The BookTalkers discussion group meets at 6:00 pm in the Armstrong Conference Room
on the second floor of the library.
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
Monday, November 20
In 1859, nurse Lib Wright accepts an unusual assignment: to watch over Anna O’Donnell, an 11-year-old girl in a small Irish village who, so it’s claimed, hasn’t ingested any nourishment in four months. Having trained under Florence Nightingale, the English widow is ideally equipped to verify whether Anna’s fast is a hoax. She initially suspects the child’s piety is a scam for attention, but Anna’s gentle nature (and alarming decline) soften the nurse’s heart. Inspired by true cases of nearly 50 “Fasting Girls” who lived between the 16th and 20th centuries, Emma Donoghue’s quietly suspenseful novel depicts the customs, myths and devotional practices of 19th-century rural Irish Catholics.
Beartown by Frederik Backman
Monday, December 18
Beartown, an isolated Swedish community, is collapsing under the burden of unemployment and desperately hopes its amateur ice hockey team will win the junior championship, which could bring much-needed government funding to the town. Then, during a celebration after an important win, something happens between the team’s star player and the daughter of the team’s general manager that sets the whole town spinning and threatens everyone’s dreams. Fredrik Backman’s book is about more than youth sports; it’s part coming-of-age novel, part study of moral failure, and a serious look at how the actions of one or two people can affect an entire town.
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
Monday, January 15
In 1936, nine rowers from the University of Washington captured gold at the Berlin Olympics. This riveting bestseller by Daniel Brown has two backstories: one begins with a depiction of Hitler decreeing construction of the German venues at which the Games would take place. The other illustrates how all nine members of the Washington team came from lower-middle-class families and had to struggle to earn their way through school during the depths of the Depression. The emotional heart of the story lies with one rower, Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not for glory, but to regain his shattered self-regard and to find a place he can call home. A film adaptation is in production.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Monday, February 19
Sentenced as an incorrigible aristocrat in 1922 by the Bolsheviks to a life of house arrest in Moscow’s grand Metropol Hotel, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is spared the firing squad but confined for decades within the walls of the Metropol. As he carves out a new existence for himself in his shabby attic room and inside the hotel-at-large, his conduct, his resolve, and his commitment to his home and to the hotel guests and staff form a triumph of the human spirit. In Amor Towles’ empathetic and entertaining novel, Count Rostov’s long transformation occurs against a background of upheaval, repression, and war.