Afternoon Book Club

The Afternoon Book Club meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 1:30 pm in the Community Room at the library.

The Afternoon Book Club, facilitated by Rex Owens, is a group of seasoned readers who enjoy a variety of genres and engaging discussions.

Book club selections are subject to change. Please call the library Information Desk at 608-825-0702 for the most current information.

 

 


2023 Selections:

 

January 11

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A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

When, in 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.
 

 

February 8
 

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The Historian Kostova
 

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor," and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of, a labyrinth where the secrets of her father's past and her mother's mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.

 

March 8
 

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The Devil in the White City Larson
 

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor.  Burnham was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous "White City" around which the fair was built.  Holmes devised and erected the World's Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims.  Combining the stories of an architect and a killer in one book, mostly in alternating chapters, reveal the magical appeal and horrifying dark side of 19th-century Chicago.

 

April 12
 

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The Family Chao Chang
 

 

The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang

The residents of Haven, Wisconsin, have dined on the Fine Chao Restaurant’s delicious Americanized Chinese food for thirty-five years. But when brash, charismatic, and tyrannical patriarch Leo Chao is found dead―presumed murdered―his sons discover that they’ve drawn the exacting gaze of the entire town. The ensuing trial brings to light potential motives for all three brothers: Dagou, the restaurant’s reckless head chef; Ming, financially successful but personally tortured; and the youngest, gentle but lost college student James. Brimming with heartbreak, comedy, and suspense, The Family Chao offers a kaleidoscopic, highly entertaining portrait of a Chinese American family grappling with the dark undercurrents of a seemingly pleasant small town.

 

 

May 10

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Before the Fall Hawley
 

 

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

On a foggy summer night, 11 people - 10 privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter - depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later the unthinkable happens: The plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs - the painter - and a four-year-old boy who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.  With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens.  Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.

 

 

June 14
 

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The Lincoln Highway Towles
 

 

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the work farm where he has just served a year for involuntary manslaughter. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett’s intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother and head west where they can start their lives anew. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden’s car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett’s future. Spanning just ten days and told from multiple points of view, Towles’s third novel will satisfy fans of his multi-layered literary styling while providing them an array of new and richly imagined settings, characters, and themes.

 

 

July 12
 

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The Sentence Erdrich
 

 

The Sentence by Louise Erdrich

A small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store's most annoying customer. Flora dies on All Souls' Day, but she simply won't leave the store. Tookie, who has landed a job selling books after years of incarceration that she survived by reading with murderous attention, must solve the mystery of this haunting while at the same time trying to understand all that occurs in Minneapolis during a year of grief, astonishment, isolation, and furious reckoning.

 

 

August 9
 

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An American Family Khan
 

 

An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice by Khizr Khan

An American Family is an intensely personal story about the nature of true patriotism and what it's like to risk everything you know for the promise of a 226-year-old piece of parchment. As Khizr Khan traces his remarkable journey--from humble beginnings on a poultry farm in Pakistan to obtaining a degree from Harvard Law School and raising a family in America--he shows what it means to leave the limitations of one's country behind for the best values and promises of another. He also tells the story of the Khans' middle child, U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed while protecting his base camp in Iraq, and the ways in which their undying pride in him and his sacrifice have helped them endure the deepest despair a parent can know.

 

 

September 13
 

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Disobedience Hamilton
 

 

Disobedience by Jane Hamilton

Seventeen-year-old Henry Shaw learns of his mother's passionate affair when he stumbles across her e-mail correspondence with her lover. His image of her is shattered, but he cannot resist his electronic eavesdropping. Henry's younger sister, Elvira, is scornful of technology, stuck as she is in 1862 with her Civil War infantry regiment. For Elvira, much to her mother's sorrow and her historian father's pride, is a hardcore Civil War re-enactor. Displaced from Vermont to Chicago, each member of the Shaw family finds their dreams hard to realize and their expectations of life turned on their head. Disobedience is a compassionate, sharp, wicked and utterly contemporary novel about families, love and loyalty by a major literary talent.

 

 

October 11

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The Poison Squad by Deborah Blum

From Pulitzer Prize winner Deborah Blum, the dramatic true story of how food was made safe in the United States.By the end of nineteenth century, food was dangerous. This was not by accident; food manufacturers had rushed to embrace the rise of industrial chemistry, and were knowingly selling harmful products. Then, in 1883, Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley was named chief chemist of the agriculture department, and the agency began methodically investigating food and drink fraud, conducting shocking human tests on groups of young men who came to be known as, "The Poison Squad."

 

 

November 8
 

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The Darkest Evening Cleeves
 

 

The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves

On the first snowy night of winter, Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope sets off for her home in the hills. Though the road is familiar, she misses a turning and soon becomes lost and disorientated. A car has skidded off the narrow road in front of her, its door left open, and she stops to help. There is no driver to be seen, so Vera assumes that the owner has gone to find help. But a cry calls her back: a toddler is strapped in the back seat. Vera takes the child and, driving on, she arrives at a place she knows well. Brockburn is a large, grand house in the wilds of Northumberland, now a little shabby and run down. It’s also where her father, Hector, grew up. Inside, there’s a party in full swing: music, Christmas lights and laughter. Outside, unbeknownst to the revelers, a woman lies dead in the snow.  As the blizzard traps the group deep in the freezing Northumberland countryside, Brockburn begins to give up its secrets, and as Vera digs deeper into her investigation, she also begins to uncover her family’s complicated past.

 

 

December 13
 

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Cold Mountain Frazier
 

 

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

Based on local history & family stories passed down by Frazier’s great-great-grandfather, Cold Mountain is the tale of a wounded Confederate soldier, Inman, who walks away from the ravages of the war & back home to his prewar sweetheart, Ada. His odyssey thru the devastated landscape of the soon-to-be-defeated South interweaves with Ada’s struggle to revive her father’s farm, with the help of an intrepid young drifter named Ruby. As their long-separated lives begin to converge at the close of the war, Inman & Ada confront the vastly transformed world they’ve been delivered.