The Library Reads book club reads popular books recommended by library staff from around the United States. Starting in February 2021, the club will meet the third Thursday of each month, at 7 pm at the Main library.

Book Clubs

Library Reads (07/21/2022): The Four Winds

“My land tells its story if you listen. The story of our family.”

Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows.

By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa’s tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.
In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family.

The Four Winds is a rich, sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression and the people who lived through it—the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. A testament to hope, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit to survive adversity, The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation. […]

Book Clubs

Library Reads (06/16/2022): The Book Charmer

Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books live, breathe, and sometimes even speak. As the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler.

If the books are right, Grace could be the savior Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. But with a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, will Grace ultimately embrace the challenge to rescue her charmed new community?

“A mesmerizing fusion of the mystical and the everyday” (Susan Andersen, New York Times bestselling author), The Book Charmer is a heartwarming story about the magic of books that feels more than a little magical itself. […]

Book Clubs

Library Reads (05/19/2022): The Lions of Fifth Avenue

It’s 1913, and on the surface, Laura Lyons couldn’t ask for more out of life—her husband is the superintendent of the New York Public Library, allowing their family to live in an apartment within the grand building, and they are blessed with two children. But headstrong, passionate Laura wants more, and when she takes a leap of faith and applies to the Columbia Journalism School, her world is cracked wide open. As her studies take her all over the city, she is drawn to Greenwich Village’s new bohemia, where she discovers the Heterodoxy Club—a radical, all-female group in which women are encouraged to loudly share their opinions on suffrage, birth control, and women’s rights. Soon, Laura finds herself questioning her traditional role as wife and mother. And when valuable books are stolen back at the library, threatening the home and institution she loves, she’s forced to confront her shifting priorities head on . . . and may just lose everything in the process.

Eighty years later, in 1993, Sadie Donovan struggles with the legacy of her grandmother, the famous essayist Laura Lyons, especially after she’s wrangled her dream job as a curator at the New York Public Library. But the job quickly becomes a nightmare when rare manuscripts, notes, and books for the exhibit Sadie’s running begin disappearing from the library’s famous Berg Collection. Determined to save both the exhibit and her career, the typically risk-averse Sadie teams up with a private security expert to uncover the culprit. However, things unexpectedly become personal when the investigation leads Sadie to some unwelcome truths about her own family heritage—truths that shed new light on the biggest tragedy in the library’s history. […]

Book Clubs

Library Reads (04/21/2022): Bookish Life of Nina Hill

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.
1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page. […]

Book Clubs

Library Reads (03/17/2022): The Dutch House

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to build an immense real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.

The story is told by Cyril’s son, Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled by their stepmother from the house where they grew up. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is each other. It is this unshakable bond that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures. […]

Book Clubs

Library Reads (02/17/2022): How the Penguins Saved Veronica

Eighty-five-year-old Veronica McCreedy is estranged from her family and wants to find a worthwhile cause to leave her fortune to. When she sees a documentary about penguins being studied in Antarctica, she tells the scientists she’s coming to visit–and won’t take no for an answer.

Shortly after arriving, she convinces the reluctant team to rescue an orphaned baby penguin. He becomes part of life at the base, and Veronica’s closed heart starts to open. Her grandson, Patrick, follows Veronica to Antarctica to make one last attempt to get to know his grandmother. Together, Veronica, Patrick, and even the scientists learn what family, love, and connection are all about […]

Book Clubs

Library Reads (01/20/2022): Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss

Follow the eccentric, cantankerous, utterly charming Professor Chandra as he tries to answer the biggest question of all: What makes us happy?

Professor Chandra is an internationally renowned economist, divorced father of three (quite frankly baffling) children, recent victim of a bicycle hit-and-run—but so much more than the sum of his parts.

In the moments after the accident, Professor Chandra doesn’t see his life flash before his eyes but his life’s work. He’s just narrowly missed the Nobel Prize (again), and even though he knows he should get straight back to his pie charts, his doctor has other ideas.

All this work. All this success. All this stress. It’s killing him. He needs to take a break, start enjoying himself. In short, says his doctor, he should follow his bliss. Professor Chandra doesn’t know it yet, but he’s about to embark on the journey of a lifetime.

“Searingly funny, uplifting, and wonderful . . . Professor Chandra is as unbending a curmudgeon as one could wish to find scowling from the pages of a novel.”—Helen Simonson, New York Times bestselling author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and The Summer Before the War […]

Book Clubs

Library Reads (12/16/2021): The Supreme Macaroni Company

In The Shoemaker’s Wife Adriana Trigiani swept her readers across generations of an Italian family, from the Italian Alps at the turn of the twentieth century to the cobblestone streets of Little Italy. In The Supreme Macaroni Company, she weaves a heartbreaking story that begins on the eve of a wedding in New York’s Greenwich Village, travels to New Orleans, and culminates in Tuscany. Family, work, romance, and the unexpected twists of life and fate all come together in an unforgettable narrative that Adriana Trigiani’s many fans will adore. […]

Book Clubs

Library Reads (11/18/2021): The Tumbling Turner Sisters

For fans of Orphan Train and Water for Elephants, a compelling historical novel from “one of the best authors of women’s fiction” (Library Journal). Set against the turbulent backdrop of American Vaudeville, four sisters embark on an unexpected adventure—and a last-ditch effort to save their family.

It’s 1919, and the Turners are barely scraping by. When their father loses his job, their irrepressible mother decides that vaudeville is their best chance to make the rent—and create a more exciting life for herself in the process.

Traveling by train from town to town, teenagers Gert, Winnie, and Kit, and recent widow Nell soon find a new kind of freedom in the company of performers who are as diverse as their acts. There is a seamier side to the business, however, and the young women face dangers and turns of fate they never could have anticipated. Heartwarming and surprising, The Tumbling Turner Sisters is ultimately a story of awakening—to unexpected possibilities, to love and heartbreak, and to the dawn of a new American era. […]

Book Clubs

Library Reads (10/21/2021): Hollow Kingdom

S.T., a domesticated crow, is a bird of simple pleasures: hanging out with his owner Big Jim, trading insults with Seattle’s wild crows (i.e. “those idiots”), and enjoying the finest food humankind has to offer: Cheetos ®. But when Big Jim’s eyeball falls out of his head, S.T. starts to think something’s not quite right. His tried-and-true remedies — from beak-delivered beer to the slobbering affection of Big Jim’s loyal but dim-witted dog, Dennis — fail to cure Big Jim’s debilitating malady. S.T. is left with no choice but to abandon his old life and venture out into a wild and frightening new world with his trusty steed Dennis, where he suddenly discovers that the neighbors are devouring one other. Local wildlife is abuzz with rumors of Seattle’s dangerous new predators. Humanity’s extinction has seemingly arrived, and the only one determined to save it is a cowardly crow whose only knowledge of the world comes from TV.

What could possibly go wrong?

“The Secret Life of Pets meets The Walking Dead” in this big-hearted, boundlessly beautiful romp through the Apocalypse, where a foul-mouthed crow is humanity’s only chance to survive Seattle’s zombie problem (Karen Joy Fowler, PEN/Faulkner Award-winning author). […]