Book Discussion Group

A book discussion group meets the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the East Lyme Room. Copies of the current month’s book are available at the library.
No registration necessary.

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May 8, 2018: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

"An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing examines the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power – and limitations – of family bonds. 

Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is black and her children’s father is white. Embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances, she wants to be a better mother, but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. 

When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love. "


June 12, 2018: Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

"Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.

In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.

Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share."


July 10, 2018: Brass by Xhenet Aliu

"A waitress at the Betsy Ross Diner, Elsie hopes her nickel-and-dime tips will add up to a new life. Then she meets Bashkim, who is at once both worldly and naïve, a married man who left Albania to chase his dreams—and wound up working as a line cook in Waterbury, Connecticut. Back when the brass mills were still open, this bustling factory town drew one wave of immigrants after another. Now it’s the place they can’t seem to leave. Elsie, herself the granddaughter of Lithuanian immigrants, falls in love quickly, but when she learns that she’s pregnant, Elsie can’t help wondering where Bashkim’s heart really lies, and what he’ll do about the wife he left behind.
 
Seventeen years later, headstrong and independent Luljeta receives a rejection letter from NYU and her first-ever suspension from school on the same day. Instead of striking out on her own in Manhattan, she’s stuck in Connecticut with her mother, Elsie—a fate she refuses to accept. Wondering if the key to her future is unlocking the secrets of the past, Lulu decides to find out what exactly her mother has been hiding about the father she never knew. As she soon discovers, the truth is closer than she ever imagined."


August 14, 2018: Educated by Tara Westover

"Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag.” In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it. 


 

Mystery Book Discussion Group

This book discussion group meets on the last Thursday of each month (unless otherwise noted) at 11:00 a.m. in the East Lyme Room. Copies of the current month’s book are available at the library.
No registration necessary.

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May 31, 208: Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

"On a foggy summer night, eleven people—ten 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 the painter Scott Burroughs and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.

Was it by chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something more sinister at work? A storm of media attention brings Scott fame that quickly morphs into notoriety and accusations, and he scrambles to salvage truth from the wreckage. Amid trauma and chaos, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy grows and glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, morality, and the inextricable ties that bind us together."


June 28, 2018: Still Midnight by Denise Mina

"A brutal attack. A mysterious demand for money. An unexpected kidnap...

It's a peaceful Sunday evening in suburban Glasgow until a battered van pulls up to one home and disgorges a group of armed men in balaclavas.

They smash into the house and hold the family at gunpoint and demand millions of pounds. Baffled, the assembled people protest that they don't have access to that sort of money. The attackers kidnap the elderly grandfather and storm off into the night.

Now senior policewoman Alex Morrow has been summoned to investigate the case. But there are so many mysteries." 


July 26, 2018: Sun Storm by Asa Larsson

"On the floor of a church in northern Sweden, the body of a man lies mutilated and defiled–and in the night sky, the aurora borealis dances as the snow begins to fall....So begins Åsa Larsson’s spellbinding thriller, winner of Sweden’s Best First Crime Novel Award and an international literary sensation.

Rebecka Martinsson is heading home to Kiruna, the town she’d left in disgrace years before. A Stockholm attorney, Rebecka has a good reason to return: her friend Sanna, whose brother has been horrifically murdered in the revivalist church his charisma helped create. Beautiful and fragile, Sanna needs someone like Rebecka to remove the shadow of guilt that is engulfing her, to forestall an ambitious prosecutor and a dogged policewoman. But to help her friend, and to find the real killer of a man she once adored and is now not sure she ever knew, Rebecka must relive the darkness she left behind in Kiruna, delve into a sordid conspiracy of deceit, and confront a killer whose motives are dark, wrenching, and impossible to guess....
"


August 30, 2018: Mission Flats by William Landay

"Former D.A. William Landay explodes onto the suspense scene with an electrifying novel about the true price of crime and the hidden corners of the criminal justice system. Only an insider could so vividly capture Boston’s gritty underworld of cops and criminals. And only a natural storyteller could weave this mesmerizing tale of murder and memory, a story about the hold of time past over time present–and the story of one unforgettable young policeman who ventures into the most dangerous place of all.

By a gleaming lake in the forests of western Maine, outside a sleepy town called Versailles, the body of a man lies sprawled in a deserted cabin. The dead man was an elite D.A. from Boston, and his beat was that city’s toughest neighborhood: Mission Flats.

Now, for small-town police chief Ben Truman, investigating the murder will mean leaving his quiet, haunted home and journeying to an alien world of hard streets and hard bargains, where the fierce struggle between police and criminals is fought for the ultimate stakes.

Ben joins a manhunt through Mission Flats, where cops are scrambling to find their number-one suspect: Harold Braxton, a ruthless predator targeted for prosecution by the murdered D.A. To the Boston police, Braxton is a marked man. But as Ben watches the shadow dance of cops and suspects, he begins to voice doubts about Braxton’s guilt…especially when he uncovers a secret history of murder and retribution stretching back twenty years…back to a brutal killing now nearly forgotten. As past and present collide and a bloody mystery unfolds, only one thing remains certain: the most powerful
revelations are yet to come."