First Thursday Book Club
Love to read? Enjoy discussions of books with friends? Join the First Thursday Book Club. Library book discussions are held on the first Thursday of the month at 7:30 pm. For further information, please call the Library at 201-387-4040 ext. 2832 or email the Reference Desk. Or come to the Reference Desk to pick up a copy of the current book.
The book for Thursday, May 4th is Please Look after Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin
This novel, translated into English from the original Korean, explores how individual members of a family are traumatized by the sudden and unexplained disappearance of “Mom.” As the narrative explores the loss, self-recrimination, and in some cases, self-discovery experienced in the aftermath of Mom’s disappearance, it also considers themes related to the self-sacrifice of mothers, the relationship between past and present, and the shifting nature of identity
Future titles include:
June 1st A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery. Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.
Genghis Khan: The Emperor of All Men by Harold Lamb
Eight hundred or so years ago, a man almost conquered the earth. He made himself master of half the known world and inspired humankind with a fear that lasted for generations. Genghis Khan, meaning universal ruler, was a man difficult to measure by ordinary standards. When he marched with his army, it was by degrees of latitude and longitude instead of miles; cities in his path were often obliterated and rivers diverted from their courses; deserts were populated with the fleeing and dying, and after he had passed, wolves and ravens were often the sole living things in a once populous area.
At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier
1838: James and Sadie Goodenough have settled where their wagon got stuck – in the muddy, stagnant swamps of northwest Ohio. They and their five children work relentlessly to tame their patch of land, buying saplings from a local tree man known as John Appleseed so they can cultivate the fifty apple trees required to stake their claim on the property. But the orchard they plant sows the seeds of a long battle.
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
Following his penchant for writing about grand historical events—while placing two contrasting worlds side-by-side—Erik Larson, takes on the sinking of the Lusitania. The ship’s torpedoing by a German U-boat stunned the world and culminated, eventually, in America’s entry into World War I. In alternating chapters, Larson also takes us into the bowels of the German submarine in all its claustrophobic glory—the odors of unbathed men, unflushed toilets, diesel fuel, and mold, always mold. The two worlds—of the spacious liner and the cramped U-boat—couldn’t be farther apart, except that time is drawing near when they will meet, resulting in a devastating blow to one.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Every day, Rachel takes the same London commuter train and passes the same suburban scenery, yet one house catches her eye-mainly because of the married couple she glimpses living there. This leads Rachel to conjure up an entire dream life for this husband and wife, even naming them and giving them make-believe careers. Rachel’s life has been spiraling downward, and her fantasy about this couple gives her a little joy. But all is not what it seems and Rachel is soon embroiled in a murderous thriller.
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
Unaccustomed Earth is a collection of eight stand-alone short stories that detail the experiences of Indian immigrants, primarily those in America. When taken together, the final three stories form a novella. In the stunning title story, Ruma, a young mother in a new city, is visited by her father, who carefully tends the earth of her garden, where he and his grandson form a special bond. But he’s harboring a secret from his daughter, a love affair he’s keeping all to himself. In “A Choice of Accommodations,” a husband’s attempt to turn an old friend’s wedding into a romantic getaway weekend with his wife takes a dark, revealing turn as the party lasts deep into the night. And in “Hema and Kaushik,” a trio of linked stories—a luminous, intensely compelling elegy of life, death, love, and fate—we follow the lives of a girl and boy who, one winter, share a house in Massachusetts. They travel from innocence to experience on separate, sometimes painful paths, until destiny brings them together again years later in Rome.
Behind The Scenes, Or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House by Elizabeth Keckley
The story of Elizabeth Keckley, a former slave who became a successful Washington, D.C., dressmaker and confidante of First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln. This intimate bond allowed Keckley to witness the happy times as well as the tragic events that unfolded within the Lincoln White House. Keckley’s post-Civil War life story is part slave narrative, part gossip column, part Horatio Alger story.
The Immortal Irishman by Timothy Egan.
The Irish-American story, with all its twists and triumphs, is told through the improbable life of one man. A dashing young orator during the Great Famine of the 1840s, in which a million of his Irish countrymen died, Thomas Francis Meagher led a failed uprising against British rule, for which he was banished to a Tasmanian prison colony. He escaped and six months later was heralded in the streets of New York–the revolutionary hero, back from the dead, at the dawn of the great Irish immigration to America. Meagher’s rebirth in America included his leading the newly formed Irish Brigade from New York in many of the fiercest battles of the Civil War–Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg. Twice shot from his horse while leading charges, left for dead in the Virginia mud, Meagher’s dream was that Irish-American troops, seasoned by war, would return to Ireland and liberate their homeland from British rule. The hero’s last chapter, as territorial governor of Montana, was a romantic quest for a true home in the far frontier.
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly. And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, but large in weight. It’s that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew.