Book & Social Groups
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
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.
Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982: A Novel
A fierce international bestseller that launched Korea’s new feminist movement, Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 follows one woman’s psychic deterioration in the face of rigid misogyny. Truly, flawlessly, completely, she became that person. In a small, tidy apartment on the outskirts of the frenzied metropolis of Seoul lives Kim Jiyoung. A thirtysomething-year-old “millennial everywoman,” she has recently left her white-collar desk job—in order to care for her newborn daughter full-time—as so many Korean women are expected to do. But she quickly begins to exhibit strange symptoms that alarm her husband, parents, and in-laws: Jiyoung impersonates the voices of other women—alive and even dead, both known and unknown to her. As she plunges deeper into this psychosis, her discomfited husband sends her to a male psychiatrist. In a chilling, eerily truncated third-person voice, Jiyoung’s entire life is recounted to the psychiatrist—a narrative infused with disparate elements of frustration, perseverance, and submission. Born in 1982 and given the most common name for Korean baby girls, Jiyoung quickly becomes the unfavored sister to her princeling little brother. Always, her behavior is policed by the male figures around her—from the elementary school teachers who enforce strict uniforms for girls, to the coworkers who install a hidden camera in the women’s restroom and post their photos online. In her father’s eyes, it is Jiyoung’s fault that men harass her late at night; in her husband’s eyes, it is Jiyoung’s duty to forsake her career to take care of him and their child—to put them first. Jiyoung’s painfully common life is juxtaposed against a backdrop of an advancing Korea, as it abandons “family planning” birth control policies and passes new legislation against gender discrimination. But can her doctor flawlessly, completely cure her, or even discover what truly ails her? Rendered in minimalist yet lacerating prose, Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 sits at the center of our global #MeToo movement and announces the arrival of writer of international significance.Read More View in Catalog
Clap When You Land
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!Read More View in Catalog
The Personality Brokers
*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?Read More View in Catalog
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.Read More View in Catalog
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: Zoom Meeting — register for the Taste of Poetry Zoom Meeting
When: First Thursday of the month, 11 AM – 12:30 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.
Where: Zoom Meeting — register for the Mystery Book Discussion Group Zoom Meeting
When: Second Tuesday of the month, 2-3 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.
In this new extraordinary thriller from Gold Dagger Award winner Arnaldur Indridason, the Reykjavik police are called on an icy January day to a garden where a body has been found: a young, dark-skinned boy is frozen to the ground in a pool of his own blood. Erlendur and his team embark on their investigation and soon unearth tensions simmering beneath the surface of Iceland's outwardly liberal, multicultural society. Meanwhile, the boy's murder forces Erlendur to confront the tragedy in his own past. Soon, facts are emerging from the snow-filled darkness that are more chilling even than the Arctic night.Read More View in Catalog
The Thursday Murder Club
Krimi. In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved killings. But when a local property developer shows up dead, 'The Thursday Murder Club' find themselves in the middle of their first live case. The four friends, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron, might be octogenarians, but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it's too late?Read More View in Catalog
Velvet Was the Night
From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a riveting noir about a daydreaming secretary, a lonesome thug, and the mystery of the missing woman that brings them together. 1970s Mexico City. Maite is a secretary who lives for one thing: the latest issue of Secret Romance. While student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite escapes into stories of passion and danger. Her next-door neighbor, Leonora, a beautiful art student, seems to live a life of intrigue and romance that Maite envies. When Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman--and journeying deeper into Leonora's secret life of student radicals and dissidents. Meanwhile, someone else is also looking for Leonora at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. Elvis is an eccentric thug who longs to escape his own life: He loathes violence and loves old movies and rock 'n' roll. But as Elvis searches for the missing woman, he comes to observe Maite from a distance--and grows more and more obsessed with this woman who shares his love of music, and the unspoken loneliness of his heart. Now as Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the secrets behind Leonora's disappearance, they can no longer escape the danger that threatens to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies aiming to protect Leonora's secrets--at gunpoint. Their lives become more colorful than comics, more passionate than a pop song, and stranger than pulp fiction.Read More View in Catalog
This "superbly written true-crime story" (Michael Lewis, The New York Times Book Review) masterfully brings together the tales of a serial killer in 1970s Alabama and of Harper Lee, the beloved author of To Kill a Mockingbird, who tried to write his story. Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members, but with the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative assassinated him at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell's murderer was acquitted--thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the reverend himself. Sitting in the audience during the vigilante's trial was Harper Lee, who spent a year in town reporting on the Maxwell case and many more trying to finish the book she called The Reverend. Cep brings this remarkable story to life, from the horrifying murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South, while offering a deeply moving portrait of one of our most revered writers.Read More View in Catalog
B. A. Shapiro
Don't miss B. A. Shapiro's new novel, The Collector's Apprentice, available now! “Vibrant and suspenseful . . . Like The Art Forger, this new story takes us into the heart of what it means to be an artist.” —The Washington Post “B. A. Shapiro captivated us in 2012 with her ‘addictive’ novel The Art Forger. Now, she’s back with another thrilling tale from the art world.” —Entertainment Weekly When Alizée Benoit, an American painter working for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), vanishes in New York City in 1940, no one knows what happened to her. Not her Jewish family living in German-occupied France. Not her artistic patron and political compatriot, Eleanor Roosevelt. Not her close-knit group of friends, including Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Lee Krasner. And, some seventy years later, not her great-niece, Danielle Abrams, who while working at Christie’s auction house uncovers enigmatic paintings hidden behind works by those now-famous Abstract Expressionist artists. Do they hold answers to the questions surrounding her missing aunt?Read More View in Catalog
A Tourist’s Guide to Murder
V. M. Burns
While visiting the land of Miss Marple and Sherlock Holmes, bookstore owner and amateur sleuth Samantha Washington finds herself on a tragical mystery tour... Sam joins Nana Jo and her Shady Acres Retirement Village friends Irma, Dorothy, and Ruby Mae on a weeklong trip to London, England, to experience the Peabody Mystery Lovers Tour. The chance to see the sights and walk the streets that inspired Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle is a dream come true for Sam--and a perfect way to celebrate her new publishing contract as a mystery author. But between visits to Jack the Ripper's Whitechapel district and 221B Baker Street, Major Horace Peabody is found dead, supposedly of natural causes. Despite his employer's unfortunate demise, the tour guide insists on keeping calm and carrying on--until another tourist on their trip also dies under mysterious circumstances. Now it's up to Sam and the Shady Acres ladies to mix and mingle among their fellow mystery lovers, find a motive, and turn up a murderer...Read More View in Catalog
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
When: Second Thursday of the month, 6:30 – 8 PM
Led by: TBD
Please note: the Queer Film Club is currently on hiatus.
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
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.Read More View in Catalog
Where: Zoom Meeting — register for the ELL Book Group Zoom Meeting
When: Second Wednesday of the month, 2 PM
Led by: Cailey
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.
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
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.
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.Read More View in Catalog
Gravity Is the Thing
“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.Read More View in Catalog
'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: 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.
The Secret Place
“An absolutely mesmerizing read. . . . Tana French is simply this: a truly great writer.” —Gillian Flynn Read the New York Times bestseller by Tana French, author of the forthcoming novel The Searcher and “the most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years” (The Washington Post). A year ago a boy was found murdered at a girlsʼ boarding school, and the case was never solved. Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to join Dublin’s Murder Squad when sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey arrives in his office with a photo of the boy with the caption: “I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM.” Stephen joins with Detective Antoinette Conway to reopen the case—beneath the watchful eye of Holly’s father, fellow detective Frank Mackey. With the clues leading back to Holly’s close-knit group of friends, to their rival clique, and to the tangle of relationships that bound them all to the murdered boy, the private underworld of teenage girls turns out to be more mysterious and more dangerous than the detectives imagined.Read More View in Catalog
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.
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
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
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.
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
The Ungrateful Refugee
A Finalist for the 2019 Kirkus Prize in Nonfiction "Nayeri combines her own experience with those of refugees she meets as an adult, telling their stories with tenderness and reverence.” —The New York Times Book Review "Nayeri weaves her empowering personal story with those of the ‘feared swarms’ . . . Her family’s escape from Isfahan to Oklahoma, which involved waiting in Dubai and Italy, is wildly fascinating . . . Using energetic prose, Nayeri is an excellent conduit for these heart–rending stories, eschewing judgment and employing care in threading the stories in with her own . . . This is a memoir laced with stimulus and plenty of heart at a time when the latter has grown elusive.” —Star–Tribune (Minneapolis) Aged eight, Dina Nayeri fled Iran along with her mother and brother and lived in the crumbling shell of an Italian hotel–turned–refugee camp. Eventually she was granted asylum in America. She settled in Oklahoma, then made her way to Princeton University. In this book, Nayeri weaves together her own vivid story with the stories of other refugees and asylum seekers in recent years, bringing us inside their daily lives and taking us through the different stages of their journeys, from escape to asylum to resettlement. In these pages, a couple fall in love over the phone, and women gather to prepare the noodles that remind them of home. A closeted queer man tries to make his case truthfully as he seeks asylum, and a translator attempts to help new arrivals present their stories to officials. Nayeri confronts notions like “the swarm,” and, on the other hand, “good” immigrants. She calls attention to the harmful way in which Western governments privilege certain dangers over others. With surprising and provocative questions, The Ungrateful Refugee challenges us to rethink how we talk about the refugee crisis. “A writer who confronts issues that are key to the refugee experience.” —Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sympathizer and The RefugeesRead More View in Catalog
The Daylight Marriage
Hannah was tall and graceful, naturally pretty, spirited and impulsive, the upper-class young woman who picked, of all men, Lovell---the introverted climate scientist who thought he could change the world if he could just get everyone to listen to reason. After a magical honeymoon, they settled in the suburbs to raise their two children. But over the years, Lovell and Hannah’s conversations have become charged with resentments and unspoken desires. She has become withdrawn. His work affords him a convenient distraction. And then, after one explosive argument, Hannah vanishes. For the first time, Lovell is forced to examine the trajectory of his marriage through the lens of memory. As he tries to piece together what happened to his wife--and to their life together--readers follow Hannah on that single day when a hasty decision proves irrevocable. With haunting intensity, a seamless balance of wit and heartbreak, and the emotional acuity that author Heidi Pitlor brings to every page, The Daylight Marriage mines the dark and delicate nature of a marriage. “A page-turning exploration of unexpressed love and unnecessary loss. Riveting and heartbreaking.” —GERALDINE BROOKS, author of Caleb’s Crossing “In The Daylight Marriage, there are two mysteries--the whereabouts of a missing woman and the vagaries of the human heart. Heidi Pitlor explores both of these enigmas with equal mastery, merging a shocking crime story with an incisive portrait of a failed marriage. The result is a novel that is fast-moving, emotionally complex, and ultimately heartbreaking.” —Tom Perrotta, author of Nine Inches “Pitlor brings forth the emotions that surge beneath the surface with the precision and power of a conductor . . . This powerful analysis of how dreams become nightmares will make readers want to hold their loved ones close.” —Booklist, starred reviewRead More View in Catalog
A Long Petal of the Sea
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * From the author of The House of the Spirits, this epic novel spanning decades and crossing continents follows two young people as they flee the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War in search of a place to call home. "One of the most richly imagined portrayals of the Spanish Civil War to date, and one of the strongest and most affecting works in [Isabel Allende's] long career."--The New York Times Book Review NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Esquire * Good Housekeeping * Parade In the late 1930s, civil war grips Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government, hundreds of thousands are forced to flee in a treacherous journey over the mountains to the French border. Among them is Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life intertwined with that of Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and the brother of her deceased love. In order to survive, the two must unite in a marriage neither of them desires. Together with two thousand other refugees, Roser and Victor embark for Chile on the SS Winnipeg, a ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda: "the long petal of sea and wine and snow." As unlikely partners, the couple embraces exile as the rest of Europe erupts in world war. Starting over on a new continent, they face trial after trial, but they will also find joy as they patiently await the day when they might go home. Through it all, their hope of returning to Spain keeps them going. Destined to witness the battle between freedom and repression as it plays out across the world, Roser and Victor will find that home might have been closer than they thought all along. A masterful work of historical fiction about hope, exile, and belonging, A Long Petal of the Sea shows Isabel Allende at the height of her powers. Praise for A Long Petal of the Sea "Both an intimate look at the relationship between one man and one woman and an epic story of love, war, family, and the search for home, this gorgeous novel, like all the best novels, transports the reader to another time and place, and also sheds light on the way we live now."--J. Courtney Sullivan, author of Saints for All Occasions "This is a novel not just for those of us who have been Allende fans for decades, but also for those who are brand-new to her work: What a joy it must be to come upon Allende for the first time. She knows that all stories are love stories, and the greatest love stories are told by time."--Colum McCann, National Book Award-winning author of Let the Great World SpinRead More View in Catalog
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! Now being developed as a television series with Eva Longoria and ABC! “Rarely have I read a book that challenged me to see myself in an entirely new light, and was at the same time laugh-out-loud funny and utterly absorbing.”—Katie Couric “This is a daring, delightful, and transformative book.”—Arianna Huffington, Founder, Huffington Post and Founder & CEO, Thrive Global “Wise, warm, smart, and funny. You must read this book.”—Susan Cain, New York Times best-selling author of Quiet From a New York Times best-selling author, psychotherapist, and national advice columnist, a hilarious, thought-provoking, and surprising new book that takes us behind the scenes of a therapist’s world—where her patients are looking for answers (and so is she). One day, Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who helps patients in her Los Angeles practice. The next, a crisis causes her world to come crashing down. Enter Wendell, the quirky but seasoned therapist in whose office she suddenly lands. With his balding head, cardigan, and khakis, he seems to have come straight from Therapist Central Casting. Yet he will turn out to be anything but. As Gottlieb explores the inner chambers of her patients’ lives — a self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young newlywed diagnosed with a terminal illness, a senior citizen threatening to end her life on her birthday if nothing gets better, and a twenty-something who can’t stop hooking up with the wrong guys — she finds that the questions they are struggling with are the very ones she is now bringing to Wendell. With startling wisdom and humor, Gottlieb invites us into her world as both clinician and patient, examining the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others as we teeter on the tightrope between love and desire, meaning and mortality, guilt and redemption, terror and courage, hope and change. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is revolutionary in its candor, offering a deeply personal yet universal tour of our hearts and minds and providing the rarest of gifts: a boldly revealing portrait of what it means to be human, and a disarmingly funny and illuminating account of our own mysterious lives and our power to transform them.Read More View in Catalog
An American Sunrise: Poems
A stunning new volume from the first Native American Poet Laureate of the United States, informed by her tribal history and connection to the land. In the early 1800s, the Mvskoke people were forcibly removed from their original lands east of the Mississippi to Indian Territory, which is now part of Oklahoma. Two hundred years later, Joy Harjo returns to her family’s lands and opens a dialogue with history. In An American Sunrise, Harjo finds blessings in the abundance of her homeland and confronts the site where her people, and other indigenous families, essentially disappeared. From her memory of her mother’s death, to her beginnings in the native rights movement, to the fresh road with her beloved, Harjo’s personal life intertwines with tribal histories to create a space for renewed beginnings. Her poems sing of beauty and survival, illuminating a spirituality that connects her to her ancestors and thrums with the quiet anger of living in the ruins of injustice. A descendent of storytellers and “one of our finest—and most complicated—poets” (Los Angeles Review of Books), Joy Harjo continues her legacy with this latest powerful collection.Read More View in Catalog
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.
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.