book Discussion Group Zoom Meeting
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.


A Glancing Light Aaron Elkins Cover
January 19, 2021

A Glancing Light

Aaron Elkins

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 . . .

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Broken Places Tracy Clark Cover
February 16, 2021

Broken Places

Tracy Clark

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 Reviews

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A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder Dianne Freeman Cover
March 16, 2021

A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder

Dianne Freeman

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 Reviews

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The Deep, Deep Snow Brian Freeman Cover
April 20, 2021

The Deep, Deep Snow

Brian Freeman

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.

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To Love and Be Wise Josephine Tey Cover
May 18, 2021

To Love and Be Wise

Josephine Tey

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?

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The Aosawa Murders Riku Onda Cover
June 15, 2021

The Aosawa Murders

Riku Onda

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.

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Queer Film Club

Where: Online (to join email Becca at bbastron@minlib.net)
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. We meet online
every second Thursday of the month at 6:30 PM to watch films as a group and
discuss afterwards. Please email Becca if you have any questions, or if you
would like to attend the next virtual club.


Dolor y gloria  Cover
May 13, 2021

Dolor y gloria

Salvador Mallo, a filmmaker in the twilight of his career, remembers his life: his mother, his lovers, the actors he worked with. The sixties in a small village in Valencia, the eighties in Madrid, the present, when he feels an immeasurable emptiness, facing his mortality, the incapability of continuing filming, the impossibility of separating creation from his own life. The need of narrating his past can be his salvation.

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Cloudburst  Cover
June 10, 2021

Cloudburst

When Dot's granddaughter puts her into a nursing home, Stella stages a breakout, and takes Dot to Canada so they can get married. They pick up a hitchhiker along the way.

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ELL Book Group

Where: Zoom Meeting — register for the ELL Book Group Zoom Meeting
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. 



Read & Run Book Group

Where: Brookline Village Library, the Commons — 361 Washington St.
When: Each Thursday, 6 – 7:30 PM
Led by: Cailey

Please note: this group is on hiatus due to COVID-19

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.


Coolidge Corner Library


Afternoon Book Group

Where: Zoom Meeting — register for the Afternoon Book Group Zoom Meeting
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.


Indian Horse Richard Wagamese Cover
March 2021

Indian Horse

Richard Wagamese

Saul Indian Horse has hit bottom. His last binge almost killed him, and now he's a reluctant resident in a treatment centre for alcoholics, surrounded by people he's sure will never understand him. But Saul wants peace, and he grudgingly comes to see that he'll find it only through telling his story. With him, readers embark on a journey back through the life he's led as a northern Ojibway, with all its joys and sorrows. With compassion and insight, author Richard Wagamese traces through his fictional characters the decline of a culture and a cultural way. For Saul, taken forcibly from the land and his family when he's sent to residential school, salvation comes for a while through his incredible gifts as a hockey player. But in the harsh realities of 1960s Canada, he battles obdurate racism and the spirit-destroying effects of cultural alienation and displacement. Indian Horse unfolds against the bleak loveliness of northern Ontario, all rock, marsh, bog and cedar. Wagamese writes with a spare beauty, penetrating the heart of a remarkable Ojibway man.

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Gravity Is the Thing Jaclyn Moriarty Cover
February 2021

Gravity Is the Thing

Jaclyn Moriarty

“I loved this book. . . .Funny, heartbreaking and clever with a mystery at its heart.” -Jojo Moyes “With an eye as keen for human idiosyncrasies as Miranda July’s, and a sense of humor as bright and surprising as Maria Semple’s, this is a novel of pure velocity.” -Publishers Weekly (starred review) The adult debut from bestselling, award-winning young adult author Jaclyn Moriarty—a frequently hilarious, brilliantly observed novel—that follows a single mother’s heartfelt search for greater truths about the universe, her family and herself. Twenty years ago, Abigail Sorenson’s brother Robert went missing one day before her sixteenth birthday, never to be seen again. That same year, she began receiving scattered chapters in the mail of a self-help manual, the Guidebook, whose anonymous author promised to make her life soar to heights beyond her wildest dreams. The Guidebook’s missives have remained a constant in Abi’s life—a befuddling yet oddly comforting voice through her family’s grief over her brother’s disappearance, a move across continents, the devastating dissolution of her marriage, and the new beginning as a single mother and café owner in Sydney. Now, two decades after receiving those first pages, Abi is invited to an all-expenses paid weekend retreat to learn “the truth” about the Guidebook. It’s an opportunity too intriguing to refuse. If Everything is Connected, then surely the twin mysteries of the Guidebook and a missing brother must be linked? What follows is completely the opposite of what Abi expected––but it will lead her on a journey of discovery that will change her life––and enchant readers. Gravity Is the Thing is a smart, unusual, wickedly funny novel about the search for happiness that will break your heart into a million pieces and put it back together, bigger and better than before.

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Peace Talks Tim Finch Cover
November 2020

Peace Talks

Tim Finch

'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.

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Purple Hibiscus Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Cover
October 2020

Purple Hibiscus

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.

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Midday Monday Mystery

Where: Zoom Meeting — register for the Midday Monday Mystery Zoom Meeting
When
: Second Monday of the month, 12:30 – 1:30 PM
Led by
: Brita

A mystery book group at the Coolidge Corner Library.


Please See Us Caitlin Mullen Cover
May 10, 2021

Please See Us

Caitlin Mullen

In this sophisticated, suspenseful debut reminiscent of Laura Lippman and Chloe Benjamin, two young women become unlikely friends during one fateful summer in Atlantic City as mysterious disappearances hit dangerously close to home. Summer has come to Atlantic City but the boardwalk is empty of tourists, the casino lights have dimmed, and two Jane Does are laid out in the marshland behind the Sunset Motel, just west of town. Only one person even knows they’re there. Meanwhile, Clara, a young boardwalk psychic, struggles to attract clients for the tarot readings that pay her rent. When she begins to experience very real and disturbing visions, she suspects they could be related to the recent cases of women gone missing in town. When Clara meets Lily, an ex-Soho art gallery girl who is working at a desolate casino spa and reeling from a personal tragedy, she thinks Lily may be able to help her. But Lily has her own demons to face. If they can put the pieces together in time, they may save another lost girl—so long as their efforts don’t attract perilous attention first. Can they break the ill-fated cycle, or will they join the other victims? Evocative, eerie, and compelling, Please See Us is a fast-paced psychological thriller that explores the intersection of womanhood, power, and violence.

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Before the Poison Peter Robinson Cover
June 7, 2021

Before the Poison

Peter Robinson

From bestselling author Peter Robinson comes this atmospheric, suspenseful, and thrilling standalone novel Through the years of success in Hollywood composing film scores, Chris always promised his wife they'd return to the Yorkshire Dales one day. Now a widower, Chris feels he must not forget his promise. Back in the Dales, he rents an isolated house that will allow him the space to grieve and the peace to compose his piano sonata. But when he finds that the house was the scene of a murder in the 1950s, and the convicted murderer was one of the last women hanged in England, he finds himself increasingly distracted by the events of sixty years before . . .

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The Darwin Affair Tim Mason Cover
July 12, 2021

The Darwin Affair

Tim Mason

“Intellectually stimulating and viscerally exciting, The Darwin Affair is breathtaking from start to stop.” —The Wall Street Journal Get ready for one of the most inventive and entertaining novels of 2019—an edge-of-your-seat Victorian-era thriller, where the controversial publication On the Origin of Species sets off a string of unspeakable crimes. London, June 1860: When an assassination attempt is made on Queen Victoria, and a petty thief is gruesomely murdered moments later—and only a block away—Chief Detective Inspector Charles Field quickly surmises that these crimes are connected to an even more sinister plot. Was Victoria really the assassin’s target? Are those closest to the Crown hiding something? And who is the shadowy figure witnesses describe as having lifeless, coal-black eyes? Soon, Field’s investigation exposes a shocking conspiracy in which the publication of Charles Darwin’s controversial On the Origin of Species sets off a string of murders, arson, kidnapping, and the pursuit of a madman named the Chorister. As the investigation takes Field from the dangerous alleyways of London to the hallowed halls of Oxford, the list of possible conspirators grows, and the body count escalates. And as he edges closer to the Chorister, he uncovers dark secrets that were meant to remain forever hidden. Tim Mason has created a rousing page-turner that both Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would relish and envy.

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Read and Meet Book Group

Where: Zoom Meeting — register for the Read and Meet Book Group Zoom Meeting
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.


The Sun Does Shine Anthony Ray Hinton, Lara Love Hardin Cover
May 20, 2021

The Sun Does Shine

Anthony Ray Hinton, Lara Love Hardin

"A powerful, revealing story of hope, love, justice, and the power of reading by a man who spent thirty years on death row for a crime he didn't commit"--

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Swimming Lessons Claire Fuller Cover
June 17, 2021

Swimming Lessons

Claire Fuller

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.

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Weapons of Math Destruction Cathy O'Neil Cover
July 15, 2021

Weapons of Math Destruction

Cathy O'Neil

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-Fiction

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Black Is the Body Emily Bernard Cover
August 19, 2021

Black Is the Body

Emily Bernard

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."

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There There Tommy Orange Cover
September 16, 2021

There There

Tommy Orange

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.

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Say Nothing Patrick Radden Keefe Cover
October 21, 2021

Say Nothing

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.

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Girl, Woman, Other Bernardine Evaristo Cover
November 18, 2021

Girl, Woman, Other

Bernardine Evaristo

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.

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Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You Jason Reynolds, Ibram X. Kendi Cover
December 23, 2021

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

Jason Reynolds, Ibram X. Kendi

"A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning."

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Let Them Eat Baked Goods

Where: Coolidge Corner Library, Meeting Room – 31 Pleasant St.
When
: Second Thursday of the Month, 6:30 – 7:30 PM
Led by
: Jenny

Please note: this group is on hiatus due to COVID-19

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.


Putterham Library


Council on Aging Book Group at Putterham

Where: Zoom Meeting — register for the Council on Aging Book Group Zoom Meeting
When: Third Monday of the month, 2 – 3 PM.
Led by: Charlotte & Batia


Another Brooklyn Jacqueline Woodson Cover
February 22, 2021

Another Brooklyn

Jacqueline Woodson

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.

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Dolly Parton, Songteller Dolly Parton, Robert K. Oermann Cover
March 15, 2021

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.

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The Art of Racing in the Rain Garth Stein Cover
April 12, 2021

The Art of Racing in the Rain

Garth Stein

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE FROM FOX 2000 STARRING MILO VENTIMIGLIA, AMANDA SEYFRIED, AND KEVIN COSTNER MEET THE DOG WHO WILL SHOW THE WORLD HOW TO BE HUMAN The New York Times bestselling novel from Garth Stein—a heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope—a captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life . . . as only a dog could tell it. “Splendid.” —People “The perfect book for anyone who knows that compassion isn’t only for humans, and that the relationship between two souls who are meant for each other never really comes to an end. Every now and then I’m lucky enough to read a novel I can’t stop thinking about: this is one of them.” —Jodi Picoult “It’s impossible not to love Enzo.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune “This old soul of a dog has much to teach us about being human. I loved this book.” —Sara Gruen

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Everything Sad Is Untrue Daniel Nayeri Cover
May 10, 2021

Everything Sad Is Untrue

Daniel Nayeri

The unforgettable voice of a young refugee gives this groundbreaking autobiographical its beating heart. Capturing the essence of A Thousand and One Nights, from middle school humiliations to wondrous Persian myths, you will find one powerful narrative, united by hope for a world that ought to be. At the front of a middle school classroom in Oklahoma, a boy named Khosrou (whom everyone calls "Daniel") stands, trying to tell a story. His story. But no one believes a word he says. To them he is a dark-skinned, hairy-armed boy with a big butt whose lunch smells funny; who makes things up and talks about poop too much. But Khosrou's stories, stretching back years, and decades, and centuries, are beautiful, and terrifying, from the moment his family fled Iran in the middle of the night with the secret police moments behind them, back to the sad, cement refugee camps of Italy...and further back to the fields near the river Aras, where rain-soaked flowers bled red like the yolk of sunset burst over everything, and further back still to the Jasmine-scented city of Isfahan. We bounce between a school bus of kids armed with paper clip missiles and spitballs to the heroines and heroes of Khosrou's family's past, who ate pastries that made people weep and cry "Akh, Tamar!" and touched carpets woven with precious gems. Like Scheherazade in a hostile classroom, Daniel weaves a tale to save his own life: to stake his claim to the truth. And it is (a true story). It is Daniel's. Critical acclaim for Everything Sad Is Untrue (a true story): ★ "A modern epic."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review ★ "A distinctive voice. A rare treasure of a book." —Publishers Weekly, starred review ★ "A story that soars. Readers will be transported."—The Bulletin of the Center for Childrens Books, starred review ★ "Poignant and powerful. A story of heartbreak and resilience."—Foreward Reviews, starred review

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Shuggie Bain Douglas Stuart Cover
June 14, 2021

Shuggie Bain

Douglas Stuart

A heart-wrenchingly moving first novel set in Glasgow during the Thatcher years, Shuggie Bain tells the story of a boy's doomed attempt to save his proud, alcoholic mother from her addiction.

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Mahjong Meetup

Where: Putterham Library Meeting Room – 959 W. Roxbury Pkwy.
When: Thursdays at 12:30 PM
Led by: Helen


Please note: this group is on hiatus due to COVID-19
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.


South Brookline Senior Meetup

Where: Putterham Library Meeting Room – 959 W. Roxbury Pkwy.
When: Second Tuesday of the Month from noon until 2 PM
Led by: Jude


Please note: this group is on hiatus due to COVID-19
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.