Skip to main content
Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library

Book Club Updates

Keep up with the Book Club Brunch monthly newsletter!
  • January 4, 2024

    The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s First Thursday Book Club met on Thursday, January 4,  2024 from 12 NOON to 1:00 PM in the library. Members enjoyed home baked olliebollen, a traditional  Dutch deep fried fluffy bread (not unlike a donut hole) filled with raisins.

    The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s First Thursday Book Club meeting minutes are  published in “files” on the Marcellus Twp Library Book Club Facebook site. If you have not already joined this site, please do!  

    Library staff told the group that this month an unusual object would be embedded in the January 2024  minutes. The first person to locate the object and notify library staff by sending an e-mail to marcellusmichiganlibrary@gmail.com describing what the object is and on what page of the minutes it  can be found will win this month’s prize. This month, the unusual object is ♪. 

    The library staff will notify the first individual sending us an e-mail that she or he is the winner. The winner  will be invited to pick up the gift when he/she next visits the library. Other members will be notified by  e-mail that a winner has been identified. All persons receiving the First Thursday Book Club Meeting  Minutes are eligible to participate. Library staff are not eligible to participate. This month’s winner will  receive a delightful scented candle complete with a William Shakespeare quote on the candle—perfect  for any book lover! 

    Books discussed: 

    The links under each book discussed below will take you directly to the Marcellus Township Wood  Memorial Library’s Catalog entry or the MeLCat entry for that particular book, large print book, CD  audiobook, Libby audiobook, or Libby eBook. 

    Title and Author: The Comfort of Crows: A Backyard Year by Margaret Renkl 

    Description: In The Comfort of Crows, Margaret Renkl presents a literary devotional: fifty-two chapters  that follow the creatures and plants in her backyard over the course of a year. As we move through the  seasons—from a crow spied on New Year’s Day, its resourcefulness and sense of community setting a  theme for the year, to the lingering bluebirds of December, revisiting the nest box they used in spring— what develops is a portrait of joy and grief: joy in the ongoing pleasures of the natural world, and grief  over winters that end too soon and songbirds that grow fewer and fewer. Along the way, we also glimpse  the changing rhythms of a human life. Grown children, unexpectedly home during the pandemic, prepare  to depart once more. Birdsong and night-blooming flowers evoke generations past. The city and the  country where Renkl raised her family transform a little more with each passing day. And the natural  world, now in visible flux, requires every ounce of hope and commitment from the author—and from us.  For, as Renkl writes, “radiant things are bursting forth in the darkest places, in the smallest nooks and  deepest cracks of the hidden world.” With fifty-two original color artworks by the author’s brother, Billy  Renkl, The Comfort of Crows is a lovely and deeply moving book from a cherished observer of the natural  world. 

    Genre: Non-fiction 

    Availability:  

    In Library: Book; Overdrive audiobook. 

    MeLCat: Book. 

    Club member comment(s): The club member sharing her thoughts about this book with the group said  that it has beautiful artwork and focuses on how the author found hope in a broken world by focusing on what was happening in nature in her own backyard over the course of a year. The book was tedious at  times but enjoyable.  

    Title and Author: A Future We Can Love by Susan Bauer-Wu 

    Description: When the Dalai Lama and Greta Thunberg spoke for the first time in January 2021, millions  of people around the world took notice. “It is encouraging to see how you have opened the eyes of the  world to the urgency to protect our planet, our only home,” the Dalai Lama wrote to Greta before their  meeting. A Future We Can Love shares the words of these two great figures, generations apart, bringing  them into dialogue with dozens of visionary scientists, activists, and spiritual luminaries. These include  Indigenous scholar and artist Lyla June, medical biochemist and author Diana Beresford-Kroeger, climate  scientist and Zen teacher Kritee Kanko, interfaith environmental leader Dekila Chungyalpa, Buddhist  teacher Willa Blythe Baker, Rabbi Steve Leder, and many more. Through this world-changing conversation,  readers embark on a four-part journey toward active hope in the face of the climate crisis: from  knowledge of climate science through the capacity for change, to the will that is needed and the actions  we can take. 

    Genre: Non-fiction 

    Availability:  

    In Library: Book 

    MeLCat: Book 

    Club member comment(s): This book offers a journey toward active hope in the face of the climate crisis.  By providing positive directions and stressing that what individuals do in this world matters, the author  points out that even small actions to preserve this planet for future generations can make a difference.  Each one of us has to change our mind sets and avoid overindulgence in all areas of life. Love and  recognition of our interconnectedness with each other and nature will go a long way.

    Title and Author: The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey 

    Description: Elisabeth Tova Bailey tells the inspiring and intimate story of her year-long encounter with  a Neohelix albolabris—a common forest snail. While an illness keeps her bedridden, Bailey watches as the  snail takes up residence on her nightstand. Intrigued by its molluscan anatomy, cryptic defenses, clear  decision making ability, hydraulic locomotion, and mysterious courtship activities, Bailey becomes an  astute and amused observer. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is a remarkable journey of survival and  resilience, showing us how a small part of the natural world illuminates our own human existence.  

    Genre: Non-fiction. 

    Availability:  

    In Library: Book 

    MeLCat: Book; large print book 

    Club member comment(s): While bedbound in a small cottage recovering from a debilitation illness, this  book’s author received a wild woodland snail as a gift. The book is a record of her observations of the  snail as it adjusts to its new surroundings, and the author draws parallels between her situation at that  time and the snail’s captivity at her bedside. This is a story of hope and a lesson about the benefits we  get by closely observing what is going on in nature around us.

    Title and Author: The Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah 

    Description: Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise  her children and manage the family apple orchard; the other followed a dream and traveled the world to  become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, Meredith and Nina find  themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now,  offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy  tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the  women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time—and all the way to the end. Thus begins an  unexpected journey into the truth of Anya's life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago.  Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing  story of their mother's life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the  very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are. 

    Genre: Historical fiction 

    Availability:  

    In Library: Book; Overdrive audiobook and e-book; audiobook (CDs) 

    MeLCat: Book; audiobook (CDs); playaway 

    Club member comment(s): The club member sharing information about this book found it  disappointing and almost did not finish reading it. She described it as “dismal,” “epically depressing,”  and that the reading experience “sucked her will to live.” 

    Title and Author: The Clothes on Their Backs: A Novel by Linda Grant 

    Description: Orange Prize Winner and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2008, Llinda Grant has created  an enchanting portrait of a woman who, having endured unbearable loss, finds solace in the family secrets her estranged uncle reveals. Vivien Kovacs, sensitive and bookish, grows up sealed off from the world by  her timid Hungarian refugee parents. She loses herself in books and reinvents herself according to her  favorite characters, but it is through clothes that she ultimately defines herself. Against her father’s  wishes, she forges a relationship with her estranged uncle, a notorious criminal, who, in his old age, wants  to share his life story. As he reveals the truth about her family’s past, Vivien, having endured unbearable loss, learns how to be comfortable in her own skin and how to be alive in the world. Linda Grant is a  spectacularly humanizing writer whose morally complex characters explore the line between selfishness  and self-preservation. In vivid and supple prose, Grant has created a powerful story of family, love, and  the hold the past has on the present. 

    Genre: Fiction 

    Availability:  

    In Library: Book 

    MeLCat: Book; audiobook (CDs) 

    Club member comment(s): This was an enjoyable read focusing on the experience of WW II Hungarian  refugees and whether or not clothes really make the person. The club member reviewing the book  recommended it to the others. 

    Title and Author: Happiness for Beginners: A Novel by Katherine Center 

    Description: Helen Carpenter can’t quite seem to bounce back. Newly divorced at thirty-two, her life has  fallen apart beyond her ability to put it together again. So when her annoying younger brother, Duncan,  convinces her to sign up for a hardcore wilderness survival course in the backwoods of Wyoming―she  hopes it’ll be exactly what she needs. Instead, it’s a disaster. It’s nothing like she wants, or expects, or  anticipates. She doesn’t anticipate the surprise summer blizzard, for example―or the blisters, or the  rutting elk, or the mean pack of sorority girls. And she especially doesn’t anticipate that her annoying  brother’s even-more-annoying best friend, Jake, will show up for the exact same course―and distract her,  derail her, and . . . kiss her. But it turns out sometimes disaster can teach you exactly the things you need  to learn. Like how to keep going, even when you think you can’t. How being scared can make you brave.  And how sometimes getting really, really lost is your only hope of getting found. Happiness for  Beginners is Katherine Center at her most heart-warming, captivating best―a nourishing, page-turning,  up-all-night read about how to get back up. It’s a story that looks at how our struggles lead us to our  strengths. How love is always worth it. And how the more good things we look for, the more we find. 

    Genre: Fiction

    Availability:  

    In Library: Not available 

    MeLCat: Book 

    Club member comment(s): This book follows the adventures of a thirty-something woman without  survivalist training who inadvertently signs up for a hardcore wilderness survival course. Even though  those hiking with her are younger and more experienced, she finds that she has something to teach them  about resiliency, sheer pluck, and bravery. The book is funny and inspirational and was recommended to  the others. 

    Title and Author: The Beekeeper’s Daughter by Santa Montefiore 

    Description: England, 1932: Grace Hamblin is growing up on the beautiful estate of the Marquiss and  Marchioness of Penselwood. The beekeeper’s daughter, she knows her place and her future—that is until  her father dies and leaves her alone. Her childhood friend Freddie has recently become her lover, and she  is thankful when they are able to marry and take over her father’s duties. But there is another man whom  she just can’t shake from her thoughts… Massachusetts, 1973: Grace’s daughter, Trixie Valentine, is in  love with an unsuitable boy. Jasper Duncliffe is wild and romantic, and in a band that might be going  somewhere. But when his brother dies and he is called home to England, Jasper promises to come back  for Trixie one day, if only she will wait for him. Thinking Trixie is surely abandoned, Grace tries to reach  out to her daughter, but Trixie brushes off her mother’s advice and comfort, sure Jasper’s love for her was  real… Both mother and daughter are searching for love and happiness, unaware of the secrets that bind  them. To find what they most truly desire they must confront the secrets of the past, and unravel the lies  told long ago. The book’s setting is a fictional island off the coast of Massachusetts with charming  architecture, beautiful landscape, and quirky islanders. 

    Genre: Fiction  

    Availability:  

    In Library: Not available

    MeLCat: Book; large print book; audiobook (CDs) 

    Club member comment(s): Enjoyable, dual time line, fast paced book that was recommended as a very  enjoyable read. 

    Title and Author: Oath and Honor: A Memoir and a Warning by Liz Cheney 

    Description: In the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump and many around him,  including certain other elected Republican officials, intentionally breached their oath to the Constitution:  they ignored the rulings of dozens of courts, plotted to overturn a lawful election, and provoked a violent  attack on our Capitol. Liz Cheney, one of the few Republican officials to take a stand against these efforts,  witnessed the attack first-hand, and then helped lead the Congressional Select Committee investigation  into how it happened. In Oath and Honor, she tells the story of this perilous moment in our history, those  who helped Trump spread the stolen election lie, those whose actions preserved our constitutional  framework, and the risks we still face. 

    Genre: Non-fiction 

    Availability:  

    In Library: Book; Overdrive audiobook and e-book 

    MeLCat: Book; audiobook (CDs) 

    Club member comment(s): The club member reviewing this book appreciated Liz Cheney’s integrity and  willingness to always put the constitution first. With that known, readers should know that the book  includes many names of political figures and timelines surrounding the events of January 6.

    Title and Author: Born in Fire by Nora Roberts 

    Description: This is the first novel in the Irish Born or Concannon Sister’s Trilogy—featuring three modern  sisters bound by the timeless beauty of Ireland. Margaret Mary, the eldest Concannon sister, is a glass  artist with an independent streak as fierce as her volatile temper. Hand-blowing glass is a difficult and  exacting art, and while she may produce the delicate and the fragile, Maggie is a strong and opinionated  woman, a Clare woman, with all the turbulence of that fascinating west country. One man, Dublin gallery  owner Rogan Sweeney, has seen the soul in Maggie’s art, and vows to help her build a career. When he  comes to Maggie’s studio, her heart is inflamed by their fierce attraction—and her scarred past is slowly  healed by love… 

    Genre: Romance 

    Availability:  

    In Library: Not available. 

    MeLCat: Book; large print book; audiobook (CD) 

    Club member comment(s): The club member reviewing this book told the group that a friend  recommended it to her after rereading the series herself. The club member said the book was enjoyable  and prompted her to want to read the other books in the series.

    Title and Author: The Recipe Box: A Novel by Viola Shipman 

    Description: Growing up in northern Michigan, Samantha “Sam” Mullins felt trapped on her family’s  orchard and pie shop, so she left with dreams of making her own mark in the world. But life as an  overworked, undervalued sous chef at a reality star’s New York bakery is not what Sam dreamed. When  the chef embarrasses Sam, she quits and returns home. Unemployed, single, and defeated, she spends a  summer working on her family’s orchard cooking and baking alongside the women in her life—including  her mother, Deana, and grandmother, Willo. One beloved, flour-flecked, ink-smeared recipe at a time,  Sam begins to learn about and understand the women in her life, her family’s history, and her passion for  food through their treasured recipe box. As Sam discovers what matters most she opens her heart to a  man she left behind, but who now might be the key to her happiness. 

    Genre: Fiction 

    Availability:  

    In Library: Book; Overdrive audiobook 

    MeLCat: Book; large print book; audiobook 

    Club member comment(s): The setting for this book is Northern Michigan, so the club member reviewing  it said that she felt she was reading about home. Although somewhat predictable and “light and fluffy,”  the book was enjoyable.

    Title and Author: A Traitor in White Hall by Julia Kelly 

    Description: The first book in the Evelyne Redfern/Parisian Orphan Series.1940, England: Evelyne  Redfern, known as “The Parisian Orphan” as a child, is working on the line at a munitions factory in  wartime London. When Mr. Fletcher, one of her father’s old friends, spots Evelyne on a night out, Evelyne  finds herself plunged into the world of Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s cabinet war rooms. However,  shortly after she settles into her new role as a secretary, one of the girls at work is murdered, and Evelyne  must use all of her amateur sleuthing expertise to find the killer. But doing so puts her right in the path of  David Poole, a cagey minister’s aide who seems determined to thwart her investigations. That is, until  Evelyne finds out David’s real mission is to root out a mole selling government secrets to Britain’s enemies,  and the pair begrudgingly team up. With her quick wit, sharp eyes, and determination, will Evelyne be  able to find out who’s been selling England’s secrets and catch a killer, all while battling her growing  attraction to David? 

    Genre: Historical mystery 

    Availability:  

    In Library: Book 

    MeLCat: Book; large print book; audiobook (CDS) 

    Club member comment(s): This book was described as an “Agatha Christie-esque”mystery. The reader  gained insight about the WW II blitz experience in London and particularly how the Londoners carried on  despite the significant hardships they experienced including having to stay in bunkers during bombing  raids that occurred all too frequently. In the book, someone is leaking information to the Germans, a  co-worker is murdered, and the race is on to catch the traitorous murderer. Good book.

    Title and Author: The Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley 

    Description: As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of scandal, Daunis Fontaine has  never quite fit in—both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. When her family is  struck by tragedy, Daunis puts her dreams on hold to care for her fragile mother. The only bright spot is  meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother’s hockey team. After Daunis witnesses a  shocking murder that thrusts her into a criminal investigation, she agrees to go undercover. But the  deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home. How far will she  go to protect her community if it means tearing apart the only world she’s ever known? 

    Genre: Young adult fiction 

    Availability:  

    In Library: Book; Overdrive audiobook and e-book 

    MeLCat: Book; audiobook (CDs); Spanish book 

    Club member comment(s): A well written book. Highly recommended. 

    Title and Author: Inferno (Robert Langdon Series, Book #4) by Dan Brown

    Description: With a relentless female assassin trailing them through Florence, he and his resourceful  doctor, Sienna Brooks, are forced to flee. Embarking on a harrowing journey, they must unravel a series  of codes, which are the work of a brilliant scientist whose obsession with the end of the world is  matched only by his passion for one of the most influential masterpieces ever written, Dante  Alighieri's The Inferno. Dan Brown has raised the bar yet again, combining classical Italian art, history,  and literature with cutting-edge science in this captivating thriller. 

    Genre: Thriller 

    Availability:  

    In Library: Overdrive audiobook and e-book 

    MeLCat: Book; audiobook (CDs) 

    Club member comment(s): This book and Brown’s “Origin” made the reader question if there is anything  we’re really sure of and why humans tend to fight about what they are not sure of.  

    Title and Author: Origin (Robert Langdon Series, Book #5) by Dan Brown 

    Description: Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the  ultramodern Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery  that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old  billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a  renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier,  is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough . . . one that will answer two of the fundamental questions  of human existence. As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated  by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever  imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious  discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is  forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who  worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret. Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history  and extreme religion, Langdon and Vidal must evade a tormented enemy whose all-knowing power seems  to emanate from Spain’s Royal Palace itself . . . and who will stop at nothing to silence Edmond Kirsch. On  a trail marked by modern art and enigmatic symbols, Langdon and Vidal uncover clues that ultimately  bring them face-to-face with Kirsch’s shocking discovery . . . and the breathtaking truth that has long  eluded us. Origin is Dan Brown’s most brilliant and entertaining novel to date. 

    Genre: Thriller 

    Availability: 

    In Library: Book; Overdrive audiobook and e-book 

    MeLCat: Book; large print book; audiobook (CDs); playaway 

    Club member comment(s): See above. 

    Title and Author: The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens 

    Description: In New York Times bestselling author Lori Lansens’ “moving portrait of the human spirit—as  fierce, lovely, and indomitable as nature itself” (People, “Book of the Week”), Nola has decided to hike up  a mountain to commemorate her wedding anniversary, the first since her beloved husband passed.  Blonde, rail-thin Bridget is training for a triathalon. Vonn is working out her teenage rebellion at eight  thousand feet, driven by family obligation and the urge to escape her mistakes. Still reeling from the tragic  accident that robbed him of his best friend, Wolf Truly is the only experienced hiker in this group of four  strangers but has come to the cliffs on his eighteenth birthday to end his life. When a series of missteps  strands them together in the wilderness, these four broken souls soon realize that their only defense  against the brutality of nature is one another. As one day without rescue spirals dramatically into the next,  and misadventure turns to nightmare, they begin to form an inextricable bond, pushing themselves and  one another further than they ever could have dreamed possible. The three who make it home alive will  be forever changed by their harrowing days on the mountain. Braving a landscape both unforgivingly  harsh and breathtakingly beautiful, Nola, Bridget, Vonn, and Wolf find themselves faced with an  impossible question: How much will they sacrifice for a stranger? The Mountain Story is a fast-paced,  suspenseful, and a gorgeous tribute to the resilience of the human spirit. “Your heart will be in your  throat,” says Helen Simonson, New York Times bestselling author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.

    Genre: Thriller 

    Availability:  

    In Library: Not available 

    MeLCat: Book; audiobook 

    Club member comment(s): This book focuses on a young man’s journey up a mountain with the intent  to commit suicide once he reaches the top. Why he wants to end his life is thoroughly explored at the  beginning of the book—childhood abuse, childhood neglect, the death of his best friend, and the resulting  despondency. An experienced hiker, he’s doesn’t prepare well for this trip because, after all, he won’t  need much if he’s going to die. On the trek up the mountain, he meets three women—all coming up the  mountain for personal reasons of their own. The weather rapidly declines and the foursome face  harrowing days on the mountain together. During their experiences, they learn more about each other  and what they are willing to sacrifice to preserve the life of someone else. The book explores the true  meaning of family and what binds us together over time. Enjoyable, suspenseful book. Recommended  to others. 

    Title and Author: The Stonecutter: A Novel by Camilla Lackberg 

    Description: Named by major media outlets, such as USA TODAY, The New York Times, and The  Washington Post, as a main successor to Stieg Larsson, Swedish author Läckberg is on the rise. Her new  novel, which The Washington Post has already named as one of their “Ten Books We Love This Year” and  praised as “richly textured and downright breathtaking,” continues the story of local detective Patrik  Hedström and his girlfriend, Erica Falck, the beloved crime-solving duo whose first child has just been  born. But while they celebrate this new life, a suspicious drowning claims a little girl they knew well. As  the murder’s implications widen, Patrik’s investigation threatens to tear apart the rural fishing village of  Fjällbacka, where a secret lurks that spans generations. 

    Genre: Mystery 

    Availability: 

    In Library: Overdrive audiobook and e-book

    MeLCat: Book; large print book; audiobook (CDs) 

    Club member comment(s): Lackberg, a Swedish author, has written a series of mystery novels that have  been translated into English. The club member reviewing this book has written several of her books and  recommends that others readers begin with book one and move forward because many of the same  characters are in all of her books and the reader grows with the characters as they move through life.  Lackberg is an excellent mystery writer, and the reader has found all of her books to be well written. 

    Title and Author: Beyond That, the Sea by Laura Spence-Ashford 

    Description: A sweeping, tenderhearted love story, Beyond That, the Sea by Laura Spence-Ash tells the  story of two families living through World War II on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, and the shy,  irresistible young woman who will call them both her own. As German bombs fall over London in 1940,  working-class parents Millie and Reginald Thompson make an impossible choice: they decide to send their  eleven-year-old daughter, Beatrix, to America. There, she’ll live with another family for the duration of  the war, where they hope she’ll stay safe. Scared and angry, feeling lonely and displaced, Bea arrives in  Boston to meet the Gregorys. Mr. and Mrs. G, and their sons William and Gerald, fold Bea seamlessly into  their world. She becomes part of this lively family, learning their ways and their stories, adjusting to their  affluent lifestyle. Bea grows close to both boys, one older and one younger, and fills in the gap between  them. Before long, before she even realizes it, life with the Gregorys feels more natural to her than the  quiet, spare life with her own parents back in England. As Bea comes into herself and relaxes into her  new life—summers on the coast in Maine, new friends clamoring to hear about life across the sea—the  girl she had been begins to fade away, until, abruptly, she is called home to London when the war ends.  Desperate as she is not to leave this life behind, Bea dutifully retraces her trip across the Atlantic back to  her new, old world. As she returns to post-war London, the memory of her American family stays with  her, never fully letting her go, and always pulling on her heart as she tries to move on and pursue love and  a life of her own. As we follow Bea over time, navigating between her two worlds, Beyond That, the  Sea emerges as a beautifully written, absorbing novel, full of grace and heartache, forgiveness and  understanding, loss and love.

    Genre: Historical fiction 

    Availability: 

    In Library: Overdrive e-book 

    MeLCat: Book; audiobook 

    Club member comment(s): Excellent book. Looks at a different aspect of the WW II experience. A young  girl is sent to America from London to keep her safe. She lives with a family of four—parents and two  boys for five years and then returns to London. She literally grows up in America and returns to London  a young woman. Her London family and her American family become intertwined for the remainder of  the book with many life challenges along the way. 

    Before parting, the club members discussed several opportunities to see nature in the vicinity. The links  to the sites discussed are included below for reference. 

    The last link is for the Michigan Activity Pass (MAP) program, a statewide collaborative effort between  Michigan’s public libraries and participating destinations. Destinations range from cultural destinations  to state parks, campgrounds, and recreation areas. MAP provides Michigan library card holders the  opportunity to discover/learn more about participating cultural destinations, state parks, campgrounds,  and recreation areas in the state at a discounted rate. 

    https://swmlc.org/project/spirit-springs-sanctuary/ 

    https://www.fernwoodbotanical.org/ 

    https://www.potawatomizoo.org/event/winter-days-2024/all/ 

    https://miactivitypass.org/ 

    The club members were shown the Marcellus Library’s online catalog. Starting in January 2024, when  the Library Director orders new books to add to the library’s collection, these books will be preloaded  into the catalog as soon as the books are ordered even if the books have not yet arrived at the library.  This new process will allow patrons to reserve these books as soon as possible. A screenshot of the catalog has been included below. The books in “pink” at the top of the screen shot are those that have  been ordered but have not yet been delivered to the library. These books can be reserved by patrons.

    The next meeting of the Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s First Thursday Book Club will be  held on Thursday, February 1, 2024, at 12 NOON in the library. We look forward to seeing you here! 

    Tammy Terpstra 

    Interlibrary Loan SpecialistLibrary Assistant 

    Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library 

  • December 7, 2023

    205 East Main 

    Marcellus, Michigan 49067 

    Phone: 269-646-9654 

    Fax: 269-646-9603 

    Email: marcellusmichiganlibrary@gmail.com 

    Website: www.marcellus.michlibrary.org 

    MeLCat website: https://mel.org/welcome 

    First Thursday Book Club Meeting Minutes 

    December 7, 2023 

    The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s First Thursday Book Club met on Thursday, December 7, 2023 from 12PM to 1PM in the library with nine members present. Members enjoyed yummy cookies and baked goods made by Book Club members. Everyone was very thankful for the delicious treats to snack on while chatting.

    The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s First Thursday Book Club meeting minutes are published in “files” on the Marcellus Twp Library Book Club Facebook site along with being on our website published in “Book Club Updates”. If you have not joined our Facebook page, please do! 

    The hidden item is 🎉. Find this little emoji for a chance to win a SURPRISE! Be the first to find this little thing and email us and we will contact you to let you know you won! Happy searching! 

    Books discussed: 

    The links under each book discussed below will take you directly to the Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s Catalog entry or the MeLCat entry for that particular book, large print book, CD audiobook, Libby audiobook, or Libby eBook. 

    Title and Author: The Invisible Hour by: Alice Hoffman 

    Description: Alice Hoffman's new novel, “The Invisible Hour,” is about a young woman who runs away from a cult, discovers “The Scarlet Letter” in a public library, travels back in time almost 200 years, falls in love with Nathaniel Hawthorne and bears his baby.Through a journey of heartbreak, love, and time, Mia must abandon the rules she was raised with at the Community. As she does, she realizes that reading can transport you to other worlds or bring them to you, and that readers and writers affect one another in mysterious ways. 

    Genre: Historical Fiction 

    Availability: 

    In Library: 

    Book: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/?st=230AA94E09EF0B2893F231BC0096E470 MeLCat:

    Book: 

    https://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43313704__Sthe%20invisible%20hour__Orightresult_ _U__X7?lang=eng&suite=gold 

    Audiobook: 

    https://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43705764__Sthe%20invisible%20hour__P0%2C1__Ori ghtresult__U__X7?lang=eng&suite=gold 

    Club member comment(s): member said they really enjoyed this particular book and they highly recommended everyone to read this! 

    Title and Author: Holly by: Stephen King 

    Description: Holly Gibney is a private investigator belonging to a detective agency by the name of Finders Keepers, which she shares with her partner, Pete. Holly is an odd woman who King fans will be familiar with if they've read his last few books, where Holly makes an appearance. In King's new novel, Holly is on her own, and up against a pair of unimaginably depraved and brilliantly disguised adversaries. When Penny Dahl calls the Finders Keepers detective agency hoping for help locating her missing daughter, Holly is reluctant to accept the case. Her partner, Pete, has Covid. 

    Genre: Thriller, Mystery 

    Availability: 

    In Library: Not Available 

    MeLCat: 

    Book: 

    https://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43331084__Sholly%20stephen%20king__P0%2C3__Or ightresult__U__X2?lang=eng&suite=gold

    Audiobook: 

    https://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43660281__Sholly%20stephen%20king__Orightresult __U__X4?lang=eng&suite=gold 

    Club member comment(s): Although this book is different from other Stephen King books, they really enjoyed it. Liked how King brought in characters from previous books. Recommended to others if they are a fan of Stephen King. 

    Title and Author: Three-Martini Afternoons at the Ritz by: Gail Crowther 

    Description: Based on in-depth research and unprecedented archival access, Three-Martini Afternoons at the Ritz is a remarkable and unforgettable look at two legendary poets and how their work has turned them into lasting and beloved cultural figures. The story of two of the greatest poets of the twentieth century. Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. The two meet at a workshop in Boston led by Robert Lowell, they form a friendship that spun way out of control fueled by jealousy, respect, and a rivalry that never ended. 

    Genre: Biography & Autobiography 

    Availability: 

    In Library: Not Available 

    MeLCat:

    Book: 

    https://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb41421004__Sthree%20martini%20afternoons%20__Orig htresult__U__X6?lang=eng&suite=gold 

    Club member comment(s): Member did like reading his for the most part. She recommends reading this after the holiday season due to tough topics. They mentioned it was difficult to read because of the topics, but they resonated with the book because of how/when they grew up. 

    Title and Author: The Clothes on Their Backs by: Linda Grant 

    Description: Vivien Kovacs, sensitive and bookish, grows up sealed off from the world by her timid Hungarian refugee parents. She loses herself in books and reinvents herself according to her favorite characters, but it is through clothes that she ultimately defines herself. 

    Genre: Domestic Fiction 

    Availability: 

    Library: 

    Book: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/?st=BC18538DC3DF198CB0657187E34F96A9 MeLCat: 

    Book: 

    https://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb11087883__Sthe%20clothes%20on%20their%20backs __Orightresult__U__X7?lang=eng&suite=gold 

    Club member comment(s): Member described this book as well-written and worth the read. They did recommend this to the other group members. They decided to donate their copy to the library!

    Title and Author: A Mother Would Know by: Amber Garza 

    Description: When a young woman is found murdered a block away, suspicion falls on him immediately, without a shred of evidence. While Valerie fights to defend her son, she begins to wonder who she really invited into her home. It's a horrible thing for a mother to even thinkbut is it possible she's enabled a 

    monster? A mother questions everything she knows about her son when a local woman is found dead. Valerie has been forgetting things. Her daughter worries about her being on her own in her big Victorian house—one rumored to be haunted after a tragedy decades earlier—and truth be told, she is a little lonely. 

    Genre: Domestic Suspense 

    Availability: 

    Library: 

    Book: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/?st=855E3EE40DF5F48DF24878322A86302D MeLCat: 

    Book: https://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb42985039__Sa%20mother%20would%20know__Orightresult__U__X7?lang=eng&suite=gold

    Large Print: https://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43335899__Sa%20mother%20would%20know__P0%2C1__Orightresult__U__X7?lang=eng&suite=gold

    Club member comment(s): This member mentioned that they didn’t like any of the characters besides the dog…which was a very small part of the book! The only reason they finished the book was because it was very suspenseful and they HAD to know what happened. They did not particularly recommend this book to the other members. 

    Title and Author: “The Comfort of Crows” by Margaret Renkl

    Description: The Comfort of Crows is a howling love letter to the world, the story of what we've lost and what we can save and the abundance of wonder in our own backyard. Margaret Renkl is a singular, spectacular writer, and this book, like life itself, is a cause for celebration.

    Genre: Biography & Autobiography 

    Availability:

    Library:  

    Book: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/?st=BC837ECB95EBACB4E43C83660BD1CD4E

    MeLCat: N/A

    Club member comment(s): This member said that if you read this book, it will change your view of your surroundings–especially nature. Every essay they read, they stopped to really think about what the author wrote. This member read this book slowly because they really wanted to enjoy every page. They highly recommended everyone to read this. 

    Title and Author: “The Mistletoe Matchmaker” by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

    Description: It's Christmas in Ireland, and when Cassie Fitzgerald arrives from Toronto to visit her grandparents, she learns that it's never too late to come home. The days are turning colder, preparations are under way for the Winter Fest, and everyone is hoping for a little holiday magic on the Finfarran peninsula.

    Genre: Relationship Fiction

    Availability:

    Library: 

    Book: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/?st=F906926F0F8046EE8E4FCA3487A41715

    MeLCat:

    B🎉ook: https://elibrary.mel.org/search~S15?/Xmistletoe+matchmaker&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ/Xmistletoe+matchmaker&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ&extended=0&SUBKEY=mistletoe+matchmaker/1%2C14%2C14%2CB/frameset&FF=Xmistletoe+matchmaker&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ&4%2C4%2C

    Large Print: https://elibrary.mel.org/search~S15?/Xmistletoe+matchmaker&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ/Xmistletoe+matchmaker&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ&SUBKEY=mistletoe+matchmaker/1%2C14%2C14%2CB/frameset&FF=Xmistletoe+matchmaker&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ&5%2C5%2C

    Club member comment(s): This member mentioned that they didn’t particularly like this book. Tried reading the next book in the series and wasn’t too fond of that either! 

    Title and Author: “The Month of Borrowed Dreams” by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

    Description: On the Finfarran Peninsula on Ireland's west coast, the blue skies and warmer days of summer are almost here. At the Lissbeg Library, Hanna Casey has big plans for the long days ahead. Beginning with the film adaptation of Brooklyn, she’s starting a cinema club, showing movies based on popular novels her friends and neighbors love. But the drama that soon unfolds in this close-knit seaside village rivals any on the screen. Just when Lissbeg begins to feel like home, an unexpected twist leaves Hanna’s daughter, Jazz, reeling and may send her back to London. Aideen worries that her relationship with Conor won't survive the pressures of their planned double wedding with overbearing Eileen and manipulative Joe. Saira Khan throws herself into helping a troubled new arrival to Finfarran. Hanna enjoys getting closer to Brian until her ex-husband Malcolm returns, threatening her newfound contentment. As the club prepares for the first meeting of the summer, they’ll all face difficult choices. But will they get the happy endings they deserve?

    Genre: Romance, Domestic Fiction

    Availability:

    Library: 

    Book: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/?st=48F866EAAFFF17DDB2AAA52C4C4BBEEB

    MeLCat:

    Book: https://elibrary.mel.org/search~S15?/Xthe+month+of+borrowed+dreams&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ/Xthe+month+of+borrowed+dreams&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ&extended=0&SUBKEY=the+month+of+borrowed+dreams/1%2C11%2C11%2CB/frameset&FF=Xthe+month+of+borrowed+dreams&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ&1%2C1%2C

    Large Print: https://elibrary.mel.org/search~S15?/Xthe+month+of+borrowed+dreams&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ/Xthe+month+of+borrowed+dreams&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ&SUBKEY=the+month+of+borrowed+dreams/1%2C11%2C11%2CB/frameset&FF=Xthe+month+of+borrowed+dreams&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ&6%2C6%2C

    Club member comment(s): Member said this book was okay, but left them with questions at the end of the book. Club member preferred this one over the other one she read. (See previous book.)

    Title and Author: “In Five Years” by Rebecca Serle

    Description: Dannie is living the life she's always wanted: a great career as a corporate lawyer, about to be engaged to her boyfriend of two years, and everything is going exactly as she's planned. On the night of her engagement, she falls asleep and seemingly catches a glimpse of her life five years in the future.

    Genre:  Fiction & Literature 

    Availability:

    Library: 

    Book: N/A

    MeLCat:

    Book: https://elibrary.mel.org/search~S15?/Xin+five+years&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ/Xin+five+years&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ&extended=0&SUBKEY=in+five+years/1%2C20658%2C20658%2CB/frameset&FF=Xin+five+years&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ&2%2C2%2C

    Large Print: https://elibrary.mel.org/search~S15?/Xin+five+years&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ/Xin+five+years&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ&SUBKEY=in+five+years/1%2C20658%2C20658%2CB/frameset&FF=Xin+five+years&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ&1%2C1%2C

    Audiobook: https://elibrary.mel.org/search~S15?/Xin+five+years&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ/Xin+five+years&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ&SUBKEY=in+five+years/1%2C20658%2C20658%2CB/frameset&FF=Xin+five+years&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ&10%2C10%2C

    Club member comment(s): This member said they did enjoy the book, however, it didn’t end like they had wanted it to! Did not recommend it. 

    Title and Author: “The Dinner List” by Rebecca Serle

    Description: The Dinner List follows the story of Sabrina, who upon arriving at her thirtieth birthday dinner discovers four unexpected guests have joined the party - her late father, her former college professor, her ex-boyfriend and silver screen star Audrey Hepburn.

    Genre:  Romance, Magical Realism

    Availability:

    Library: 

    Book: N/A

    MeLCat:

    Book: https://elibrary.mel.org/search~S15?/Xthe+dinner+list&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ/Xthe+dinner+list&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ&extended=0&SUBKEY=the+dinner+list/1%2C407%2C407%2CB/frameset&FF=Xthe+dinner+list&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ&3%2C3%2C

    Audiobook: https://elibrary.mel.org/search~S15?/Xthe+dinner+list&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ/Xthe+dinner+list&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ&SUBKEY=the+dinner+list/1%2C407%2C407%2CB/frameset&FF=Xthe+dinner+list&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ&6%2C6%2C

    Club member comment(s): Member mentioned that this book just didn’t flow. Hard time reading/finishing for that reason. Wouldn’t recommend others to read it. 

    Title and Author: “The House I Loved” by Tatiana De Rosnay

    Description: Rose Bazelet is determined to fight against the destruction of her family home until the very end; as others flee, she stakes her claim in the basement of the old house on rue Childebert, ignoring the sounds of change that come closer and closer each day.

    Genre:  Historical Fiction & Domestic Fiction

    Availability:

    Library: 

    Book: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/?st=7EC7B7AA0E3D6BC4FD52B5BFEE032751

    MeLCat:

    Book: https://elibrary.mel.org/search~S15?/Xthe+house+i+loved&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ/Xthe+house+i+loved&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ&extended=0&SUBKEY=the+house+i+loved/1%2C702%2C702%2CB/frameset&FF=Xthe+house+i+loved&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ&1%2C1%2C

    Audiobook: https://elibrary.mel.org/search~S15?/Xthe+house+i+loved&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ/Xthe+house+i+loved&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ&SUBKEY=the+house+i+loved/1%2C702%2C702%2CB/frameset&FF=Xthe+house+i+loved&searchscope=15&SORT=DZ&8%2C8%2C

    Club member comment(s): This member picked this book up through “Blind Date With A Book”. They mentioned this isn’t a book they would normally pick, but they really enjoyed it. Successful “Blind Date With A Book”! This member did say they had to look some words up due to this taking place in the 1850’s, but they learned new things! 

    Title and Author: “Iron Flame” by Rebecca Yarros

    Description: Everyone expected Violet Sorrengail to die during her first year at Basgiath War College—Violet included. But Threshing was only the first impossible test meant to weed out the weak-willed, the unworthy, and the unlucky. Now the real training begins, and Violet's already wondering how she'll get through.

    Genre: Romance, Fantasy

    Availability:

    Library: 

    Book: N/A

    MeLCat:

    Book: Available, but all copies are checked out. 

    Club member comment(s): Book Club member ended up buying this second book because they enjoyed the first one so much. Didn’t quite meet their standards; very disappointed in how the story went. Member wishes they built on to the characters more! They don’t regret reading it, but they will not read it again. 

    Our next Book Club meeting will be on January 4th, 2023 at 12PM! We really hope to see everyone there!!

    Morgan Ludlow

    Program Coordinator

    Library Assistant

  • November 2, 2023

    The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s First Thursday Book Club met on Thursday, November 2nd, 2023 from 12 NOON to 1:00 PM in the library with seven members present. Members enjoyed a variety of tasty goodies during this meeting and are always grateful to those opting to share their culinary talents with us! 

    Next month, our meeting will be in early December, the start of the holiday season. We’re going to celebrate the season by having a Cookie Exchange during our meeting. Cookie exchanges or swaps allow friends to tray a whole assortment of cookies without having to bake dozens of different kinds themselves. If you’d like to participate, bring in enough cookies for the members to sample and to ensure each club member has several of each type of cookie to take home. Please share your cookie recipes as well! If you’re not into baking, you can certainly bring in your favorite packaged or bakery made cookies because we’re not picky! And...don’t let the need to bring cookies prevent you from attending! We’re willing to share cookies with anyone joining us! 

    The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s First Thursday Book Club meeting minutes are published in “files” on the Marcellus Twp Library Book Club Facebook site. If you have not already joined this site, please do! 

    Books discussed: 

    The links under each book discussed below will take you directly to the Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s Catalog entry or the MeLCat entry for that particular book, large print book, CD audiobook, Libby audiobook, or Libby eBook. 

    Title and Author: Between the Flowers: A Novel by Harriette Simpson Arnow 

    Description: Between the Flowers is Harriette Simpson Arnow's second novel. Written in the late 1930s, but unpublished until 1997, this early work shows the development of social and cultural themes that would continue in Arnow's later work: the appeal of wandering and of modern life, the countervailing desire to stay within a traditional community, and the difficulties of communication between men and women in such a community. Between the Flowers goes far beyond categories of "local color," literary regionalism, or the agrarian novel, to the heart of human relationships in a modernized world. Arnow, who went on to write Hunter's Horn (1949) and The Dollmaker (1952)her two most famous workshas continually been overlooked by critics as a regional writer. Ironically, it is her stinging realism that is seen as evidence of her realism, evidence that she is of the Cumberlandan area somehow more "regional" than others. Beginning with an edition of critical essays on her work in 1991 and a complete original edition of Hunter's Horn in 1997, the Michigan State University Press is pleased to continue its effort to make available the timeless insight of Arnow's work with the posthumous publication of Between the Flowers. 

    Genre: General fiction. 

    Availability: 

    In Library: Not available. 

    MeLCat: 

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb15436394 

    Club member comment(s): This book’s protagonist is an independent woman who wants more than what rural Kentucky in the early part of the 1900s could offer her. This was a great read and comes highly recommended by the club member sharing her perspectives with the others. 

    Title and Author: The Last Beekeeper: A Novel by Julie Dalton 

    Description: It’s been more than a decade since the world has come undone, and Sasha Severn has returned to her childhood home with one goal in mindfind the mythic research her father, the infamous Last Beekeeper, hid before he was incarcerated. There, Sasha is confronted with a group of squatters who have claimed the quiet, idyllic farm as their own. While she initially feels threatened, the group soon becomes her newfound family, offering what she hasn't felt since her father was imprisoned: security and hope. Maybe it's time to forget the family secrets buried on the farm and focus on her future. But just as she settles into her new life, Sasha witnesses the impossible. She sees a honey bee, presumed extinct. People who claim to see bees are ridiculed and silenced for reasons Sasha doesn't understand, but she can't shake the feeling that this impossible bee is connected to her father's missing research. Fighting to uncover the truth could shatter Sasha's fragile security and threaten the lives of her newfound familyor it could save them all. Julie Carrick Dalton's The Last Beekeeper is a celebration of found family, an exploration of truth versus power, and the triumph of hope in the face of despair. It is a meditation on forgiveness and redemption and a reminder to cherish the beauty that still exists in this fragile world. 

    Genre: Literary fiction 

    Availability: 

    In Library: Not available 

    MeLCat: 

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43304193 

    Large Print Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43382361 

    Club member comment(s): This is scifi/fantasy but is believable. Upon introduction, the book’s characters are 10 or 11 years old and bees are present in nature. As they age, bees are no longer present necessitating hand pollination, and the book explores the broader implications of the now missing bees. This book is well written, interesting, and is recommended to others. 

    Title and Author: The Lost Sisterhood: A Novel by Anne Fortier 

    Description: From the author of the New York Times bestseller Juliet comes a mesmerizing novel about a young scholar who risks her reputation—and her life—on a thrilling journey to prove that the legendary warrior women known as the Amazons actually existed. Oxford lecturer Diana Morgan is an expert on Greek mythology. Her obsession with the Amazons started in childhood when her eccentric grandmother claimed to be one herself—before vanishing without a trace. Diana’s colleagues shake their heads at her Amazon fixation. But then a mysterious, well-financed foundation makes Diana an offer she cannot refuse. Traveling to North Africa, Diana teams up with Nick Barran, an enigmatic Middle Eastern guide, and begins deciphering an unusual inscription on the wall of a recently unearthed temple. There she discovers the name of the first Amazon queen, Myrina, who crossed the Mediterranean in a heroic attempt to liberate her kidnapped sisters from Greek pirates, only to become embroiled in the most famous conflict of the ancient world—the Trojan War. Taking their cue from the inscription, Diana and Nick set out to find the fabled treasure that Myrina and her Amazon sisters salvaged from the embattled city of Troy so long ago. Diana doesn’t know the nature of the treasure, but she does know that someone is shadowing her, and that Nick has a sinister agenda of his own. With danger lurking at every turn, and unsure of whom to trust, Diana finds herself on a daring and dangerous quest for truth that will forever change her world. Sweeping from England to North Africa to Greece and the ruins of ancient Troy, and navigating between present and past, The Lost Sisterhood is a breathtaking, passionate adventure of two women on parallel journeys, separated by time, who must fight to keep the lives and legacy of the Amazons from being lost forever. 

    Genre: Historical fiction 

    Availability: 

    In Library: Not available 

    MeLCat: 

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb26370223 

    Audiobook: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb26851462 

    Club member comment(s): This is a romantic historical novel about an English woman who is left a brass arm bracelet and a strange letter which cause her to embark on a journey to discover if there are Amazon women left in the world. The book delves into the history of Amazon women and is action packed with violent and scary experiences softened by love affairs. The club member found the book enjoyable and attention grabbing. 

    Title and Author: Settled in the Wild: Notes from the Edge of Town by Susan Hand Shetterly 

    Description: Whether we live in cities, suburbs, or villages, we are encroaching on nature, and it in one way or another perseveres. Naturalist Susan Shetterly looks at how animals, humans, and plants share the land—observing her own neighborhood in rural Maine. She tells tales of the locals (humans, yes, but also snowshoe hares, raccoons, bobcats, turtles, salmon, ravens, hummingbirds, cormorants, sandpipers, and spring peepers). She expertly shows us how they all make their way in an ever-changing habitat. In writing about a displaced garter snake, witnessing the paving of a beloved dirt road, trapping a cricket with her young son, rescuing a fledgling raven, or the town's joy at the return of the alewife migration, Shetterly issues warnings even as she pays tribute to the resilience that abounds. Like the works of Annie Dillard and Aldo Leopold, Settled in the Wild takes a magnifying glass to the wildness that surrounds us. With keen perception and wit, Shetterly offers us an education in nature, one that should inspire us to preserve it. 

    Genre: Adult nonfiction 

    Availability: 

    In Library

    Book: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/147397514 

    MeLCat: 

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb17345186 

    Club member comment(s): The club member sharing her thoughts about this book described it as a journal about living in the wild. She considered it “okay.” The book was part of the “mystery date with a book” program the Library offered in October 2023. This was not a book that she would have normally picked to read. 

    Title and Author: Summer at the Garden Café: A Novel by Felicity Hayes McCoy 

    Description: The second in Felicity Hayes-McCoy's Finfarran Peninsula series, and sequel to The Library at the Edge of the World—a heartwarming story about secrets between four generations of Irish women, and the healing powers of books, love, and friendship. The Garden Café, next to Lissbeg library, is a place where plans are formed and secrets shared, and where, even in high tourist season, people are never too busy to stop for a sandwich and a cup of tea. But twenty-one-year-old Jazz—daughter of the town’s librarian Hanna Casey—has a secret she can’t share. Still recovering from a car accident, and reeling from her father’s disclosures about his long-time affair, she’s taken a job at The Old Forge guesthouse, and begun to develop feelings for a man who’s strictly off-limits. Meanwhile, involved in her own new affair with architect Brian Morton, Hanna is unaware of the turmoil in Jazz’s life—until her manipulative ex-husband, Malcom, reappears trying to mend his relationship with their daughter. Rebuffed at every turn, Malcolm must return to London, but his mother, Louisa, is on the case. Unbeknown to the rest of the family, she hatches a plan, finding an unlikely ally in Hanna’s mother, the opinionated Mary Casey. Watching Jazz unravel, Hanna begins to wonder if secrets which Malcolm has forced her to keep may have harmed their beloved daughter more than she’d realized. But then, the Casey women are no strangers to secrets, something Hanna realizes when she discovers a journal, long buried in land she inherited from her great-aunt Maggie. Ultimately, it’s the painful lessons of the past that offer a way to the future, but it will take the shared experiences of four generations of women to find a way forward for Hanna and her family. 

    Genre: Romance 

    Availability: 

    In Library: 

    Book: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/960120128 

    MeLCat: 

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb37813270 

    Large print book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb37662754 

    Audiobook: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb38305324 

    Club member comment(s): The second in Felicity Hayes-McCoy's Finfarran Peninsula series, and sequel to The Library at the Edge of the World. The club member reviewing this book selected it because she enjoyed the first book in the series. This book continues with the library theme and some of the same characters and was enjoyable as well. 

    Title and Author: You Have the Right to Remain Puzzled by Parnell Hall 

    Description: This is the 8th book of the Puzzle Lady Series by Hall. When Benny Southstreet, a small-time hustler with a big-time gift for constructing crosswords, accuses Cora of stealing one of his creations, it’s clearly a case of mistaken identity...until Cora’s own attorney files a plagiarism suit against her. To add to the enigma, when Benny is found dead, the police charge Cora with his murder! At the heart of the matter is the not-so-little white lie Cora has been living for years: assuming the grandmotherly public face of her publicity-shy niece Sherry, who designs crossword puzzles and publishes them under Cora’s name—aka the Puzzle Lady. It turns out that Sherry’s and Benny’s cruciverbalist paths had recently crossed, resulting in the current incriminating conundrum. As if Sherry’s wedding engagement jitters and a nasty battle over missing antique chairs weren’t enough to deal with, now Cora has to solve the ultimate mystery: how to keep the secret of her identity without losing her life. Because not only does all evidence point to Cora, but someone seems to want her dead. It looks like a riddle with no answer. Luckily for Cora and Sherry, that’s their favorite kind! 

    Genre: Cozy mystery 

    Availability: 

    In Library: Not available. 

    MeLCat: 

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb17628453 

    Large print book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb17384997 

    Club member comment(s): This book was described as a “quirky, quick read” about a “puzzle lady” who is known for writing puzzles but doesn’t really do this—her niece does. The “puzzle lady” enjoys solving crimes and is “Barney Fife like.” The club member found this book in her own library, opted to read it, and enjoyed it. A light hearted mystery. 

    Title and Author: Lights! Cameras! Puzzles! by Parnell Hall 

    Description: This is book 20 in the Puzzle Lady series. The new novel in the ever-popular mystery series finds the Puzzle Lady on the set of a movie about her own life—and when the first dead body shows up on set, it comes with a crossword puzzle. It’s murder on the movie set! It was no surprise when Cora Felton’s ex-husband’s sensational tell-all memoir, Confessions of a Trophy Husband: My Life with the Puzzle Lady, was optioned for the movies, but it certainly raised eyebrows when the Puzzle Lady herself signed on as an associate producer. Cora explained gamely that she hoped to have some control over the project. The truth was, she needed the money. Some of the more salacious details of the steamy bestseller had not sat well with Granville Grains, the breakfast cereal company for whom the Puzzle Lady appeared in national TV ads for schoolchildren, and they suspended the campaign. Sales of her popular Sudoku books also sagged, leaving Cora and her niece, Sherry, who actually constructs the crosswords, to live on the modest income from the Puzzle Lady crossword puzzle column. Now Cora is filming her life story on location in New York City, and things couldn’t be worse. She doesn’t like the script, she doesn’t like the director, and she absolutely hates the actress who is playing her in the movie. It’s almost a relief when the first dead body shows up on the set. If only it didn’t come with a crossword puzzle . . . 

    Genre: Cozy mystery 

    Availability: 

    In Library: Not available 

    MeLCat: 

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb37920800 

    Club member comment(s): Another of the “puzzle lady” series with murders left and right! This one was enjoyable as well. 

    Title and Author: The Measure: A Novel by Nikki Erlick 

    Description: A luminous, spirit-lifting blockbuster that asks: would you choose to find out the length of your life? Eight ordinary people. One extraordinary choice. It seems like any other day. You wake up, pour a cup of coffee, and head out. But today, when you open your front door, waiting for you is a small wooden box. This box holds your fate inside: the answer to the exact number of years you will live. From suburban doorsteps to desert tents, every person on every continent receives the same box. In an instant, the world is thrust into a collective frenzy. Where did these boxes come from? What do they mean? Is there truth to what they promise? As society comes together and pulls apart, everyone faces the same shocking choice: Do they wish to know how long they’ll live? And, if so, what will they do with that knowledge? The Measure charts the dawn of this new world through an unforgettable cast of characters whose decisions and fates interweave with one another: best friends whose dreams are forever entwined, pen pals finding refuge in the unknown, a couple who thought they didn’t have to rush, a doctor who cannot save himself, and a politician whose box becomes the powder keg that ultimately changes everything. Enchanting and deeply uplifting, The Measure is a sweeping, ambitious, and invigorating story about family, friendship, hope, and destiny that encourages us to live life to the fullest. 

    Genre: Literary fiction 

    Availability: 

    In Library: 

    Libby audiobook: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/597672734 

    Libby e-Book: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/597709888 

    MeLCat: 

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb42798422 

    Audiobook: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb42920328 

    Club member comment(s): The eight characters in this book all have a box with their name on it delivered to their front door one day. The measure of each character’s life if in the box which contains a piece of string—some longer and some shorter—indicating how long that person would live. Some people opt to look in their boxes. Others do not. The fact that some people know how long they will live drives ethical questions such as whether those who are expected to have short lives should receive expensive medical treatments and/or who should receive governmental assistance. This is a well written and thought provoking story that prompted discussions in the club meeting about the ramifications of making decision about having genetic testing done to identify if one has a life limiting illness. This book was recommended to the others by the club member reviewing the book. 

    Title and Author: Habits of the House: A Novel by Fay Weldon 

    Description: This is book one in the Love & Inheritance Trilogy. As the Season of 1899 comes to an end, the world is poised on the brink of profound, irrevocable change. The Earl of Dilberne is facing serious financial concerns. The ripple effects spread to everyone in the household: Lord Robert, who has gambled unwisely on the stock market and seeks a place in the Cabinet; his unmarried children, Arthur, who keeps a courtesan, and Rosina, who keeps a parrot in her bedroom; Lord Robert's wife Isobel, who orders the affairs of the household in Belgrave Square; and Grace, the lady's maid who orders the life of her mistress. Lord Robert can see no financial relief to an already mortgaged estate, and, though the Season is over, his thoughts turn to securing a suitable wife (and dowry) for his son. The arrival on the London scene of Minnie, a beautiful Chicago heiress with a reputation to mend, seems the answer to all their prayers. As the writer of the pilot episode of the original Upstairs, DownstairsFay Weldon brings a deserved reputation for magnificent storytelling. With wit and sympathyand no small measure of mischiefHabits of the House plots the interplay of restraint and desire, manners and morals, reason and instinct. 

    Genre: Historical fiction. 

    Availability: 

    In Library: 

    Book: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/147405606 

    MeLCat: 

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb23887552 

    Audiobook: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb24668106 

    Club member comment(s): The reader listened to the audiobook version. The narrator was excellent because she was able to take on the accents of characters from diverse backgrounds and countries. This book is about a wealthy family’s loss of their money and attempts to regain wealth specifically by marrying off the children to rich aristocrats. The author deploys a tongue-in-cheek criticism of the wealthy aristocrats and their airs and graces and particularly about the marriage of one English character to an American woman. Great read and highly recommended. 

    Title and Author: Long Live the King by Fay Weldon 

    Description: Weldon's second installment of the Love and Inheritance Trilogy is a return to romance, intrigue, and beautiful homes. In this rendering of King Edward VII's all-consuming 1902 coronation, England is still mourning Queen Victoria. Tension between Lord Robert (Earl of Dilberne) and his wife, Isobel, over extra coronation tickets results in Isobel secretly posting them to Robert's estranged brother, Edwin, along with a gift for their 16-year-old niece, Adela. Edwin is a repressed, abusive man who calls Adela stupid and plain, and deprives her of food. When tragedy strikes Adela's family, the suddenly-orphaned, lovely, blue-eyed girl with the "blonde-red Botticelli waves" is seduced into the world of trances and fake spiritualism, becoming Princess Ida. Meanwhile, Isobel is consumed with Robert's interest in the beautiful, bejeweled, and unhappily married Duchess Consuelo, a Vanderbilt. Robert and Isobel's outspoken daughter, Rosina, stung by her family's rejection, marries spontaneously and unsuitably, running off with her mate and chatty parrot to Australia. Fans of the Victorian and Edwardian periods will appreciate the characters' noble mien and place in history. 

    Genre: Historical fiction 

    Availability: 

    In Library: Not available. 

    MeLCat: 

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb24554617 

    Large print book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb25996885 

    Audiobook: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb25424371 

    Club member comment(s): This is the second book in Weldon’s Love and Inheritance Trilogy with some of the same characters that the reader is introduced to in the first. The book is quite a bit shorter than the first, and the reader thought it was not as enjoyable as the first book in the trilogy. 

    Title and Author: Painting the Light: A Novel by Sally Cabot Gunning 

    Description: Martha’s Vineyard, 1898. In her first life, Ida Russell had been a painter. Five years ago, she had confidently walked the halls of Boston’s renowned Museum School, enrolling in art courses that were once deemed “unthinkable” for women to take, and showing a budding talent for watercolors. But no more. Ida Russell is now Ida Pease, resident of a seaside farm on Vineyard Haven, and wife to Ezra, a once-charming man who has become an inattentive and altogether unreliable husband. Ezra runs a salvage company in town with his business partner, Mose Barstow, but he much prefers their nightly card games at the local pub to his work in their Boston office, not to mention filling haystacks and tending sheep on the farm at home—duties that have fallen to Ida and their part-time farmhand, Lem. Ida, meanwhile, has left her love for painting behind. It comes as no surprise to Ida when Ezra is hours late for a Thanksgiving dinner, only to leave abruptly for another supposedly urgent business trip to Boston. But then something unthinkable happens: a storm strikes and the ship carrying Ezra and Mose sinks. In the wake of this shocking tragedy, Ida must settle the affairs of Ezra’s estate, a task that brings her to a familiar face from her past—Henry Barstow, Mose’s brother and executor. As she joins Henry in sifting through the remnants of her husband’s life and work, Ida must learn to separate truth from lies and what matters from what doesn’t. Captured in rich, painterly prose—piercing as a coastal gale and shimmering as sunlight on the waves—Painting the Light is an arresting portrait of a woman, and a considered meditation on grief, persistence, and reinvention. 

    Genre: Historical fiction 

    Availability: 

    In Library: Not available. 

    MeLCat: 

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb41879368 

    Audiobook: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43167269 

    Club member comment(s): The reader listened to the audiobook version. This book is primarily about the strength and resiliency of the female main character. She is able to regroup after significant hardships, learn new skills, reinvent herself and continually move forward. The reader learned a great deal about inheritance laws in England during the time period the book was written. Good read and recommended to the others. 

    Title and Author: America, A Redemption Story: Choosing Hope, Creating Unity by Senator Tim Scott with Joel N. Clark 

    Description: America is at a crossroads, reckoning with contested narratives about its history and identity, and facing unprecedented division. Bestselling author Senator Tim Scott shares a renewed vision for the United States--and invites all Americans to find themselves within this nation's redemptive story of opportunity, unity, and hope. Senator Scott knows what it's like to live at the intersection of hardship and opportunity. From his roots in South Carolina, growing up in a poor, single-parent household to starting a successful small business to his rising political career in the Senate, Scott's message of hope for America grows from his own life--the challenges, the achievements, and the work he's currently doing to bring positive change to the people of the United States. In America, a Redemption Story, Scott invites readers on a compelling journey to reclaim the American dream today. Weaving together deeply personal memoirs, stories of his family's struggle with poverty and injustice, and stirring accounts of fellow Americans past and present, Scott says we can see the truth of America's identity in the stories of individuals--people whose lives embody the hope and resilience that have carried the nation through its greatest failures and challenges. Listeners will: 

    • be inspired by the stories of personal grit and everyday heroism that reveal the power of a single individual to create positive change--for themselves, their communities, and their nation; gain an insider's view through Senator Scott's stories from his political career; and learn why principles of personal responsibility, opportunity for all, and unity based on empathy provide the greatest hope for our nation's future.

    At once a clear-eyed reckoning with America's past and present failures, an ode to its exceptional accomplishments, and a vision of the greatness it can still achieve, this book is Scott's call to all Americans to see themselves as inheritors--and fellow authors--of a story still being written. 

    Genre: Adult Nonfiction 

    Availability: 

    In Library: 

    Book: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/996961162 

    Libby eBook: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/604406708 

    MeLCat: 

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb42999108 

    Audiobook: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb47293608 

    Club member comment(s): The patron reviewing this book chose it because she wanted to learn more about Senator Tim Scott as a GOP candidate for President. His story and his Christian testimony are inspiring. The book is well written, and the club member highly recommended it to the others interested in learning more about the men and women running for the highest office in this country. 

    Title and Author: The Fire by Night: A Novel by Teresa Messineo 

    Description: A powerful and evocative debut novel about two American military Nurses during World War II that illuminates the unsung heroism of women who risked their lives in the fight—a riveting saga of friendship, valor, sacrifice, and survival combining the grit and selflessness of Band of Brothers with the 

    Emotional resonance of The Nightingale. In war-torn France, Jo McMahon, an Italian-Irish girl from the tenements of Brooklyn, tends to six seriously wounded soldiers in a makeshift medical unit. Enemy bombs have destroyed her hospital convoy, and now Jo singlehandedly struggles to keep her patients and herself alive in a cramped and freezing tent close to German troops. There is a growing tenderness between her and one of her patients, a Scottish officer, but Jo’s heart is seared by the pain of all she has lost and seen. Nearing her breaking point, she fights to hold on to joyful memories of the past, to the times she share with her best friend Kay, whom she met in nursing school. Half a world away in the Pacific, Kay is trapped in a squalid Japanese POW camp in Manila, one of thousands of Allied men, women, and children whose fates rest in the hands of a sadistic enemy. Far from the familiar safety of the small Pennsylvania coal town of her childhood, Kay clings to memories of her happy days posted in Hawaii, and the handsome flyer who swept her off her feet in the weeks before Pearl Harbor. Surrounded by cruelty and death, Kay battles to maintain her sanity and save lives as best she canand live to see her beloved friend Jo once more. When the conflict at last comes to an end, Jo and Kay discover that to achieve their own peace, they must find their place—and the hope of love—in a world that’s forever changed. With rich, superbly researched detail. Teresa Messineo’s thrilling novel brings to live the pain and uncertainty of war and the sustaining power of love and friendship, and illuminates the lives of the women who risked everything to save others during a horrifying time. 

    Genre: Historical fiction 

    Availability: 

    In Library: Not available. 

    MeLCat: 

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb31814962 

    Audiobook: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb32271046 

    Club member comment(s): The club member reviewing this book was a military Nurse in the United States Air Force and selected this book because it was about military Nurses. The author spent 7 years researching this book, and it shows. The reader fact checked the author’s details with an internet search several times while reading the book, and found the author’s account to be historically accurate. The book does not romanticize the Nurses experiences. The details are realistic, gritty, brutal at times, and riveting. How deep friendships, loving relationships, and personal resilience and determination see these women through these tough, tough experiences is fascinating. This is one of the best historical fiction books the club member has read in some time. Unforgettable. 

    Title and Author: Ugly Love: A Novel by Colleen Hoover 

    Description: When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she doesn’t think it’s love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her. 

    Never ask about the past. 

    Don’t expect a future. 

    They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all. 

    Hearts get infiltrated. 

    Promises get broken. 

    Rules get shattered. 

    Love gets ugly. 

    Genre: Romance fiction 

    Availability: 

    In Library: 

    Libby Audiobook: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/590218948 

    Libby eBook: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/597661172 

    MeLCat: 

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb27308086 

    Large print book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43390328 

    Audiobook: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb28190436 

    Club member comment(s): The club member reviewing this book listened to the audioversion. She described the book as “spicy.” Two narrators were utilized—a man and a women. The male narrator’s voice was described as robotic which made for a not so enjoyable listening experience. 

    Title and Author: Friends, Loves, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir by Matthew Perry 

    Description: “Hi, my name is Matthew, although you may know me by another name. My friends call me Matty. And I should be dead.” So begins the riveting story of acclaimed actor Matthew Perry, taking us along on his journey from childhood ambition to fame to addiction and recovery in the aftermath of a life-threatening health scare. Before the frequent hospital visits and stints in rehab, there was five-year-old Matthew, who traveled from Montreal to Los Angeles, shuffling between his separated parents; fourteen-year-old Matthew, who was a nationally ranked tennis star in Canada; twenty-four-year-old Matthew, who nabbed a coveted role as a lead cast member on the talked-about pilot then called Friends Like Us. . . and so much more. In an extraordinary story that only he could tell—and in the heartfelt, hilarious, and warmly familiar way only he could tell it—Matthew Perry lays bare the fractured family that raised him (and also left him to his own devices), the desire for recognition that drove him to fame, and the void inside him that could not be filled even by his greatest dreams coming true. But he also details the peace he’s found in sobriety and how he feels about the ubiquity of Friends, sharing stories about his castmates and other stars he met along the way. Frank, self-aware, and with his trademark humor, Perry vividly depicts his lifelong battle with addiction and what fueled it despite seemingly having it all. Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing is an unforgettable memoir that is both intimate and eye-opening—as well as a hand extended to anyone struggling with sobriety. Unflinchingly honest, moving, and uproariously funny, this is the book fans have been waiting for. 

    Genre: Nonfiction 

    Availability: 

    In Library: 

    Book: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/632036253 

    Libby Audiobook: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/608955112 

    Libby eBook: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/608955064 

    MeLCat: 

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43017859 

    Audiobook: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43066992 

    Club member comment(s): The book covers how Perry’s growing up years shaped his comedic career. His personal stories are good. He describes both good and bad detox experiences including how he almost lost his life while detoxing in a facility whose staff failed to recognize pancreatitis and refused to allow him to seek medical care. Mr. Perry died recently. His book will remain part of his legacy. 

    Title and Author: Goblin Mode: How to Get Cozy, Embrace Imperfection, and Thrive in the Muck by Mckayla Coyle 

    Description: Embrace your inner goblin! Learn to decorate, dress, craft, forage, and live according to the goblin principles of community, diversity, proud weirdness, and joyful mess. Do you ever feel strange, gross, chaotic, underappreciated, or like you don’t quite fit in? Great news: you might be a goblin! That means your imperfections and idiosyncrasies are the most awesome things about you, and you can build a more balanced, comfortable, harmonious life by accepting and honoring them—taking inspiration from the frogs, fungus, moss, rocks, and dirt that goblins love. Can a mushroom give you fashion tips? Can a snail teach you to be a better person? You bet they can—and in this book you’ll also learn to: 1) Build a moss garden for your lair; 2) Grow and use medicinal plants; 3) Forage for berries (even in the city); 4) Mend your cozy sweaters; 5) Display your cool rock collection-- And more! Anyone can be a goblin, and Goblin Mode includes life advice for celebrating physical and mental diversity, rejecting prejudice, and generally hanging on to a little joy. Featuring 25 whimsical illustrations by Marian Churchland, Goblin Mode will help you rethink your relationship with your body, your home, your community, and the earth. 

    Genre: Nonfiction 

    Availability: 

    In Library: 

    Book: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/996929280 

    MeLCat: 

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43379343 

    Club member comment(s): Excellent and worthwhile read! 

    Title and Author: Black Cake: A Novel by Charmaine Wilkerson 

    Description: We can’t choose what we inherit. But can we choose who we become? In present-day California, Eleanor Bennett’s death leaves behind a puzzling inheritance for her two children, Byron and Benny: a black cake, made from a family recipe with a long history, and a voice recording. In her message, Eleanor shares a tumultuous story about a headstrong young swimmer who escapes her island home under suspicion of murder. The heartbreaking tale Eleanor unfolds, the secrets she still holds back, and the mystery of a long-lost child challenge everything the siblings thought they knew about their lineage and themselves. Can Byron and Benny reclaim their once-close relationship, piece together Eleanor’s true history, and fulfill her final request to “share the black cake when the time is right”? Will their mother’s revelations bring them back together or leave them feeling more lost than ever? Charmaine Wilkerson’s debut novel is a story of how the inheritance of betrayals, secrets, memories, and even names can shape relationships and history. Deeply evocative and beautifully written, Black Cake is an extraordinary journey through the life of a family changed forever by the choices of its matriarch. 

    Genre: Literary fiction 

    Availability: 

    In Library: 

    Book: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/548473727 

    Libby audiobook: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/597703306 

    Libby eBook: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/590221680 

    MeLCat: 

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb42179895 

    Large print book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb42708871 

    Club member comment(s): This book revolves around estranged siblings after their mother dies. The traditional family black cake is in the freezer to be eaten “when the time is right.” Black cake comes from the Caribbean and evolved from the British colonists’ plum pudding. It can take up to a year to make a good Jamaican black cake. The fruit should be soaked in wine and rum for at least six months and then be combined with creamed butter, sugar, spices, and gravy browning (burned sugar) before being baked repeatedly and then doused in a rum and wine mixture. The result is a cake that is rich, velvety, and dense, with aromas of vanilla, almond, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Black cake is made for special occasions like a wedding and is a major part of the story about how the mother escaped Jamaica. The patron reviewing this book enjoyed the read and recommended it to the others, commenting that the book demonstrates that often our parents are not who we think they are. 

    Title and Author: The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie 

    Description: A refugee of the Great War, Poirot has settled in England near Styles Court, the country estate of his wealthy benefactor, the elderly Emily Inglethorp. When Emily is poisoned and the authorities are baffled, Poirot puts his prodigious sleuthing skills to work. Suspects are plentiful, including the victim’s much younger husband, her resentful stepsons, her longtime hired companion, a young family friend working as a nurse, and a London specialist on poisons who just happens to be visiting the nearby village. All of them have secrets they are desperate to keep, but none outwit Poirot as he navigates the ingenious red herrings and plot twists that contribute to Agatha Christie’s well-deserved reputation as the queen of mystery. 

    Genre: Mystery 

    Availability: 

    In Library: 

    Libby eBook: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/468933055 

    MelCat: 

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb19283037 

    Large print book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb26402911 

    Audiobook: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb20163239 

    Club member comment(s): A classic Agatha Christie mystery! The club member reviewing this book enjoyed the experience. 

    Title and Author: The Rabbit Hutch: A Novel by Tess Gunty 

    Description: Blandine isn’t like the other residents of her building. An online obituary writer. A young mother with a dark secret. A woman waging a solo campaign against rodents — neighbors, separated only by the thin walls of a low-cost housing complex in the once bustling industrial center of Vacca Vale, Indiana. Welcome to the Rabbit Hutch. Ethereally beautiful and formidably intelligent, Blandine shares her apartment with three teenage boys she neither likes nor understands, all, like her, now aged out of the state foster care system that has repeatedly failed them, all searching for meaning in their lives. Set over one sweltering week in July and culminating in a bizarre act of violence that finally changes everything, The Rabbit Hutch is a savagely beautiful and bitingly funny snapshot of contemporary America, a gorgeous and provocative tale of loneliness and longing, entrapment and, ultimately, freedom. 

    Genre: 

    Availability: 

    In Library: 

    Book: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/612670301 

    Libby audiobook: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/611833170 

    Libby eBook: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/610244846 

    In MeLCat: 

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb42916689 

    Club member comment(s): This book won the following awards: 

    National Book Award for Fiction (2022) 

    British Book Award 

    Nominee for Debut Fiction (2023) 

    California Book Award Nominee for First Fiction (2022) 

    National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee for John Leonard Prize (2022) 

    Barnes & Noble Discover Prize Nominee for Shortlist (2022) 

    Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize (2022) 

    The club member sharing her thoughts about this book indicated that the book takes place over a week and includes a shockingly violent event. She wished she had not been reading it late at night before attempting to sleep. This is a debut novel. Although difficult to read, a book worth reading. 

    The next meeting of the Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s First Thursday Book Club will be held on December 7, 2023 at 12 NOON in the library. We look forward to seeing you here! Remember to bring your cookies for the cookie exchange! 

  • October 5, 2023

    First Thursday Book Club Meeting Minutes

    October 5, 2023

    The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s First Thursday Book Club met on Thursday, October 5, 2023 from 12 NOON to 1:00 PM in the library with six members present.  

    The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s First Thursday Book Club meeting minutes are published in “files” on the Marcellus Twp Library Book Club Facebook site.  If you have not already joined this site, please do!  

    The Library’s Director acquired two or more copies of selected books so that groups of individuals could opt to read the same book and then engage in discussion about what they had read.  For example, “reading buddies” might select a book to read at the same time so that they can discuss what they’ve read.  Book club leaders and members may select a book for members to read and discuss at the next meeting.   These book sets can be found on the top shelves of the library as shown in the photos below:

    The library’s book titles currently available in multiple copies (more than two) include:

    The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

    Description:  Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid's Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.

    The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

    DescriptionMore than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.  Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third: Aunt Lydia.  Her complex past and uncertain future unfold in surprising and pivotal ways.  With The Testaments, Margaret Atwood opens up the innermost workings of Gilead, as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.

    It is Wood, It is Stone:  A Novel by Gabriella Burnham

    Description: With sharp, gorgeous prose, It Is Wood, It Is Stone takes place over the course of a year in São Paulo, Brazil, in which two women’s lives intersect.  Linda, an anxious and restless American, has moved to São Paulo, with her husband, Dennis, who has accepted a yearlong professorship. As Dennis submerges himself in his work, Linda finds herself unmoored and adrift, feeling increasingly disassociated from her own body. Linda’s unwavering and skilled maid, Marta, has more claim to Linda’s home than Linda can fathom. Marta, who is struggling to make sense of complicated history and its racial tensions, is exasperated by Linda’s instability. One day, Linda leaves home with a charismatic and beguiling artist, whom she joins on a fervent adventure that causes reverberations felt by everyone, and ultimately binds Marta and Linda in a profoundly human, and tender, way.  An exquisite debut novel by young Brazilian American author Gabriella Burnham, It Is Wood, It Is Stone is about women whose romantic and subversive entanglements reflect on class and colorism, sexuality, and complex, divisive histories. 

    American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

    Description:  Lydia lives in Acapulco. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while cracks are beginning to show in Acapulco because of the cartels, Lydia’s life is, by and large, fairly comfortable. But after her husband’s tell-all profile of the newest drug lord is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.  Forced to flee, Lydia and Luca find themselves joining the countless people trying to reach the United States. Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

    The Marsh King’s Daughter:  A Novel by Karen Dionne

    Description:  Helena Pelletier has a loving husband, two beautiful daughters, and a business that fills her days. But she also has a secret: she is the product of an abduction. Her mother was kidnapped as a teenager by her father and kept in a remote cabin in the marshlands of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Helena, born two years after the abduction, loved her home in nature, and despite her father’s sometimes brutal behavior, she loved him, too...until she learned precisely how savage he could be.
    More than twenty years later, she has buried her past so soundly that even her husband doesn’t know the truth. But now her father has killed two guards, escaped from prison, and disappeared into the marsh. The police begin a manhunt, but Helena knows they don’t stand a chance. Knows that only one person has the skills to find the survivalist the world calls the Marsh King—because only one person was ever trained by him: his daughter.

    Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

    Description:  In Jordan's prize-winning debut, prejudice takes many forms, both subtle and brutal. It is 1946, and city-bred Laura McAllan is trying to raise her children on her husband's Mississippi Delta farm—a place she finds foreign and frightening. In the midst of the family's struggles, two young men return from the war to work the land. Jamie McAllan, Laura's brother-in-law, is everything her husband is not—charming, handsome, and haunted by his memories of combat. Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm, has come home with the shine of a war hero. But no matter his bravery in defense of his country, he is still considered less than a man in the Jim Crow South. It is the unlikely friendship of these brothers-in-arms that drives this powerful novel to its inexorable conclusion.  The men and women of each family relate their versions of events and we are drawn into their lives as they become players in a tragedy on the grandest scale.

    Little Fires Everywhere:  A Novel by Celeste Ng

    Description:  From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You and Our Missing Hearts comes a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.  In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned—from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.  Enter Mia Warren—an enigmatic artist and single mother—who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.  When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town—and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.  Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.  Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood—and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

    Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

    Description:  For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet fishing village. Kya Clark is barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when the popular Chase Andrews is found dead, locals immediately suspect her.  But Kya is not what they say. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life's lessons from the land, learning the real ways of the world from the dishonest signals of fireflies. But while she has the skills to live in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world—until the unthinkable happens.  In Where the Crawdads Sing, Owens juxtaposes an exquisite ode to the natural world against a profound coming of age story and haunting mystery. Thought-provoking, wise, and deeply moving, Owens’s debut novel reminds us that we are forever shaped by the child within us, while also subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.  The story asks how isolation influences the behavior of a young woman, who like all of us, has the genetic propensity to belong to a group. The clues to the mystery are brushed into the lush habitat and natural histories of its wild creatures.

    The Women of the Copper Country:  A Novel by Mary Dora Russell

    Description: In July 1913, twenty-five-year-old Annie Clements had seen enough of the world to know that it was unfair. She’s spent her whole life in the copper-mining town of Calumet, Michigan where men risk their lives for meager salaries—and had barely enough to put food on the table and clothes on their backs. The women labor in the houses of the elite, and send their husbands and sons deep underground each day, dreading the fateful call of the company man telling them their loved ones aren’t coming home. When Annie decides to stand up for herself, and the entire town of Calumet, nearly everyone believes she may have taken on more than she is prepared to handle.  In Annie’s hands lie the miners’ fortunes and their health, her husband’s wrath over her growing independence, and her own reputation as she faces the threat of prison and discovers a forbidden love. On her fierce quest for justice, Annie will discover just how much she is willing to sacrifice for her own independence and the families of Calumet.  From one of the most versatile writers in contemporary fiction, this novel is an authentic and moving historical portrait of the lives of the men and women of the early 20th century labor movement, and of a turbulent, violent political landscape that may feel startlingly relevant to today. 

    Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

    Description:  An American masterpiece and iconic novel of the West by National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Wallace Stegner—a deeply moving narrative of one family and the traditions of our national past.  Lyman Ward is a retired professor of history, recently confined to a wheelchair by a crippling bone disease and dependant on others for his every need.  Amid the chaos of 1970s counterculture he retreats to his ancestral home of Grass Valley, California, to write the biography of his grandmother: an elegant and headstrong artist and pioneer who, together with her engineer husband, made her own journey through the hardscrabble West nearly a hundred years before. In discovering her story he excavates his own, probing the shadows of his experience and the America that has come of age around him.

    Before We Were Yours:  A Novel by Lisa Wingate

    Description:  Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.  Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.  Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

    Better Than Before:  What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits--to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life by Gretchen Rubin

    Description:  Most of us have a habit we’d like to change, and there’s no shortage of expert advice. But as we all know from tough experience, no magic, one-size-fits-all solution exists. It takes work to make a habit, but once that habit is set, we can harness the energy of habits to build happier, stronger, more productive lives.  In Better Than Before, acclaimed writer Gretchen Rubin identifies every approach that actually works. She presents a practical, concrete framework to allow readers to understand their habits—and to change them for good.   Infused with Rubin’s compelling voice, rigorous research, and easy humor, and packed with vivid stories of lives transformed, Better Than Before explains the (sometimes counterintuitive) core principles of habit formation and answers the most perplexing questions about habits: 
     

    Why do we find it tough to create a habit for something we love to do? 
    How can we keep our healthy habits when we’re surrounded by temptations? 
    How can we help someone else change a habit? 

    Rubin reveals the true secret to habit change: first, we must know ourselves. When we shape our habits to suit ourselves, we can find success—even if we’ve failed before. Whether you want to eat more healthfully, stop checking devices, or finish a project, the invaluable ideas in Better Than Before will start you working on your own habits—even before you’ve finished the book.

    White Fragility:  Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

    Description:  In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people’ (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.

    Nice Racism by Robin DiAngelo

    Description:  In White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo explained how racism is a system into which all white people are socialized and challenged the belief that racism is a simple matter of good people versus bad. DiAngelo also made a provocative claim: white progressives cause the most daily harm to people of color. In Nice Racism, her follow-up work, she explains how they do so. Drawing on her background as a sociologist and over 25 years working as an anti-racist educator, she picks up where White Fragility left off and moves the conversation forward.  Writing directly to white people as a white person, DiAngelo identifies many common white racial patterns and breaks down how well-intentioned white people unknowingly perpetuate racial harm. These patterns include:

    • Rushing to prove that we are “not racist
    • Downplaying white advantage
    • Romanticizing Black, Indigenous and other peoples of color (BIPOC)
    • Pretending white segregation “just happens”
    • Expecting BIPOC people to teach us about racism
    • Carefulness
    • And feeling immobilized by shame.


    DiAngelo explains how spiritual white progressives seeking community by co-opting Indigenous and other groups’ rituals create separation, not connection. She challenges the ideology of individualism and explains why it is OK to generalize about white people, and she demonstrates how white people who experience other oppressions still benefit from systemic racism. Writing candidly about her own missteps and struggles, she models a path forward, encouraging white readers to continually face their complicity and embrace courage, lifelong commitment, and accountability.

    Nice Racism is an essential work for any white person who recognizes the existence of systemic racism and white supremacy and wants to take steps to align their values with their actual practice. BIPOC readers may also find the “insiders” perspective useful for navigating whiteness.

    Untamed by Glennon Doyle

    Description:  Soulful and uproarious, forceful and tender, Untamed is both an intimate memoir and a galvanizing wake-up call. It is the story of how one woman learned that a responsible mother is not one who slowly dies for her children, but one who shows them how to fully live. It is the story of navigating divorce, forming a new blended family, and discovering that the brokenness or wholeness of a family depends not on its structure but on each member’s ability to bring her full self to the table. And it is the story of how each of us can begin to trust ourselves enough to set boundaries, make peace with our bodies, honor our anger and heartbreak, and unleash our truest, wildest instincts so that we become women who can finally look at ourselves and say: There She Is.

    Voracious by Cara Nicoletti

    Description: As a young bookworm reading in her grandfather’s butcher shop, Cara Nicoletti saw how books and food bring people to life. Now a butcher, cook, and talented writer, she serves up stories and recipes inspired by beloved books and the food that gives their characters depth and personality.  From the breakfast sausage in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods to chocolate cupcakes with peppermint buttercream from Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, these books and the tasty treats in them put her on the road to happiness.  Cooking through the books that changed her life, Nicoletti shares fifty recipes, including:  The perfect soft-boiled egg in Jane Austen’s Emma Grilled peaches with homemade ricotta in tribute to Joan Didion’s Goodbye to All That New England clam chowder inspired by Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick Fava bean and chicken liver mousse crostini (with a nice Chianti) after Thomas Harris’s The Silence of the Lambs Brown butter crepes from Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl  Beautifully illustrated, clever, and full of heart, Voracious will satisfy anyone who loves a fantastic meal with family and friends-or curling up with a great novel for dessert. 

    Library staff told the group that this month an unusual object would be embedded in the October 2023 minutes.  The first person to locate the object and notify library staff by sending an e-mail to marcellusmichiganlibrary@gmail.com  describing what the object is and on what page of the minutes it can be found will win this month’s prize.  This month, the unusual object is “.”

    The library staff will notify the first individual sending us an e-mail that she or he is the winner.  The winner will be invited to pick up the gift when he/she next visits the library.  Other members will be notified by e-mail that a winner has been identified.  All persons receiving the First Thursday Book Club Meeting Minutes are eligible to participate.  Library staff are not eligible to participate.

    This month’s winner will receive the 

    Books discussed:

    The links under each book discussed below will take you directly to the Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s Catalog entry or the MeLCat entry for that particular book, large print book, CD audiobook, Libby audiobook, or Libby eBook.

    Title and Author:  Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

    Description:  Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general—also known as her tough-as-talons mother—has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders.  But when you’re smaller than everyone else and your body is brittle, death is only a heartbeat away...because dragons don’t bond to “fragile” humans. They incinerate them.  With fewer dragons willing to bond than cadets, most would kill Violet to better their own chances of success. The rest would kill her just for being her mother’s daughter—like Xaden Riorson, the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant.  She’ll need every edge her wits can give her just to see the next sunrise.  Yet, with every day that passes, the war outside grows more deadly, the kingdom's protective wards are failing, and the death toll continues to rise. Even worse, Violet begins to suspect leadership is hiding a terrible secret.  Friends, enemies, lovers. Everyone at Basgiath War College has an agenda—because once you enter, there are only two ways out: graduate or die.

    Genre:  Fantasy

    Availability:  

    In Library:  

    Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/893180783

    Libby eBook: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/861363203

    Libby Audiobook: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/925205642

    MeLCat:  

    Bookhttp://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43345699

    Audiobookhttp://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43681233

    Club member comment(s): 

    Title and Author:  Book Lovers by Emily Henry.

    Description:  Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.  Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small-town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.  If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.

    Genre:  Romance

    Availability:  

    In Library: 

    Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/579586981

    Libby eBook: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/590230536

     Libby audiobook: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/597716312

     MeLCat:  

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb42156719

    Large Print Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43314749

    Audiobook (CD):  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43383016

    Club member comment(s):  

    Title and Author:   None of This is True:  A Novel by Lisa Jewell

    Description: Celebrating her forty-fifth birthday at her local pub, popular podcaster Alix Summers crosses paths with an unassuming woman called Josie Fair. Josie, it turns out, is also celebrating her forty-fifth birthday. They are, in fact, birthday twins.  A few days later, Alix and Josie bump into each other again, this time outside Alix’s children’s school. Josie has been listening to Alix’s podcasts and thinks she might be an interesting subject for her series. She is, she tells Alix, on the cusp of great changes in her life.  Josie’s life appears to be strange and complicated, and although Alix finds her unsettling, she can’t quite resist the temptation to keep making the podcast. Slowly she starts to realize that Josie has been hiding some very dark secrets, and before she knows it, Josie has inveigled her way into Alix’s life—and into her home.  But, as quickly as she arrived, Josie disappears. Only then does Alix discover that Josie has left a terrible and terrifying legacy in her wake, and that Alix has become the subject of her own true crime podcast, with her life and her family’s lives under mortal threat.  Who is Josie Fair? And what has she done?

    Genre:  Mystery

    Availability:  

    In Library

    Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/948668771

    Libby e-Book: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/933969822

    Libby audiobook: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/933977842

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43308961

    Large print book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43638351

    Audiobook: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43704358

    Club member comment(s):  

    Title and Author:  A Bakery in Paris:  A Novel by Aimie K. Runyon

    Description: 1870: The Prussians are at the city gates, intent to starve Paris into submission. Lisette Vigneau--headstrong, willful, and often ignored by her wealthy parents--awaits the outcome of the war from her parents' grand home in the Place Royale in the very heart of the city. When an excursion throws her into the path of a revolutionary National Guardsman, Theodore Fournier, her destiny is forever changed. She gives up her life of luxury to join in the fight for a Paris of the People. She opens a small bakery with the hopes of being a vital boon to the impoverished neighborhood in its hour of need. When the city falls into famine, and then rebellion, her resolve to give up the comforts of her past life is sorely tested.  1946: Nineteen-year-old Micheline Chartier is coping with the loss of her father and the disappearance of her mother during the war. In their absence, she is charged with the raising of her two younger sisters. At the hand of a well-meaning neighbor, Micheline finds herself enrolled in a prestigious baking academy with her entire life mapped out for her. Feeling trapped and desperately unequal to the task of raising two young girls, she becomes obsessed with finding her mother. Her classmate at the academy, Laurent Tanet, may be the only one capable of helping Micheline move on from the past and begin creating a future for herself.  Both women must grapple with loss, learn to accept love, and face impossible choices armed with little more than their courage and a belief that a bit of flour, yeast, sugar, and love can bring about a revolution of their own. 

    Genre:  Historical fiction

    Availability:  

    In Library: 

    Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/999509576

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43650518

    Club member comment(s): 

    Title and Author:  The Museum of Ordinary People by Mike Gayle

    Description: Still reeling from the sudden death of her mother, Jess is about to do the hardest thing she's ever done: empty her childhood home so that it can be sold.  As she sorts through a lifetime of memories, everything comes to a halt when she comes across something she just can’t part with: an old set of encyclopedias.  To the world, the books are outdated and ready to be recycled.  To Jess, they represent love and the future that her mother always wanted her to have.  In the process of finding the books a new home, Jess discovers an unusual archive of letters, photographs, and curious housed in a warehouse and known as the Museum of Ordinary People.  Irresistibly drawn, she becomes the museum's unofficial custodian, along with the warehouse’s mysterious owner.  As they delve into the history of objects in their care, they not only unravel heart-stirring stories that span generations and continents, but also unearth long-buried secrets that lie closer to home.  Inspired by an abandoned box of mementos, The Museum of Ordinary People is a poignant novel about memory and loss, the things we leave behind, and the future we create for ourselves.    

    Genre:  Adult fiction

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Not available

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43405367

    Club member comment(s):  

    Title and Author:  The Angel Tree by Lucinda Riley

    Description:  Thirty years have passed since Greta left Marchmont Hall, a grand and beautiful house nestled in the hills of rural Monmouthshire. But when she returns to the Hall for Christmas, at the invitation of her old friend David Marchmont, she has no recollection of her past association with it - the result of a tragic accident that has blanked out more than two decades of her life. Then, during a walk through the wintry landscape, she stumbles across a grave in the woods, and the weathered inscription on the headstone tells her that a little boy is buried here . . .The poignant discovery strikes a chord in Greta's mind and soon ignites a quest to rediscover her lost memories. With David's help, she begins to piece together the fragments of not only her own story, but that of her daughter, Cheska, who was the tragic victim of circumstances beyond her control. And, most definitely, not the angel she appeared to be . . .

    Genre:  Adult fiction

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Not available.

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb31069011

    Audiobook:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb31945696

    Club member comment(s):  

    Title and Author:  Twas the Night Shift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

    Description: This is Going to Hurt was the sleeper smash of last year and now medic and comic Adam Kay returns with more jet-black anecdotes about life on the wards. Mordantly hilarious and occasionally heart-breaking, Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas is a celebration of the hard-working heroes of the NHS and their wonderful gallows humour.  Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat... but 1.4 million NHS staff are heading off to work. In this perfect present for anyone who has ever set foot in a hospital, Adam Kay delves back into his diaries for a hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking peek behind the blue curtain at Christmastime.  Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas is a love letter to all those who spend their festive season on the front line, removing babies and baubles from the various places they get stuck, at the most wonderful time of the year.

     Genre:  Adult nonfiction

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Not available.

    MeLCat:  Not available

    Club member comment(s):  

    Title and Author:  Encore in Death by J.D. Robb

    Description: It was a glittering event full of A-listers, hosted by Eliza Lane and Brant Fitzhugh, a celebrity couple who’d conquered both Hollywood and Broadway. And now Eve Dallas has made her entrance—but not as a guest. After raising a toast, Fitzhugh fell to the floor and died, with physical symptoms pointing to cyanide, and the police have crashed the party.  From all accounts, he wasn’t the kind of star who made enemies. Everyone loved him—even his ex-wife. And since the champagne cocktail that killed him was originally intended for Eliza, it’s possible she was the real target, with a recently fired assistant, a bitter rival, and an obsessed fan in the picture. With so many attendees, staff, and servers, Eve has her work cut out determining who committed murder in the middle of the crowd—and what was their motivation. As one who’s not fond of the spotlight herself, she dreads the media circus surrounding a case like this. All she wants is to figure out who’s truly innocent, and who’s only acting that way…

    Genre:  Urban fantasy

    Availability:  

    In Library: 

    Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/632063193 

    Libby eBook:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/648133753

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb42904176

    Large print book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43192091

    Audiobook: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43319223

     Club member comment(s):  

    Title and Author:  Gone:  An Alex Delaware Novel by Jonathan Kellerman

    Description: Missing acting students Dylan and Michaela are found in the remote mountains of Malibu, battered and terrified after a harrowing ordeal at the hands of a sadistic abductor. But forensic evidence soon exposes the incident as a hoax, and the kids are charged as criminals themselves.  After examining Michaela, psychologist Alex Delaware is certain that there’s more to this sordid psychodrama, and his instincts prove dead-on when she is savagely murdered. Casting their dragnet into the murkiest corners of L.A., Delaware and homicide cop Milo Sturgis unearth more questions than answers—and a host of eerily identical killings. What bizarre and brutal epidemic is infecting the city with terror, madness, and sudden, twisted death?

    Genre:  Mystery

    Availability:  

    In Library: 

    Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/147386298

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb10286420

    Club member comment(s):  

    Title and Author:  The Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

    Description:  As she drives her mobile library van between villages of Ireland’s West Coast, Hanna Casey tries not to think about a lot of things.  Like the sophisticated lifestyle she abandoned after finding her English barrister husband in bed with another woman.  Or that she’s back in Lissbeg, the rural Irish town she walked away from in her teens, living in the back bedroom of her overbearing mother’s retirement bungalow.  Or, worse yet, her nagging fear that, as the local librarian and a prominent figure in the community, her failed marriage and ignominious return have made her a focus of gossip.  With her teenage daughter, Jazz, off traveling the world and her relationship with her own mother growing increasingly tense.  Hanna is determined to reclaim her independence by restoring a derelict cottage left to her by her great-aunt.  But when the threatened closure of the Lissbeg Library puts her personal plans in jeopardy, Hanna finds herself leading a battle to restore the heart and soul of the Finfarran Peninsula’s fragmented community.  And she’s about to discover that the neighbors she’s always kept at a distance have come to mean more to her than she ever could have imagined.  Told with heart and abundant charm, The Library at the Edge of the World is a joyous story about the meaning of home and the importance of finding a place where you truly belong.


    Genre: Romance

    Availability:  

    In Library: 

    Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/978161385

    MeLCat:  

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb32905117

    Large print book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb36686432

    Audiobook: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb36339574 

    Club member comment(s):  

    Title and Author:  The Horoscope Writer by Ash Bishop

    Description:  Who is The Horoscope Writer? It’s not Bobby Frindley. He’s an ex-Olympic athlete who has fast-talked his way into an entry-level position at a dying newspaper. He’s supposed to be writing horoscopes, but someone has been doing it for him . . .On his first night on the job, Bobby receives an email with twelve gruesome, highly-detailed horoscopes, along with a chilling ultimatum: print them and one will come true, or ignore them and they all will. Working with a skeptical co-worker, Bobby investigates the horoscope writer’s true identity, but the closer he gets to the truth, the more the predictions begin to be about him. Has he attracted the attention of a cruel puppeteer? Or is it possible that, like any good horoscope, it’s all in his head?

    Genre:  Romance

    Availability:  

    In Library: 

    Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/913383702

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43499383

    Club member comment(s):  

    Title and Author:  My Magnolia Summer by Victoria Benton Frank

    Description:  In New York City winter never seems to loosen its hold and for South Carolina transplant Maggie (born Magnolia after the fairest summer flower) the balmy beach weather of April back home on Sullivan’s Island feels like a distant memory. Until a phone call from her sister, Violet, changes everything.  Gran, the treasured matriarch, has fallen into a coma after a car accident caused by Maggie’s troubled mother, Lily. But once Maggie returns, she finds that her hometown of Sullivan’s Island holds even more secrets. The Magic Lantern, the restaurant owned and run by generations of women in her family, is now rudderless, and her sister seems headed for a savage breakup.  Once she is between the marsh grasses and dunes of South Carolina, she feels herself changing like the Atlantic tides, rediscovering the roots she left behind, and a new and different version of herself—one who can see how a minor crash into the back of a very handsome farmer’s truck may become fortunate. Or perhaps it’s even… fate?  When the three generations of South Carolina women join forces—the family pillar Gran, troubled Lily, impulsive Violet, and redoubtable Maggie—anything is possible.  With stunning descriptions of the magic of the Lowcountry, this novel will transport you to a world of treasured family traditions and unexpected twists of fate.

    Genre:  Adult fiction

    Availability:  

    In Library: 

    Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/836219263

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43324526

    Club member comment(s):  

    Title and Author:  The Gold in These Hills by Joanne Bischof

    Description:  Upon arriving at Kenworthy, California, mail-order-bride Juniper Cohen was met by the pounding of the gold mine, the rowdiness of its prospectors, and her greatest surprise of all: the love of the kind man who awaited her. But when the mine proves empty of profit, and when Juniper’s husband vanishes, doubt and discouragement are as prevalent as the pioneers fleeing this dwindling boomtown.
    As winter blows in, Juniper pens a series of letters to her husband but fears she is waiting on a ghost—or worse, an outlaw. Carving out survival for her and her young daughter in a ghost town requires trusting in the kindness of a few remaining souls, including the one who can unlock the mystery of her husband’s disappearance.  A century later, trying to escape the heartache of his failed marriage, Johnny Sutherland throws himself into raising his child and restoring a hundred-year-old abandoned farmhouse in California’s San Jacinto Mountains. While exploring its secrets he uncovers the letters Juniper wrote to her Dearest John and is moved by the handwritten accounts that bear his name. Having learned that truth and courage go hand in hand, Johnny dares to love again, and armed with lessons from the past, a modern-day romance unfolds in the very same mountains that once held a love story that touched history.

    Genre:  Inspirational

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Not available.

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb42071755

    Audiobook: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb42162059

    Club member comment(s):  

    The next meeting of the Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s First Thursday Book Club will be held on November 6, 2023, at 12 NOON in the library.  We look forward to seeing you here!

  • September 7, 2023

    The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s First Thursday Book Club met on Thursday, September 7, 2023 from 12 NOON to 1:00 PM in the library with nine members present.  

    The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s First Thursday Book Club meeting minutes are published in “files” on the Marcellus Twp Library Book Club Facebook site.  If you have not already joined this site, please do!  

    The library purchased large print books and has received donations of large print books.  In order to ensure that patrons can easily identify these books, a bright orange spine label with the letters LP will be used.  The designation “AFLP” will indicate that the book is adult fiction (AF) and large print (LP).  The author’s identifiers will follow AFLP.

    Club members were also introduced to BookPage and Booklist Reader magazines.  The library subscribes to both magazines and copies are available to patrons for review.  Club members were asked to take a close look at each magazine and determine if a preference exists for one versus the other.  One patron stated that she definitely preferred BookPage.  Others were asked to let library staff know their preferences.

    Library staff told the group that this month an unusual object would be embedded in the September 2023 minutes.  The first person to locate the object and notify library staff by sending an e-mail to marcellusmichiganlibrary@gmail.com  describing what the object is and on what page of the minutes it can be found will win this month’s prize.  This month, the unusual object is “¥.”

    The library staff will notify the first individual sending us an e-mail that she or he is the winner.  The winner will be invited to pick up the gift when he/she next visits the library.  Other members will be notified by e-mail that a winner has been identified.  All persons receiving the First Thursday Book Club Meeting Minutes are eligible to participate.  Library staff are not eligible to participate.  This month’s unusual object is and readers will need to find the object on a page other than this one to win.

    This month’s winner will receive a coffee mug!

    The links under each book discussed below will take you directly to the Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s Catalog entry or the MeLCat entry for that particular book, large print book, CD audiobook, Libby audiobook, or Libby eBook.

    Books discussed:

    Title and Author:  Old Babes in the Wood:  Stories by Margaret Atwood

    Description from MeLCat:  The two intrepid sisters of the title story grapple with loss and memory on a perfect summer evening; 'Impatient Griselda' explores alienation and miscommunication with a fresh twist on a folkloric classic; and 'My Evil Mother' touches on the fantastical, examining a mother-daughter relationship in which the mother purports to be a witch. At the heart of the collection are seven extraordinary stories that follow a married couple across the decades, the moments big and small that make up a long life of uncommon love—and what comes after.

    Genre:  Literary Fiction

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Not available

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb42995738

    Club member comment(s):  This book of short stories.  A good part of the collection are stories about a married couple.  There is a “sci-fi” theme to the book.

    Title and Author:  The Forgotten Girls:  A Memoir of Friendship and Lost Promise in Rural America by Monica Potts

    Description from the Marcellus Library catalog entry:  Growing up gifted and poor in small –town Arkaescape.  In the end, Monica got out, but Darci, along with the rest of their circle of friends, did not.  Years later, working as a journalist covering poverty, Monica discovered what she already intuitively knew about women in Arkansas:  Their life expectancy had steeply declined—the sharpest such fall in a century.  Most painfully, her once talented and ambitious best friend was now a single mother of two, addicted to meth and prescription drugs, jobless, and nearly homeless.  What had happened in the years since Monica had left?  Why had she escaped while Darci hurtled toward what Monica fears will be a tragic end?  What is killing poor white women—and would Darci survive her own life?

    Genre:  Adult nonfiction

    Availability:  

    In Library: 

    Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/889091203

    Libby audiobook: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/861356703

    MeLCat:  

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43599628

    Large Print Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43634327 

    Club member comment(s):  The setting for this book is rural Alabama.  Two girls grow up together.  One does well.  The other does not.  As adults, they reconnect on Facebook.  The have similar histories but their lives take them in very different directions.  The club member reviewing this book enjoyed it but found it a bit too clinical—focused on statistics—and written in the third person which seems strange.  The author is writing the book about what occurred in her life and the life of her best friend.  The book was not uplifting and perhaps isn’t intended to be.

    Title and Author:  Happy Place by Emily Henrynsas, Monica and Darci became fast friends.  The girls bonded over a shared love of reading and learning, even as the navigated the challenges of their declining town and tumultuous family lives—broken marriages, alcohol abuse, and shuttered stores and factories.  They pored over the giant map in their middle school classroom, tracing their fingers over the world that awaited them, vowing to escape.  In the end, Monica got out, but Darci, along with the rest of their circle of friends, did not.  Years later, working as a journalist covering poverty, Monica discovered what she already intuitively knew about women in Arkansas:  Their life expectancy had steeply declined—the sharpest such fall in a century.  Most painfully, her once talented and ambitious best friend was now a single mother of two, addicted to meth and prescription drugs, jobless, and nearly homeless.  What had happened in the years since Monica had left?  Why had she escaped while Darci hurtled toward what Monica fears will be a tragic end?  What is killing poor white women—and would Darci survive her own life?

    Genre:  Adult nonfiction

    Availability:  

    In Library: 

    Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/889091203

    Libby audiobook: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/861356703

    MeLCat:  

    Book: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43599628

    Large Print Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43634327 

    Club member comment(s):  The setting for this book is rural Alabama.  Two girls grow up together.  One does well.  The other does not.  As adults, they reconnect on Facebook.  The have similar histories but their lives take them in very different directions.  The club member reviewing this book enjoyed it but found it a bit too clinical—focused on statistics—and written in the third person which seems strange.  The author is writing the book about what occurred in her life and the life of her best friend.  The book was not uplifting and perhaps isn’t intended to be.

    Title and Author:  Happy Place by Emily Henry

    Description from Marcellus Library catalog entry:  Harriet and Wyn have been the perfect couple since they met in college—they go together like salt and pepper, honey and tea, lobster and rolls.  Except, now—for reasons they’re still not discussing they don’t.  They broke up five months ago.  And still haven’t told their best friends.  Which is how they find themselves sharing a bedroom at the Maine cottage that has been their friend group’s yearly getaway for the last decade.  Their annual respite from the world, where for one vibrant, blissful week they leave behind their daily lives; have co¥pious amounts of cheese, wine, and seafood; and soak up the salty coastal air with the people who understand them most.  Only this year, Harriet and Wyn are lying through their teeth while trying not to notice how desperately they still want each other.  Because the cottage is for sale and this is the last week they’ll all have together in this place.  They can’t stand to break their friends’ hearts, and so they’ll play their parts.  Harriet will be the driven surgical resident who never starts and fight, and Wyn will be the laid-back charmer who never lets the cracks show.  It’s a flawless plan (if you look at it from a great distance and through a pair of sunscreen-smeared sunglasses).  After years of being in love, how hard can it be to fake it for one week…in front of those who know you best?

    Genre:  Romance

    Availability:  

    In Library

    Libby audiobook:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/861361763

    Libby e-Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/774567746

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43037841

    Large print book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43376910

    Audiobook: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43387025

    Club member comment(s):  The club member reviewing this book loved it and recommended it to the others.  She said that the book reminded her of the “Friends” show.

    Title and Author:  The Librarianist by Patrick DeWitt

    Description: Bob Comet is a retired librarian passing his solitary days surrounded by books and small comforts in a mint-colored house in Portland, Oregon. One morning on his daily walk he encounters a confused elderly woman lost in a market and returns her to the senior center that is her home. Hoping to fill the void he's known since retiring, he begins volunteering at the center. Here, as a community of strange peers gathers around Bob, and following a happenstance brush with a painful complication from his past, the events of his life and the details of his character are revealed.  Behind Bob Comet's straight-man facade is the story of an unhappy child's runaway adventure during the last days of the Second World War, of true love won and stolen away, of the purpose and pride found in the librarian's vocation, and of the pleasures of a life lived to the side of the masses. Bob's experiences are imbued with melancholy but also a bright, sustained comedy; he has a talent for locating bizarre and outsize players to welcome onto the stage of his life.  With his inimitable verve, skewed humor, and compassion for the outcast, Patrick deWitt has written a wide-ranging and ambitious document of the introvert's condition. The Librarianist celebrates the extraordinary in the so-called ordinary life, and depicts beautifully the turbulence that sometimes exists beneath a surface of serenity. 

    Genre:  Literary fiction

    Availability:  

    In Library: 

    Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/889056603

    Libby audiobook: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/900978026

    Libby eBook: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/900982106

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43310691

    Audiobook:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43653305

    Club member comment(s):  The club member reviewing this book said that she loved this book with its quirky characters.  The Librarianist is painfully introverted but wants to change.  The book delves into his childhood and reasons for his introversion as an adult.  Ultimately, he finds friends and adventure.  

    Title and Author:  Big Magic:  Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

    Description:  Gilbert offers insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

    Genre:  Adult nonfiction

    Availability:  

    In Library

    Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/242556429

    Libby audiobook: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/597714634

    Libby eBook:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/469017099 

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb28628685

    Audiobook:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb28722730

    Club member comment(s):  The club member reviewing this book told the others that the author writes about how each of us can be our most creative selves.  The author has an irreverent writing style and uses the street talk of today which the club member enjoyed.

    Title and Author:  Spring Rain:  A Life Lived In Gardens by Marc Hammer

    Description:  Best enjoyed in a single sitting under the shade of a tree, this inventive and curative book captures the moment when an adventurous young boy who traveled the world in his mind meets the old man he becomes. Together, they build a new garden from a neglected plot behind his house on the edge of town.  Retired professional gardener Marc Hamer has always found the answers to life's questions in the natural world, whether as a child watching ants, as a young man living homeless in the countryside, or as a professional gardener creating places of calm and restoration for others. Now in his sixties, he is finally creating a garden for himself, at his home in Cardiff, Wales. This moving memoir follows his process as he shares what he's learned, from the spring of youth to his autumn years, and reflects on how we reconcile our childhoods with where we end up.  In Hamer's own words, "Spring Rain is about the joy of your own back garden. It is a story about the joy of small things, the world in a grain of sand, a universe in a small garden, with love for all the insects and slugs and flowers and weeds and seeds and roots and boundaries and shade and weather that the garden contains."

    Genre:  Adult nonfiction

    Availability:  

    In Library: 

    Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/760539730

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43383507

    Club member comment(s):  This book is the 4th in a series, but the club member reviewing the book told the group that the books in this series do not have to be read in order.  The club member enjoyed the book, telling the others that the author knows how to live life fully and simply.  The book examines the theme of forgiving oneself and others.

    Title and Author:  Home Front Girls by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan

    Description:  It’s January 1943 when Rita Vincenzo receives her first letter from Glory Whitehall. Glory is an effervescent young mother from New England, impulsive and free as a bird. Rita is a Midwestern professor’s wife with a love of gardening and a generous, old soul. These two women have nothing in common except one powerful bond: the men they love are fighting in a war a world away from home.
    Brought together by an unlikely twist of fate, Glory and Rita begin a remarkable correspondence. The friendship forged by their letters allows them to survive the loneliness and uncertainty of waiting on the home front, and gives them the courage to face the battles raging in their very own backyards. Connected across the country by the lifeline of the written word, each woman finds her life profoundly altered by the other’s unwavering support.  Filled with unforgettable characters and unbridled charm, Home Front Girls is a timeless celebration of the strength and solidarity of women. It is a luminous reminder that even in the darkest of times, true friendship will carry us through.

    Genre:  Historical fiction

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Not available.

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb39017772

    Club member comment(s):  Set during WWII, this enjoyable books consists of letters that two women assigned to each other as pen pals send during wartime.  The women have very different backgrounds but through their letters to each other find hope, friendship, forgiveness, strength and support.  One of the most enjoyable books that the club member has read recently.

    Title and Author:  Where Coyotes Howl by Sandra Dallas

    Description: 1916. The two-street town of Wallace is not exactly what Ellen Webster had in mind when she accepted a teaching position in Wyoming, but within a year’s time she’s fallen in love—both with the High Plains and with a handsome cowboy named Charlie Bacon. Life is not easy in the flat, brown corner of the state where winter blizzards are unforgiving and the summer heat relentless. But Ellen and Charlie face it all together, their relationship growing stronger with each shared success, and each deeply felt tragedy.  Ellen finds purpose in her work as a rancher’s wife and in her bonds with other women settled on the prairie. Not all of them are so lucky as to have loving husbands, not all came to Wallace willingly, and not all of them can survive the cruel seasons. But they look out for each other, share their secrets, and help one another in times of need. And the needs are great and constant. The only city to speak of, Cheyenne, is miles away, making it akin to the Wild West in rural Wallace. In the end, it is not the trials Ellen and Charlie face together that make them remarkable, but their love for one another that endures through it all. 

    Genre:  Historical fiction

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Not available.

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43178282

    Audiobook: http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43496141

    Club member comment(s):  The club member reviewing this book listened to the audiobook format.  The book is set in Wyoming in the early 1900s.  A young school teacher accepts a position in rural Wyoming and once there, falls in love with a cowboy and area.  The characters all experience significant hardships.  Difficult topics such as child neglect and abuse, spousal abuse, prostitution, loss of a child, and more come out as the lives of the characters are explored.  The characters don’t wallow in self-pity because of their circumstances.  The book focuses on their friendships, support for each other, and how love can see a couple through the most trying of events.  The narrator was excellent.  She has a unique ability to emote through her voice.  The club member highly recommended this book to the other members.

    Title and Author:  Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

    Description: Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains' toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store's security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make things right.  But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix's desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix's past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.  With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone "family," and the complicated reality of being a grown up. It is a searing debut for our times. 

    Genre:  Adult fiction

    Availability:  

    In Library: 

    Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/409533827

    Libby audiobook:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/597645908

    Libby eBook:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/609698248

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb39740226

    Audiobook:   http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb40341381

    Club member comment(s):  The club member listened to the audiobook format of this book.  A black woman caring for a white woman’s small child, takes the child to a high end grocery store and is accused of abducting the child.  

    Title and Author:  The Wedding Guest:  An Alex Delaware Novel by Jonathan Kellerman

    Description:  LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis is a fine homicide detective, but when he needs to get into the mind of a killer, he leans on the expertise of his best friend, the brilliant psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware. While Sturgis has a knack for piecing together the details of a crime, Delaware can decipher the darkest intents driving the most vicious of perpetrators. And there’s no better place for the doctor’s analytical skills to shine than a rowdy hall full of young men and women intoxicated on life and lust . . . and suddenly faced with the specter of death.  Summoned to a run-down former strip joint, Delaware and Sturgis find themselves crashing a wild Saints and Sinners–themed wedding reception. But they’re not the only uninvited guests. A horrified bridesmaid has discovered the body of a young woman, dressed to impress in pricey haute couture and accessorized with a grisly red slash around her neck. What’s missing is any means of identification, or a single partygoer who recognizes the victim. The baffled bride is convinced the stranger snuck in to sabotage her big day—and the groom is sure it’s all a dreadful mistake. But Delaware and Sturgis have a hundred guests to question, and a sneaking suspicion that the motive for murder is personal. Now they must separate the sinners from the saints, the true from the false, and the secrets from those keeping them. The party’s over—and the hunt for whoever killed it is on.

    Genre:  Mystery

    Availability:  

    In Library: 

    Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/919663626

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb37356358

    Large print book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb37839696

    Audiobook:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb41769769

    Club member comment(s):  The club member reviewing this book told the others that she enjoys Kellerman’s mystery novels immensely and recommended these to the other readers.

    Title and Author:  Indulgence in Death by J.D. Robb

    Description:  When a murder disrupts the Irish vacation she is taking with her husband, Roarke, Eve realizes that no place is safe - not an Irish wood or the streets of the manic city she calls home. But nothing prepares her for what she discovers upon her return to the cop shop in New York City....A driver for a top-of-the-line limousine service is found dead - shot through the neck with a crossbow. The car was booked by an executive at a venerable security company whose identity had been stolen. Days later, a stunning, high-priced escort is found killed at Coney Island, a bayonet stuck in her heart. And again, the trail leads to a CEO whose information has been hijacked.  With a method established, but no motive to be found, Eve begins to fear that she has come across that most dangerous of criminals, a thrill killer, but one with a taste for the finer things in life - and death. Eve does not know where or when the next kill will be, or that her investigation will take her to the rarefied circle that Roarke travels in - and into the perverted heart of madness....

    Genre:  Urban fantasy

    Availability:  

    In Library: 

    Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/147399708

    Libby eBook:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/468975523

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb17241289

    Large print book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb17233230

    Audiobook:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb17233230

    Club member comment(s):  The club member reviewing this book said that she enjoyed the futuristic theme and didn’t want the book to end.  She recommended it to the others.

    Title and Author:  Random Acts of Medicine:  The Hidden Forces That Sway Doctors, Impact Patients, and Shape Our Health by Anupam B. Jena, M.D., PH.D. and Christopher Worsham, M.D.

    Description:  As a University of Chicago–trained economist and Harvard medical school professor and doctor, Anupam Jena is uniquely equipped to answer these questions. And as a critical care doctor at Massachusetts General who researches health care policy, Christopher Worsham confronts their impact on the hospital’s sickest patients. In this singular work of science and medicine, Jena and Worsham show us how medicine really works, and its effect on all of us.  Relying on ingeniously devised natural experiments—random events that unknowingly turn us into experimental subjects—Jena and Worsham do more than offer readers colorful stories. They help us see the way our health is shaped by forces invisible to the untrained eye. Is there ever a good time to have a heart attack? Do you choose the veteran doctor or the rookie?  Do you really need the surgery your doctor recommends? These questions are rife with significance; their impact can be life changing. Addressing them in a style that’s both animated and enlightening, Random Acts of Medicine empowers you to see past the white coat and find out what really makes medicine work—and how it could work better.

    Genre:  Adult nonfiction

    Availability:  

    In Library: 

    Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/889085003

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb43491319

    Club member comment(s):  This book is an enjoyable and enlightening read.  It focuses on how chance and circumstances influence the medical care each one of us receives.

    Title and Author:  All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

    Description:  Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.  In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.  From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the stunningly beautiful instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

    Genre:   Historical fiction

    Availability:  

    In Library: 

    Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/159079307

    Libby audiobook:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/597707714

    Libby eBook:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/597701014

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb32914297

    Audiobook:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb27062302

    Club member comment(s):  This haunting book explores the cruelties of war through the intersection of two lives.

    Title and Author:  The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

    Description:  Eddie is a wounded war veteran, an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life. His job is fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. On his 83rd birthday, a tragic accident kills him, as he tries to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination. It's a place where your life is explained to you by five people, some of whom you knew, others who may have been strangers. One by one, from childhood to soldier to old age, Eddie's five people revisit their connections to him on earth, illuminating the mysteries of his "meaningless" life, and revealing the haunting secret behind the eternal question: "Why was I here?"

    Genre:  Inspirational

    Availability:  

    In Library: 

    Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/147378568

    CD Audiobook:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/147379330

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb10493145

    Large print book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb17282662

    Audiobook:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb29207589

    Club member comment(s):   This book was described as an excellent read.

    Title and Author:  The East Coast Girls:  A Novel by Kerry Cletter

    Description: Childhood friends Hannah, Maya, Blue and Renee share a bond that feels more like family. Growing up, they had difficult home lives, and the summers they spent together in Montauk were the happiest memories they ever made. Then, the summer after graduation, one terrible night changed everything.  Twelve years have passed since that fateful incident, and their sisterhood has drifted apart, each woman haunted by her own lost innocence. But just as they reunite in Montauk for one last summer, hoping to find happiness once more, tragedy strikes again. This time it’ll test them like never before, forcing them to confront decisions they’ve each had to live with and old secrets that refuse to stay buried.

     Genre:  Adult fiction

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Not available

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb40646635

    Audiobook:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb41375564

    Club member comment(s):  The club member reviewing this book listened to the audiobook version.  She enjoyed the book but felt that if a different narrator had been used for each of the 4 friends (main characters), the audiobook experience would have been better.

    Title and Author:  Woke, Inc.:  Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam by Vivek Ramaswamy

    Description: There’s a new invisible force at work in our economic and cultural lives. It affects every advertisement we see and every product we buy, from our morning coffee to a new pair of shoes.  “Stakeholder capitalism” makes rosy promises of a better, more diverse, environmentally-friendly world, but in reality this ideology championed by America’s business and political leaders robs us of our money, our voice, and our identity.  Vivek Ramaswamy is a traitor to his class. He’s founded multibillion-dollar enterprises, led a biotech company as CEO, he became a hedge fund partner in his 20s, trained as a scientist at Harvard and a lawyer at Yale, and grew up the child of immigrants in a small town in Ohio. Now he takes us behind the scenes into corporate boardrooms and five-star conferences, into Ivy League classrooms and secretive nonprofits, to reveal the defining scam of our century.  The modern woke-industrial complex divides us as a people.  By mixing morality with consumerism, America’s elites prey on our innermost insecurities about who we really are. They sell us cheap social causes and skin-deep identities to satisfy our hunger for a cause and our search for meaning, at a moment when we as Americans lack both.  This book not only rips back the curtain on the new corporatist agenda, it offers a better way forward. America’s elites may want to sort us into demographic boxes, but we don’t have to stay there. Woke, Inc. begins as a critique of stakeholder capitalism and ends with an exploration of what it means to be an American today—a journey that begins with cynicism and ends with hope.    

    Genre:  Adult nonfiction

    Availability:  

    In Library: 

    Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/898789723

    MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb41996691

    Audiobook:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb42915287

    Club member comment(s):  The club member reviewing this book indicated that the author is currently a GOP candidate for the presidency.  This book offers insights into Vivek’s background and his corporate and political viewpoints.

    Title and Author:  The Stranger by Harlan Coben

    Description:  The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar, or a parking lot, or at the grocery store. His identity is unknown. His motives are unclear. His information is undeniable. Then he whispers a few words in your ear and disappears, leaving you picking up the pieces of your shattered world.  Adam Price has a lot to lose: a comfortable marriage to a beautiful woman, two wonderful sons, and all the trappings of the American Dream: a big house, a good job, a seemingly perfect life.  Then he runs into the Stranger. When he learns a devastating secret about his wife, Corinne, he confronts her, and the mirage of perfection disappears as if it never existed at all. Soon Adam finds himself tangled in something far darker than even Corinne’s deception, and realizes that if he doesn’t make exactly the right moves, the conspiracy he’s stumbled into will not only ruin lives—it will end them.

    Genre:  Mystery

    Availability:  

    In Library: 

    Book:  https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/211795661

    Libby eBook: https://marcellus.biblionix.com/catalog/biblio/590206520

     MeLCat:  

    Book:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb27885808

    Audiobook:  http://search.mel.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb28343580

    Club member comment(s):  The club member reviewing this book listened to the audiobook version and enjoyed the premise and the unexpected plot twists.  She recommended it to the others.

    The next meeting of the Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s First Thursday Book Club will be held on October 6, 2023, at 12 NOON in the library.  We look forward to seeing you here!

    Tammy Terpstra

    Interlibrary Loan Specialist/Library Assistant

    Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library

  • August 3, 2023

    First Thursday Book Club Meeting Minutes

    August 3, 2023

    The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s First Thursday Book Club met on Thursday, August 3, 2023 from 12 NOON to 1:00 PM in the library with six members present.  

    The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s First Thursday Book Club meeting minutes are published in “files” on the Marcellus Twp Library Book Club Facebook site.  If you have not already joined this site, please do!  

    The library is holding a book sale now until August 26, 2023, at 2:00 PM.  Come, browse, and pick up some great reads.  Best of all—you can name your own price when you take home your finds.  All proceeds from this sale will benefit the library.

    Library staff told the group that this month, an unusual object would be embedded in the August 2023 minutes.  The first person to locate the object and notify library staff by sending an e-mail to marcellusmichiganlibrary@gmail.com  describing what the object is and on what page of the minutes it was found will win a lovely beverage tumbler from Delightful Designs in Marcellus 

    The library staff will notify the first individual sending us an e-mail that she or he is the winner.  The winner will be invited to pick up the gift when he/she next visits the library.  Other members will be notified by e-mail that a winner has been identified.  All persons receiving the First Thursday Book Club Meeting Minutes are eligible to participate.  Library staff are not eligible to participate.  

    Books discussed:

    The Wife Between Us:  A Novel by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

    Description:  “When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.  You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.  You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.  You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.  Assume nothing.  Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen's The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage - and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.  Read between the lies.”  

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34189556-the-wife-between-us

    Genre:  Mystery.  This book was a nominee for Best Mystery & Thriller 2018.

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Book; Libby audiobook

    MeLCat:  Book; Large print book; Audiobook

    Club member comment(s):  The club member describing this book to the group did not recommend it.  She found the plot odd and not a suspenseful as she believed it would be.

    Without a Trace by Danielle Steel

    Description:  Charles Vincent seems to have it all—a beautiful wife, two successful children, and a well-paying career.  Yet happiness remains out of reach.  He is trapped in a loveless marriage and his job is simply a paycheck.  But his life changes forever one night as he drives along the Normandy coast, heading to their lavish château for the weekend. In one terrifying moment, Charles falls asleep at the wheel and veers off the road, plunging thirty feet down the face of a rocky cliff.  Miraculously, Charles survives.  After gathering the courage to climb to safety, he starts to walk—bruised, bloody, and desperate for help.  In the dark of night, he happens upon a cabin where he meets the kind and beautiful Aude Saint-Martin.  They have an instant connection, and as she nurses him back to health, Charles begins to discover the passion he’s been missing for so many years.  In the aftermath of the crash, Charles has a startling realization:  He doesn’t have to go back.  He could simply choose to disappear, to walk away from his old life.  When his car is discovered, he’ll be presumed dead, washed away at sea.  If he stays with Aude, he has a chance at a fuller, happier life that he didn’t know was possible.  It all seems too good to resist.  But Aude has secrets of her own, and before long their pasts catch up to them, threatening everything they have fought to build.  What would happen if you were given a chance to walk away from everything in your life and start over with a blank slate, and you had a split second to decide?  In Without a Trace, Danielle Steel tells an irresistible story of the risks two people are willing to take in exchange for a chance at the life they’ve always wanted.”

    https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/without-a-trace-danielle-steel/1141319184

    Genre:  General fiction.

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Large print book; Libby e-book

    MeLCat:   Book; Large print book; Audiobook

    Club member comment(s):  This book was recommended as a “good read” to the other group members.

    A Gathering of Secrets:  A Kate Burkholder Novel by Linda Castillo

    Description:  When a historic barn burns to the ground in the middle of the night, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called in to investigate.  At first it looks like an accident, but when the body of 18-year-old Daniel Gingerich is found inside - burned alive - Kate suspects murder.  But who would want a well-liked, hardworking Amish man dead?  Kate delves into the investigation and discovers Daniel had a dark side. He was a sexual predator.  His victims were mainly Amish women, too afraid to come forward, and he's been getting away with it for far too long.  Now someone has stopped him, but who?  The women he victimized?  Their boyfriends?  Their parents?  As Kate wades through a sea of suspects, she's confronted by her own violent past and an unthinkable possibility.”

    https://www.audible.com/pd/A-Gathering-of-Secrets-Audiobook/B079VS6KS3

    Genre:  Mystery.

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Book; Large print book.

    MeLCat:  Book; Audiobook

    Club member comment(s):  Recommended to the group by the club member having read it, the book delves into the world of the Amish in northern Ohio and what it means to be shunned by the Amish people.

    Damaged by Lisa Scottoline

    Description:  “Ten-year-old Patrick O’Brien is a natural target at school. Shy, dyslexic, and small for his age, he tries to hide his first-grade reading level from everyone: from his classmates, from the grandfather who cares for him, and from the teachers who are supposed to help him. But the real trouble begins when Patrick is accused of attacking a school aide. The aide promptly quits and sues the boy, his family, and the school district. Patrick’s grandfather turns to the law firm of Rosato & DiNunzio for help, and Mary DiNunzio becomes Patrick’s true champion and his only hope for security and justice. But there is more to the story than meets the eye and Patrick might be more troubled than he seems. With twists at every turn and secrets about the family coming to light, Mary DiNunzio might have found the case that can make her a true protector, or break her heart…?”

    https://www.scottoline.com/books/rosato-dinunzio-series/damaged/

    Genre:  Mystery.

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Book; Large print book; Libby audiobook and e-book.

    MeLCat:  Book; Large print book; Audiobook

    Club member comment(s):  Described as “good,” this book was recommended to the other readers in the club.

    One Step Too Far by Lisa Gardner

    Description:  “Timothy O’Day knew the woods.  Yet when he disappeared on the first night of a bachelor party camping trip with his best friends in the world, he didn’t leave a trace.  What he did leave behind were two heartbroken parents, a crew of guilt-ridden groomsmen, and a pile of clues that don’t add up.  Frankie Elkin doesn’t know the woods, but she knows how to find people.  So when she reads that Timothy’s father is organizing one last search, she heads to Wyoming.  Despite the rescue team’s reluctance, she joins them.  But as they hike into the mountains, it becomes clear that there’s something dangerous at work in the woods . . . or someone who is willing to do anything to stop them from going any farther.  Running out of time and up against the worst man and nature have to offer, Frankie and the search party will discover what evil awaits those who go one step too far . . .”

    https://www.lisagardner.com/books/frankie-elkin/one-step-too-far/

    Genre:  Mystery.

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Book; Large print book; Libby e-book

    MeLCat:  Book; Large print book; Audiobook

    Club member comment(s):  The club member reviewing this book found it enjoyable and recommended it to the other members.

    Sticks & Stones:  A Rachel Flynn Mystery by Susan Meissner

    Description:  “Critically acclaimed author Susan Meissner's Rachael Flynn mystery series started with the popular Widows and Orphans.  In the second serving of intrigue, Sticks and Stones , lawyer Rachael Flynn receives an unsigned, heart-stopping letter:  They're going to find a body at the Prairie Bluff construction site. He deserved what he got, but it wasn't supposed to happen.  It was an accident. When the body is uncovered, Rachael and Detective Will Pendleton discover that the fifteen year old victim, Randall Buckett, had been buried twenty five years before.  Is the letter writer and the killer the same person? Why would someone speak up now?  And why are they telling Rachael?  Susan Meissner's ability to weave a fascinating tale will leave readers wanting more.”

    https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/sticks-and-stones-a-rachael-flynn-mystery_susan-meissner/437151/#edition=4837022&idiq=9704860

    Genre:  Mystery.

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Not available.

    MeLCat:  Book; Audiobook

    Club member comment(s):  The club member reviewing this book listened to the audiobook and selected the book because she enjoys books narrated by Tavia Gilbert.  The member learned to search in MeLCat and Goodreads by audiobook narrator to find books narrated by those she prefers.  She enjoyed this mystery and recommended it to others.  Tavia Gilbert did not disappoint.  Her narration is excellent.

    When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison

    Description:  “As far as Gemma is concerned, her days of dating are over.  In fact, it's her job to cater other peoples' dates, and that's just fine by her.  At thirty-seven, she has her own business, working as a private chef, and her life feels full and secure.  She's got six steady clients that keep her hands full.
    There's Lex, the fussy but fabulous department store owner who loves Oysters Rockefeller and retro party food; Willa, who needs to lose weight under doctor's orders but still believes butter makes everything better; a colorful family who may or may not be part of the Russian mob; an überwealthy Georgetown family; the picture-perfect Van Houghtens, whose matriarch is "allergic to everything"; and finally, a man she calls "Mr. Tuesday," whom she has never met but to whom she feels a magnetic attraction, in part, due to his taste for full-on comfort food.  For Gemma {;>}, cooking is predictable.  Recipes are certain.  Use good ingredients, follow the directions, and you are assured success.  Life, on the other hand, is full of variables.  So when Gemma's takes an unexpected turn on a road she always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past and move on in ways she never would have imagined.  Because sometimes in life, all you need is a little hope, a lot of courage, and—-oh yes—-butter.”

    https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/when-in-doubt-add-butter-beth-harbison/1107039081

    Genre:  General Fiction.

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Book.

    MeLCat:  Book; Audiobook.

    Club member comment(s):  The club member describing this book told the others that the book examines the life of a private chef in New York City.  The protagonist is losing clients and the book details how she works through the issues surrounding the loss of her clients.  The interesting descriptions of her existing clients made this an “interesting and fun read” for the club member who recommended this book to the others.

    The Right of Her Life:  The True Story of a Woman, Her Horse, and Their Last-Chance Journey Across America by Elizabeth Letts

    Description:  “Letts (The Perfect Horse) inspires in this miraculous true story of one woman’s trek from Maine to California on horseback. In November of 1954, after a health scare revealed she only had four years to live, 63-year-old Annie Wilkins bought a horse, grabbed her dog, and left her tiny hometown to ride west. Along the way, she went viral—at least by 1950s standards—thanks to an AP reporter who found out she was meeting the governor of Idaho. On her journey, Wilkins slept in police stations and the homes of kind strangers; charmed famed American artist Andrew Wyeth; was hosted by a small-town sheriff in Tennessee; acquired a second horse (but lost him to tetanus); rode in the country’s largest rodeo; and nearly drowned in a flash flood. She crossed California’s state line in the late afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 26, 1955, and, blowing past her doctor’s projections, lived to be 88. Letts’s attention to detail and clear admiration of her ‘funny, quirky, and bold’ subject light up the narrative and make it hard to put down. This story has it all: bravery, determination, and a whole lot of heart.”

    https://www.publishersweekly.com/9780525619321

    Genre:  Non-fiction—biography, travel literature, autobiography.

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Not available.

    MeLCat:  Book.

    Club member comment(s):  This is a true story about the adventures of a middle-aged woman who treks from Maine to California on horseback.  The club member enjoyed the book and recommended it to the others.

    Ungifted by Gordan Corman

    Description:  For fans of Louis Sachar and Jack Gantos, this funny and touching underdog story is a lovable and goofy adventure with robot fights, middle-school dances, live experiments, and statue-toppling pranks!  When Donovan Curtis pulls a major prank at his middle school, he thinks he’s finally gone too far.  But thanks to a mix-up by one of the administrators, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction, a special program for gifted and talented students.  Although it wasn’t exactly what Donovan had intended, the ASD couldn’t be a more perfectly unexpected hideout for someone like him.  But as the students and teachers of ASD grow to realize that Donovan may not be good at math or science (or just about anything), he shows that his gifts may be exactly what the ASD students never knew they needed.”

    https://www.amazon.com/Ungifted-Gordon-Korman/dp/0061742678

    Genre:  Children’s Fiction.

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Not available.

    MeLCat:  Book; Audiobook.

    Club member comment(s):

    Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

    Description:  After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up.  Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she’s been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago.  Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn’t dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors—until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova.  Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova’s son disappeared.  And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it’s too late.  Shelby Van Pelt’s debut novel is a gentle reminder that sometimes taking a hard look at the past can help uncover a future that once felt impossible.”

    https://www.harpercollins.com/products/remarkably-bright-creatures-shelby-van-pelt?variant=41039357706274

    Genre:  General fiction.

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Book; Libby audiobook and e-book.

    MeLCat:  Book; Audiobook.

    Of note!  Octopuses have become very popular since this book was published.  People are including the remarkable creatures in crafts and even when baking!

    Club member comment(s):  The club member reviewing the novel listened to the audiobook.  The narration was excellent.  The author’s characters are of different generations evident in the way they think, act, and talk and in their different work ethics.  The giant pacific octopus is a central character in the book, and the narrator really gives him a personality of his own.  This book is a delightful read and the club member highly recommended it to the others.

    Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club:  A Novel by J. Ryan Stradel

    Description:  “Mariel Prager needs a break.  Her husband Ned is having an identity crisis, her spunky, beloved restaurant is bleeding money by the day, and her mother Florence is stubbornly refusing to leave the church where she’s been holed up for more than a week.  The Lakeside Supper Club has been in her family for decades, and while Mariel’s grandmother embraced the business, seeing it as a saving grace, Florence never took to it.  When Mariel inherited the restaurant, skipping Florence, it created a rift between mother and daughter that never quite healed.  Ned is also an heir—to a chain of home-style diners—and while he doesn't have a head for business, he knows his family's chain could provide a better future than his wife's fading restaurant.  In the aftermath of a devastating tragedy, Ned and Mariel lose almost everything they hold dear, and the hard-won victories of each family hang in the balance.  With their dreams dashed, can one fractured family find a way to rebuild despite their losses, and will the Lakeside Supper Club be their salvation?  In this colorful, vanishing world of relish trays and brandy Old Fashioneds, J. Ryan Stradal has once again given us a story full of his signature honest, lovable yet fallible Midwestern characters as they grapple with love, loss, and marriage; what we hold onto and what we leave behind; and what our legacy will be when we are gone.”

    https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/61653268

    Genre:  Literary fiction.

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Large print book; Libby e-book.

    MeLCat:   Book; Large print book.

    Club member comment(s):  The club member reviewing this book told the others that she picked the book because she found the cover enticing.  The book examines the lives of family members all linked to a family owned restaurant where the expectation is that successive generations will continue the legacy and maintain and run the restaurant even though some do not want their lives to go in the expected direction.  The club member said that reading this book brought back memories of her father writing a letter to the DOD asking that her brother return home from the military to assist with operating their family’s farm.  Her brother was disappointed because he had wanted a military career.  The book also examines the impact of big chain restaurants on small town establishments over time.  The club member wanted to like the book but gave it a lukewarm review.  

    A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting:  A Novel by Sophie Irwin

    Description:  “Kitty Talbot needs a fortune. Or rather, she needs a husband who has a fortune.  Left with her father’s massive debts, she has only twelve weeks to save her family from ruin.  Kitty has never been one to back down from a challenge, so she leaves home and heads toward the most dangerous battleground in all of England: the London season.  Kitty may be neither accomplished nor especially genteel—but she is utterly single-minded; imbued with cunning and ingenuity, she knows that risk is just part of the game.  The only thing she doesn’t anticipate is Lord Radcliffe.  The worldly Radcliffe sees Kitty for the mercenary fortune-hunter that she really is and is determined to scotch her plans at all costs, until their parrying takes a completely different turn….  This is a frothy pleasure, full of brilliant repartee and enticing wit--one that readers will find an irresistible delight.”

    https://www.amazon.com/Ladys-Guide-Fortune-Hunting-Novel/dp/0593491343

    Genre:  Historical romance.

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Book.

    MeLCat:  Book; Large print book.

    Club member comment(s):  This book was described as “Pride and Prejudice-like.”  Set in 1818, the protagonist, a young woman, Kitty, with 4 sisters, experiences the death of her parents and then the realization that their deaths have left the girls in serious debt.  In order to get out of debt, Kitty must find a rich husband really fast.  The club member reviewing this book said that it was a “fun read.”

    The House of Lincoln by Nancy Horan

    Description:  “In 1853, thirteen-year-old Portuguese immigrant Ana Ferreira lands a job as a house girl in the home of attorney Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois.  While assisting Mrs. Lincoln with her sons and the duties borne by the wife of a rising political star, Ana bears witness to Mr. Lincoln’s evolving views on slavery and the Union, and observes the complexity of the couple’s marriage.  Along with her African American friend Cal, Ana encounters the presence of the Underground Railroad in town and experiences personally how slavery is tearing apart her adopted country.  The House of Lincoln takes readers on a journey through the buildup to Lincoln’s presidency, the duration of the Civil War and its aftermath through the eyes of three characters: Ana, a Black minister and brother of a man who conducts escaped slaves through town, and Mary Lincoln.  The events that unfold in Springfield chronicle the making of a president during deeply divisive times, events that ultimately reshaped America and continue to reverberate today.”

    https://www.nancyhoran.com/the-house-of-lincoln

    Genre:  Historical fiction.

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Book.

    MeLCat:  Book.

    Club member comment(s):  The club member reviewing this book shared that it was written from the perspective of Abe Lincoln’s household maid.  The book offers insights about that period of history and brings this history to life for the reader—historical details and perspective that we did not get in school.  The reader recommended this book to club members.  

    Loving Frank:  A Novel by Nancy Horan

    Description:  “’I have been standing on the side of life, watching it float by. I want to swim in the river. I want to feel the current.’  So writes Mamah Borthwick Cheney in her diary as she struggles to justify her clandestine love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright.  Four years earlier, in 1903, Mamah and her husband, Edwin, had commissioned the renowned architect to design a new home for them.  During the construction of the house, a powerful attraction developed between Mamah and Frank, and in time the lovers, each married with children, embarked on a course that would shock Chicago society and forever change their lives.  While scholars have largely relegated Mamah to a footnote in the life of America’s greatest architect, author Nancy Horan gives full weight to their dramatic love story and illuminates Cheney’s profound influence on Wright.  Drawing on years of research, Horan weaves little-known facts into a compelling narrative, vividly portraying the conflicts and struggles of a woman forced to choose between the roles of mother, wife, lover, and intellectual.  Horan’s Mamah is a woman seeking to find her own place, her own creative calling in the world.  Mamah’s is an unforgettable journey marked by choices that reshape her notions of love and responsibility, choices that ultimately lead to this novel’s stunning conclusion.”

    This book was awarded the Best Historical Fiction Prize by the Society of American Historians in 2009.

    https://www.nancyhoran.com/loving-frank

    Genre:  Historical fiction; biographical fiction; romance novel.

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Book; Libby e-book.  

    MeLCat:  Book; Audiobook.

    Club member comment(s):  This book details the relationship between Frank Lloyd Wright and his mistress and is told from the mistress’ point of view with an interesting surprise ending.

    Hang the Moon by Jeanette Walls

    Description:  “Sallie Kincaid is the daughter of the biggest man in a small town, the charismatic Duke Kincaid.  Born at the turn of the 20th century into a life of comfort and privilege, Sallie remembers little about her mother who died in a violent argument with the Duke.  By the time she is just eight years old, the Duke has remarried and had a son, Eddie.  While Sallie is her father’s daughter, sharp-witted and resourceful, Eddie is his mother’s son, timid and cerebral.  When Sallie tries to teach young Eddie to be more like their father, her daredevil coaching leads to an accident, and Sallie is cast out.  Nine years later, she returns, determined to reclaim her place in the family.  That’s a lot more complicated than Sallie expected, and she enters a world of conflict and lawlessness.  Sallie confronts the secrets and scandals that hide in the shadows of the Big House, navigates the factions in the family and town, and finally comes into her own as a bold, sometimes reckless bootlegger.”

    https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Hang-the-Moon/Jeannette-Walls/9781501117299

    Genre:  Historical fiction; biographical fiction.

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Book; Libby audiobook and e-book.

    MeLCat:  Book; Audiobook.

    Club member comment(s):  This book is set in the rural south during the time of prohibition.  The book was described as interesting particularly because it has several unexpected plot twists.

    The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls

    Description:  “It is 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two.  When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their widowed Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that’s been in Charlotte’s family for generations.  An impetuous optimist, Bean soon discovers who her father was, and hears stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place.  Money is tight, and the sisters start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town, who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife.  Liz is whip-smart—an inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist.  But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn.  And then something happens to Liz in the car with Maddox.  Jeannette Walls has written a deeply moving novel about triumph over adversity and about people who find a way to love each other and the world, despite its flaws and injustices.”

    https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Silver-Star/Jeannette-Walls/9781451661545

    Genre:  General fiction.

    Availability:  

    In Library:  Book.

    MeLCat:  Book; Audiobook.

    Club member comment(s):  The club member reviewing this book told the group that she enjoyed the read and that it has a very redeeming ending.

    At the close of this month’s meeting, a club member shared two cookbooks that she had discovered at estate sales recently.  The first is an old White House Cookbook and the second is an old Department of the Army Technical Manual/Department of the Air Force Manual—actually a cookbook—published in 1950.  The second photograph in each set below shows a sample of the recipes in each of these books.  What delightful finds!

    The next meeting of the Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s First Thursday Book Club will be held on September 7, 2023, at 12 NOON in the library.  We look forward to seeing you here!

    Tammy Terpstra

    Interlibrary Loan Specialist/Library Assistant

    Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library

  • July 6, 2023

    The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s First Thursday Book Club met on Thursday, July 6,  2023 from 12 NOON to 1:00 PM in the library with nine members present. The group enjoyed discussing  the books below and were delighted to have fresh fruit, fruit juice, and scrumptious homemade goodies  to share. Having recently read Mandy McGovern’s My Little Michigan Kitchen: Recipes and Stories from  a Homemade Life Lived Well, one wonderful member baked the Spiced Oatmeal Cake (p. 176-177)  included in this book, and another member made chocolate salami, a decadent combination of fudge  and crumbled biscotti presented in a roll and sliced so that it resembles salami.

    Library staff told the group that this month, an unusual object would be embedded in the July 2023  meeting minutes. The first person to locate the object in the minutes and notify library staff by sending  an e-mail to marcellusmichiganlibrary@gmail.com telling us what the object is and on what page of the  minutes it was found will win a $10.00 gift certificate to The Wildcat Whippy Dip in Marcellus, MI. The  library staff will notify the first individual sending us an e-mail that she or he is the winner and will ask if  the winner prefers to come in to pick up the gift certificate or to have us mail the gift certificate out.  Other members will be notified by e-mail that a winner has been identified. All persons receiving the  First Thursday Book Club Meeting Minutes are eligible to participate. Library staff are not eligible to  participate.  

    This month’s unusual object is a glass of lemonade, and readers will need to find the object on a page other than this  one to win. Nothing like a cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer day! So…grab yourself some lemonade and look for lemonade in the minutes to follow.

    The club members were also asked for assistance with the Libraries Transforming Communities:  Accessible Small and Rural Communities Project—a Special Grant Opportunity for Small and Rural  Communities. This is an American Library Association (ALA) initiative that provides community  engagement and accessibility resources to small and rural libraries to help them better serve people  with disabilities. The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library has been selected as one of 240  libraries across the United States and its territories to receive one of these grants. Libraries could be  awarded either a $10,000 or $20,000 grant. Our Marcellus Library was awarded one of the $20,000  grants that will help the library implement updates with a universal design approach. Universal Design  aims to address the most common barriers, improving access to library resources and participation in  library activities to the greatest number of people, across all ages and abilities. In a recent newspaper  publication about this grant opportunity, Ms. Buckhold, our Library Director, commented, “While our  library has seen many updates since the original building was constructed in 1925, we’re aware of  several opportunities for improvement to help everyone in our community feel welcome and supported  in using the library. This grant is quite unique in that it really requires us to gather community feedback  and adjust to our plans accordingly, to ensure we’re truly meeting the accessibility needs of our  patrons.” As part of the grant, library staff would determine what they believed would enhance library  accessibility and then would host several conversations with community members about their perceived  barriers to library usage. The grant funding would then be used to correct or improve the issues  identified by community members. The staff believed that having this conversation with the First  Thursday Book Club members was important and outlined the ideas that library staff had identified as  ways to improve accessibility including the installation of an automatic door or doors, placing  infant/child changing station in the public restroom (one currently does not exist), and improving library  signage. Club members were encouraged to think about these ideas and to let library staff know if they  had additional ideas for accessibility improvements. They were also encouraged to visit the bulletin  board in the adult section of the library outlining the grant and inviting community members to jot  down their ideas or endorse ideas already posted on the board. They were told that if they have  thoughts about the grant opportunity after the meeting, they could contact library staff at  269.646.9654, or e-mail marcellusmichiganlibrary@gmail.com. Since 2014, ALA’s Libraries Transforming  Communities initiative has re-imagined the role libraries play in supporting communities. Libraries of all  types have utilized free dialogue and deliberation training and resources to lead community and campus  forums; take part in anti-violence activities; provide a space for residents to come together and discuss  challenging topics; and have productive conversations with civic leaders, library trustees and staff. 

    Books discussed:

    The Code Breaker’s Secret: A Novel by Sara Ackerman 

    Description: “A brilliant female codebreaker. An “unbreakable” Japanese naval code. A pilot on a top secret mission that could change the course of WWII. The Codebreaker's Secret is a dazzling story of  love and intrigue set during America’s darkest hour. 1943. As war in the Pacific rages on, Isabel Cooper and her codebreaker colleagues huddle in “the dungeon” at Station HYPO in Pearl Harbor, deciphering  secrets plucked from the airwaves in a race to bring down the enemy. Isabel has only one wish: to  avenge her brother’s death. But she soon finds life has other plans when she meets his best friend, a  hotshot pilot with secrets of his own. 1965. Fledgling journalist Lu Freitas comes home to Hawaii to  cover the grand opening of the glamorous Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Rockefeller's newest and grandest  project. When a high-profile guest goes missing, Lu forms an unlikely alliance with an intimidating  veteran photographer to unravel the mystery. The two make a shocking discovery that stirs up  memories and uncovers an explosive secret from the war days. A secret that only a codebreaker can  crack.” 

    https://www.ackermanbooks.com/the-codebreakers-secret.html 

    Available: 

    In Library: Not available 

    MelCat: Book; audiobook 

    Club member(s) comments: This is an enjoyable book with a dual time line and was recommended to  the other members. 

    The Book Shop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan 

    Description: “Nina Redmond is a librarian with a gift for finding the perfect book for her readers. But  can she write her own happy-ever-after? In this valentine to readers, librarians, and book-lovers the  world over, the New York Times-bestselling author of Little Beach Street Bakery returns with a funny,  moving new novel for fans of Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop. Nina is a literary matchmaker.  Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until  yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more. Determined to  make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and  transforms it into a bookmobile — a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to  neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling. From helping her grumpy  landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like  home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.” 

    https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-bookshop-on-the-corner-jenny-colgan/1123361810 Availability: 

    In Library: Libby audiobook 

    MeLCat: Book; audiobook 

    Club member comment(s): The protagonist in this book buys a van and makes it into a bookmobile,  traveling from place to place in a small country town. The people she meets, their eagerness to read,  and the adventures she has made this a book that the club member recommended to others. 

    The Night Train to Berlin by Melanie Hudson 

    Description: “Paddington Station, present day--A young woman boards the sleeper train to Cornwall  with only a beautiful emerald silk evening dress and an old, well-read diary full of sketches. Ellie  Nightingale is a shy violinist who plays like her heart is broken. But when she meets fellow passenger Joe  she feels like she has been given that rarest of gifts…a second chance. Paddington Station, 1944-- Beneath the shadow of the war which rages across Europe, Alex and Eliza meet by chance. She is a  gutsy painter desperate to get to the frontline as a war artist and he is a wounded RAF pilot now  commissioned as a war correspondent. With time slipping away they make only one promise: to meet  in Berlin when this is all over. But this is a time when promises are hard to keep, and hope is all you can  hold in your heart. From a hidden Cornish cove to the blood-soaked beaches of Normandy in June 1944,  this is an epic love story like no other.” 

    https://www.amazon.com/Night-Train-Berlin-heartbreaking-historical-ebook/dp/B08F1XGWBG Availability: 

    In Library: Not available 

    MeLCat: Book 

    Club member(s) comments: The club member reviewing this book briefly described it, told the group  that she liked it and recommended it to others.

    Michigan Versus the Boys by Carrie S. Allen 

    Description: “When a determined girl is confronted with the culture of toxic masculinity, it's time to  even the score. Michigan Manning lives for hockey, and this is her year to shine. That is, until she gets  some crushing news: budget cuts will keep the girls' hockey team off the ice this year. If she wants  colleges to notice her, Michigan has to find a way to play. Luckily, there's still one team left in town ... The boys' team isn't exactly welcoming, but Michigan's prepared to prove herself. She plays some of the  best hockey of her life, in fact, all while putting up with changing in the broom closet, constant trash talk  and "harmless" pranks that always seem to target her. But once hazing crosses the line into assault,  Michigan must weigh the consequences of speaking up - even if it means putting her future on the line.” 

    https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/43885997 

    Availability: 

    In Library: Not available 

    MeLCat: Book 

    Club member(s) comments: The main character’s name is “Michigan,” and the book takes place in the  upper peninsula of Michigan. With its local ties, the book was very enjoyable. The protagonist is a girl  who wants to play hockey, it very good at hockey, and is trying to be the best that she can be at this  sport. While pursuing her goals, she has to overcome significant barriers including a brutal hazing, and  she must decide whether to speak out about this or not. The book was recommended to other  members.

    The Girl from Guernica by Karen Robards 

    Description: “Inspired by Picasso’s great masterpiece, Guernica, New York Times bestselling author  Karen Robards returns with a riveting story of intrigue, deception and bravery in the face of war… On an April day in 1937, the sky opens and fire rains down upon the small Spanish town of Guernica.  Seventeen-year-old Sibi and her family are caught up in the horror. Griff, an American military attaché,  pulls Sibi from the wreckage, and it’s only the first time he saves her life in a span of hours. When  Germany claims no involvement in the attack, insisting the Spanish Republic was responsible, Griff  guides Sibi to lie to Nazi officials. If she or her sisters reveal that they saw planes bearing swastikas, the  gestapo will silence them—by any means necessary. As war begins to rage across Europe, Sibi joins the  underground resistance, secretly exchanging information with Griff. But as the scope of Germany’s  ambitions becomes clear, maintaining the facade of a Nazi-sympathizer becomes ever more difficult.  And as Sibi is drawn deeper into a web of secrets, she must find a way to outwit an enemy that  threatens to decimate her family once and for all. Masterfully rendered and vividly capturing one of the  most notorious episodes in history, The Girl from Guernica is an unforgettable testament to the bonds  of family and the courage of women in wartime.” 

    https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-girl-from-guernica-karen-robards/1141674845 Availability:  

    In Library: Not available 

    MeLCat: Book; Audiobook 

    Club member comment(s): This book’s protagonist is a teenage girl living with her mother and  three sisters in Guernica, Spain, just prior to WWII, when Spain is in the middle of a civil war. When  Guernica is bombed, the girl and her family are significantly impacted. She sees something during the  bombing--and the Germans know it--that makes life in Nazi Germany difficult when she returns to live  with her father in Germany during WWII. She experiences tremendously difficult moral dilemmas and  has to make difficult decisions in order to survive. Will she survive? Will she find love after all of the  heartache that she and her family experience during the war? The book is well written and well-paced.  The club member researched whether the historical events described in the book were real and learned  that Guernica was bombed and that Germany did play a role in this bombing. A Picasso painting is  frequently referenced in the book, and yes, Picasso did paint the bombing of Guernica causing  worldwide outrage and irritating Hitler. The audiobook includes narrators who speak with American  accents. Only one character is American, the rest are either Spanish or German. Having narrators with  accents akin to the characters in the book would have made the audiobook experience more authentic.  With that known, the book is certainly worth reading or listening to.

    A Single Breath by Lucy Clarke 

    Description: Eva has only been married for eight months when her husband, Jackson, is swept to his  death while fishing. Weighed down by confusion and sorrow, Eva decides to take leave of her midwifery  practice and visit Jackson’s estranged family with the hope of grieving together. Instead, she discovers  that the man she loved so deeply is not the man she thought she knew. Jackson’s father and brother  reveal a dark past, exposing the lies her marriage was built upon. As Eva struggles to come to terms  with the depth of Jackson’s deception, she must also confront her growing attraction to Jackson’s  brother, Saul, who offers her intimacy, passion, and answers to her most troubling questions. Will Eva  be able to move forward, or will she be caught up in a romance with Saul, haunted by her husband’s  past? Threading together beautiful, wild settings and suspenseful twists, A Single Breath is a gripping  tale of secrets, betrayals, and new beginnings.” 

    https://www.amazon.com/Single-Breath-Novel-Lucy-Clarke/dp/1476750157 

    Availability: 

    In Library: Book 

    MeLCat: Book; audiobook 

    Club member comment(s): This book’s main character, Eva, marries Jackson after knowing him for a  brief period of time. Eva resides in London, and Jackson tells her he has moved from Australia to  London a short time ago. When an accident takes Jackson from Eva, she decides to trace his roots back  to Australia by visiting his father. There she begins to learn that her husband is a very different person  from who she believed him to be. The club member reviewing this book listened to the audio version.  The person narrating for Eva has a wonderful English accent, and the Australian character is read by a  male with a strong Australian accent—both were delightful to listen to. The book takes place in London,  Australia, and Tanzania. The descriptions of the landscape and the sea in Tanzania are enticing. The  club member told the group that one island—Wattleboon—is mentioned often, so she looked this island  up on Wikipedia only to realize that Wattleboon is a fictional island made up by the author of this book.  The descriptions; however, sounded so real! This is an interesting novel both because the characters are  well developed and the setting is beautifully described.

    Swimming at Night by Lucy Clarke 

    Description: Katie’s world is shattered by the news that her headstrong and bohemian younger sister,  Mia, has been found dead at the bottom of a cliff in Bali. The authorities say that Mia jumped—that her  death was a suicide. Although they’d hardly spoken to each other since Mia suddenly left on an around the-world trip six months earlier, Katie refuses to accept that her sister would have taken her own life.  Distraught that they never made peace, Katie leaves behind her orderly, sheltered life in London and  embarks on a journey to discover the truth. With only the entries of Mia’s travel journal as her guide,  Katie retraces the last few months of her sister’s life, and—page by page, country by country—begins to  uncover the mystery surrounding her death.A great read for fans of smart contemporary women’s  fiction as well as thriller and mystery readers,’ Swimming at Night weaves together exotic settings,  suspenseful plot twists, and familial bonds in a powerful tale of secrets, loss, and forgiveness.” 

    https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Swimming-at-Night/Lucy-Clarke/9781451683417 Availability: 

    In Library: Not available 

    MeLCat: Book; audiobook 

    Club member comment(s): Written by the same author as A Single Breath described above, Swimming  at Night details one woman’s search for the truth about her sister Mia’s death. Her search takes her  around the world as she follows entries in her deceased sister’s diary and discovers things about Mia  that she never knew. The audiobook version used narrators with accents akin to the characters in the  book and included terrific descriptions of the places that the main character visits as she uncovers the truth about Mia.

    O Come Ye Back to Ireland: Our First year in County Clare by Niall Williams & Christine Breen 

    Description: This New York City couple who met as graduate students in Dublin, gave up the urban  lifestyle two years ago to return to the land of their ancestors. Pursuit of their dream took them to the  tiny village of Kilmihil on Ireland's bleakly beautiful west coast, where they settled into a farm cottage.  Their journal records culture shock at the turf they must learn to cut and burn for heat, for example as  well as discovery of the wealth of traditional music and their storytelling rural neighbors. In alternating  voices, they express dismay and frustration in coping with a lifestyle where time is of little significance.  But, by the second year, Breen has a budding artistic career as well as a blooming garden, and Williams  certifies as a farmer, as well as a dabbler in local theatrics. Entertaining and instructive, the journal, with  Breen's illustrations, captures a way of life foreign to most readers.” 

    https://www.publishersweekly.com/9780939149070 

    Availability: 

    In Library: Not available 

    MeLCat: Book 

    Club member comment(s): The club member read a later book authored by the same couple last  month titled In Kiltumper: A Year in an Irish Garden. This book details the couple’s experiences when  they first move back to Ireland and live in a farm cottage. Coping with the change in lifestyle is initially  daunting, but they persevere and thrive. The book is delightful and a must read for those interested in  gardening and the cottage farm experience. 

    Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression by Mildred  Amstrong Kalish 

    Description: Perhaps no one was more surprised than Mildred Armstrong Kalish when her memoir of  Iowa farm life became a bestseller, and then appeared among the New York Times 10 Best Books of  2007. Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression began  as stories Kalish spun from her past to amuse her granddaughter. She wrote them down, imagining they  would go no further than her own family. But then they did, and at age eighty-five, Kalish landed in the  literary limelight. Her book transports readers to 1930s rural Iowa; much that occurs is unsurprising:  haying, milking, planting, and a good-deal of church-going. What is surprising is the amount of joy and  gratitude Kalish expresses about a childhood defined largely by hard work and austerity. Kalish begins  her narrative when her life takes a decisive turn at age five. Her father is banished from the family  “forever for some transgression that was not to be disclosed to us children.” Her grandparents, rather  severe folk, step in. They’ve retired from a successful farming career to the small town of Garrison but still own four farms. Mildred Armstrong, her younger sister, two brothers, and mother are settled into  the smallest of these. The house has no electricity or plumbing, and the barn is ramshackle.  Nevertheless, the Armstrong’s keep livestock, grow crops, can produce, and generally enjoy a large  variety of wholesome foods. In fact, Depression-era scarcity hardly impacts the family due to their self sufficiency, which they achieve cooperatively with Mildred’s aunt and uncle, who farm across the road.  Mildred’s elementary years are divided between town and country living. During the harsh winter, her  family migrates to the large home of her grandparents, where they all suffer the situation with  forbearance. The grandparents (who “never quite made it into the twentieth century”) consider their  daughter’s “little heathens,” as Grandma calls them, lacking in proper dress, speech, and overall  behavior. The day’s events, from waking to bedtime, adhere to a rigid time schedule. Frugality factors  into the household’s many rules, including no between meal snacks and no food remaining on plates.  Thrifty to an extreme, the grandparents spend money only on “tea, sugar, salt, white flour, cloth, and kerosene.” 

    https://www.supersummary.com/little-heathens/summary/ 

    Availability: 

    In Library: Not available 

    MeLCat: Book; audiobook 

    Club member(s) comments: The “little heathens” are small children whose parents have fallen on hard  times during the Great Depression necessitating that the children and their mother uproot and relocate  to house without running water or electricity and an old barn near family members. During the winter,  they must live with their mother’s parents who are austere, religious, and conservative. The club member reviewing this book called it “delightful” because each chapter depicts the adventures and  experiences of the children—the “little heathens” in their new environment. As an added bonus, the  book includes great recipes from this era.  

    The Last Heir to Blackwood Library by Hester Fox 

    Description: “In post–World War I England, a young woman inherits a mysterious library and must  untangle its powerful secrets… With the stroke of a pen, twenty-three-year-old Ivy Radcliffe becomes  Lady Hayworth, owner of a sprawling estate on the Yorkshire moors. Ivy has never heard of Blackwood  Abbey, or of the ancient bloodline from which she’s descended. With nothing to keep her in London  since losing her brother in the Great War, she warily makes her way to her new home. The abbey is  foreboding, the servants reserved and suspicious. But there is a treasure waiting behind locked doors: a magnificent library. Despite cryptic warnings from the staff, Ivy feels irresistibly drawn to its dusty  shelves, where familiar works mingle with strange, esoteric texts. And she senses something else in the  library too, a presence that seems to have a will of its own. Rumors swirl in the village about the  abbey’s previous owners, about ghosts and curses, and an enigmatic manuscript at the center of it all.  And as events grow more sinister, it will be up to Ivy to uncover the library’s mysteries in order to  reclaim her own story—before it vanishes forever. Lush, atmospheric and transporting, The Last Heir to  Blackwood Library is a skillful reflection on memory and female agency, and a love letter to books from a  writer at the height of her power.” 

    https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-last-heir-to-blackwood-library-hester-fox/1141490076 Availability: 

    In Library: Book; Libby audiobook 

    MeLCat: Book 

    Club member(s) comments: This book was enjoyable. The club member reviewing it stated that she  became invested in the characters. The book includes a touch of the paranormal as well. 

    Whispers of Winter by Eva Orilla 

    Description: Emotionally wounded with a battered and bruised self-confidence, Jolie Mossman is on  the run from her life and the turbulent relationship she has been in for over a decade. She never fit into  his high society world, and he never stopped ridiculing her because of it. She is finished with love, tired  of jumping through hoops, and she doesn't trust men. With her hopes and dreams of a marriage and  family slowly disappearing, she packs her truck, drives north, and stumbles onto an abandoned cabin. It  turns out that the cabin is not quite so abandoned after all, and the man she meets deep in the  Michigan woods offers Jolie another chance to find love if she can overcome her vulnerabilities and  learn to trust a man once more. Riley Johnson is a widower from a long, loveless marriage. When he  sees smoke coming from the chimney of his boyhood cabin, he is irritated. He does not appreciate  trespassers. Rather than call the authorities and going through the process of filing legal complaints that  achieve nothing, he decides to evict the man himself. What he discovers is a beautiful woman sleeping  in his bed, wrapped in his flannel shirt. As soon as he lays his eyes on Jolie, he is infatuated with her.  Unknowingly, she walks into his heart, and changes his whole world with every word she speaks. 

    Convincing her that love at first sight can be a real and genuine occurrence might turn out to be the  toughest challenge Riley has ever encountered.” 

    https://www.amazon.com/Whispers-Winter-Eva-Orilla-ebook/dp/B099THJMDS Availability: 

    In Library: Not available 

    MeLCat: Not available 

    Club member(s) comments: Whispers of Winter was described as a good, engaging story about likable  characters. If the reader is distracted by editing and grammatical error; however, this book might be  problematic as there are quite a few unfortunately. 

    The Red Skirt: Memoirs of an Ex Nun by Patricia O’Donnell-Gibson 

    Description: “A nine-year-old girl, impressionistic and dreamy, feels God has called to her through the  voice of a missionary who speaks to her Catholic school class. The idea of this calling embeds itself deep  within her, haunting her, and urging her to, ultimately, enter the convent. The Red Memoirs of An Ex Nun is the very personal account of this young woman’s journey to find the place where she belongs.  Sad as well as joyous, inspiring as well as unsettling, we follow her story through the five years she  spends as an Adrian Dominican nun; as she tries to balance her desire for a secular life with her great  fear of turning her back on God's call. Poignant and insightful, The Red Skirt gives an unflinching glimpse  of one woman’s internal, and decidedly human, struggle to leave behind the young, fearful girl who  could not shake the words of the missionary, to become a strong woman who can accept an alternative  spiritual philosophy, and, consequently, her place in the world.” 

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12397577-the-red-skirt-memoirs-of-an-ex-nun Availability: 

    In Library: Not available 

    MeLCat: Book

    Club member(s) comments: The author of this book was born in Detroit and lived near Paw Paw Lake.  She was raised in a devout Catholic family and felt called to become a nun. She eventually joins an order  in Adrian, MI, and does serve as a nun for 5 years. The reader stated that she really wanted to like this  book but felt that the author focused too much on the minutia of the Catholic religion’s requirements  and on the main character’s angst that God would hate her for becoming a nun and then leaving the  order. The reader wanted to understand what wisdom the main character gained from the experience  of becoming a nun. The book did not cover what the author’s life was like after leaving the order. The  reader had to do her own research to discover that the author married twice, had children, and became  an educator. The author’s parents were rarely mentioned although the reader believed they likely  would have had some anxieties about their child’s decision to become or not become a nun. Their other  three daughters did not choose this path. All in all, the reader was glad she read this book particularly  since the author has Michigan ties. The “red skirt” refers to nuns who leave the order. 

    City of the Dead by Jonathan Kellerman 

    Description: “Los Angeles is a city of sunlight, celebrity, and possibility. The L.A. often experienced by  Homicide Lt. Detective Milo Sturgis and psychologist Alex Delaware, is a city of the dead. Early one  morning, the two of them find themselves in a neighborhood of pretty houses, pretty cars, and pretty  people. The scene they encounter is anything but. A naked young man lies dead in the street, the  apparent victim of a collision with a moving van hurtling through suburbia in the darkness. But any  thoughts of accidental death vanish when a blood trail leads to a nearby home. Inside, a young woman  lies butchered. The identity of the male victim and his role in the horror remain elusive, but that of the  woman creates additional questions. And adding to the shock, Alex has met her while working a  convoluted child custody case. Cordelia Gannett was a self-styled internet influencer who’d gotten into  legal troubles by palming herself off as a psychologist. Even after promising to desist, she’s found a  loophole and has continued her online career, aiming to amass clicks and ads by cyber-coaching and  cyber-counseling people plagued with relationship issues. But upon closer examination, Alex and Milo  discover that her own relationships are troublesome, including a tortured family history and a dubious  personal past. Has that come back to haunt her in the worst way? Is the mystery man out in the street  collateral damage or will he turn out to be the key to solving a grisly double homicide? As the  psychologist and the detective explore L.A.’s meanest streets, they peel back layer after layer of secrets  and encounter a savage, psychologically twisted, almost unthinkable motive for violence and bloodshed. 

    This is classic Delaware: Alex, a man Milo has come to see as irreplaceable, at his most insightful and  brilliant.”  

    https://www.jonathankellerman.com/books/city-of-the-dead/ 

    Availability: 

    In Library: Book; Libby eBook 

    MeLCat: Book; audiobook 

    Club member(s) comments: The club member reviewing this book has read others by the same author  and described this one as a “good read.”  

    The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore 

    Description: “In December 2000, the Baltimore Sun ran a small piece about Wes Moore, a local student  who had just received a Rhodes Scholarship. The same paper also ran a series of articles about four young men who had allegedly killed a police officer in a spectacularly botched armed robbery. The  police were still hunting for two of the suspects who had gone on the lam, a pair of brothers. One was  named Wes Moore. Wes just couldn’t shake off the unsettling coincidence, or the inkling that the two  shared much more than space in the same newspaper. After following the story of the robbery, the  manhunt, and the trial to its conclusion, he wrote a letter to the other Wes, now a convicted murderer  serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. His letter tentatively asked the questions that  had been haunting him: Who are you? How did this happen? That letter led to a correspondence and  relationship that have lasted for several years. Over dozens of letters and prison visits, Wes discovered  that the other Wes had had a life not unlike his own: Both had had difficult childhoods, both were  fatherless; they’d hung out on similar corners with similar crews, and both had run into trouble with the  police. At each stage of their young lives they had come across similar moments of decision, yet their  choices would lead them to astonishingly different destinies. Told in alternating dramatic narratives  that take listeners from heart-wrenching losses to moments of surprising redemption, The Other Wes  Moore tells the story of a generation of boys trying to find their way in a hostile world.” 

    https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Other-Wes-Moore-Audiobook/B003I6M0LK Availability: 

    In Library: Book; Libby eBook

    MeLCat: Book; audiobook 

    Club member(s) comments: The member reviewing this book said that her teenage grandson had had  this book assigned to him as part of a summer reading program. He asked his grandmother, our club  member, to read the book along with him so that they could discuss it together. She listened to the  book and he read it. The book details the lives of two Black men with the same name who happened to  appear in same edition of a local newspaper but for very different reasons. One of the men reaches out  to the other and writes about their very different lives and what might have caused their pathways to  take the directions they did. She described this as a great read and recommended the book to the  others.  

    You Are Here by Karin Lin-Greenberg 

    Description: “Lin-Greenberg’s exceptional debut novel (after the collection Vanished) explores a  complex web of relationships at a fading mall in Albany, N.Y. Among the people drawn together by the  mall are Tina Huang, the last remaining stylist at a struggling hair salon, and Ro Goodson, an 89-year-old  white woman who is Tina’s only regular customer, and who Tina believes comes in because she’s lonely.  Ro takes a dim view of her Black neighbor Joan for moving into Ro’s predominantly white neighborhood  years earlier. Ro also doesn’t think much of Joan’s daughter, Gwen, an adjunct professor, or Gwen’s  white husband, Kevin, manager of the mall’s bookstore, both of whom live in a tiny house on Joan’s  property. Maria, a high school senior who hopes to become a professional actor, dons a chicken outfit  for her food court job and is upset when she doesn’t get a lead part in her school’s production of West  Side Story. The other characters are past worrying their dreams won’t come true; Tina secretly yearns to  be an illustrator of children’s books but ‘knows it’s not a practical thing to pursue,’ while Ro plants a  lemon tree that she knows won’t bear fruit until after she’s gone. After establishing a quirky tone, the  novel’s third act reaches a grand scale as an active shooter prowls the mall, though the real drama rests  in the characters’ reckoning with the limits of what is possible. This is a remarkable study of ordinary people’s extraordinary inner lives.”  

    https://www.publishersweekly.com/9781640095434 

    Availability: 

    In Library: Book 

    MeLCat: Book

    Club member(s) comments: This book was described as a good, well written novel.

    Winter Birds by Jamie Langston Turner 

    Description: Plain and dutiful, Sophia Hess has lived most of her life without ever knowing genuine  love. Her professor husband had married her for the convenience of having a typist for his scholarly  papers. The discovery of a dark secret opens her eyes to the truth about her marriage and her husband. Eventually nephew Patrick and his wife, Rachel, take Sophia into their home, and she observes from a  careful distance their earnest faith and the simple gifts of kindness they generously bestow upon her  and others-this in spite of an unthinkable tragedy they've suffered. Dare she unlock the door behind  which she stalwartly conceals her broken heart? An insightful and moving portrayal of the transforming  power of love.” 

    http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/winter-birds/276681 

    Availability: 

    In Library: Not available 

    MeLCat: Book 

    Club member(s) comments: Winter Birds, the club member told the group, focuses on the change that  occurs when a grumpy old woman moves in with a kind couple and learns what true love really is. Each  chapter begins with a reference to a winter bird and links the bird to the content of the chapter.  Although hard to read at times, the reader told the group the book was very good and recommended it  to the others. 

    The Book That Matters Most: A Novel by Ann Hood 

    Description: “Hood’s latest novel is a moving, intricate story about loss, healing, and the value of critical  thinking. A year after being left by her husband, Ava is still reeling from the grief of separation, which  brought back the pain of losing her sister and mother early in life. In order to branch out and meet new  people, Ava joins a book club where each member must choose a book that matters most to them for  the group to discuss. Although the new activity keeps her engaged, Ava, who lives in Providence, R.I.,  still feels alone, with her son abroad in Africa and her daughter studying in Florence. What Ava doesn’t  know is that her daughter has recently quit school and is now living in Paris under increasingly  dangerous circumstances. Ava doesn’t immediately enjoy the book group (she watches a movie  adaptation instead of reading the first book), but bit by bit, book by book, she rediscovers her love of  reading, makes new friends, and begins to heal. As the narrative focus moves among different  characters and back and forth in time, suspense builds about what happened to Ava’s mother and sister  and what might happen to her daughter. Meanwhile, the book club allows Ava to examine her grief and  slowly learn how to move forward. This is a gripping, multifaceted novel about recovering from different  kinds of loss and the healing that comes from a powerful story.” 

    https://www.publishersweekly.com/9780393241655 

    Availability: 

    In Library: Book 

    MeLCat: Book; audiobook 

    Club member(s) comments: This book is about a woman’s experience joining a book club and reading  books that each member chose because the book mattered most to them. A great read!

    18 

    A Botanist’s Guide to Flowers and Fatality by Kate Khavari 

    Description: “1920s London isn’t the ideal place for a brilliant woman with lofty ambitions. But  research assistant Saffron Everleigh is determined to beat the odds in a male-dominated field at the  University College of London. Saffron embarks on her first research study alongside the insufferably  charming Dr. Michael Lee, traveling the countryside with him in response to reports of poisonings. But  when Detective Inspector Green is given a case with a set of unusual clues, he asks for Saffron’s  assistance. The victims, all women, received bouquets filled with poisonous flowers. Digging deeper,  Saffron discovers that the bouquets may be more than just unpleasant flowers— there may be a hidden  message within them, revealed through the use of the old Victorian practice of floriography. A dire  message, indeed, as each woman who received the flowers has turned up dead. Alongside Dr. Lee and  her best friend, Elizabeth, Saffron trails a group of suspects through a dark jazz club, a lavish country  estate, and a glittering theatre, delving deeper into a part of society she thought she’d left behind  forever. Will Saffron be able to catch the killer before they send their next bouquet, or will she find  herself with fatal flowers of her own in Kate Khavari’s second intoxicating installment?” 

    https://www.amazon.com/Botanists-Flowers-Fatality-Saffron-Everleigh/dp/1639102787 Availability: 

    In Library: Book 

    MeLCat: Book 

    Club member(s) comments: This book was very enjoyable but the club member reviewing the book told  the others that they really should read the first book written by the author before this one—A Botanist’s  Guide to Parties and Poisons: A Novel.

    Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield 

    Description: “On a dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the river Thames, an extraordinary event  takes place. The regulars are telling stories to while away the dark hours, when the door bursts open on  a grievously wounded stranger. In his arms is the lifeless body of a small child. Hours later, the girl stirs,  takes a breath and returns to life. Is it a miracle? Is it magic? Or can science provide an explanation?  

    These questions have many answers, some of them quite dark indeed. Those who dwell on the river  bank apply all their ingenuity to solving the puzzle of the girl who died and lived again, yet as the days  pass the mystery only deepens. The child herself is mute and unable to answer the essential questions:  Who is she? Where did she come from? And to whom does she belong? But answers proliferate  nonetheless. Three families are keen to claim her. A wealthy young mother knows the girl is her  kidnapped daughter, missing for two years. A farming family reeling from the discovery of their son’s  secret liaison stand ready to welcome their granddaughter. The parson’s housekeeper, humble and  isolated, sees in the child the image of her younger sister. But the return of a lost child is not without  complications and no matter how heartbreaking the past losses, no matter how precious the child  herself, this girl cannot be everyone’s. Each family has mysteries of its own, and many secrets must be  revealed before the girl’s identity can be known.” 

    https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Once-Upon-a-River/Diane-Setterfield/9780743298087 Availability: 

    In Library: Book; Libby audiobook 

    MeLCat: Book; audiobook 

    Club member(s) comments: This book was described as having a very redeeming end!

    Don’t Call Me Lady: The Journey of Lady Alice Seeley Harris by Judy Pollard Smith 

    Description: This biography tells the true story of one of history’s forgotten women, an Englishwoman  named Alice Seeley Harris who has also been called the Mother of Human Rights. She has been hidden  by her husband’s shadow since she started her African journey near the end of the Victorian era, but  now her story is brought to light by author Judy Pollard Smith in Don’t Call Me Lady: The Journey of Lady Alice Seeley Harris. Armed with her Bible, zeal, and a camera, Harris arrived in the steaming African  jungle of Congo and documented the worst atrocities known to humanity. She captured enough  evidence on her glass lantern slides to bring down the Belgian King Leopold, who ruled the colony of the  Congo Free State. In this biography, Smith uses imagined conversations based on in-depth research to  tell Harris’s story of her work. She also provides questions that allow her book to be used in classes or  discussion groups. The world gave credit to the men in this story, but Smith provides evidence that it  was the young, English missionary and photographer whose bravery truly changed history.” 

    https://www.scribd.com/book/387794463/Don-T-Call-Me-Lady-The-Journey-of-Lady-Alice-Seeley-Harris

    Availability:  

    In Library: Not available 

    MeLCat: Not available 

    Club member(s) comments: Lady Alice Seeley Harris took a camera with glass lantern slides to the  Congo and photographed evidence of exploitation of and atrocities against the African people. She  started the antislavery movement after witnessing the murder of many of the Congolese people during  a 10 year period of time. Although difficult to read, Judy Pollard Smith tells the unforgettable story of  Lady Alice Seeley Harris. This is a great story that will stay with the reader for a very long time.

    Deeper Than African Soil by Faith Eidse 

    Description: Deeper than African Soil captures the romantic, pores-open wonder of a child raised  among worlds. It unveils the adventure and suffering of revolution, disease, boarding school trauma,  wrenching farewells and losses deeper than most people endure in a lifetime. It explores the nature of  memory itself, why we repress it and how to call it forth, all five senses open. Daughter of Canadian  Mennonites, Faith Eidse was separated from family at the scariest moments of her life. Amid  postcolonial tensions in Congo, Canada and the U.S., Faith and her sisters—Hope, Charity and Grace— lived vivid lives, bridging cultures from their home (Dutch Mennonite) to their host villages in southern  Manitoba, the American Midwest and southwestern Congo. Yet home was always changing— sometimes drastically. Faith never truly belonged to the places they lived. In the United States, Faith  was an immigrant. In her parents’ passport country, Canada, she was a visitor. In Congo, she claimed  friendship, longing and memories. She related to all cultures yet owned none, formed identity from bits  of home (first culture) and host (second or third) cultures to create a unique third culture. ‘Third culture  kids’ each have their own enriched, complicated story but share a diaspora of the heart and longing for  home.” 

    https://www.amazon.com/Deeper-Than-African-Soil-Recollection/dp/1601268475 Availability: 

    In Library: Not available 

    MeLCat: Not available 

    Club member(s) comments: The club member reviewing this book told the group that it details the lives  of missionaries to the Congo and particularly the experience of the missionary’s children. The children  are shuttled to boarding schools exposing them to potential physical and sexual abuse. The club  member was in the Congo serving as a missionary during the time that this book was written which  made the book difficult to read. The writing, the club member stated, is not the best she’s read but it is  brave and honest. 

    The next meeting of the First Thursday Book Club will be held in the Library on Thursday, August 3, 2023,  at 12 NOON. Looking forward to seeing you all here! 

  • June 1, 2023

    The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library 

    First Thursday Monthly Book Club Meeting Minutes 

    June 1, 2023 

    The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library’s First Thursday Monthly Book Club met on June 1,  2023, from 12NOON to 1:00 PM in the library. Eight club members attended and shared in the  discussion about books that the members had read in the last month while enjoying refreshments on a  warm spring day. You’ll find the books we discussed below. 

    Gabriel’s Angel by Nora Roberts 

    Available: 

    In Library: Book 

    MelCat: Book; audiobook 

    Description: “ON THE RUN…No one was going to take her child away from her! Pregnant and alone,  Laura Malone had been on the move for months. Finding herself snowbound with an angry, impatient  Gabriel Bradley was not part of her plans. Gabe wanted to be alone. He'd come to the isolated cabin to  think, to work and to heal. But when a woman crashed into his life --literally-- he'd felt obliged to help.  Laura was everything a man could ever want and all that he desired. She trusted him, but Gabe was  hard put to be an angel when Laura felt like heaven in his arms.”  

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59823.Gabriel_s_Angel 

    Club member comment(s): The club member sharing thoughts about this book told the others that she  enjoyed it and would recommend it.

    The Affair by Lee Child 

    Available: 

    In Library: Book and Libby e-Book MelCat: Book; audiobook 

     

    Description: “Everything starts somewhere. . . .For elite military cop Jack Reacher, that somewhere was  Carter Crossing, Mississippi, way back in 1997. A lonely railroad track. A crime scene. A cover up. A  young woman is dead, and solid evidence points to a soldier at a nearby military base. But that soldier  has powerful friends in Washington. Reacher is ordered undercover—to find out everything he can, to  control the local police, and then to vanish. Reacher is a good soldier. But when he gets to Carter  Crossing, he finds layers no one saw coming, and the investigation spins out of control. Local sheriff  Elizabeth Deveraux has a thirst for justice—and an appetite for secrets. Uncertain they can trust one  another, Reacher and Deveraux reluctantly join forces. Reacher works to uncover the truth, while  others try to bury it forever. The conspiracy threatens to shatter his faith in his mission, and turn him  into a man to be feared. A novel of unrelenting suspense that could only come from the pen of #1 New  York Times bestselling author Lee Child, The Affair is the start of the Reacher saga, a thriller that takes  Reacher—and his readers—right to the edge . . . and beyond.” 

    https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/affair-lee-child/1100083720 

    Club member comment(s): The member reviewing this book described the book, told the others that  she enjoyed reading it and recommended it.

    A Kauffman Amish Christmas Collection: A Plan and Simple Christmas & Naomi’s Gift by Amy Clipston Available: 

    In Library: Book 

    MelCat: Book 

    Description: “In A Plain and Simple Christmas, from the author of the widely popular Kauffman Amish  Bakery Series, shunned Anna Mae doesn’t receive the welcome she expects when she pays a visit for  Christmas and her world begins to fall apart, leaving her to question her place in her family—and her  faith in God. Set in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Naomi’s Gift reintroduces twenty-four-year-old  Naomi King, who has given up her dreams of finding true love. But when a young widower stirs  surprising feelings in her, Naomi cautiously opens her heart to him and receives an unexpected response  that once again turns her world upside-down. Author Amy Clipston artfully paints a panorama of simple  lives full of complex relationships, and she carefully explores cultural differences and human similarities,  with inspirational results.” 

    https://amyclipston.com/books/a-kauffman-amish-christmas-collection/ 

    Club member comment(s): This book was described as enjoyable by the reader.

    Storm Watch by C. J. Box 

    Available:

    In Library: Book 

    MelCat: Book; audiobook 

    Description: “When a prominent University of Wyoming professor goes missing, authorities are  stumped. That is, until Joe Pickett makes two surprising discoveries while hunting down a wounded  elk on his district as an epic spring storm descends upon him. First, he finds the professor’s vehicle  parked on a remote mountainside. Then Joe finds the professor’s frozen and mutilated body. When  he attempts to learn more, his investigation is obstructed by federal agents, extremists, and Governor  Colter Allen. Nate Romanowski is rebuilding his falconry company—and financing this through crypto  mining with the assistance of Geronimo Jones. He’s then approached by a shadowy group of local  militant activists that is gaining in power and influence, and demanding that Wyoming join other  western states and secede from the union—by force, if necessary. They ask Nate to throw in with  them, but he’s wary. Should he trust them, or is he being set up? As a storm of peril gathers around  them, Joe and Nate confront it in different ways—and maybe, for the first time, on opposite sides.” 

    https://www.cjbox.net/storm-watch 

    Club member comment(s): The member reviewing this book shared that she likes the author’s style  of writing and recommended it to the others. 

    Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

    Available: 

    In Library: Book; Libby audiobook and e-Book 

    MelCat: Book; large print book; audiobook 

    Description: “Everyone knows DAISY JONES & THE SIX, but nobody knows the reason behind their split  at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now. Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late  sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the  Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock ’n’ roll she loves most. By the time  she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do  crazy things. Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their 

    first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood  and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road. Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that  the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of  legend. The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an  oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who  takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an  utterly distinctive voice.” 

    https://www.amazon.com/Daisy-Jones-Taylor-Jenkins-Reid/dp/1524798622 

    Club member comment(s): This book was not one that the club member would ordinarily choose, but  she wanted to select a book that was not in her usual preferred genres. She read the book and  watched the miniseries based on the book and believed them to be very different. The book is based  on the musical group Fleetwood Mac. The reader enjoyed the book and would recommend it to  others. 

    The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller 

    Available: 

    In Library: Libby e-Book 

    MelCat: Book; audiobook 

    Description: “On a perfect August morning, Elle Bishop heads out for a swim in the pond below The  Paper Palace – her family’s holiday home in Cape Cod. As she dives beneath the water she relives the  passionate encounter she had the night before, against the side of the house that knows all her darkest  secrets, while her husband and mother chatted to their guests inside…So begins a story that unfolds  over twenty-four hours and fifty years, as Elle’s shocking betrayal leads her to a life-changing decision – and an ending you won’t be able to stop thinking about.”  

    https://womensprizeforfiction.co.uk/features/book/the-paper-palace

    Club member comment(s): This book deals with childhood loves and two lives moving in different  directions. There are a number of “what ifs” in this book, and the reader felt that the ending left her  hanging. She described it as a good summer read with surprises, tragedies, and love. 

    Hunting Sweetie Rose by Jack Fredrickson 

    Available: 

    In Library: Book 

    MelCat: Book 

    Description: Sweetie Fairbairn, the doyenne of Chicago society, is known for big-hearted philanthropy  and magnificent soirees in her penthouse high atop one of the city's premier boutique hotels. Dek  Elstrom is hired by a mysterious man in a long limousine to investigate the death of a clown. Was it  suicide―or murder? What is the connection between the dead clown and Sweetie?” 

    https://www.amazon.com/Hunting-Sweetie-Rose-Mystery-Mysteries/dp/0312605269 

    Club member comment(s): The author of this book is a friend and family member of one of our club  members. Jack Fredrickson is a Chicago native as is the club member which made the read even more  interesting because she recognized city establishments and locations. Kalamazoo is also mentioned.  She felt that the book kept her guessing and had a great touch of humor. She recommended it to the  others.

    From Scratch by Tembi Locke Available: 

     

    In Library: Book; Libby audiobook and e-Book 

    MelCat: Book; audiobook 

    Description: It was love at first sight when actress Tembi met professional chef, Saro, on a street in  Florence. There was just one problem: Saro’s traditional Sicilian family did not approve of his marrying a  black American woman. However, the couple, heartbroken but undeterred, forged on. They built a  happy life in Los Angeles, with fulfilling careers, deep friendships, and the love of their lives: a baby girl  they adopted at birth. Eventually, they reconciled with Saro’s family just as he faced a formidable  cancer that would consume all their dreams. From Scratch chronicles three summers Tembi spends in  Sicily with her daughter, Zoela, as she begins to piece together a life without her husband in his tiny  hometown hamlet of farmers. Where once Tembi was estranged from Saro’s family, now she finds  solace and nourishment—literally and spiritually—at her mother-in-law’s table. In the Sicilian  countryside, she discovers the healing gifts of simple fresh food, the embrace of a close knit community,  and timeless traditions and wisdom that light a path forward. All along the way she reflects on her and  Saro’s romance—an incredible love story that leaps off the pages. In Sicily, it is said that every story  begins with a marriage or a death—in Tembi Locke’s case, it is both.” 

    https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/From-Scratch/Tembi-Locke/9781501187667 

    Club member comment(s): This has been a popular book with club members as it has been reviewed  during a previous club meeting. The member reading the book this month commented that she liked  the book and the movie particularly because they were so similar. After reading this book, she definitely  had an appetite for Italian food!

    Half Broke Horses: A True Life Novel by Jeannette Walls 

    Available: 

    In Library: Not available. 

    MelCat: Book; large print book; audiobook 

    Description: “’Those old cows knew trouble was coming before we did.’ So begins the story of Lily Casey  Smith, Jeannette Walls’s no-nonsense, resourceful, and spectacularly compelling grandmother. By age  six, Lily was helping her father break horses. At fifteen, she left home to teach in a frontier town—riding  five hundred miles on her pony, alone, to get to her job. She learned to drive a car and fly a plane. And,  with her husband, Jim, she ran a vast ranch in Arizona. She raised two children, one who is Jeannette’s  memorable mother, Rosemary Smith Walls, unforgettably portrayed in The Glass Castle. Lily survived  tornadoes, droughts, floods, the Great Depression, and the most heartbreaking personal tragedy. She  bristled at prejudice of all kinds—against women, Native Americans, and anyone else who didn’t fit the  mold. Rosemary Smith Walls always told Jeannette that she was like her grandmother, and in this true life novel, Jeannette Walls channels that kindred spirit. Half Broke Horses is Laura Ingalls Wilder for  adults, as riveting and dramatic as Isak Dinesen’s Out of Africa or Beryl Markham’s West with the Night.  Destined to become a classic, it will transfix readers everywhere.” 

    https://www.amazon.com/Half-Broke-Horses-True-Life-Novel-ebook/dp/B002PMVQCW 

    Club member comment(s): The reviewer had recently read the author’s book Glass Castle. She enjoyed  the author’s subjects and writing style and opted to read this book as well. In Half Broke Horses, Walls  writes about her grandmother. The book’s settings are authentic—including West Virginia. The reader  is now looking forward to reading Walls’ next book Hang the Moon.

    Exiles by Jane Harper 

    Available: 

    In Library: Book; Libby e-Book MelCat: Book; audiobook 

     

    Description: “Exiles, the third and final book in the Aaron Falk series, follows on from Jane's  international bestsellers The Dry and Force of Nature. At a busy festival site on a warm spring night, a baby lies alone in her pram, her mother vanishing into the crowds. A year on, Kim Gillespie's absence casts a long shadow as her friends and loved ones gather deep in the heart of South Australian wine country to welcome a new addition to the family. Joining the celebrations is federal investigator Aaron Falk. But as he soaks up life in the lush valley, he begins to suspect this tight-knit group may be more fractured than it seems. Between Falk's closest friend, a missing mother and a woman he's drawn to, dark questions linger as long-ago truths begin to emerge.” 

    https://janeharper.com.au/books/exiles 

    Club member comment(s): The member reviewing this book described the book and told the group she  enjoyed the read and would recommend it. 

    The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

    Available: 

    In Library: Book 

    MelCat: Book; large print book 

    Description: “In a work that beautifully demonstrates the rewards of closely observing nature, Elisabeth  Tova Bailey shares an inspiring and intimate story of her encounter with a Neohelix albolabris—a  common woodland snail. While an illness keeps her bedridden, Bailey watches a wild snail that has  taken up residence on her nightstand. As a result, she discovers the solace and sense of wonder that this  mysterious creature brings and comes to a greater understanding of her own place in the world.  Intrigued by the snail’s molluscan anatomy, cryptic defenses, clear decision making, hydraulic  locomotion, and courtship activities, Bailey becomes an astute and amused observer, offering a candid  and engaging look into the curious life of this underappreciated small animal. The Sound of a Wild Snail  Eating is a remarkable journey of survival and resilience, showing us how a small part of the natural  world can illuminate our own human existence, while providing an appreciation of what it means to be  fully alive.”  

    (https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sound-of-a-wild-snail-eating-elisabeth-tova-bailey/1100219260) 

    Club member comment(s): The member reviewing this book picked it because of the unusual title. The  author, while recovering from a catastrophic insult to her autonomic nervous system rendering her  bedridden, observes a common garden snail on a potted violet plant next to her bed for hours each day  and night. She researches snails and draws parallels between the snail’s life and her own. This award  winning book was a real attention grabber and was recommended to the others. 

    House on Endless Waters: A Novel by Emuna Elon 

    Available: 

    In Library: Not available. 

    MelCat: Book; audiobook 

    Description: Renowned author Yoel Blum reluctantly agrees to visit his birthplace of Amsterdam to  promote his books, despite promising his late mother that he would never return to that city. While  touring the Jewish Historical Museum with his wife, Yoel stumbles upon footage portraying prewar 

    Dutch Jewry and is astonished to see the youthful face of his beloved mother staring back at him, posing  with his father, his older sister…and an infant he doesn’t recognize. This unsettling discovery launches  him into a fervent search for the truth, shining a light on Amsterdam’s dark wartime history—the  underground networks that hid Jewish children away from danger and those who betrayed their own for  the sake of survival. The deeper into the past Yoel digs up, the better he understands his mother’s  silence, and the more urgent the question that has unconsciously haunted him for a lifetime—Who am  I?—becomes. Part family mystery, part wartime drama, House on Endless Waters is “a rewarding  meditation on survival” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) and a “deeply immersive achievement that  brings to life stories that must never be forgotten” (USA TODAY).”  

    (https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/House-on-Endless-Waters/Emuna-Elon/9781982130237) 

    Club member comment(s): This dual time line historical fiction novel centers around main character  Yoel Blum who sees a photo of his family during WWII that includes an infant who is not Yoel, his sister,  and his parents. If the infant isn’t Yoel, then who is Yoel and who is the infant? The book takes the  reader on a journey of discovery with Yoel. The author has a descriptive, lyrical writing style that draws  the reader in. The club member’s ancestry is Dutch. The book is set in Amsterdam with detailed  descriptions of the present day city and culture. An interesting, haunting book about the fear the Nazi’s  engendered among the Jews and ordinary citizens in WWII Holland. 

    Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg 

    Available: 

    In Library: Libby e-Book 

    MelCat: Book; audiobook 

    Description: “…beloved bestselling author Elizabeth Berg weaves a beautifully written and richly  resonant story of a mother and daughter in emotional transit. Helen Ames–recently widowed, coping  with loss and grief, unable to do the work that has always sustained her–is beginning to depend far too  much on her twenty-seven-year-old daughter, Tessa, and is meddling in her life, offering unsolicited and  unwelcome advice. Helen’s problems are compounded by her shocking discovery that her mild mannered and loyal husband was apparently leading a double life. The Ameses had painstakingly saved  for a happy retirement, but that money disappeared in several large withdrawals made by Helen’s  husband before he died. In order to support herself and garner a measure of much needed 

    independence, Helen takes an unusual job that ends up offering far more than she had anticipated. And  then a phone call from a stranger sets Helen on a surprising path of discovery that causes both mother  and daughter to reassess what they thought they knew about each other, themselves, and what really  makes a home and a family.” 

    (https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/4815584) 

    Club member comment(s): The author narrates this book herself. She is gifted at developing characters  such that the reader feels that he/she knows these people intimately. The complex relationship  between the main characters, a mother and her daughter, following the death of the main character’s  (the mother) husband is sad, humorous, and poignant. This was a great read and the club member  recommended the book to others.  

    The Lonely Hearts Book Club by Lucy Gilmore 

    Available: 

    In Library: Book 

    MelCat: Book; audiobook 

    Description: Gilmore (I Hate You More) knocks it out of the park with this passionate love letter to  books, showing literature’s power to offer solace, understanding, and human connection. When frail but  formidable former literature professor Arthur fails to show up to the library as usual, librarian Sloane,  who recognizes him as a kindred spirit despite his cantankerousness, correctly guesses that he’s sick and  refusing help. Sloane pushes her way into Arthur’s home, and his neighbor Maisey, part-time nurse  Mateo, and grandson Greg soon follow. The five protagonists tell their stories in consecutive narrations:  Sloane is grieving her sister and engaged to a man she doesn’t love; telephone psychic Maisey struggles  to connect with her teenage daughter; charming but listless Mateo can’t commit to a job or to his  boyfriend; and Greg’s fulfilling his mother’s dying wish of reconciling with his estranged grandfather.  Drawn together by Arthur’s illness, they form an unlikely book club, bonding over The Remains of the  Day, The Joy Luck Club, and Anne of Green Gables. While there’s a hint of romance between Sloane and  Greg, the real love story here is with stories themselves. Gilmore’s complex characters jump off the  page, and readers should have their handkerchiefs ready for some cathartic tears. This is a treat.” 

    (https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-72825-621-4) 

    Club member comment(s): This book explores how a group of diverse people can pull together over  their love for books and over the need to care for another human who is frail, alone, and in need of  social interaction. The club member reviewing this book recommended it to the others. 

    Seed to Dust: Life, Nature, and a Country Garden by Marc Hamer 

    Available: 

    In Library: Not available. 

    MelCat: Book 

    Description: Marc Hamer has nurtured the same 12-acre garden in the Welsh countryside for over two  decades. The garden is vast and intricate. It’s rarely visited, and only Hamer knows of its secrets. But it’s  not his garden. It belongs to his wealthy and elegant employer, Miss Cashmere. But the garden does not  

    really belong to her, either. As Hamer writes, ‘Like a book, a garden belongs to everyone who sees it.’  In Seed to Dust, Marc Hamer paints a beautiful portrait of the garden that “belongs to everyone.” He  describes a year in his life as a country gardener, with each chapter named for the month he’s in. As he  works, he muses on the unusual folklores of his beloved plants. He observes the creatures who scurry  and hide from his blade or rake. And he reflects on his own life: living homeless as a young man, his  loving relationship with his wife and children, and—now—feeling the effects of old age on body and  mind. As the seasons change, Hamer also reflects on the changes he has observed in Miss Cashmere’s  life from afar: the death of her husband and the departure of her children from the stately home where  she now lives alone. At the book’s end, Hamer’s connection to Miss Cashmere changes shape, and new  insights into relationships and the beauty and brutality of nature emerge. Just like all good books and  gardens, Seed to Dust is filled with equal parts life and death, beauty and decay, and every reader will  find something different to admire.”  

    (https://greystonebooks.com/products/seed-to-dust

    Club member comment(s): The club member reviewing this book appreciated the information about  gardening and exploration of the complex relationship between the gardener and his employer, an  elderly woman. The author (the gardener); however, freely shares his agnostic philosophy with the  reader. The club member does not share his perspective and found the read difficult for that reason. 

    Others reading the book might want to know his perspective before committing to the book. Because of  this, the club member did not recommend the book to others. 

    In Kiltjumper: A Year in an Irish Garden by Niall Williams with Christine Breen 

    Available: 

    In Library: Not available. 

    MelCat: Book 

    Description: “…a memoir of life in rural Ireland and a meditation on the power, beauty, and importance  of the natural world. 35 years ago, when they were in their twenties, Niall Williams and Christine Breen  made the impulsive decision to leave their lives in New York City and move to Christine's ancestral home  in the town of Kiltumper in rural Ireland. In the decades that followed, the pair dedicated themselves to  writing, gardening, and living a life that followed the rhythms of the earth. In 2019, with Christine in the  final stages of recovery from cancer and the land itself threatened by the arrival of turbines just one farm  

    over, Niall and Christine decided to document a year of living in their garden and in their small corner of a  rapidly changing world. Proceeding month-by-month through the year, and with beautiful seasonal  illustrations, this is the story of a garden in all its many splendors and a couple who have made their life  observing its wonders.”  

    https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/in-kiltumper-9781635577181/ 

    Club member comment(s): This delightful garden focused book was recommended by the club member  reviewing it. The authors, a married couple, both have engaging writing styles and their descriptions of  their working garden are thoroughly enjoyable. 

    Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver 

    Available: 

    In Library: Book; Libby audiobook and e-Book 

    MelCat: Book; audiobook 

    Description: Demon Copperhead is set in the mountains of southern Appalachia. It’s the story of a boy  born to a teenaged single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father’s good  looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. In a plot that never pauses  for breath, relayed in his own unsparing voice, he braves the modern perils pf foster care, child labor,  derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. Through all of it, he  reckons with his own invisibility in popular culture where even the superheroes have abandoned rural  people in favor of cities. Many generations ago, Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield from his  experience as a survivor of institutional poverty and its damages to children in his society. Those  problems have yet to be solved in ours. Dickens is not a prerequisite for readers of this novel, but he  provided its inspiration. In transposing a Victorian epic novel to her own place and time, Barbara  Kingsolver enlists Dickens’ anger and compassion, and above all, his faith in the transformative powers  of a good story. Demon Copperhead speaks for a new generation of lost boys, and all those born into  beautiful, cursed places they can’t imaging leaving behind.” 

    http://barbarakingsolver.net/books/demon-copperhead/ 

    Club member comment(s): This Pulitzer Prize winning book is an expose’ on the foster care system,  drug manufacturing companies, and the disease of addition. The club member found the book hard to  read related to the trauma experienced by the main character and those around him. She  recommended this book to the others.

    The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson 

    Available: 

    In Library: Libby e-Book 

    MelCat: Book; audiobook 

    Description: “Johnson’s suspenseful and thought-provoking latest (after The Yellow Wife) follows two  young Black women as they separately navigate mid-20th-century America. In the fall of 1948, Ruby is a  high school junior in Philadelphia who attends Saturday enrichment classes in hopes of winning a college  scholarship and becoming an ophthalmologist. Eleanor, from a Cleveland suburb, is a sophomore at  Howard University who is surprised by the campus’s social hierarchy, which is based on wealth and skin  color. The lives of both women change when they find love: Ruby with the sweet, bright son of her  Jewish landlord; and Eleanor with a medical student who belongs to an upper-class Black family.  Unexpected pregnancies threaten the plans and dreams of both women, and heighten the tensions  caused by the gulfs between them and their lovers’ families. Johnson methodically develops the  women’s worlds and draws subtle hints at the similarities in their experiences, and after their  pregnancies, they’re brought together in a bittersweet denouement. This well-crafted work is bound to  provoke discussion among readers about the conflicts women face regarding pregnancy.” 

    https://www.publishersweekly.com/9781982197360 

    Club member comment(s): The club member reviewing The House of Eve told the others that the book  is about two black women living very different and parallel lives that eventually intersect. She enjoyed  the book and recommended it.

    The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson 

    Available: 

    In Library: Libby e-Book 

    MelCat: Book; audiobook 

    Description: “Part 2 of the The new novel from the New  

    Book Woman of Troublesome Creek series. 



    York Times bestselling author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek! Bestselling historical fiction  author Kim Michele Richardson is back with the perfect book club read following Honey Lovett, the  daughter of the beloved Troublesome book woman, who must fight for her own independence with the  help of the women who guide her and the books that set her free. In the ruggedness of the beautiful  Kentucky mountains, Honey Lovett has always known that the old ways can make a hard life harder. As  the daughter of the famed blue-skinned, Troublesome Creek packhorse librarian, Honey and her family  have been hiding from the law all her life. But when her mother and father are imprisoned, Honey  realizes she must fight to stay free, or risk being sent away for good. Picking up her mother's old  packhorse library route, Honey begins to deliver books to the remote hollers of Appalachia. Honey is  looking to prove that she doesn't need anyone telling her how to survive. But the route can be  treacherous, and some folks aren't as keen to let a woman pave her own way. If Honey wants to bring  the freedom books provide to the families who need it most, she's going to have to fight for her place,  and along the way, learn that the extraordinary women who run the hills and hollers can make all the  difference in the world.” 

    https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/15039849 

    Club member comment(s): This book comes sequentially after the Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.  The book women brought more than books to their Appalachian patrons. The protagonist in this book is  unique in that she has a genetic blood disorder that changes the color of her skin. The club member  enjoyed this book and recommended it to the others.

    Earth is the Right Place for Love: A Novel by Elizabeth Berg 

    Available: 

    In Library: Book 

    MelCat: Book; large print book 

    Description: “…A coming-of-age story about two brothers supporting each other through life’s twists  and turns in Mason, Missouri. It is the spring of 1947, and 16-year-old Arthur Moses is in love. Not the  fleeting puppy love of his peers, but a deep, all-consuming love that he's certain is real. The only  problem is that Nola McCollum doesn’t look his way, and when she finally does, it’s to ask Arthur to pass  her number on to his older brother, Frank. Arthur says he will but instead hides the note in his desk and  asks Frank for his advice on how to win Nola over. Frank needs advice for his own troubles, and Berg’s  narration of the two young men whispering to each other at night in their shared bedroom lends a  profound sweetness to the novel even as the boys deal with the harsh realities of their lives such as an  abusive father. Despite his lack of success wooing Nola, Arthur, who loves trees and his hometown and  treats everyone he meets with gentle kindness, soldiers on with calm resolve, certain that someday his  brother’s advice will lead Nola to him. But when a gut-wrenching tragedy hits the Moses household,  Arthur is not sure he can or should ever try to be happy again. While the relationship between the  brothers is the novel’s crowning jewel, Berg’s ability to create characters—even some we meet for only  a few scenes—with rich inner lives cannot be overpraised: ‘But he knew that now he would be seeing  her in an altogether different way. There she would be, standing fierce on her stoop, but behind her  would be a lot of other hers, younger hers, wearing a polka-dotted dress or a red wool suit, or the  cotton-print robe she’d had to cut extra-careful to keep whole the wings of the big white birds.’ A  poignant tale of love, grief, and the resiliency of the human spirit.” 

    https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/elizabeth-berg/earths-the-right-place-for-love/ Club member comment(s): This book was endorsed as a “happy” and “calm” read!

    Encore in Death by J.D. Robb Available: 

    In Library: Book; Libby e-Book MelCat: Book; audiobook 

     

    Description: “The homicide cop with a passion for justice returns in the captivating crime thriller series  by the #1 New York Times bestselling author. It was a glittering event full of A-listers, hosted by Eliza  Lane and Brant Fitzhugh, a celebrity couple who’d conquered both Hollywood and Broadway. And now  Eve Dallas has made her entrance―but not as a guest. After raising a toast, Fitzhugh fell to the floor and  died, with physical symptoms pointing to cyanide, and the police have crashed the party. From all  accounts, he wasn’t the kind of star who made enemies. Everyone loved him―even his ex-wife. And  since the champagne cocktail that killed him was originally intended for Eliza, it’s possible she was the  real target, with a recently fired assistant, a bitter rival, and an obsessed fan in the picture. With so  many attendees, staff, and servers, Eve has her work cut out determining who committed murder in the  middle of the crowd―and what was their motivation. As one who’s not fond of the spotlight herself,  she dreads the media circus surrounding a case like this. All she wants is to figure out who’s truly  innocent, and who’s only acting that way…” 

    https://indeath.fandom.com/wiki/Encore_in_Death 

    Club member comment(s): The author began writing books in this series in 1995. This is book number  56 in the series. The club member told the group that this is a murder mystery. She appreciated that  the book does not focus on the gritty horror of the murder scene but rather on the process of  determining who committed the murder. The book is futuristic in that it is set in 2058. People are  eating primarily soy based foods because they cannot afford regular food. Chicory substitutes for  coffee. People live to be over 100 years old with 65 considered middle age. Much of futuristic content  of her books written in 1995 has actually become part of everyday life now. Citizen are vaccinated  against dental caries and many types of cancer. Interestingly, must of what the author wrote as  futuristic content in 1995 has come to fruition today. The club member recommended this murder  mystery to others.

    Little Beach Street Bakery: A Novel by Jenny Colgan 

    Available: 

    In Library: Book 

    MelCat: Book; large print book; audiobook 

    Description: “Polly Waterford is recovering from a toxic relationship. Unable to afford their flat, she has  to move miles away from everyone, to a sleepy little seaside resort in Cornwall, where she lives alone  above an abandoned shop. And so Polly takes out her frustrations on her favorite hobby: making bread.  But what was previously a weekend diversion suddenly becomes far more important as she pours her  emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, and each loaf becomes better and better. With nuts  and seeds, olives and chorizo, with local honey (courtesy of local bee keeper, Huckle), and with reserves  of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes and bakes . . . And  people start to hear about it. Sometimes, bread really is life . . . And Polly is about to reclaim hers.” 

    https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/18213783 

    Club member comment(s): The club member briefly described the book and recommended it to the  others as a great summer read. 

    Golden Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

    Available: 

    In Library: Book; Libby audiobook and e-Book 

    MelCat: Book; audiobook 

    Description: “On a perfect June day, Vivian Howe, author of thirteen beach novels and mother of three  nearly grown children, is killed in a hit-and-run car accident while jogging near her home on Nantucket.  She ascends to the Beyond where she's assigned to a Person named Martha, who allows Vivi to watch  what happens below for one last summer. Vivi also is granted three “nudges” to change the outcome of  events on earth, and with her daughter Willa on her third miscarriage, Carson partying until all hours,  and Leo currently “off again” with his high-maintenance girlfriend, she’ll have to think carefully where to  use them. From the Beyond, Vivi watches “The Chief” Ed Kapenash investigate her death, but her  greatest worry is her final book, which contains a secret from her own youth that could be disastrous for  her reputation. But when hidden truths come to light, Vivi’s family will have to sort out their past and  present mistakes—with or without a nudge of help from above—while Vivi finally lets them grow  without her. With all of Elin’s trademark beach scenes, mouth-watering meals, and picture-perfect  homes, plus a heartfelt message—the people we lose never really leave us—Golden Girl is a beach book  unlike any other.” 

    https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/55643278 

    Club member comment(s): “I didn’t figure out the ending!” That she didn’t made this a recommended  read for the group members. The main character is killed, goes to heaven, and gets nudges allowing her  to change what happens on earth. She can also hear gossip in heaven about what people thought of her  on earth. Interesting premise. Interesting book. 

    The Mayfair Bookshop: A Novel of Nancy Mitford and the Pursuit of Happiness by Eliza Knight Available: 

    In Library: Not available. 

    MelCat: Book

    Description: Eliza Knight brings together a brilliant dual-narrative story about Nancy Mitford—one of  1930s London’s hottest socialites, authors, and a member of the scandalous Mitford Sisters—and a  modern American desperate for change, connected through time by a little London bookshop. 1938:  She was one of the six sparkling Mitford sisters, known for her stinging quips, stylish dress, and bright  green eyes. But Nancy Mitford’s seemingly sparkling life was really one of turmoil: with a perpetually  unfaithful and broke husband, two Nazi sympathizer sisters, and her hopes of motherhood dashed  forever. With war imminent, Nancy finds respite by taking a job at the Heywood Hill Bookshop in  Mayfair, hoping to make ends meet, and discovers a new life. Present Day: When book curator Lucy St.  Clair lands a gig working at Heywood Hill she can’t get on the plane fast enough. Not only can she start  the healing process from the loss of her mother, it’s a dream come true to set foot in the legendary  store. Doubly exciting: she brings with her a first edition of Nancy’s work, one with a somewhat  mysterious inscription from the author. Soon, she discovers her life and Nancy’s are intertwined, and it  all comes back to the little London bookshop—a place that changes the lives of two women from  different eras in the most surprising ways.” 

    https://elizaknight.com/books/the-mayfair-bookshop/ 

    Club member comment(s): This is a dual time line book about Nancy Mitford. Very enjoyable read.

    The Water of the Lake was Red by Mulanda Juma (written in French and not translated into English) Availability:  

    Library: Not available 

    MelCat: Not available 

    Description: This book was shared with the group by a patron who knows the author, Mulanda Juma,  and considers him her son. They met with the club member was serving with her husband in the Congo.  Both mentored the author as he obtained his education and started his career. Written in French and  not yet translated into English, the club member sharing the book with the group pointed out that on  the back cover, she was asked to and provided comment about the book along with others. The link  below tells the story of the author and, if you look closely, you’ll see a photo of the club member and  her husband! 

    https://mcc.org/centennial/100-stories/displaced-war-working-peace

    Thanks to everyone for sharing their thoughts about so many wonderful books! We look forward to  seeing everyone at the next First Thursday Monthly Book Club Meeting on Thursday, July 6, 2023, at 12  NOON in the library.  

    Until then, think about the following!

  • May 4, 2023


    The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library

    Book Club Meeting Minutes

    May 4, 2023

    The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library Book Club Meeting took place on May 4, 2023, from 12 Noon to 1:00 PM at the library with 6 members in attendance.  The members enjoyed light refreshments while they discussed books that each had read in the past month.  The books, their descriptions, and member comments can be found below.

    Flowers and Foul Play by Amanda Flower

    Availability:

    In Library:  Book

    MelCat:  Book

    Description:  “Fiona Knox lost her fiancé and her flower shop—but when she flies to Scotland to inherit her godfather’s cottage and possibly magical walled garden, she may lose her life as well when she’s swept into a murder investigation.  Florist Fiona Knox’s life isn’t smelling so sweet these days. Her fiancé left her for their cake decorator. Then, her flower shop wilted after a chain florist opened next door. So when her godfather, Ian MacCallister, leaves her a cottage in Scotland, Fiona jumps on the next plane to Edinburgh. Ian, after all, is the one who taught her to love flowers. But when Ian’s elderly caretaker Hamish MacGregor shows her to the cottage upon her arrival, she finds the once resplendent grounds of Duncreigan in a dreadful shambles—with a dead body in the garden.  Minutes into her arrival, Fiona is already being questioned by the handsome Chief Inspector Neil Craig and getting her passport seized. But it’s Craig’s fixation on Uncle Ian’s loyal caretaker, Hamish, as a prime suspect, that really makes her worried. As Fiona strolls the town, she quickly realizes there are a whole bouquet of suspects much more likely to have killed Alastair Croft, the dead lawyer who seems to have had more enemies than friends.  Now it’s up to Fiona to clear Hamish’s name before it’s too late in Flowers and Foul Play…” (https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/622328/flowers-and-foul-play-by-amanda-flower/)

    Club member comment(s):  This was a relaxing, enjoyable but not necessarily complex murder mystery.  The reader noticed a number of grammatical errors and/or editing oversights which was surprising because the author is a writer and a librarian.

    My Little Michigan Kitchen:  Recipes and Stories from a Homemade Life Lived Well by Mandy McGovern

    Availability:

    In Library:  Book

    MelCat:  Book

    Description:  “A collection of over 100 homestyle recipes, stunning photos, and stories inspired by a life lived well in Michigan from Mandy McGovern, creator of the food blog Kitchen Joy®.   In My Little Michigan Kitchen, Mandy shares tried-and-true recipes for Michigan classics including "Secret Ingredient" Tart Cherry Pie, UP North Pasties, Detroit Coney Dogs, Mackinac Island Fudge, Detroit Deep-Dish Pizza, Boston Coolers, Smoked Whitefish Chowder, Hot Fudge Cream Puffs, and MANY more.  She also shares dishes that are a staple at her family’s table, including Bacon and Sweet Corn Breakfast Galette, Potato Rolls, Michigan Cherry Chicken Salad, Boeuf Bourguignon, Salted Maple Pie, and her popular Cut-Out Sugar Cookies.  Mandy shares stories from her adventures in Michigan, and features full-color photography of nearly every recipe, as well as several gorgeous landscape photos capturing the beauty and joy that the Great Lakes State has to offer.” (https://kitchenjoyblog.com/cookbook/)

    Club member comment(s):  This book has delightful Michigan focused recipes and gorgeous photographs of Michigan points of interest.  The reader so enjoyed the book that she plans on purchasing it so that she can add it to her personal library.

    Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng

    Availability:

    In Library:  Book, Libby e-book, Libby audiobook

    MelCat:  Book, Audiobook

    Description:  Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in a university library. Bird knows to not ask too many questions, stand out too much, or stray too far.  For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve “American culture” in the wake of years of economic instability and violence.  To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic—including the work of Bird’s mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old.  Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn’t know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn’t wonder.  But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is drawn into a quest to find her.  His journey will take him back to the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, through the ranks of an underground network of librarians, into the lives of the children who have been taken, and finally to New York City, where a new act of defiance may be the beginning of much-needed change.  Our Missing Hearts is an old story made new, of the ways supposedly civilized communities can pretend to ignore the most searing injustice.  It’s a story about the power—and limitations—of art to create change, the lessons and legacies we pass on to our children, and how any of us can survive a broken world with our hearts intact.”  (https://www.celesteng.com/our-missing-hearts)

    Club member comment(s):  The book has a slow start but hooked the reader fairly quickly.  The reader found the book’s theme very interesting but disturbing.

    The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

    Availability:

    In Library:  Libby e-book, Libby audiobook

    MelCat:  Book, Audiobook

    Description:  “Before Owen Michaels disappears, he smuggles a note to his beloved wife of one year:  Protect her.  Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers—Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.  As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered, as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss, as a US marshal and federal agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was and that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.  Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth.  But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they’re also building a new future—one neither of them could have anticipated.
    With its breakneck pacing, dizzying plot twists, and evocative family drama, The Last Thing He Told Me is a “page-turning, exhilarating, and unforgettable” (PopSugar) suspense novel.”  (https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Last-Thing-He-Told-Me/Laura-Dave/9781501171352)

    Club member comment(s):  The central issue in this book is the disappearance of a woman’s husband and their child’s father.  The reader enjoyed the book and recommended it to the club members.

    House of Gold by Natasha Solomons

    Availability:

    In Library:  Not available.

    MelCat:  Book, Large Print Book, Audiobook

    Description:  “…an epic family saga about a headstrong Austrian heiress who will be forced to choose between the family she's made and the family that made her at the outbreak of World War I.  Vienna, 1911. Twenty-one-year-old Greta Goldbaum has always hungered after what's forbidden: secret university lectures, unseemly trumpet lessons, and most of all, the freedom to choose her life's path.
    The Goldbaum family has different expectations. United across Europe by unsurpassed wealth and power, Goldbaum men are bankers, while Goldbaum women marry Goldbaum men to produce Goldbaum children. Greta will do her part.  So Greta moves to England to wed Albert, a distant cousin. The marriage is not a success.  Yet, when Albert's mother gives Greta a garden, things at Temple Court begin to change. First Greta falls in love with her garden, then with England, and finally with her husband.  But when World War I sends both Albert and Greta's beloved brother, Otto, to the front lines--one to fight for the Allies, one to fight for the Central Powers--the House of Gold is left vulnerable as never before, and Greta must choose:  the family she's created or the one she was forced to leave behind.  Set against a nuanced portrait of World War I, this is a sweeping family saga rich in historical atmosphere and heartbreakingly human characters. House of Gold is Natasha Solomons's most dazzling and moving novel yet.”  (https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/38526385)

    Club member comment(s):  The reader listened to the audiobook version of this novel and thoroughly enjoyed listening because the narration was fantastic.  Four different narrators were utilized and each narrator was able to effect a variety of accents which contributed to the authenticity of the book’s international settings.  A garden was a central theme to the novel, and the author’s detailed descriptions of the plants and garden layout were really quite wonderful.  The book also details how antisemitism existed even before WWI and plays a part in the plot.  The reader recommended the book to the others.

    Win, Place, and Show by Dick Francis

    Availability:

    In Library:  Not available.

    MelCat:  Book

    Description:  “A hard fall took hotshot jockey Sid Halley out of the horse racing game, leaving him with a crippled hand, a broken heart, and a desperate need for a new job.  In Odds Against, he lands a position with a detective agency.  His first case brings him up against a field of thoroughbred criminals, and the odds against him are making it a long shot that he'll even survive.  Whip Hand finds Halley haunted by his glory days, although he still finds a certain satisfaction in solving a case.  Hired by the wife of one of England's top racehorse trainers, Halley needs to figure out why her husband's most promising horses have been performing so poorly, and winds up haunted by more than just memories.  In Come to Grief, Halley becomes convinced that one of his closest friends-and one of the racing world's most beloved figures--is behind a series of shockingly violent acts.  No one wants to believe that Ellis Quint could be guilty, so the public and press are turning their wrath against Halley instead. Now he's facing opposition at every turn-and finding danger lies straight ahead.  This description may be from another edition of this product.”  (https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/win-place-or-show-odds-againstwhip-handcome-to-grief_dick-francis/483839/#edition=8626622&idiq=9369055)

    Club member comment(s):

    The Catch Me If You Can:  One Woman’s Journey to Every Country in the World by Jessica Nabongo

    Availability:

    In Library:  Book

    MeCat:  Book

    Description:  “In this inspiring travelogue, celebrated traveler and photographer Jessica Nabongo—the first Black woman on record to visit all 195 countries in the world—shares her journey around the globe with fascinating stories of adventure, culture, travel musts, and human connections.  It was a daunting task, but Jessica Nabongo, the beloved voice behind the popular website The Catch Me if You Can, made it happen, completing her journey to all 195 UN-recognized countries in the world in October 2019. Now, in this one-of-a-kind memoir, she reveals her top 100 destinations from her global adventure.
    Beautifully illustrated with many of Nabongo's own photographs, the book documents her remarkable experiences in each country, including:

    A harrowing scooter accident in Nauru, the world’s least visited country,
    Seeing the life and community swarming around the Hazrat Ali Mazar mosque in Afghanistan,
    Horseback riding and learning to lasso with Black cowboys in Oklahoma,
    Playing dominoes with men on the streets of Havana,
    Learning to make traditional takoyaki (octopus balls) from locals in Japan,
    Dog sledding in Norway and swimming with humpback whales in Tonga,
    A late night adventure with strangers to cross a border in Guinea Bissau,
    And sunbathing on the sandy shores of Los Roques in Venezuela.

    Along with beloved destinations like Peru and South Africa, you'll also find tales from far-flung corners and seldom visited destinations, including Tuvalu, North Korea, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic.  Nabongo's stories are love letters to diversity, beauty, and culture—and most of all, to the people she meets along the way.  Throughout, she offers bucket-list experiences for other travel-lovers looking to follow in her footsteps.”  (https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/58950864)

    Club member comment(s):  

    The Beauty in Breaking:  A Memoir by Michele Harper

    Availability:

    In Library:  Not available.

    MelCat:  Book

    Description:  “An emergency room physician explores how a life of service to others taught her how to heal herself.  Michele Harper is a female, African American emergency room physician in a profession that is overwhelmingly male and white.  After taking her first breath in NYC, she was brought up in Washington, D.C., in a complicated family, she went to Harvard, where she met her husband.  They stayed together through medical school until two months before she was scheduled to join the staff of a hospital in central Philadelphia, when he told her he couldn’t move with her.  Her marriage at an end, Harper began her new life in a new city, in a new job, as a newly single woman.  In the ensuing years, as Harper learned to become an effective ER physician, bringing insight and empathy to every patient encounter, she came to understand that each of us is broken–physically, emotionally, psychically.  How we recognize those breaks, how we try to mend them, and where we go from there are all crucial parts of the healing process.  The Beauty in Breaking is the poignant true story of Harper’s journey toward self-healing.  Each of the patients Harper writes about taught her something important about recuperation and recovery.  How to let go of fear even when the future is murky.  How to tell the truth when it’s simpler to overlook it.  How to understand that compassion isn’t the same as justice.  As she shines a light on the systemic disenfranchisement of the patients she treats as they struggle to maintain their health and dignity, Harper comes to understand the importance of allowing ourselves to make peace with the past as we draw support from the present.  In this hopeful, moving, and beautiful book, she passes along the precious, necessary lessons that she has learned as a daughter, a woman, and a physician.”  (https://micheleharper.com/the-beauty-in-breaking)

    Club member comment(s):  

    The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman

    Availability:

    In Library:  Book, Libby e-book

    MelCat:  Book, Large Print Book, Audiobook

    Description:  “A deeply moving and masterfully written story of human resilience and enduring love, The Plum Tree follows a young German woman through the chaos of World War II and its aftermath.

    “Bloom where you’re planted,” is the advice Christine Bolz receives from her beloved Oma.  But seventeen-year-old domestic Christine knows there is a whole world waiting beyond her small German village.  It’s a world she’s begun to glimpse through music, books—and through Isaac Bauerman, the cultured son of the wealthy Jewish family she works for.  Yet the future she and Isaac dream of sharing faces greater challenges than their difference in stations.  In the fall of 1938, Germany is changing rapidly under Hitler’s regime.  Anti-Jewish posters are everywhere, dissenting talk is silenced, and a new law forbids Christine from returning to her job—and from having any relationship with Isaac.  In the months and years that follow, Christine will confront the Gestapo’s wrath and the horrors of Dachau, desperate to be with the man she loves, to survive—and finally, to speak out.  Set against the backdrop of the German home front, this is an unforgettable novel of courage and resolve, of the inhumanity of war, and the heartbreak and hope left in its wake.”  (https://ellenmariewiseman.com/books/the-plum-tree/)

    Club member comment(s):  

    Beyond Possible by Nims Purja

    Availability:

    In Library:  Not available.

    MelCat:  Book

    Description:  Nepali climber Nims Purja is the first man ever to summit all fourteen of the world’s 8000 meter “Death Zone” peaks in less than seven months.  His breakthrough timing beat the previous record of seven years.  In this spellbinding memoir, tied to the acclaimed Netflix documentary "14 Peaks," Purja reveals the man behind the climbs, explaining how his early life in Nepal and training as a soldier in Britain’s elite Gurkha and SBS units allowed him to achieve a mountaineering mission few thought was attainable.  Purja shows how leadership, integrity, and collaboration drive world's greatest climbing feats, including the first-ever winter ascent of Pakistan’s K2―another mountaineering milestone that he achieved in January 2021.  Both profound and inspiring, this intimate book reveals what it takes to go miles beyond the possible.”  (https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Possible-Fourteen-Mountaineering-Achievement/dp/142622253X)

    Club member comment(s):  

    The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

    Availability:

    In Library:  Book, Libby e-book, Libby audiobook

    MelCat:  Book, Large Print Book, Audiobook

    Description:  “The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette's brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly.  But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive.  Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn't want the responsibility of raising a family.  The Walls children learned to take care of themselves.  They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York.  Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.  The Glass Castle is truly astonishing--a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.”  (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7445.The_Glass_Castle)

    Club member comment(s):  

    A Man Named Pearl (DVD) Directors Brent PiersonScott Galloway; Producers Brent PiersonScott Galloway

    Availability:

    In Library:  DVD

    MelCat:  DVD

    Description:  “A Man Named Pearl tells the inspiring story of self-taught topiary artist Pearl Fryar, whose unlikely journey to national prominence began with a bigoted remark.  In 1976, Pearl took a job in a can factory in Bishopville, South Carolina.  New to this rural southern town, he and his wife Metra looked at a house for sale in an all-white neighborhood.  The Fryars' real estate agent was notified by neighbors in the prospective neighborhood that a black family was not welcome.  A homeowner voiced the collective concern: "Black people don't keep up their yards."  Pearl was stung by the racial stereotype.  But rather than become angry and embittered, it motivated him to prove that misguided man wrong.  Pearl bought a house in a ‘black’ neighborhood and began fashioning a garden that would attract positive attention. His goal was modest, but clear:  to become the first African-American to win Bishopville's ‘Yard of the Month’ award.  Realizing he would have to do something spectacular to impress the Bishopville garden club, Pearl began cutting every bush and tree in his yard into unusual, abstract shapes.  He didn't know it then, but he was creating a magical wonderland that would, in time, not only garner local recognition, but also draw thousands of visitors from across the United States and around the world. Now 68, Pearl has been featured in dozens of magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, as well as several television programs such as CBS Sunday Morning.  The media interest that Pearl and his topiary garden generates helps steer much-needed tourist dollars into the declining town of Bishopville and Lee County, the poorest county in the state of South Carolina. But the impact that Pearl and his art have had on his community is not just economic.  He's also had a profound spiritual influence.  As Pearl's minister, Rev. Jerome McCray, says of the garden: ‘It's the one place in all of South Carolina that people can go, both black and white, and feel love.’” (https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/11506133)

    Club member comment(s):

  • April 6, 2023

    The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library Book Club

    Meeting Minutes

    April 6, 2023

    The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library Book Club met at the library on April 6, 2023, from 12 Noon to 1:00 PM.  We were treated to a wonderful home baked pound cake in front of the fireplace and enjoyed discussing the books that are described below.

    Unnatural History:  An Alex Delaware Novel by Jonathan Kellerman

    Availability: 

    In Library:  Book and Libby e-book

    MelCat:  Book and Audiobook

    Description:  “Los Angeles is a city of stark contrast, the palaces of the affluent coexisting uneasily with the hellholes of the mad and the needy. That shadow world and the violence it breeds draw brilliant psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware and Detective Milo Sturgis into an unsettling case of altruism gone wrong.  On a superficially lovely morning, a woman shows up for work with her usual enthusiasm. She’s the newly hired personal assistant to a handsome, wealthy photographer and is ready to greet her boss with coffee and good cheer. Instead, she finds him slumped in bed, shot to death.  The victim had recently received rave media attention for his latest project: images of homeless people in their personal “dream” situations, elaborately costumed and enacting unfulfilled fantasies. There are some, however, who view the whole thing as nothing more than crass exploitation, citing token payments and the victim’s avoidance of any long-term relationships with his subjects.  Has disgruntlement blossomed into homicidal rage? Or do the roots of violence reach down to the victim’s family—a clan, sired by an elusive billionaire, that is bizarre in its own right?  Then new murders arise, and Alex and Milo begin peeling back layer after layer of intrigue and complexity, culminating in one of the deadliest threats they’ve ever faced.”  (https://www.amazon.com/Unnatural-History-Alex-Delaware-Novel/dp/0525618619)

    Comments:  The patron sharing her perspectives about this book, told the group that that author, Jonathan Kellerman is a child psychologist and his experience in this field shows in the characters he crafts in his books.  In this book, a 30ish wealthy Los Angeles photographer takes pictures of the homeless and while doing this asks his subjects about their desires and wishes.  The photographer is found murdered and solving the mystery of who murdered him is the central theme of the book.  This author had written a number of books in a series, but the patron indicated that they do not have to be read in order.  She recommended this book to the other members.

    The Golden Spoon by Tessa Maxwell

    Availability:

    In Library:  Book

    In MelCat:  Book, Large Print Book, Audiobook

    Description:  “Every summer for the past ten years, six awe-struck bakers have descended on the grounds of Grafton, the leafy and imposing Vermont estate that is not only the filming site for “Bake Week” but also the childhood home of the show’s famous host, celebrated baker Betsy Martin.  The author of numerous bestselling cookbooks and hailed as “America’s Grandmother,” Betsy Martin isn’t as warm off-screen as on, though no one needs to know that but her. She has always demanded perfection, and gotten it with a smile, but this year something is off. As the baking competition commences, things begin to go awry. At first, it’s merely sabotage—sugar replaced with salt, a burner turned to high—but when a body is discovered, everyone is a suspect.  A sharp and suspenseful thriller for mystery buffs and avid bakers alike, The Golden Spoon is a brilliant puzzle filled with shocking twists and turns that will keep you reading late into the night until you turn the very last page of this incredible debut.” (https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Golden-Spoon/Jessa-Maxwell/9781668008003)

    Comments:  The patron reviewing this book provided a synopsis of the story to the group.  She indicated that the book is rich in characters and motives.  She felt that the middle of the book slowed but the ending was “wonderful.”  She recommended this mystery to others.

    Union Street Bakery by Mary Ellen Taylor

    Availability:

    In Library:  Book

    MelCat:  Book and Audiobook

    Description:  “Life can turn on a dime. It’s a common cliché, and I’d heard it often enough. People die or move away. Investments go south. Affairs end. Loved ones betray us...Stuff happens.  Daisy McCrae’s life is in tatters. She’s lost her job, broken up with her boyfriend, and has been reduced to living in the attic above her family’s store, The Union Street Bakery, while learning the business. Unfortunately, the bakery is in serious hardship. Making things worse is the constant feeling of not being a “real” McCrae since she was adopted as a child and has a less-than-perfect relationship with her two sisters.  Then a long-standing elderly customer passes away, and for some reason bequeaths Daisy a journal dating back to the 1850s, written by a slave girl named Susie. As she reads, Daisy learns more about her family—and her own heritage—than she ever dreamed. Haunted by dreams of the young Susie, who beckons Daisy to “find her,” she is compelled to look further into the past of the town and her family.  What she finds are the answers she has longed for her entire life, and a chance to begin again with the courage and desire she thought she lost for good.” (https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/15808324)

    Comments:  The patron reviewing this book provided a story synopsis to the others.  Given that the main character’s genealogy is an important theme in the book, having a family tree in the inside cover or at the back of the book would have been a nice addition.  The patron recommended the book to others and said that reading the book compelled her to visit a bakery!

    About My Mother:  True Stories of a Horse-Crazy Daughter and her Baseball-Obsessed Mother:  A Memoir by Peggy Rowe

    Availability:

    In Library:  Not Available

    MelCat:  Book

    Description:  “A love letter to mothers everywhere, About My Mother will make you laugh and cry—and see yourself in its reflection. Peggy Rowe’s story of growing up as the daughter of Thelma Knobel is filled with warmth and humor. But Thelma could be your mother—there’s a Thelma in everyone’s life. She’s the person taking charge—the one who knows instinctively how things should be. Today, Thelma would be described as an alpha personality, but while growing up, her daughter Peggy saw her as a dictator—albeit a benevolent, loving one. They clashed from the beginning—Peggy, the horse-crazy tomboy, and Thelma, the genteel-yet-still-controlling mother, committed to raising two refined, ladylike daughters. Good luck.  When major league baseball came to town in the early 1950s and turned sophisticated Thelma into a crazed Baltimore Orioles groupie, nobody was more surprised and embarrassed than Peggy. Life became a series of compromises—Thelma tolerating a daughter who pitched manure and galloped the countryside, while Peggy learned to tolerate the whacky Orioles fan who threw her underwear at the television, shouted insults at umpires, and lived by the orange-and-black schedule taped to the refrigerator door.”  (https://www.simonandschuster.net/books/About-My-Mother/Peggy-Rowe/9781948677165)

    Comment:  The patron reviewing this book had also read Peggy Rowe’s book Vacuuming in the Nude and preferred that book to About My Mother.  She shared that the book was interesting but that if selecting one of Ms. Rowe’s books to go with Vacuuming in the Nude.

    Miss Eliza’s English Kitchen:  A Novel of Victorian Cooking and Friendship by Annabel Abbs

    Availability:

    In Library:  Not Available

    MelCat:  Book, Large Print Book, and Audiobook

    Description:  “Annabel Abbs, the award-winning author of The Joyce Girl, returns with the brilliant real-life story of Eliza Acton and her assistant as they revolutionized British cooking and cookbooks around the world.  Before Mrs. Beeton and well before Julia Child, there was Eliza Acton, who changed the course of cookery writing forever.  England, 1835. London is awash with thrilling new ingredients, from rare spices to exotic fruits. But no one knows how to use them. When Eliza Acton is told by her publisher to write a cookery book instead of the poetry she loves, she refuses—until her bankrupt father is forced to flee the country. As a woman, Eliza has few options. Although she’s never set foot in a kitchen, she begins collecting recipes and teaching herself to cook. Much to her surprise she discovers a talent – and a passion – for the culinary arts.  Eliza hires young, destitute Ann Kirby to assist her. As they cook together, Ann learns about poetry, love and ambition. The two develop a radical friendship, breaking the boundaries of class while creating new ways of writing recipes. But when Ann discovers a secret in Eliza’s past, and finds a voice of her own, their friendship starts to fray.  Based on the true story of the first modern cookery writer, Miss Eliza’s English Kitchen is a spellbinding novel about female friendship, the struggle for independence, and the transcendent pleasures and solace of food.” (https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/miss-elizas-english-kitchen-annabel-abbs/1139029758)

    Comments:  The patron reviewing this book had just started.  The main character attempts to spice up an old cookbook’s recipes with new, innovative ingredients.  The patron commented that the old recipes in the book included nonstandard measurements that had to be standardized.  This is often true of recipes handed down through the generations—a pinch of this, a handful of that, a dash of something else. 

    Spare by Prince Harry

    Availability: 

    In Library:  Book, Libby e-book, and Libby Audiobook

    MelCat:  Book, Large Print Book

    Description:  “It was one of the most searing images of the twentieth century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow—and horror. As Princess Diana was laid to rest, billions wondered what Prince William and Prince Harry must be thinking and feeling—and how their lives would play out from that point on.  For Harry, this is that story at last.  Before losing his mother, twelve-year-old Prince Harry was known as the carefree one, the happy-go-lucky Spare to the more serious Heir. Grief changed everything. He struggled at school, struggled with anger, with loneliness—and, because he blamed the press for his mother’s death, he struggled to accept life in the spotlight.  At twenty-one, he joined the British Army. The discipline gave him structure, and two combat tours made him a hero at home. But he soon felt more lost than ever, suffering from post-traumatic stress and prone to crippling panic attacks. Above all, he couldn’t find true love.   Then he met Meghan. The world was swept away by the couple’s cinematic romance and rejoiced in their fairy-tale wedding. But from the beginning, Harry and Meghan were preyed upon by the press, subjected to waves of abuse, racism, and lies. Watching his wife suffer, their safety and mental health at risk, Harry saw no other way to prevent the tragedy of history repeating itself but to flee his mother country. Over the centuries, leaving the Royal Family was an act few had dared. The last to try, in fact, had been his mother. . . .For the first time, Prince Harry tells his own story, chronicling his journey with raw, unflinching honesty. A landmark publication, Spare is full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief.” (https://www.amazon.com/Spare-Prince-Harry-Duke-Sussex/dp/0593593804)

    Comments:  The patron reviewing this book indicated that she alternately felt that Prince Harry complained too much about his experiences in the Royal family and then felt sorry for him and the challenges that he faced.

    The House in the Pines by Anna Reyes

    Availability: 

    In Library:  Book, Libby e-book, Libby Audiobook

    MelCat:  Book and Audiobook

    Description“Maya was a high school senior when her best friend, Aubrey, mysteriously dropped dead in front of the enigmatic man named Frank whom they’d been spending time with all summer.  Seven years later, Maya lives in Boston with a loving boyfriend and is kicking the secret addition that has allowed her to cope with what happened years ago, the gaps in her memories, and the lost time that she can’t account for.  But her past comes rushing back when she comes across a recent YouTube video in which a young woman suddenly keels over and dies in a diner while sitting across from note other than Frank.  Plunged into the trauma that has defined her life, Maya head to her Berkshires hometown to relive that fateful summer—the influence Frank once had on her and the obsessive jealously that nearly destroyed her friendship with Aubrey.  At her mother’s house, she excavates fragments of her past and notices hidden messages in her deceased Guatemalan father’s book that didn’t stand out to her earlier.  To save herself, she must understand a story written before she was born, but time keeps running out, and soon all roads are leading back to Frank’s cabin…  Utterly unique and captivating.  The House in the Pines keeps you guessing about whether we can ever fully confront the past and return home.”  https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/696556/the-house-in-the-pines-by-ana-reyes/)

    Comments:  The patron reviewing this book said she enjoyed this intriguing mystery, the first for this author.  The patron figured out the conclusion before finishing the book but still found it an enjoyable read.

     

    Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

    Availability:

    In Library:  Book, Libby e-book, Libby Audiobook

    MelCat:  Book, Large Print Book, Audiobook

    Description:  “Olivia McAfee knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life—living in Boston, married to a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon, raising a beautiful son, Asher—was upended when her husband revealed a darker side. She never imagined she would end up back in her sleepy New Hampshire hometown, living in the house she grew up in, and taking over her father's beekeeping business.  Lily Campanello is familiar with do-overs, too. When she and her mom relocate to Adams, New Hampshire, for her final year of high school, they both hope it will be a fresh start.  And for just a short while, these new beginnings are exactly what Olivia and Lily need. Their paths cross when Asher falls for the new girl in school, and Lily can’t help but fall for him, too. With Ash, she feels happy for the first time. Yet at times, she wonders if she can trust him completely . . .Then one day, Olivia receives a phone call: Lily is dead, and Asher is being questioned by the police. Olivia is adamant that her son is innocent. But she would be lying if she didn’t acknowledge the flashes of his father’s temper in him, and as the case against him unfolds, she realizes he’s hidden more than he’s shared with her.  Mad Honey is a riveting novel of suspense, an unforgettable love story, and a moving and powerful exploration of the secrets we keep and the risks we take in order to become ourselves.” (https://www.jodipicoult.com/mad-honey.html)

    Comments:  The patron sharing her thoughts about this book described it as interesting and commended the author for her courage to tackle controversial topics such as transgenderism here.  The book made the reader think about prejudice and allowing people to become who they are meant to be.  She felt that the author deals with uncomfortable topics eloquently.  The group discussed the value of readers also having the courage to read books written about unfamiliar, controversial, or difficult topics.

     

    All Over the Place:  Adventures in Travel, True Love, and Petty Theft by Geraldine DeRuiter

    Availability:

    In Library:  Not Available

    MelCat:  Book

    Description:  “Most travel memoirs involve a button-nosed protagonist nursing a broken heart who, rather than tearfully watching The Princess Bride while eating an entire 5-gallon vat of ice cream directly out of a container (like a normal person), instead decides to travel the world, inevitably falling for some chiseled stranger with bulging pectoral muscles and a disdain for wearing clothing above the waist.  This is not that kind of book.  Geraldine met the love of her life long before this story began, on a bus in Seattle surrounded by drunk college kids.  She gets lost constantly, wherever she goes.  And her nose would never, ever be considered ‘button-like.’  Hilarious, irreverent, and heartfelt, All Over the Place chronicles the five-year period that kicked off when Geraldine got laid off from a job she loved and took off to travel the world.  Those years taught her a great number of things, though the ability to read a map was not one of them.  She has only a vague idea of where Russia is, but she understands her Russian father now better than ever before.  She learned that at least half of what she thought was her mother’s functional insanity was actually an equally incurable condition called ‘being Italian.’  She learned about unemployment and brain tumors and lost luggage and lost opportunities and just getting lost, in countless terminal and cabs and hotels lobbies across the globe.  And she learned what it’s like to travel the world with someone you already know and love.  How that person can help you make sense of things, and can, by some sort of alchemy, make foreign cities and far-off places feel like home.  In All Over the Place, Geraldine imparts the insight she gained while being far from home-wry, surprising, but always sincere, advice about marriage, family, health, and happiness that come from getting lost and finding the unexpected.” (https://www.everywhereist.com/all-over-the-place/)

    Comments:  This book was described as “a fun read.”  The author is humble and self-deprecating.  She doesn’t travel well, makes mistakes when she does travel, and shares her experiences—good and not so good—with the reader.  The patron reviewing this book recommended it to the club members.

     

    If Nietzsche Were a Narwhal by Justin Gregg

    Availability

    In Library:  Not available

    MelCat:  Book

    Description: “If Nietzsche Were a Narwhal overturns everything we thought we knew about human intelligence, and asks the question: would humans be better off as narwhals? Or some other, less brainy species? There’s a good argument to be made that humans might be a less successful animal species precisely because of our amazing, complex intelligence.  All our unique gifts like language, math, and science do not make us happier or more “successful” (evolutionarily speaking) than other species. Our intelligence allowed us to split the atom, but we’ve harnessed that knowledge to make machines of war. We are uniquely susceptible to bullshit (though, cuttlefish may be the best liars in the animal kingdom); our bizarre obsession with lawns has contributed to the growing threat of climate change; we are sexually diverse like many species yet stand apart as homophobic; and discriminate among our own as if its natural, which it certainly is not. Is our intelligence more of a curse than a gift?  As scientist Justin Gregg persuasively argues, there’s an evolutionary reason why human intelligence isn’t more prevalent in the animal kingdom. Simply put, non-human animals don’t need it to be successful. And, miraculously, their success arrives without the added baggage of destroying themselves and the planet in the process. 
    In seven mind-bending and hilarious chapters, Gregg highlights one feature seemingly unique to humans—our use of language, our rationality, our moral systems, our so-called sophisticated consciousness—and compares it to our animal brethren. Along the way, remarkable tales of animal smarts emerge, as you’ll discover:

     

    The house cat who’s better at picking winning stocks than actual fund managers 

    Elephants who love to drink

    Pigeons who are better than radiologists at spotting cancerous tissue

    Bumblebees who are geniuses at teaching each other soccer


    What emerges is both demystifying and remarkable, and will change how you look at animals, humans, and the meaning of life itself.” (https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/justin-gregg/if-nietzsche-were-a-narwhal/9780316388061/?lens=little-brown)

     

    Comments:  This book looks at how we define intelligence and compares animal and human intelligence.  The author found this to be a very interesting read and would like to add this to her personal library so that she can read it again in the future.

     

     

     

    God’s Hotel:  A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine by Victoria Sweet

     

    Availability:

     

    In Library:  Not currently but soon will be.

     

    MelCat:  Book and Audiobook as well as audio record of lecture author gave at Calvin University

     

    Description:  “San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital was the last almshouse in the country, a descendant of the Hôtel-Dieu (God’s Hotel) that cared for the sick in the Middle Ages. Ballet dancers and rock musicians, professors and thieves — “anyone who had fallen, or, often, leapt, onto hard times” and needed extended medical care — ended up there. Dr. Sweet ended up there herself, as a physician. And though she came for only a two-month stay, she remained for twenty years.  At Laguna Honda, lower-tech but human-paced, Dr. Sweet had the chance to practice a kind of “slow medicine” that has almost vanished. Gradually, the place and its patients transformed the way she understood the body. Alongside the modern view of the body as a machine to be fixed, her patients evoked an older notion, of the body as a garden to be tended. God’s Hotel tells their stories, and the story of the hospital, which — as efficiency experts, politicians, and architects descended, determined to turn it into a modern “health care facility” — revealed its truths about the cost and value of caring for body and soul.  In God’s Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine Dr. Sweet lays out her evidence—in stories of her patients and her hospital—for some new ideas about medicine and healthcare in this country. In trying to get control of healthcare costs by emphasizing “efficiency,” we’ve headed down a wrong path. Medicine works best—that is, arrives at the right diagnosis and the right treatment for the least cost—when the doctor has enough time to do a good job, and pays attention not only to the patient but to what’s around the patient. Dr. Sweet calls this approach Slow Medicine, and she believes that, put into wider practice, it would be not only more satisfying for patient and doctor, but also less expensive. The New York Times calls her ideas “hard-core subversion”; Vanity Fair judges the book to be a “radical and compassionate alternative to modern healthcare,” and Health Affairs describes Dr. Sweet as a “visionary.” (https://www.victoriasweet.com/books/gods-hotel/)

    Comments:  At the time the patron first read this book, she was serving as an inpatient hospice and palliative care Primary Provider.  Dr. Sweet’s book outlines how taking the time to develop a positive interpersonal relationship based on respect, trust, and shared decision making with one’s patients can yield good outcomes.  The book also shows how sole reliance on technology and efficiency to improve care quality may erode the Provider and patient relationship.

    War Brides by Helen Bryan

    Availability:

    In Library:  Not available

    MelCat:  Book and Audiobook

    Description“War Brides is the story of five young women who come together in a small Sussex village in 1939. From divergent backgrounds they will face pain, hardship, passion and danger, forming a friendship that will last through their lives.  Helen Bryan has created bold and witty characters with strong personalities who narrate, through their individual lives, the story of the Second World War as seen from the home front in England. It begins with the evacuation, continues with the frequent bombing raids as Germany musters on the French coast to launch the anticipated invasion, and follows with the Battle for Britain and the horror and indiscriminate death of civilians, men, women and children. Her description of the aftermath of the devastating Luftwaffe bombing of London is impressive, the atmosphere all too tangible and very harrowing at times.  There is really only one traditional wedding, the preparations for which show the initiative and companionship of sacrifice. Coupons from everyone’s ration books are pooled to ensure enough sugar and butter can be obtained to make the cake and provide all the trimmings. Even the wedding dress is borrowed and the bouquets of bride and maids are of wild flowers, free and bountiful and, more importantly, not rationed. The honeymoon comprises three days on the south coast behind a barbed wire beach.  Absorbing and moving by turns, War Brides is a novel well balanced and skilfully told. (https://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/war-brides/)

    Comments:  The patron sharing her thoughts about this book, listened to the audiobook version.  The book’s narrator made the experience very enjoyable.  She was able to capture dialects for numerous characters from different areas of Europe and dialects from those living in various areas of England and America.  The characters come from diverse backgrounds but find common camaraderie and common goals.  During the war, there was a German sympathizer (either an English citizen supporting Hitler or a German spy) positioned somewhere along the east coast of England feeding the Germans weather reports so that the Germans knew to bomb England only on clear nights. Despite their best efforts, the English were never able to identify who this individual was.  The author’s relative searched for this individual during the war and always regretted his lack of success–until his death.  Although writing a historical novel, the author opted to honor his efforts by ensuring that the women in this novel identify the German sympathizer and bring the individual to justice. 

    The Confessions of Young Nero:  A Novel by Margaret George

    Availability:

    In Library:  Not available

    MelCat:  Book and Audiobook

    The Splendor Before the Dark:  A Novel of the Emperor Nero by Margaret George

    Availability:

    In Library:  Not available

    MelCat:  Book and Audiobook

    Comments:  One of our patrons could not attend our meeting but submitted additional comments about books that she had shared with us last month.  She stated:  “This month I finished reading the second (historically the first of the books about Julius Caesar by Margaret George–Confessions of a Young Nero.  I talked about the second of this series, The Splendor Before the Dark, last month.  It would have been good to read the Confessions first, but was nevertheless interesting to read about the older Caesar before reading about his youth.  They both filled me with sadness about the fact that the world rarely, if ever (except in little pockets here and there), experienced leadership which is not greedy and violent.  The main thing that was different about Caesar was that he really wanted to be an actor and musician, rather than a despotic ruler of a powerful, militarized , decadent society.  Margaret George is a good writer, so these stories are fascinating if not edifying.  Ha!”

    A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny

    Availability:

    In Library:  Book, Libby e-book, Libby Audiobook

    MelCat:  Book, Large Print Book, Audiobook

    Description“Chief Inspector Armand Gamache returns in the eighteenth book in #1 New York Times bestseller Louise Penny's beloved series.  It’s spring and Three Pines is reemerging after the harsh winter. But not everything buried should come alive again. Not everything lying dormant should reemerge.  But something has.  As the villagers prepare for a special celebration, Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir find themselves increasingly worried. A young man and woman have reappeared in the Sûreté du Québec investigators’ lives after many years. The two were young children when their troubled mother was murdered, leaving them damaged, shattered. Now they’ve arrived in the village of Three Pines.  But to what end?  Gamache and Beauvoir’s memories of that tragic case, the one that first brought them together, come rushing back. Did their mother’s murder hurt them beyond repair? Have those terrible wounds, buried for decades, festered and are now about to erupt?  As Chief Inspector Gamache works to uncover answers, his alarm grows when a letter written by a long dead stone mason is discovered. In it the man describes his terror when bricking up an attic room somewhere in the village. Every word of the 160-year-old letter is filled with dread. When the room is found, the villagers decide to open it up.  As the bricks are removed, Gamache, Beauvoir and the villagers discover a world of curiosities. But the head of homicide soon realizes there’s more in that room than meets the eye. There are puzzles within puzzles, and hidden messages warning of mayhem and revenge.  In unsealing that room, an old enemy is released into their world. Into their lives. And into the very heart of Armand Gamache’s home.” (https://www.amazon.com/World-Curiosities-Novel-Inspector-Gamache-ebook/dp/B09Z3D5B34/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3PTVQZ3J8K4TD&keywords=a+world+of+curiosities+louise+penny&qid=1682008263&s=books&sprefix=A+World+of+%2Cstripbooks%2C98&sr=1-1)

    Comments:  The patron who was not able to attend the book club meeting in person shared her perspectives with the group in writing saying:  “I also read A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny (her 18th book in the Chief Inspector Gamache series.)  Another great Gamache adventure, with a wealth of new images and a focus on art and madness.  I love her writing, but had a slight sense that she is repeating her techniques and plots and relationships a bit much lately.  Also, if one has not read earlier novels in the series, there would be far too many relationships and characters interacting to keep track of or to figure out.  But, as always, a great read.”

    One group member brought a small basket she had made out of sweet grass for all to admire.  The club members had reviewed a book about sweet grass last month.  The patron also shared a copy of the book Row Upon Row:  Sea Grass Baskets of the South Carolina Low Country by Dale Rosengarten.  This book is available through MelCat.

    One group member asked the others to recommend a book similar to The Secret Life of Bees because she felt this book was interesting, heartfelt, and about unconditional love.  Others recommended the book From Scratch as having similar themes.

    The group was notified that in the New Fiction and NonFiction section of the library, new books have long been identified with a pink dot.  Recently, the library staff has started placing the number corresponding with the month of the year (e.g., 4 for April, 5 for May) in the pink dot so that patrons will know at a glance which books are the newest to the library. 

    The next meeting of the Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library will be held on May 4, 2023, at 12 Noon.  Please come and share your thoughts about the books you’ve read recently!  We look forward to seeing you.

  • March 2, 2023

    Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library

    Book Club Meeting Minutes

    March 2, 2023

    The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library Book Club met at the Library on March 2, 2023, from 12 Noon to 1:00 PM.  We shared light refreshments in front of the fireplace and enjoyed discussing a variety of books read by the members that month.  

    Vacuuming in the Nude by Peggy Rowe (available as book in library and on Overdrive as e-book) 

    “Peggy Rowe has been writing all of her adult life. In fact, she doesn’t know how not to write—even through those years of constant rejection from publishing houses. But between her tenacity and the encouragement of her family, Peggy’s breakthrough finally came—at the age of eighty!  Vacuuming in the Nude is most likely her funniest prose to date as she shares her journey of attending myriad writers’ conferences and honing her ability to see humor in everyday situations.  From the family’s beloved dog Shim, who thrived on piles of fresh, warm manure from the horse pasture—to vacationing on the sweltering beach with mosquitos the size of dune buggies—to the challenges of aging, Peggy Rowe delivers a hilarious array of stories that reflect her addiction to making people laugh. Even in her cancer support group, she manages to use her humor to affect others for the good.  If Peggy isn’t putting her publisher on hold to finish a game of Mahjongg, she’s at her kitchen table window-on-the-world taking notes for the next story for fans old and new to enjoy.”  (https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Vacuuming-in-the-Nude/Peggy-Rowe/9781637630990)

    The patron sharing her perspectives about this book told the group that Ms. Rowe has been writing all of her life but had just began publishing her works recently.  She had been trying to publish for many years, and eventually, her son, Mike Rowe of the TV show Dirty Jobs fame, paid for and advertised copies of her book on e-bay and this launched her published works career.  Mike commented that his mother used an interview style of communication even with her own children and that she always had a great sense of humor.  The patron found the writer’s propensity to find humor in everyday life experiences wonderful and the fact that Ms. Rowe has now published three books in her eighth decade amazing.  The author’s description of a gathering of her friends for a dinner party paralleled the patron’s upcoming gathering in terms of humorous experiences.  

    Fast Girls by Elise Hooper (available through MeLCat as book, large print book, and audiobook

    “Acclaimed author Elise Hooper explores the gripping, real life history of female athletes, members of the first integrated women’s Olympic team, and their journeys to the 1936 summer games in Berlin, Nazi Germany. Perfect for readers who love untold stories of amazing women, such as The Only Woman in the Room, Hidden Figures, and The Lost Girls of Paris.  In the 1928 Olympics, Chicago’s Betty Robinson competes as a member of the first-ever women’s delegation in track and field. Destined for further glory, she returns home feted as America’s Golden Girl until a nearly-fatal airplane crash threatens to end everything.  Outside of Boston, Louise Stokes, one of the few black girls in her town, sees competing as an opportunity to overcome the limitations placed on her. Eager to prove that she has what it takes to be a champion, she risks everything to join the Olympic team.  From Missouri, Helen Stephens, awkward, tomboyish, and poor, is considered an outcast by her schoolmates, but she dreams of escaping the hardships of her farm life through athletic success. Her aspirations appear impossible until a chance encounter changes her life.  These three athletes will join with others to defy society’s expectations of what women can achieve. As tensions bring the United States and Europe closer and closer to the brink of war, Betty, Louise, and Helen must fight for the chance to compete as the fastest women in the world amidst the pomp and pageantry of the Nazi-sponsored 1936 Olympics in Berlin.”  (https://www.amazon.com/Fast-Girls-Elise-Hooper/dp/0062937995)

    The patron discussing this book described the focus of the book as women running track and determined to do this despite significant obstacles—no teams, no team clothing, racial issues, lack of funding and sponsors, and more.  The rise of Hitler and the backdrop of the Olympics being held in Germany at the time is also fascinating.  The perseverance of these women as described by the book’s author is inspiring.  

    Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (available as adult and young adult book versions in library and as adult and young adult Overdrive e-books)

    “As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these lenses of knowledge together to show that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings are we capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learning to give our own gifts in return.” (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17465709-braiding-sweetgrass)

    The patron describing this book told the group that the young adult version is more easily understood than the adult version.  The author is Native American and often takes students on road trips to the mountains so that they can immerse themselves in nature.  She is an excellent story teller.  Several patrons indicated that they have sweetgrass planted in their gardens.

    We the Jury by Robert Rotstein (available as book and audiobook through MeLCat)

    “On the day before his twenty-first wedding anniversary, David Sullinger buried an ax in his wife's skull. Now, eight jurors must retire to the deliberation room and decide whether David committed premeditated murder-or whether he was a battered spouse who killed his wife in self-defense.  Told from the perspective of over a dozen participants in a murder trial, We, the Jury examines how public perception can mask the ghastliest nightmares. As the jurors stagger toward a verdict, they must sift through contradictory testimony from the Sullingers' children, who disagree on which parent was Satan; sort out conflicting allegations of severe physical abuse, adultery, and incest; and overcome personal animosities and biases that threaten a fair and just verdict. Ultimately, the central figures in We, the Jury must navigate the blurred boundaries between bias and objectivity, fiction and truth.” (http://www.the-bookreview.com/2019/05/we-jury-by-robert-rotstein-feature-and.html)

    The patron sharing her experience with this book told the group that she listened to the audiobook version.  The audiobook includes a different narrator for each character which made for a more interesting listening experience.  Although some characters are named, the Trial Judge, for example, none of the jurors are named and are instead referred to by their occupations or roles such as “the clergyman,” “the express messenger,” and “the housewife.”  Each character brings his/her own life experiences, biases, and agendas to the jury room.  The reader will learn by the end of the book if the jury members made the right decision for the right reasons—or not.

    Essentialism:  The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (available as book and audiobook through MeLCat)

    “Have you ever found yourself stretched too thin?  Do you sometimes feel overworked and underutilized?  Do you feel motion sickness instead of momentum?  Does your day sometimes get hijacked by someone else’s agenda?  Have you ever said “yes” simply to please and then resented it?  If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is the Way of the Essentialist.  The Way of the Essentialist involves doing less, but better, so you can make the highest possible contribution.  The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s not about getting less done. It’s about getting only the right things done. It’s about challenging the core assumption of ‘we can have it all’ and ‘I have to do everything’ and replacing it with the pursuit of ‘the right thing, in the right way, at the right time’. It’s about regaining control of our own choices about where to spend our time and energies instead of giving others implicit permission to choose for us.  In Essentialism, Greg McKeown draws on experience and insight from working with the leaders of the most innovative companies in the world to show how to achieve the disciplined pursuit of less.  By applying a more selective criteria for what is essential, the pursuit of less allows us to regain control of our own choices so we can channel our time, energy and effort into making the highest possible contribution toward the goals and activities that matter.  Essentialism isn’t one more thing; it is a different way of doing everything. It is a discipline you apply constantly, effortlessly. Essentialism is a mindset; a way of life. It is an idea whose time has come.” (https://gregmckeown.com/books/essentialism/)

    The patron discussing this book indicated that the author asks the reader to define his/her priorities and to decide if he/she wants to do everything but perhaps not well or if the reader wants to do some things very well.   We must set our own priorities using criteria we select to define what is essential to us.

    Effortless:  Make It Easier to Do What Matters by Greg McKeown (available as a Overdrive audiobook and as a book through MeLCat)

    “Is there a goal you want to make progress on, if only you had the energy? Do you assume that anything worth doing must take tremendous effort? Have you ever abandoned a hard but important activity for an easy but trivial one? Are you often overwhelmed by the complexity that's expanding everywhere?
    If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you might be making life much harder for yourself than it needs to be.  In the New York Times bestseller Essentialism, Greg McKeown urged readers to eliminate nonessential activities and focus on the few that truly matter. He's since talked with thousands of readers about the challenges they face in putting those ideas into practice. The problem, he's found, is that the complexity of modern life has created a false dichotomy between things that are "essential and hard," and things that are "easy and trivial." But what if the trivial tasks became harder and the essential ones became easier? If the important projects became enjoyable, while the trivial distractions lost their appeal entirely?  In Effortless, McKeown offers proven strategies for making the most important activities the easiest ones. For example:

    - Streamline your process by mapping out the minimum number of steps.
    - Prevent problems later by solving them before they happen.
    - Let Go of perfectionism by finding the "courage to be rubbish."
    - Accelerate your learning by leveraging the best of what others know.

    By making the toughest tasks just a little bit easier, we can accomplish more of what matters, without burning out.”  (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54895700-effortless)

    The same patron read both books by this author (the book above and this one).  This book teaches the reader not to spread him or herself too thin and to focus on what is truly important.

    Milkman by Anna Burns (available as a book in library)

    “In an unnamed city, middle sister stands out for the wrong reasons. She reads while walking, for one. And she has been taking French night classes downtown. So when a local paramilitary known as the milkman begins pursuing her, she suddenly becomes “interesting,” the last thing she ever wanted to be. Despite middle sister’s attempts to avoid him―and to keep her mother from finding out about her maybe-boyfriend―rumors spread and the threat of violence lingers. Milkman is a story of the way inaction can have enormous repercussions, in a time when the wrong flag, wrong religion, or even a sunset can be subversive. Told with ferocious energy and sly, wicked humor, Milkman establishes Anna Burns as one of the most consequential voices of our day.”  (https://www.amazon.com/Milkman-Novel-Anna-Burns/dp/1644450003)

    The patron describing this book told the group that she found the book while completing a weeding process in the adult fiction section of the library and found the book to be a hidden gem.  The book is somewhat difficult to get into because it does have lengthy sentences and few paragraph breaks.  The book is set in Ireland in the 1970s and depicts an 18 year old woman who has a habit of reading while walking, leading the community to believe that she is strange.  She is subsequently stalked by the leader of a paramilitary group.  The book is a story of her coming of age and a description of a community controlled by fear.  The patron recommended the book to the book club members.

    The Splendor Before the Dark:  A Novel of the Emperor Nero by Margaret George (available as a book and audiobook through MeLCat)

    “With the beautiful and cunning Poppaea at his side, Nero Augustus commands the Roman empire, ushering in an unprecedented era of artistic and cultural splendor. Although he has yet to produce an heir, his power is unquestioned.  But in the tenth year of his reign, a terrifying prophecy comes to pass and a fire engulfs Rome, reducing entire swaths of the city to rubble. Rumors of Nero’s complicity in the blaze start to sow unrest among the populace–and the politicians…  For better or worse, Nero knows that his fate is now tied to Rome’s–and he vows to rebuild it as a city that will stun the world. But there are those who find his rampant quest for glory dangerous. Throughout the empire, false friends and spies conspire against him, not understanding what drives him to undertake the impossible.  Nero will either survive and be the first in his family to escape the web of betrayals that is the Roman court, or be ensnared and remembered as the last radiance of the greatest dynasty the world had ever known.”(https://margaretgeorge.com/books/the-splendor-before-the-dark/description/)

    The patron sharing her perspectives on this book told the group that the book covers 4 years in Nero’s life.  Although fictionalized, the book’s author made every attempt to be historically accurate.  The afterward of the book includes a great deal of information about the research the author completed while writing.  The author does an admirable job of describing the background to Nero’s rule and that he was surrounded by people that he could not trust.  The book includes genealogies as well as maps which enhance the reading experience.  

    The Confessions of Young Nero by Margaret George (available as a book and audiobook through MeLCat)

    “Built on the backs of those who fell before it, Julius Caesar’s imperial dynasty is only as strong as the next person who seeks to control it. In the Roman Empire no one is safe from the sting of betrayal: man, woman—or child.  As a boy, Nero’s royal heritage becomes a threat to his very life, first when the mad emperor Caligula tries to drown him, then when his great aunt attempts to secure her own son’s inheritance. Faced with shocking acts of treachery, young Nero is dealt a harsh lesson: it is better to be cruel than dead.  While Nero idealizes the artistic and athletic principles of Greece, his very survival rests on his ability to navigate the sea of vipers that is Rome. The most lethal of all is his own mother, a cold-blooded woman whose singular goal is to control the empire. With cunning and poison, the obstacles fall one by one. But as Agrippina’s machinations earn her son a title he is both tempted and terrified to assume, Nero’s determination to escape her thrall will shape him into the man he was fated to become—an Emperor who became legendary.  With impeccable research and captivating prose, The Confessions of Young Nero is the story of a boy’s ruthless ascension to the throne. Detailing his journey from innocent youth to infamous ruler, it is an epic tale of the lengths to which man will go in the ultimate quest for power and survival.”  (https://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Young-Nero-Margaret-George/dp/0451473396)

    The same patron read both of Margaret George’s books about Nero.  She recommended both books to book club members.

    All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage (available as book in library and as Overdrive e-book)

    Brundage combines noir and the gothic in a novel about two families entwined in their own unhappiness with, at the center, a gruesome and unsolved murder.  Late one winter afternoon in upstate New Your, George Clare comes home to find his wife murdered and their three-year-old daughter alone-for how many hours?—in her room down the hall.  He had recently, begrudgingly, taken a position at the private college nearby teaching art history, and moved his family into this tight-knit, impoverished town.  And he is the immediate suspect—the question of his guilt echoing in a story shot through with secrets both personal and professional.  While his parents recue him from suspicion, a persistent cop is stymied at every turn in proving Clare, a heartless murderer.  The pall of death is ongoing, and relentless; behind one crime are others, and more than twenty years will pass before a hard kind of justice is finally served.  At once a classic “who-dun-it” that morphs into a “why-and-how-dun-it,” this is also a rich and complex portrait of a psychopath and a marriage, and an astute study of the various taints that can scar very different families, and even an entire community.”  (https://elizabethbrundage.com/books/all-things-cease-to-appear/)

    The patrons sharing her perspective about this book told the group that this is a story of a marriage that ends up with the wife being murdered with an ax.  The reader slowly learns more about the marriage and the husband’s personality.  Did he commit the murder?  We’ll have to read the book to find out!

    The next meeting of the Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library Book Club will be held on April 6, 2023, from 12 NOON to 1:00 PM.  We always have a great time sharing what we’ve read and look forward to seeing all of you again.  

    In the meantime, think about the following quote from Anne Lamott:  “Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation.  They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life:  They feed the soul.  When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored.  We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again.  It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea.  You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.”

  • February 2, 2023

    The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library Book Club met on February 2, 2023, from 12 NOON until 1:00 PM with 6 members in attendance. To the delight of all, one member shared her delicious home baked molasses cookies with us.  The library’s fireplace, home baked cookies, and coffee provided a wonderful background for great conversations about the books that members had read in the past month.

     

    The members discussed the following books:

     

    1. The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard Morais (available in library as a book and DVD movie).

    Description:  “Born above his grandfather's modest restaurant in Mumbai, India, Hassan Hail first experienced life through intoxicating whiffs of spicy fish curry, trips to the local markets, and gourmet outings with his mother. But when tragedy pushes the family out of India, they console themselves by eating their way around the world, eventually settling in Lumiere, a small village in the French Alps. The boisterous Haji family takes Lumiere by storm. The open an inexpensive Indian restaurant opposite an esteemed French relais that of the famous chef Madame Mallory and infuse the sleepy town with the spices of India, transforming the lives of its eccentric villages and infuriating their celebrated neighbor. Only after Madame Mallory wages culinary war with the immigrant family, does she finally agree to mentor young Hassan, leading him to Paris, the launch of his own restaurant, and a slew of new adventures. The Hundred-Foot Journey is about how the hundred-foot distance between a new Indian kitchen and a traditional French one can represent the gulf between different cultures and desires. A testament to the inevitability of destiny, this is a fable for the ages-charming, endearing, and compulsively readable." (amazon.com)

    Having read the book and watched the movie, the book club member sharing her perspectives about The Hundred-Foot Journey stated that although she enjoyed both, this was one of few occasions when she preferred the movie to the book.

     

    1. The Tide Between Us by Olive Collins (available on order as a book in MeLCat)

    Description:  “1821: Among the thousands of Irish deportees to the Caribbean British colonies is a 10 year old Irish boy, Art O'Neill. As an indentured servant on a sugar plantation in Jamaica, Art gradually acclimatizes to the exotic country and the unfamiliar customs of the African slaves. When the new heirs to the plantation arrive from Ireland, they resurrect the ghosts of brutal injustices against Art. He bides his time and hides his abhorrence from his new master by channeling his energy into his work. During those years, he prospers, he acquires land, he sees his coloured children freed after emancipation as he takes us on a multi-generational historical saga. Eventually Art is promised seven gold coins for seven decades of service. He doubts his master will part

    with the coins. The morning Art sets out to claim his gratuity, he ignores his sense of foreboding that he may not return home alive.  Ireland 1991: One hundred years later a skeleton is discovered beneath a fallen tree on the grounds of Lugdale Estate. By its side is a gold coin minted in 1870. Yseult, the owner of the estate, watched as events unfold, fearful of the long-buried truths that may emerge about her family’s past and its links to the slave trade. As the skeleton gives up its secrets, Yseult realizes she too can no longer hide. Inspired by the real story of 2,000 Irish children deported to Jamaica and the statistic that 25% of Jamaican citizens claim Irish ancestry. The Tide Between Us is a powerful novel documenting true historical events and the resilience of the human spirit." (goodreads.com).

    The club member reviewing this book brought a copy with her and showed the group that it includes a family tree inside the cover, allowing the reader to reference family and generational connections while reading. The member enjoyed the book, indicating that she learned about a piece of history she had not previously been familiar with.

     

    1. The Wildwater Walking Club by Claire Cook (available as a book, large print book and audiobook in MeLCat)

    Description: "After losing her boyfriend and her job in one fell swoop, Noreen has no idea what her next step is. So she puts on a new pair of sneakers and a seriously outdated pair of exercise pants, and walks. Before long she's joined by two neighbors as lost as she is. Throw in a road trip to Seattle for a lavender festival, a career-coaching group that looks like a bad sequel to The Breakfast Club, some terrific romantic comedy twists and turns, a quirky multigenerational cast of supporting characters, and the result is a tribute to female friendship that will inspire you to pick up the phone and call all your old friends-and maybe event start your own walking group." (clairecook.com)

    The club member reviewing this book commented that one phrase from this book that resonated with her was that each person must "make a fully conscious decision to invest” in himself or herself. The main character builds meaningful friendships by joining a walking club and learns about herself and others by doing so. The member enjoyed the book and recommended it to the others.

     

    1. The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell (available as a book in library and in MeLCat)

    Description: “1904: In the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the majestic Victoria Falls, there is a colonial settlement called The Old Drift. In a smoky room at the hotel across the river, an Old Drifter named Percy M. Clark, foggy with fever, makes a mistake that entangles the fates of an Italian hotelier and an African busboy. This sets off a cycle of unwitting retribution between three Zambian families (black, white, brown) as they collide and converge over the course of the century, into the present and beyond. As the generations pass, their lives their triumphs, errors, losses, and hopes emerge through a panorama of history, fairytale, romance, and science fiction. From a woman covered with hair and another plagued with endless tears, to forbidden love affairs and fiery political ones, to homegrown technological marvels like Afronauts, microdrones,

    and viral vaccines, this gripping, unforgettable novel is a testament to our yearning to create and cross borders, and meditation on the slow, grand passage of time." (amazon.com)

    The club member speaking about this book commented it included a family tree on the inside cover to assist readers. The book's setting in Zambia and the fact that observant, talkative mosquitoes tie the story together made for a unique read. The member also enjoyed the author's beautiful prose.

     

    1. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (available through the library as an Overdrive ebook and audiobook and though MeLCat as a book and audiobook).

    Description: The author's final novel was "First published…in 1879-80 and generally considered to be his masterpiece. It is the story of Fyodor Karamazov and his sons Alyosha, Dmitry, and Ivan. It is also a story of patricide, into the sordid unfolding of which Dostoevsky introduces a love-hate struggle with profound psychological and spiritual implications." (britannica.com)

    The club member reading this book said she was very much enjoying this classic.

     

    1. Now I See You by Shannon Work (available on order as a book in MeLCat)

    Description:  “Two Murders. A terrified mountain resort. Can a daring reporting help stop an avalanche of dead bodies? Celebrity TV anchor Georgia Glass wants out of Denver and far away from her obsessed fan. Set to host her own investigative crime show in LA, she's surprised to inherit a Victorian house in Aspen from a mysterious uncle she never knew. But while exploring the gothic property, she discovers the frozen corpse of a missing heiress. Georgia's journalist instincts kick in and she is determined to help police track down the killer. But by investigating the murder, has she made herself the killer's neat target? Can Georgia help solve the case before she becomes the next victim? Or will the stalker that followed her to Aspen get her first? Now I See You is a fast-paced whodunit set amidst the spectacular scenery of Aspen, Colorado, and the first book in the suspenseful Mountain Resort Mystery series." (barnesandnoble.com)

    Having read the book, the club member sharing her perspective told the group she enjoyed the mystery but did feel as if the book read like contemporary TV.

     

    1. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (available through library on Overdrive as ebook and audiobook and on order through MeLCat as book, large print book, and audiobook).

    Description:  “A novel written by an Ethiopian-born Indian- American medical doctor, it is a saga of twin brothers, orphaned by their mother's death at their births and forsaken by their father. The book includes both a deep description of medical procedures and an exploration of the human side of medical practices." (wikipedia.org)

    The club member shared that she read this book twice because she recalled enjoying the feelings that reading the book the first time gave her. She recommended the book to the other members, describing it as “so good.”

     

    1. Wonder by R.J. Polacio (available through library as a book and on Overdrive as a book and audiobook and on order through MeLCat as a book, audiobook, and movie).

    Description: “August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid but his new classmates can't get past Auggie's extraordinary face. Wonder, begins from Auggie's point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others." (goodreads.com)

    Although classified as young adult fiction, the book is appropriate for readers of all ages.  The club member sharing thoughts about this book appreciated the author's shifting perspectives about August's facial differences from August to his sister in particular. The member recommended this book to the group and felt that teens would benefit from reading this selection as well.

     

    1. My Blessed, Wretched Life: Rebecca Boone's Story by Sue Kelly Ballard (not available in library or MeLCat).

    Description: "Much has been written about the adventurous frontiersman Daniel Boone.  Author Sue Ballard documents the life of Daniel's wife, Rebecca Bryan Boone, a woman who deserves tribute for her role in carving new homes and new lives in the primitive and dangerous Kentucky wilderness. Ballard's description of Rebecca's day-to-day life is accurate in each detail, from raising their many children, farming, and kitchen work, to her hourly prayers and waiting in loneliness for the return of her trailblazing husband Ballard's narrative voice takes hold of the reader from the first pages and sweeps us back to relive those earliest days of Kentucky history. This evocative book inspires admiration for Rebecca as a fine representative of our revered pioneer women whose bravery and strength established the way for following generations." (Mary Popham, MFA, Spalding University, on butlerbooks.com)

    The club member reviewing this book received the books as a Christmas present from her husband, and she believed he made an excellent selection. Although fiction, the book effectively weaves in accurate historical detail making this a very interesting read. The member shared her amazement at Mrs. Boone's ability to give birth to, raise and care for 10 children, manage a household in the Kentucky wilderness in her husband's absence for long time periods, and make due under conditions of extreme poverty.

     

    1. 10. Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney (available in library as book and on Overdrive as ebook and audiobook and on order as a book and audiobook in MeLCat)

    Description:  "In Daisy Darker, the estranged Darker family reluctantly gathers at Nana's dilapidated coastal cottage to mark her 80th birthday. ‘Seaglass’ stands alone on a tiny tidal island.  At high tide, the Darkers will be stuck together and cut off from the rest of the world for a long eight hours. But just as Nana's eighty-strong quirky clock collection chimes midnight, she's found dead. An hour later, someone else is dead. Low tide is still five hours away. Who of the Darkers will survive until then? (bookofthemonth.com)

    "A mystery with a good ending" is how the club member described this book!

     

    1. Fox Creek by William Kent Krueger (available in library as book and on Overdrive as ebook and on order through MeLCatas a book, large print book, and audiobook)

    Description: "In Edgar winner Krueger's outstanding 19th mystery featuring PI Cork O'Connor of Minnesota's Tamarack County (after 2021's Lightning Strike), Cork is tending the grill at his burger joint when he's approached by a stranger who introduces himself as Louis Morriseau. Louis wants the PI to find his wife, Dolores, who he believes is having an affair with Henry Meloux. Cork immediately knows something is wrong, because his friend Henry, an Ojibwe healer, is more than 100 years old. Henry is indeed with Dolores, who's having a cleansing sweat under the guidance of Cork's wife Rainy, who's also Henry's great-niece. Dolores later confirms that the stranger is not her husband, Louis, who has been missing. Henry uses his highly developed sense of mysticism to lead Dolores and Rainy deep into the Boundary Waters wilderness to escape two killers pursuing the women. Meanwhile, Cork and Dolores' brother-in-law, Anton, a tribal cop, follows the killers. Krueger skillfully blends an evocative look at nature's beauty and peril with Native American lore. Not just regional mystery fans will be enthralled." (publishersweekly.com)

    This book was recommended to the group by the club member sharing the book with the others.

     

    1. An Unwanted Guest by Shari LaPena.

    Description:  “A weekend retreat at a cozy mountain lodge is supposed to be the perfect getaway . .. but when the storm hits, no one is getting away.  It's winter in the Catskills and Mitchell's Inn, nestled deep in the woods, is the perfect setting for a relaxing-maybe even romantic-weekend away. It boasts spacious old rooms with huge wood burning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a good murder mystery.  So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity--and all contact with the outside world-the guests settle in for the long haul.  Soon, though, one of the guests turns up dead--it looks like an accident.  But when a second guest dies, they start to panic.  Within the snowed-in paradise, something-or someone-is picking off the guests one by one. And there's nothing they can do but hunker down and hope they can survive the storm.”  (sharilapena.com)

    The club member shared that she read this book during a recent Michigan snowstorm which was the perfect ambience for this book because it takes place during a blizzard in the Catskills.  The author rapidly introduces that twelve characters during the first few chapters of the book which made the reader want to have a guide to characters near the front of the book for reference.  The author does an admirable job describing the Inn and its surroundings and builds suspense throughout the book.  Each character has a history, and many have something they don’t want the others to know.

     

    The group discussed the value of reading books to and with children and of reading books with family members and friends. Sharing perspectives about books can be very gratifying.

     

    Chris Nofsinger discussed the Russell Wood Ride, a bike-a-thon fundraiser for the Marcellus Township Library. Chris will be leaving soon to start her epic cross country bike ride accompanied by her husband David. Club members can go to gorallyup.com/russellwoodride, the fundraiser page, and to russellwoodride.blogspot. com to visit the Checked Out blog by David and Chris as Chris makes her cross country trek.

     

    The next meeting of the Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library Book Club will be held on March 2, 2023, from 12 NOON to 1:00 PM at the library. Bring your books, your thoughts about the books, and a friend- -join us for a lively discussion!

     

    Between now and then, ponder on the following:

     

    “Books are the plane, and the train, and the road.  They are the destination, and the journey.  They are home.”  Anna Quindlen

     

    “Keep reading.  It’s one of the most marvelous adventures that anyone can have.”  Lloyd Alexander

  • December 1, 2022

    December 1, 2022

    Greetings to all! 

     

    I was happy to be back with book club friends for the December gathering.  Here are the books we shared about:

     

    The World’s Worst Assistant, by Sona Movsesian

    Beartown Series, by Fredrik Backman:  Beartown, A Novel and The Winners

    My Little Michigan Kitchen: Recipes and Stories from a Homemade Life Well Lived,

         by Mandy McGovern

    The English Understand Wool, by Helen DeWitt

    A Tidy Ending, by Joanna Cannon

    The Christmas Candy Killing: A Killer Chocolate Mystery -  Book 1, by Christina Romeril

         (Apparently there will be more Candy Killer Mysteries coming soon!)

    The Kingdoms of Savannah (a novel), by George Dawes Green

    Braiding Sweetgrass, For Young Adults (Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the

    Teachings of Plants), by Robin Wall Kimmerer

     

    It surely was fun to talk about these books!  We are not yet sure whether we will have book group in January.  We’ll see what the weather is like on or around January 5, and will send out an email with the final plan for that month.

     

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.  I hope there will be “curl up and read” moments sprinkled among your festivities.  And joys among your struggles.  And love over all.

     

    Suzanne

  • August 23, 2021

    August 23, 2021

    Dear Book Club Friends,

     

    I have just finished reading The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustian.  I liked this book very much.  It is full of details about life in the Natchez Trace in a Mississippi swamp in the 1920’s – plus a gripping story that kept me guessing and staying up late till the end. 

     

    I’m looking forward to being with you to talk about books, or to wonder why we can’t seem to read much at certain times, and to let book talk energize and comfort us as we move into another season of shortening days and lengthening Covid shadows. 

     

    Wear your masks --  they can’t hide smiling eyes! – and come to the Marcellus Library for First Thursday Book Club on Thursday, September 2 at noon.   See you then!

     

    Suzanne

     

    P.S.  Won’t it be fun if we are ever the Book Brunch Bunch again someday?!

  • July 29, 2021

    July 29, 2021

    Hello, Book Club friends! 

     

    I have been reading The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray, which is on the new books shelf at the library (now that I took it back).  I want to talk about it at book club next week.  Marie Benedict also wrote The Other Einstein, The Only Woman in the Room, and Carnegie’s Maid, among others. We have talked about some of these novels, which are about lesser known, and less acknowledged, amazing women.  Benedict  also writes as Heather Terrell.  I found her first book using that pen name, written in 2007, called The Chrysalis, at the library.  I’m eager to see what it’s like.  Why does she use two names?  Different styles/focus/eras/???

     

    I hope a bunch of us will see each other and have a good chat next Thursday, August 5, at noon, at the library.  I will be wearing a mask again, due to the new covid variant, but at this point patrons are still welcome to choose to wear masks or not inside the library.  Maybe we can sit outside and let the wind free us from masks and anxiety!

     

    Best greetings to all!  Save the date!

    Suzanne

  • June 7, 2021

    June 7, 2021

    Hello, Book Groupers!

     

    Six of us were able to meet at the library last Thursday.  Here are the books we talked about:

     

    Before She Disappeared, by Lisa Gardiner

    The Plot, by Jean Hanff Korelitz  (Stephen King says this book is “insanely readable.”)

    What You are Getting Wrong about Appalachia, by Elizabeth Catte

    The Color of Heaven (Book 1 of 13 in the Color of Heaven series), by Julianne MacLean

    What Comes After, by Joanne Tompkins

    The Things We Leave Unfinished, by Rebecca Yarros

    Caul Baby, by Morgan Jenkins

    Beyond the Sun and Sea: One Family’s Quest for a Country to Call Home, by Ty McCormack

    My Broken Language: a Memoir, by Quiara Alegría Hudes

    Mother Grains: Recipes for the Grain Revolution, by Roxana Jullapat

    Three O’Clock in the Morning, by Gianrico Carofiglio

    Winter in Sokcho, by Elisa Shua Dusapin

     

    I must admit, the word “caul” sent me to the internet, where I learned  all about the word’s various meanings.  If I ever knew about caul babies, I had forgotten it.  How could I possibly not know, or forget, this word – and the cultural associations which societies around the world have attached to it.  Oh my, book club is so good for me!

     

    Our next book group gathering will be Thursday, July 1 at 12:00 noon at the library.  If the weather is nice, we can meet outdoors.  Let’s all wear hats with brims and sun glasses!  Just kidding:  that’s what I have to wear in sunshine, but you don’t, if you don’t want to!

     

    Wishing you happy summer days:  stay safe; care for those around you and those far away; read (or listen to) books. 

     

    Suzanne

     

  • May 20, 2021

    May 20, 2021
    Good morning, friends!
    Seven of us met at the library May 6th for, as usual, a lively discussion. I hope more of you will be able to come as the weather warms up, and, hopefully, as covid precautions continue to provide good guidance over the summer.
    Here are the books we discussed:
    One member had read four very different murder mysteries, just for the fun of it, and to try some new authors:
    Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March
    Murder in a Book Shop by Carolyn Wells
    Head Case by Michael Wiley
    Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder by T.A. Willberg
    Another member had read stories from America’s “pioneer” history:
    Old Town in the Green Groves by Cynthia Rylant
    Pioneer Girl and Prairie Fires by Laura Ingalls Wilder
    Caroline: Little House Revisited by Sarah Miller
    Others:
    The Family Ship by Sonja Yoerg
    The Rebel Chef by Dominique Cremm
    A Time for Mercy by John Grisham
    We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
    The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
    The Climate Diet: 50 Simple Ways to Trim Your Carbon Footprint by Paul Greenberg
    The Four Winds and The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
    The Paris Wife and When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain
    June will be here before we can read a book and turn around twice, so please put Book Club: Thursday, June 3, 12:00, Library on your calendars.
    Let’s have another great conversation then!
    Suzanne
  • April 1, 2021

    April 1, 2021

    Hello, Friends,

     

    Today was not a good day for people to come out to book club, and I was sorry to learn that some of you are not feeling well.  Second covid shot can be a tough one.  But we still had a great conversation, with Irene on the zoom, and Dawn, Chris, Joy and me at the library.  We were April Fools who talked and laughed a lot.

     

    Here are the books we discussed:

    • Chris and Dawn discovered that they have both fallen in love with Kristin Hannah’s books recently.  They told us about The Nightingale and The Four Winds.  The library has 15 of the 22 books she has written, and Chris says she will order those we don’t yet have. 
    • Irene sent this message:   “I read THE HATE YOU GIVE by ANGIE THOMAS. I didn’t like it much because of the language -- too many swear words. I am sure the story was nice but I just read 2 chapters and stopped .Then I read THE SURGEON by TESS GERRITSEN.  That was a FANTASTIC Spine Tingling Suspense Thriller .The author is a Surgeon so refers to all kinds of medical stuff .REALLY LOTS OF TWISTS.  Then I read ALL THE UGLY AND WONDERFUL THINGS by BRYAN GREENWOOD:  a family consumed with drugs and violence and children trying to do the right thing and raise themselves.  Really nicely written with many tragedies but also joys.
    • Educated, by Tara Westover.
    • Sweetgrass, by Mary Alice Monroe.
    • The Mission House, by Carys Davies.
    • Night in Tehran, by Philip Kaplan.
    • The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustian.

     

    We will plan to have our next gathering on Thursday, May 6.  Hopefully it will be a beautiful, warm spring day and we will meet at the library and everyone will be healthy and masks will feel good and we’ll have a grand time.  I will be in touch before then to bug you!  Keep reading!

     

    Best greetings,

    Suzanne

  • March 24, 2021

    March 24, 2021
    Hello, Book Friends!
    This month, we had a lively zoom with seven people. Somehow we managed to squeeze a lot of book talk into our 40 minutes. Hopefully, next month, when Spring has arrived, we can meet at the library (masked and distanced) again, on April Fool’s Day. Or perhaps we’ll have a “hybrid” meeting: zoom and in-person. In any case, temperatures and spirits will probably be lifting and a good book conversation will brighten our day.
    Here are the books which were introduced yesterday:
    The Mystery of Mrs. Christie, by Marie Benedict (who also wrote The Other Einstein, The Only Woman in the Room, Lady Clementine and Carnegie’s Maid).
    The Grace Year, by Kim Liggett
    Before You Go, by Tommy Butler
    Going to the Mountain: Life Lessons from My Grandfather, Nelson Madela, by Ndaba Mandela
    What Doesn’t Kill You: A Life With Chronic Illness – Lessons from a Body in Revolt, by Tessa Miller
    Murder in Canaryville: The True Story Behind a Cold Case and a Chicago Cover-Up, by Jeff Coen
    The Rope: A True Story of Murder, Heroism and the Dawn of the NAACP, by Alex Tresniowski
    The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History, by David F. Walker and Marcus Kwame Anderson
    The Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story (of the Lost Boys of Sudan), by Linda Sue Park
    Beyond the Rice Fields, by Naivo (translated from Malagasy by Allison Charette)
    A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself, by Peter Ho Davies
    Just as I Am: A Memoir, by Cicely Tyson
    Whew! Obviously, we did not discuss each book in depth! But what fun to see each reader’s enthusiasm through brief glimpses into these stories! Needless to say, we could have gone on for a long time! Maybe in June and July all 17 of us who have at one time or another been together for Library Brunch/Club can sit outside the library to talk together about books and ourselves. That sounds wonderful to me.
    Until then, stay safe, keep wearing masks, and plan to attend the next book group meeting on April 1!
    Suzanne
  • February 26, 2021

    February 26, 2021
    Hello, book lovers/readers/sharers!
    Somehow February whizzed past and here comes March! Our next book club get-together will be next Thursday, March 4, at noon. We will meet virtually again, using Zoom. Maybe in April or May we will be able to meet at the library.
    I will send out a Zoom link next Wednesday, or Thursday morning, and hope to see lots of you on the screen on March 4.
    Have you seen the redecorated children’s room yet?! If not, put on your mask and stop in! The library is open for short visits. If you come on Wednesday morning, you can see me!
    Enjoy your books, and the longer days.
    Suzanne
  • February 4, 2021

    A small online gathering...with hope we can meet in person in the near future!
    February 4, 2021

    Hello, Book Club People!

     We had a small group on our Zoom meeting yesterday, but we had good conversation and laughter.   And today I had some good news:

    The Library will be reopening on February 8!  There will still be some restrictions, but at least people can now come in to look for and to check out books.  And that means that, unless the pandemic slams us really hard again in the next few weeks, we can have our March book club meeting at the library  --  in the beautiful, newly redecorated Children’s Room!  Of course, we will wear masks and sit well distanced from each other, but at least we can be together in person, and hopefully more of us will be able to attend.  Yay!

     These guidelines will be in place starting next Monday: Curbside service will continue for those who prefer that method, but patrons are welcome to return to usual library use.  The following Covid-related guidelines remain in effect:  1. Wear a mask which covers both mouth and nose.  2. When possible, call and reserve a time to use a computer.  3. Limit computer use to 30 minutes, except by special permission.

     Here are the books we talked about yesterday:

    An Inconvenient Wife, by Mary Hoban

    In Praise of Difficult Women:  Life Lessons from 29 Heroines who Dared to Break the Rules, by Karen Karbo

    Broken Places (A Chicago Mystery) Book 1 of 4,  by Tracy Clark

    Northern Lights, by Nora Roberts

    The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Girls, by Kate Moore

    Killer Instinct (Instinct Series: Book 2 of 2), by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

    All My Mother’s Lovers, by Ilana Masad

    Hamnet: A Novel of the Plague by Maggie O’Farrell

    Murder in Old Bombay, by Nev March

    The Talented Miss Farwell, by Emily Gray Tedrowe

    The Sakuru Obsession: The Incredible Story of the Plant Hunter Who Saved Japan’s Cherry Blossoms, by Naoko Abe

     

    Doesn’t that make you drool and long to get back into the library and scour the new book shelves?!  Please do keep reading something as we plow through winter and hope for spring.  Stay safe!  Love your books!

     

    Suzanne

     

    P.S.  Here is a message from Dawn, who could not join the group yesterday:  “I read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and watched the movie.  The message it had for me:  Don’t be afraid to express your feelings.  Find courage anywhere.  Be grateful for friends and family.”

  • January 7, 2021

    January 7, 2021

    Hello, Book Club Friends!

     

    I know not all of you have access to zoom, and I am really hoping it won’t be too long till we can meet at the library again.  I’d love to hear what all of you are reading.  Can you send me a quick email and tell me? 

     

    Today there were six of us on the book club zoom yesterday.  Here are the books we talked about:

     

    The Museum of Dance by Jonathan Kellerman.  (fiction)

    Caste – The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson.  (non-fiction)

    Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain.  (historical fiction)

    As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner (historical fiction)

    The Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney (fiction)

    Absolute Truths by Susan Howatch (fiction)

    The Whisper Network by Chandler Baker (fiction)

    The Alice Network by Kate Quinn  (historical fiction)

    The Bramble and the Rose – A Henry Farrell Novel by Tom Bouman (fiction)

    Sleep Donation by Karen Russell (dystopian epidemic fiction)

    Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gaily (dystopian fiction)

    Hamnet – A Novel of the Plague by Maggie O’Farrell (historical fiction)

    The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (historical fiction).  Irene wants everyone to read this book and tell her what we think of the ending, which she found very shocking!

     

    We noticed that the majority of these books are by and about women.  Several of them reveal fascinating background information about historical times/events, often from a woman’s perspective.   Isabel Wilkerson’s book Caste keeps coming up as an important look at some of the basic attitudes and beliefs on which Americans’ attitudes and beliefs are based.  Lots of good stories make it easier to read than some books on that subject.

     

    I hope you are all taking good care of yourselves, staying safe, and that you have books around you.  Even if you don’t feel like reading, touching a book is good for the soul!

     

    Best wishes for the year ahead,

    Suzanne

  • January 2021 Zoom Book Club

    January 2021 Zoom Book Club

    Contact us to receive the Zoom link to participate!

    January 2021 Zoom Book Club - Read More…

  • December 2020 Book Club Notes

    December 2020 Book Club Notes

    Dear Book Club friends,

    I think the December Book Club meeting came up too soon for some of us, and I also realize that members who have children are probably busy helping them with their virtual school work --  or are getting lunch for them  --  so it was not too surprising that only three of us were able to zoom together yesterday.  Laura Dunn, Chris Nofsinger and I had a good time discussing books . . . and life . . .  and various things yesterday.  Patty Witten and Kathy Rolfe sent me email notes about books they have been reading.  

     

    Here are the books that were shared about yesterday:

    The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

    The Collector by Nora Roberts

    Just Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine

    Nobody Will Tell You This But Me by Bess Kalb

    I Saw Him Die by Andrew Wilson

    Detective Vera Stanhope series by Ann Cleeves (Kathy is reading the second book in the series, and I am reading the most recent one, which I found on the new books shelf in the library last week.) 

    The Book Collectors: A Band of Syrian Rebels and the Stories that Carried them through a War by Delphine Minoui

     

    We plan to continue Book Club Zooms on the first Thursday of every month from now on until the library can once again open to the public.  So put zooming on the first Thursday on your calendars for the next few months if you can.  Or let me know that you can’t zoom and we’ll see if we can find other ways for you to participate.

     

    I hope we all find new joys as well as challenges during this unusual holiday season.  Keep reading!  Stay safe!

    Hoping to see you or hear from you in January,

    Suzanne

  • December 2020 Zoom Book Club

    December 2020 Zoom Book Club

    Dear Library Book Brunch Friends!

    It was great fun to have some of us in person in the remodeled children’s room, and some on Zoom, for the November Book Club discussion. Laughter and intelligent conversation (and silly, funny talk) are a healing balm for our souls. Books kindly sit there and wait for us when we don’t feel like reading, and then embrace us with their magic when we are able to pick them up again.

    New pandemic restrictions will prevent us from having our December Book Club meeting in person, but we can Zoom! I plan to host a Zoom meeting on Thursday, December 3, at 12:00 noon. I will send the link out to everyone that morning. I hope that many of us can join in!

    Last year we had that fantastic cookie party in December. How life has changed. And it will change again. But friendship and books are one of life’s unchanging gifts to us, and I am grateful that this Book Brunch Bunch continues to encourage and refresh us.

    Hoping to see all your faces on December 3!

    Best greetings,

    Suzanne

  • November 3, 2020

    November 3, 2020

    Dear Marcellus Library Book Club/Brunch/Group!

     

    We will meet for our November discussion this coming Thursday, November 5, at 12:00 noon.  We have two options for participating:

    • In person, in the children’s room at the library (masked, socially distanced, no food). We still have room for three on this list.
    • Participation in a zoom call.  I will send out the zoom link to everyone on this email list, first thing Thursday morning. 

     

    This is a free zoom, so will only last for 40 minutes, but sometimes they give us extra time.  Let’s try to start right at 12:00, which means those joining should click on the link in the email about 11:57, :58, or :59. 

     

    If you can’t be part of it, you could send a quick note about the book you would like to tell about to me by email, or to the Library Book Club email address.

     

    This is so exciting!  Hope to see all of you on Thursday. 

     

    Suzanne

  • October 19, 2020

    October 19, 2020

    Hello, Book Bruncher-Readers!

     

    As we head into colder months, we will need our books and our friends more than ever.  So I am happy to report that the Library Book Group will meet right on schedule at 12:00 noon on Thursday, November 7

     

    And good news:  The newly renovated children’s room at the library will be ready for use, so we can meet there.  Actually, ten people can meet there. We will also have a Zoom connection set up, so others can join the conversation that way. 

     

    If you can’t be with the group in either way (in person/Zoom), but want to share what you are reading, you can send me an email and I will share it  --  and reply to you with questions/comments from the group.

     

    Please call the library (269-646-9654) to reserve an in-person, socially distanced chair at the library  OR to ask to be put on the Zoom list.  We will need your email address for a Zoom notice.

     

    Got all that?  Here’s the summary:

     

    What:  Marcellus Library Book Group

    When:  Thursday, November 5, 2020

                   12:00 noon

    Where: In person at the library  or joining with Zoom.  Call the library to sign up.  Only ten people can meet at the library.

     

    When life gives us lemons, we make lemonade, right?!

    Hope to see your body  (well clothed) or your face on November 5!  (I’ll be on Zoom, but I’ll be at the library!)

     

    Suzanne

     

    P.S.  Masks!

  • October 1, 2020

    October 1, 2020

    Dear Book Club friends,

     

    Tomorrow is the first Thursday of October!  It snuck up on us because our last meeting was on Wednesday, September 16.  We had a good time, outdoors and masked, with good sharing and good books discussed.

     

    At that meeting we decided to start our regular first Thursday meetings again, and agreed that if is warm enough on the first Thursday of October (tomorrow) we will meet in person outdoors again.  I don’t think the weather tomorrow will be warm enough to meet outdoors.  Our second option is to have a zoom meeting.

     

    Could each of you please send me a quick email to tell me if you have a computer at home on which you can participate in zoom gatherings?  I have never hosted a zoom meeting before, so it would be an experiment for all of us.  If there are too many “brunchers” who cannot participate in a zoom meeting, we may have to re-think our plans.  Will you please let me know today yet if you are available for a Book Group Zoom tomorrow, October 1 at 12:00 noon?

     

    If any of you are experienced in hosting zoom meetings, and would like to host the meeting tomorrow, please let me know.  It would be a big help to have someone with experience lead us into this new way of sharing about books!

     

    Thanks so much.  We’ll find a way!

    Suzanne

  • September 16, 2020

    September 16, 2020

    On September 16, 2020, after six months of separation due to the Coronavirus pandemic, members of the Marcellus Library First Thursday Book Brunch Group met together, in person, to talk about books.  Nine members, wearing masks, gathered in a loose circle around one of the new library picnic tables to share about what they have been reading over the past several months.  The group had maintained some contact through email and Marcellus Library Facebook posts, but when talking about books, being together is the most fun.  An hour was not long enough to catch up on books and life, so the group hopes to meet again, outside and masked, at the library on Thursday, October 1 at noon.  If the weather is too cold, the group will have their first zoom meeting that day. Everyone is invited to join the conversation.  Call the library at 269-646-9654 for more information. 

  • September 3, 2020

    September 3, 2020

    Hello once again, Book Club friends –

     

    It is now six months since our last brunch and book sharing time.  How I miss those good times around the conference table!

     

    I hope you are all well, reading more or less, depending on your schedules and moods.  But reading; do keep reading.  It has been good to hear from a few of you about books you have been reading over the summer. 

     

    I have been dabbling in a wide variety of books, some fiction, and some non-fiction.  Sylvie (who has come to book brunch a few times) and I have been checking out various detective series.  She is currently reading Colin Cotterill’s Dr. Siri Paiboun series.  I checked out the Valentino mysteries by Loren D. Estleman (his latest, Indigo, is on the new books shelf). They are interesting, but so heavy on references to movies I had never heard of that I found them tiresome.

     

    Yesterday I finally got my Inter-Library Loan copy of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson.  Dawn and Irene had both recommended this book, and I can tell already that it’s a good read. 

     

    I also brought home The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood, which was recommended long ago at book club, but never seems to be on the shelf when I look.  Well, now I have it, so it will be read after Troublesome Creek.  Two others from the new book shelf, which I had never heard of before and which I’ll try out:  Bronte’s Mistress, by Finola Austin and Sea Wife, by Amity Gaige.  I think my reading drought is over.  Move over, word search book, I’m reading again!

     

    Here’s an idea:  the library now has two picnic tables with umbrellas outside the front door.  Would anyone be interested in a shortened, masked, socially distanced, sanitizer available book club get-together some day while the weather is still warm?  Let me know what you think. 

     

    Best greetings to all of you.  Keep in touch. 

    Suzanne

  • August 5, 2020

    August 5, 2020

    Hello, Marcellus Library Readers/Brunchers!

     

    Once again, no brunch.  But it’s important to stay in touch and to keep encouraging each other to read and to maintain friendships.  I would love to hear from each of you about 1) how you are, and 2) what you are reading.   I know several people who say they just can’t read anymore, and for a while I couldn’t either, but now I am “back to books” and have also discovered that word searches (large print) are very calming for me!  So that’s a new pastime.

     

    We have a lot of new books at the library.  You can read some of the titles in the “Library News” section of The Marcellus News each week.  Or you can come into the library, if you feel safe enough, and check out the New Books shelf.  The library is clean, sanitized and staffed by caring, masked staff members. 

     

    Recently I have read:

    Finna, by Nino Cipri, a very short, strange book; sort of science fiction, sort of social commentary.  Mediocre fiction, in my humble opinion.

    Darling Rose Gold, by Stephanie Wrobel.  This is an interesting psychological-thriller-type book, but not really gripping.

    Afterlife, by Julia Alvarez.   A relatively short, interesting novel about the death of a spouse, challenges which

    relate to immigration, and maturing even in older years. 

     

    I miss you all, I miss our brunches, and I hope you are all well.  Keep reading!  Tell me about it!

     

    Suzanne

  • July 11, 2010

    While we still cannot meet as a group, we are open and excited to see your masked smiles. We are happy to arrange curbside pickups if you aren't ready to return to the building!
    July 11, 2010

    Hello, all you dear adult readers and Book Club Brunchers!

     

    Guess who was looking forward to writing to you on the first Thursday of July, and then totally forgot.  Yes, of course, me.  But I can’t think of a more understanding group in which I could admit that.

     

    I hope you are all having good summer times, having adjusted to the “new normal” guidelines for our lives.  And I hope you are still reading, though I know from experience, and talking with others, that there are times when reading becomes less longed for and we wander off to other things for a while.  Usually, we return to the beloved books at some point, with a sense of having met up once again with a core part of our beings.

     

    That’s how the summer has been for me:  on again, off again.  Right now I am reading two books from the library’s new book shelf:

     

    The Mountains Sing, by Nguyen Phan Que Mai and Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel.  The Mountains Sing is a novel, beautifully written, about a Vietnamese family during the changing governments and wars in their country during the 20th century.  It focuses on the strength and resilience of the women and children left behind during chaotic times.

     

    Darling Rose Gold is a somewhat creepy but believable story about a mother and her daughter.  Full of surprises, questions, changing perspectives  --  I’m not quite halfway through it, but it’s got me in its grip. 

     

    What are you reading?  If you “reply all” to this message, we can all see what you have been reading.  And of course we like to hear your opinions of the books you read.   Please respond and keep the brunch bond alive and well!

     

    The library is open again!  You can come and get some fresh, new books, or pick up some old favorites.  Things are a bit more formal than they used to be:  staff wear masks, we have a shield at the front desk and dividers between the computers, and the comfy furniture has been put away until another time.  But the friendly welcome is still there, the delight in greeting friends, the wonderful opportunity to let Marcellus Library work its magic on your mind and heart.  We do encourage everyone who visits to wear a mask, but we certainly do recognize smiling eyes!

     

    Wishing each of you the strength you need for each day, and the book you need for each reading moment.

    Sincerely,

    Suzanne

  • June 4, 2020

    Unable to meet at the library, the discussion continues online.
    June 4, 2020

    Hello, Library Book Club Brunchers!

    Here it is a first Thursday of the month, and we need to talk. I have been thinking a lot about all of you and hoping that you are well, that you have found ways to stay calm but not depressed, and that you are reading.

    A few weeks ago I read a book written by a college friend of my husband’s, Florine Gingerich. It was written in 2001 and is no longer in print, but she sent us a copy a few years ago. It is called Lungo Drom, which means Long Road; it’s the story of a group of Gypsy families in France, Italy and Belgium during WWII. It’s a wonderful look into their lives and traditions, and includes a very nice love story, but it is sad because it also tells how they were rounded up and placed in concentration camps.

    Then Chris said she liked Cilka’s Journey, by Heather Morris, written in 2019, and also set in a concentration camp in 1942. I decided to read Morris’s first novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz first, since it was written first, in 2018.

    The characters of all three of these books end up in Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. So this is a rather heavy-duty diet of sadness and tiny triumphs. But they are well written and engaging. I promise to have them back in the library by June 15.

    I’m also reading The Hired Man, by Aminatta Forna. I read her book Happiness a few weeks ago, and loved it, so thought I’d try this one, too. It’s off to a slow start, but I’ll pick it up again soon.

    I told Kathy that I’d read the last book of Charles Todd’s Ian Rutledge detective series and was not too impressed. She suggested I start at the beginning of the series, with A Test of Wills, and see if I like reading them in order better. So I will; they are next in line. There are 19 of them! Yikes! I hope I like them and can whizz through them. Or maybe first and last two/three will be enough?

    What are you reading, dear friends? Patty is going to put this message on the website or Facebook and you could respond there so that we can all share about our reading experiences. During this deeply troubling time of pandemic and social unrest, books can continue to be our guides, our comforters, our inspirers, our occasional escape.

    AND: (drum roll) The library is going to reopen, with some changes, over the next couple weeks. Please read the schedule and special conditions on the web site or Facebook.

    All best wishes, Bruncher-Readers!

    Suzanne

  • May 8, 2020

    We'd love to hear what you're reading during the Covid-19 closures.
    May 8, 2020

    Hello, Book Brunchers!

    I knew there was something I wanted to do yesterday, but couldn’t remember what it was until this morning, when I realized that it was the first Friday of May, and that I had forgotten to write to you on the FIRST THURSDAY of the month! You will all probably be very understanding: it’s hard for all of us to keep track of days and intentions right now, isn’t it?

    But here we are, looking into the unknown, and wondering if and when we’ll sit together to munch and share about books. It may be quite a while yet. But that doesn’t mean we can’t encourage each other, and share ideas about good books. And watch for Book Bingo, coming up on the web site, soon, maybe.

    What have you been reading during the past strange weeks? I’d love to get an email from you, or see a post from you on Facebook or the library web site, to share about books; perhaps to muse a little about what role books are playing for you during this sad, sad pandemic.

    I read my first Charles Todd mystery (Inspector Ian Rutledge) -- A Divided Loyalty -- but I can’t remember a thing about it so am not sure if I finished it. It’s written by a mother-son team.

    I started but did not finish:
    The Promise by Silvina Ocampo
    I Myself Have Seen It: The Myth of Hawaii by Susanna Moore.
    Syria’s Secret Library: Reading and Redemption in a Town Under Siege, by Mike Thomson
    Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik
    Rumi Wisdom: Daily Teachings from the Great Sufi Master, by Timothy Freke


    Others I sort of flew through:
    To the Land of Long Lost Friends, by Alexander McCall Smith
    10-Pound Penalty, by Dick Francis
    Rules of Deception, by Christopher Reich
    A Conspiracy of Bones, by Kathy Reichs
    The Nuttiest Riddle Book in the World by Morrie Gallant (looking for riddles to text to grandkids)

    Thought-provoking, intense reads:
    Light in August, by William Faulkner
    Holy Masquerade, by Olov Hartman

    I’ve just started Bread of Love, by Peder Sjogren. Not sure about this one . . . .

    I miss you all! We’ll try to keep you informed about next steps for the library on the web page, and in the newspaper. Please write to me or to the web page or on Facebook to reassure us all that you are still reading!

    Love to all,
    Suzanne

  • March 25, 2020

    April book club must be cancelled. Keep on reading!
    March 25, 2020

    Dear Book Club Brunchers!

     

    How very sad that we cannot meet for the foreseeable future.  I certainly do miss our conversations and interactions.  I hope each of you is following all the guidelines for being as safe and healthy as possible  --  and getting outside for walks as often as possible. 

     

    Let’s keep reading!   As Chris says, “Read, read, read!!” Let’s keep lists of what we read, and then share them when we can gather again around the Brunch Table.   

     

    The library website will keep us up to date on all kinds of things, including the date when we can once again go to our wonderful community hot-spot, Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library!

     

    Love and best wishes to all of you! 

    Suzanne

  • March 5, 2020

    Normally, we meet on the first Thursday of the month...this month, we met on Friday.
    March 5, 2020

    Hello, Book Brunchers!

     

    Thanks to those who were able to come on a Friday instead of a Thursday this month!  Next month we will return to our usual schedule, meeting on Thursday, April 2 at noon around the brunch table at the library.  I hope all of you will be able to come!

     

    This week we shared about these books:

    No Stopping Us Now, by Gail Collins

    The Trouble with Rachel by Dorothy Cannell

    The Children of the Lion series #18, by Peter Danielson

    Between Shades of Grey, by Ruta Sepetys

    Inside Out, by Demi Moore

    The Girl with the Louding Voice, by Abi Daré

     

    I hope those of you who have had surgery will come striding in to the next book brunch get-together in April!  Best wishes to all who have been sick or over-worked.

     

    Suzanne