The author signings, in-house book clubs and other events shown below are free and open to the public.
The Bookworm offers in-house book clubs that you can attend when the featured books fit your interests and schedule. Readers receive a 20% book club discount on the books selected for discussion. The Bookworm provides facilitators to help lead the discussions for many of the in-house book clubs. If you have suggestions for groups, or are willing to facilitate discussions, please let us know.
Wednesday, February 22 / 6 p.m. | The Mysterious Readers Book Group will discuss Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart (Mariner, $14.95). Constance Kopp doesn’t quite fit the mold. She towers over most men, has no interest in marriage or domestic affairs, and has been isolated from the world since a family secret sent her and her sisters into hiding fifteen years ago. One day a belligerent and powerful silk factory owner runs down their buggy, and a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats as he unleashes his gang on their family farm. When the sheriff enlists her help in convicting the men, Constance is forced to confront her past and defend her family and she does it in a way that few women of 1914 would have dared.
Saturday, February 25 / 10 a.m. | The American History Book Club will discuss Dark Invasion: 1915: Germany’s Secret War and the Hunt for the First Terrorist Cell in America by Howard Blum (Harper, $16.99). When a neutral United States becomes a trading partner for the Allies early in World War I, the Germans implement a secret plan to strike back. A team of saboteurs including an expert on germ warfare, a Harvard professor, and a brilliant, debonair spymaster devise a series of mysterious accidents using explosives and biological weapons, to bring down vital targets such as ships, factories, livestock, and even captains of industry like J. P. Morgan. New York Police Inspector Tom Tunney, head of the department’s Bomb Squad, is assigned the difficult mission of stopping them. Assembling a team of loyal operatives, the cunning Irish cop hunts for the conspirators among a population of more than eight million Germans. But the deeper he finds himself in this labyrinth of deception, the more Tunney realizes that the enemy’s plan is far more complex and more dangerous than he suspected.
Sunday, February 26 / 1 p.m. | Local Poet’s Day
Greg Kosmicki will sign It’s as Good Here as It Gets Anywhere ($16.00). “I am grateful for the small moments and big questions in Greg Kosmicki’s poems. His voice amiable, celebrating, sorrowing speaks the truths we need to hear. A poet who writes, I can hear the cars go by in the street making / that car-goes-by-in-the-street sound // that I decided finally a couple years ago/to include in my subconscious inventory as a sound // of nature…. is one to trust and turn to in our darkest and lightest hours.” -Aaron Anstett
David Wyatt will sign Gathering Place ($12.00). “Rich Wyatt gives the small houses of his poems surprisingly good furniture, and he does it again and again. Visit him, and he will invite you in, making even the slightest of things knowable and inviting. This book is a very good household of secrets simply astounding. And, as he says, “everyday more complicated.” His very first poem lets good gathering begin.” -Don Welch
Michael Catherwood will sign If You Turn Around Quickly ($14.00). If You Turned Around Quickly is a volume of sharp observations in well-crafted poems, where time is a major player, moving them both physically and emotionally, and where head-and tail-lights are “Always/ the traffic to remind/ us we breathe.” Catherwood makes imaginative use of form, repetition and rhyme, transforming cars, trash cans, shopping malls, bars, box cars, gravel roads and gritty asphalt into engaging poems that “…bluff/ my bones until they’re stunned/ into the dance. “ --Twyla M. Hansen, Nebraska State Poet Laureate
Monday, February 27 / 2 p.m. | The World War II Book Group will discuss The Summit: Bretton Woods, 1944: J. M. Keynes and the Reshaping of the Global Economy by Ed Conway (Pegasus, $17.95). The idea of world leaders gathering is now familiar. But 1944's meeting at Bretton Woods was the only time the leading countries in the world agreed to overhaul the structure of the international monetary system. Their resulting system presided over the longest period of growth in history. But what everyone has assumed to be a dry economic conference was in fact replete with drama. The delegates spent half the time at each other's throats and the other half drinking in the bar. All the while, war in Europe raged on. The heart of the conference was the love-hate relationship between John Maynard Keynes the greatest economist of his day, who suffered a heart attack at the conference and his American counterpart Harry Dexter White (later revealed to be passing information to Russian spies).
Monday, February 27 / 6:30 p.m. | The Books To Die For Group will discuss a Nero Wolfe two-in-one, Too Many Cooks & Champagne for One by Rex Stout (Bantam, $16.00). In Too Many Cooks, everyone knows that too many cooks spoil the broth, but you'd hardly expect it to lead to murder. But that's exactly what's on the menu at a five-star gathering of the world's greatest chefs. As guest of honor, Wolfe was lured from his brownstone to a posh southern spa to deliver the keynote address. He never expected that between courses of haute cuisine he and Archie would be compelled to detect a killer with a poison touch--a killer preparing to serve the great detective his last supper. In Champagne for One, Faith Usher talked about taking her own life and even kept cyanide in her purse. So when she died from a lethal champagne cocktail in the middle of a high society dinner party, everyone called it suicide--including the police. But Nero Wolfe isn't convinced--and neither is Archie. Especially when Wolfe is warned by four men against taking the case. Deception, blackmail, and a killer who may have pulled off the perfect crime...it's a challenge Nero Wolfe can't resist.
Tuesday, February 28 / 6:30 p.m. | The Crime Through Time Book Group will discuss The Alienist by Caleb Carr (Random House, $17.00). On a cold March night in 1896, New York Times reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned to the East River by his friend and former Harvard classmate Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a psychologist, or "alienist." On the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge, they view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy, a prostitute from one of Manhattan's infamous brothels. The newly appointed police commissioner, Theodore Roosevelt enlists the two men in the murder investigation, counting on the reserved Kreizler's intellect and Moore's knowledge of New York's vast criminal underworld. They are joined by Sara Howard, a brave and determined woman who works as a secretary in the police department. The unlikely team embarks on what is a revolutionary effort in criminology-- amassing a psychological profile of the man they're looking for based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who has killed before. and will kill again before the hunt is over.
Wednesday, March 1 / Noon - 1 p.m. | What Are You Reading? book chat. Join us to chat about favorite reads, books that changed your life, or the book you just couldn’t put down. No need to make reservations--just come and enjoy a little conversation about books. Carol Lynch facilitates the discussions.
Saturday, March 4 / 10 a.m. | The Biography Discussion Group will discuss Bill Clinton: The 42nd President, 1993 – 2001 by Michael Tomasky (Times Books, $25.00). Bill Clinton: a president of contradictions. He was a Rhodes Scholar and a Yale Law School graduate, but he was also a fatherless child from rural Arkansas. He was one of the most talented politicians of his age, but he inspired enmity of such intensity that his opponents would stop at nothing to destroy him. He was the first Democrat since Franklin Roosevelt to win two successive presidential elections, but he was also the first president since Andrew Johnson to be impeached. In this incisive biography, Michael Tomasky examines Clinton’s eight years in office, a time often described as one of peace and prosperity, but in reality a time of social and political upheaval, as the culture wars grew ever more intense amid the rise of the Internet.
Monday, March 6 / 6:30 p.m. | The Lit Wits group will discuss Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (Vintage, $10.00). One of Thomas Hardy’s most famous novels is the story of an innocent young woman victimized by the double standards of her day. Set in the magical Wessex landscape so familiar from Hardy’s early work, Tess of the d Urbervilles is unique among his great novels for the intense feeling that he lavished upon his heroine, Tess, a pure woman betrayed by love. Hardy poured all of his profound empathy for both humanity and the rhythms of natural life into this story of her beauty, goodness, and tragic fate. In so doing, he created a character who has achieved classic stature.
Tuesday, March 7 / 6:30 p.m. | The Killing Time Book Group will discuss Real Murders by Charlaine Harris (Berkley, $7.99). Though a small town at heart, Lawrenceton, Georgia, has its dark side and crime buffs. One of whom is librarian Aurora "Roe" Teagarden, a member of the Real Murders Club, which meets once a month to analyze famous cases. It's a harmless pastime-until the night she finds a member killed in a manner that eerily resembles the crime the club was about to discuss. And as other brutal "copycat" killings follow, Roe will have to uncover the person behind the terrifying game, one that casts all the members of Real Murders, herself included, as prime suspects-or potential victims.
Wednesday, March 8 / 6:30 p.m. | The Wednesday Bookworms will discuss The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride (Riverhead, $16.00). The daughter of an Orthodox rabbi, McBride’s mother was born in Poland. Her family emigrated and ultimately settled in a small Virginia town. At age seventeen she went to New York City, married a black minister and founded a church in her living room. "God is the color of water," Ruth McBride taught her children, firmly convinced that life's blessings and life's values transcend race. Twice widowed, and continually confronting overwhelming adversity and racism, Ruth's determination, drive and discipline saw her dozen children through college. At age 65, she herself received a degree in social work. McBride shares his own experiences as a mixed-race child of poverty, his flirtations with drugs and violence, and his eventual self- realization and professional success.
Thursday, March 9 / 6 p.m. | Amiable Adult Readers Discussing Books Almost Always Read by Kids (Aardbaark) will discuss two books:
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (Poems, Puffin, $10.99). In vivid poems, Woodson shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child.
March, Book One by John Lewis (Graphic novel, Top Shelf, $14.95). March is a first-hand account of John Lewis' lifelong struggle for civil rights. Rooted in Lewis' personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. Book One spans John Lewis' youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins.
Saturday, March 11 / 3 p.m. | NEW GROUP: The Continental European Novel Book Group shall begin with classics from several countries dating back to the mid-19th century, as can be recognized in the first four choices. Following several classics we shall migrate into the 20th century, and then proceed country by country. Members shall vote on successive books. The ultimate aim will be to make the book selection and choice of leadership for each book by democratic decision-making. As the group grows and develops, the choices and purposes shall be to focus on major characters, plots, themes and assessment of the relevance for today’s reading audience.
This group will meet monthly, on the 2nd Saturday of each month at 3:00 p.m. beginning Saturday, March 11th. The book to be discussed is Notes From the Underground and The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Oxford University Press, $12.95). One of the most profound and disturbing works of nineteenth-century literature, Notes from the Underground is a probing and speculative work, often regarded as a forerunner to the Existentialist movement. The Gambler explores the compulsive nature of gambling, one of Dostoevsky's own vices and a subject he describes with extraordinary acumen and drama.
Sunday, March 12 / 11 a.m. | The Books and Bagels book group will continue discussing Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson (Broadway, $17.00). On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was the fastest liner then in service and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, a British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history. Larson tells the story thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the time.
Thursday, March 16 / 6 p.m. | The World War II At Night Group will discuss Winston's War: Churchill, 1940-1945 by Max Hastings Vintage, $17.95). Winston s War captures the full range of Churchill’s endlessly fascinating character. At once brilliant and infuriating, self-important and courageous, Hastings’s Churchill comes brashly to life. Beginning in 1940, when Churchill became prime minister, and concluding with the end of the war, Hastings shows us Churchill at his most intrepid and essential, when, by sheer force of will, he kept Britain from collapsing in the face of what looked like certain defeat. Later, we see his significance ebb as the United States enters the war and the Soviets turn the tide on the Eastern Front. But Churchill managed his relationships with the other Allied leaders strategically, so as to maintain Britain’s influence and limit Stalin’s gains. Hastings shows how Churchill nearly squandered the miraculous escape of the British troops at Dunkirk and failed to address fundamental flaws in the British Army. His tactical inaptitude and departmental meddling won him few friends in the military, and by 1942, many were calling for him to cede operational control. Nevertheless, Churchill managed to exude a public confidence that brought the nation through the bitter war.
Thursday, March 16 / 6:30 p.m. | The As the Worm Turns Book Group will discuss The Painted Kiss by Elizabeth Hickey (Washington Square Press, $16.00). Gustav Klimt, one of the great painters of fin de siecle Austria, takes center stage in this passionate and atmospheric debut novel, which reimagines the tumultuous relationship between the Viennese painter and Emilie Floge, the woman who posed for his masterpiece The Kiss, and whose name he uttered with his dying breath. Vienna in 1886 was a city of elegant cafes, grand opera houses, and a thriving and adventurous artistic community. It is here where the twelve-year-old Emilie meets the controversial libertine and painter. Hired by her bourgeois father for basic drawing lessons, Klimt introduces Emilie to a subculture of dissolute artists, wanton models, and decadent patrons that both terrifies and inspires her. The Painted Kiss follows Emilie as she blossoms from a naive young girl to one of Europe's most exclusive couturiers and Klimt's most beloved model and mistress. Janet Grojean will facilitate the discussion.
Tuesday, March 21 / 6:30 p.m. | The International Intrigue Book Group will discuss The Bangkok Asset by John Burdett (Vintage, $16.00). Royal Thai Police Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep is called to investigate a crime scene in Bangkok which quickly reveals itself to be anything but typical. For one thing, the victim has been beheaded in a bizarre manner, and for another, a message was left in blood. Then Sonchai is summoned to a river in the middle of the night to observe a spectacle that violates everything he holds dear as a Thai, as a Buddhist, and as a human being. A trail of breadcrumbs has been carefully laid out for him, but by whom? Sonchai’s search for answers takes him deep into the Cambodian jungle, where he faces a conspiracy that may implicate the American CIA and the Chinese military and discovers exactly how far a government will go to protect its worst secrets.
Wednesday, March 22 / 6 p.m. | The Mysterious Readers Book Group will discuss The Bookseller by Mark Pryor (Seventh Street Books, $15.95). Who is killing the celebrated booksellers of Paris? Max, an elderly Paris bookstall owner, is abducted at gunpoint. His friend, Hugo Marston, head of security at the US embassy, looks on helplessly, powerless to do anything to stop the kidnapper. Marston launches a search, enlisting the help of semiretired CIA agent Tom Green. Their investigation reveals that Max was a Holocaust survivor and later became a Nazi hunter. Is his disappearance somehow tied to his grim history, or even to the mysterious old books he sold?
Thursday, March 23 / 6:30 p.m. | NEW GROUP: The Philosophy Book Discussion Group shall initially draw from British and Germanic thinkers. This split prompts a sharp distinction between science and theology/philosophy, as expressed in the division of ‘mind’ and ‘brain’. A major focus will be to address philosophy as a personal or individual subject in relation to academic philosophers. Using titles from the Very Short Introduction series, published by Oxford University Press, the initial chosen authors will follow chronologically from the Enlightenment Era to the first part of the 20th century. Although the books are small and brief they are compacted with much detail requiring thoughtful examination.
The first meeting for this new group will be on Thursday, March 23rd at 6:30 p.m. The book to be discussed is Locke: A Very Short Introduction by John Dunn (Oxford University Press, $11.95). John Locke (1632-1704), one of the greatest English philosophers of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, argued in his masterpiece, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, that our knowledge is founded in experience and reaches us principally through our senses; but its message has been curiously misunderstood. John Dunn shows how Locke arrived at his theory of knowledge, and how his exposition of the liberal values of toleration and responsible government formed the backbone of enlightened European thought of the eighteenth century. It is suggested that people interested in this group also read Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers (Yale University Press, $18.00).
Saturday, March 25 / 10 a.m. | The American History Book Club will discuss The Fires of Jubilee: Nat Turner's Fierce Rebellion by Stephen Oates (Harper, $14.99). The bloody slave rebellion led by Nat Turner in Virginia in 1831 and the savage reprisals that followed shattered beyond repair the myth of the contented slave and the benign master, and intensified the forces of change that would plunge America into the Civil War. The true story behind the major motion picture The Birth of a Nation, this acclaimed and definitive history is now reissued with the complete text of Turner s riveting firsthand account, The Confessions of Nat Turner.
Monday, March 27 / 2 p.m. | The World War II Book Group will discuss Barbed-Wire Surgeon by Alfred Weinstein (Deeds, $19.95). This is a story of G.I. Joe in prison: how he lived, how he adjusted himself to life under the Nips, what he thought about and what he dreamed about. They were a motley, ragged, hungry throng. Under an ugly patina of filth and starvation, their basic individualities continued to glow feebly and occasionally to break forth into flame. Some were rugged, some were weak. As the months faded into years, the feeble faded out of the picture. In the witch's caldron of a Jap prison, G.I. Joe fought for his life with all the breaks against him. Against a somber tapestry of chronic hunger, starvation, and disease, a thin golden thread of the love of a man and woman weaves back and forth. It disappears for months and years, but is ever present. It snaps and breaks, but reappears more vibrant and glowing. Can a woman's love for her man be responsible for the survival of individuality in the face of pestilence and torture? In its broader aspects this is a tale of mankind with his veneer of civilization stripped away.
Monday, March 27 / 6:30 p.m. | The Books To Die For Group will discuss Dance Hall of the Dead by Tony Hillerman (Harper, $9.99). Two Native-American boys have vanished into thin air, leaving a pool of blood behind them. Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police has no choice but to suspect the very worst, since the blood that stains the parched New Mexican ground once flowed through the veins of one of the missing, a young Zuni. But his investigation into a terrible crime is being complicated by an important archaeological dig . . . and a steel hypodermic needle. And the unique laws and sacred religious rites of the Zuni people are throwing impassable roadblocks in Leaphorn's already twisted path, enabling a craven murderer to elude justice or, worse still, to kill again.
Tuesday, March 28 / 6:30 p.m. | The Crime Through Time Book Group will discuss A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Penguin, $9.00). In the debut of literature's most famous sleuth, a dead man is discovered in a bloodstained room in Brixton. The only clues are a wedding ring, a gold watch, a pocket edition of Boccaccio's Decameron, and a word scrawled in blood on the wall. With this investigation begins the partnership of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Their search for the murderer uncovers a story of love and revenge-and heralds a franchise of detective mysteries starring the formidable Holmes.
Saturday, April 1 / 10 a.m. | The Biography Discussion Group will discuss Benjamin Franklin in London: The British Life of America's Founding Father by George Goodwin (Yale, $22.00). For more than one-fifth of his life, Benjamin Franklin lived in London. He dined with prime ministers, members of parliament, even kings, as well as with Britain’s most esteemed intellectuals. Having spent eighteen formative months in England as a young man, Franklin returned in 1757 as a colonial representative during the Seven Years’ War, and left abruptly just prior to the outbreak of America’s War of Independence, barely escaping his impending arrest. Goodwin gives a colorful account of Franklin’s British years. It is an enthralling study of an American patriot who was a fiercely loyal British citizen for most of his life—until forces he had sought and failed to control finally made him a reluctant revolutionary at the age of sixty-nine.
Monday, April 3 / 6:30 p.m. | The Lit Wits group will discuss A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (Penguin, $11.00). The first of Joyce’s novels portrays the Dublin upbringing of Stephen Dedalus, from his youthful days at Clongowes Wood College to his radical questioning of all convention. In doing so, it provides an oblique self-portrait of the young Joyce himself. At its center lie questions of origin and source, authority and authorship, and the relationship of an artist to his family, culture, and race. Exuberantly inventive in style, the novel subtly and beautifully orchestrates the patterns of quotation and repetition instrumental in its hero’s quest to create his own character, his own language, life, and art: to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.
Tuesday, April 4 / 6:30 p.m. | The Killing Time Book Group will discuss Killing the Emperors by Ruth Dudley Edwards (Poisoned Pen, $14.95). Baroness Ida Jack Troutbeck is kidnapped, along with an assortment of art critics, consultants, historians, collectors, gallery owners, and artists, all of whom, except Jack, are enthusiastic about the conceptual art movement. Their sociopathic kidnapper, Oleg Sarkovsky, believes each of the people he has snatched has wronged him in some way, and he is determined to exact revenge. While Jack's friends Robert Amiss and Mary Lou Dinsmore work behind the scenes to locate and free Jack, Mary Lou's husband, Detective Inspector Ellis Pooley, handles the official investigation. As some of the kidnap victims begin to show up dead in staged conceptual art installations, the ante is upped dramatically. Jack is the only one of those kidnapped who knows that those who have disappeared from the group are being murdered, but she tries to keep spirits up and protect the others as best she can.
Wednesday, April 5 / Noon - 1 p.m. | What Are You Reading? book chat. Join us to chat about favorite reads, books that changed your life, or the book you just couldn’t put down. No need to make reservations--just come and enjoy a little conversation about books. Carol Lynch facilitates the discussions.
Sunday, April 9 / 11 a.m. | The Books and Bagels book group will discuss The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan (Regan Arthur, $14.99). Grace Winter, 22, is both a newlywed and a widow. She is also on trial for her life. In the summer of 1914, the elegant ocean liner carrying Grace and her husband Henry across the Atlantic suffers a mysterious explosion. Setting aside his own safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat, which the survivors quickly realize has exceeded capacity. For any to live, some must die. As the castaways battle the elements and each other, Grace recollects the unorthodox way she and Henry met, and the new life of privilege she thought she'd found. Will she pay any price to keep it? The Lifeboat is a page-turning novel of hard choices and survival, narrated by a woman as unforgettable and complex as the events she describes.
Wednesday, April 12 / 6:30 p.m. | The Wednesday Bookworms will discuss All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Scribner, $27.00). Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks. When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure's great uncle lives. In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.
Thursday, April 13 / 6 p.m.| Amiable Adult Readers Discussing Books Almost Always Read by Kids (Aardbaark) will discuss Tease by Amanda Maciel (Harper, $9.99). We didn't mean to hurt anyone. Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault. At least, that's what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma's shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who's ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media. During the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment and ultimately consider her role in an undeniable tragedy. And she'll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over.
Saturday, April 15 / 1 p.m. | Jane Hamilton will sign The Excellent Lombards (Grand Central, $14.99). Mary Frances "Frankie" Lombard is fiercely in love with her family's sprawling apple orchard and the tangled web of family members who inhabit it. Content to spend her days planning capers with her brother William, competing with her brainy cousin Amanda, and expertly tending the orchard with her father, Frankie desires nothing more than for the rhythm of life to continue undisturbed. But she cannot help being haunted by the historical fact that some family members end up staying on the farm and others must leave. Change is inevitable, and threats of urbanization, disinheritance, and college applications shake the foundation of Frankie's roots. As Frankie is forced to shed her childhood fantasies and face the possibility of losing the idyllic future she had envisioned for her family, she must decide whether loving something means clinging tightly or letting go.
Monday, April 17 / 6:30 p.m. | NEW GROUP: The Droids and Dragons Book Club will discuss will discuss Science and Fantasy books the third Monday of alternate months. April’s book is Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Broadway, $16.00). It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune--and remarkable power--to whoever can unlock them. 9780307887443
Tuesday, April 18 / 6:30 p.m. | The International Intrigue Book Group will discuss Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton (Minotaur, $16.99). In such a small community as the Falkland Islands, a missing child is unheard of. In such a dangerous landscape it can only be a terrible tragedy, surely. When another child goes missing, and then a third, it's no longer possible to believe that their deaths were accidental, and the villagers must admit that there is a murderer among them. Even Catrin Quinn, a damaged woman living a reclusive life after the accidental deaths of her own two sons a few years ago, gets involved in the searches and the speculation.And suddenly, in this wild and beautiful place that generations have called home, no one feels safe and the hysteria begins to rise. But three islanders, Catrin, her childhood best friend, Rachel, and her ex-lover Callum are hiding terrible secrets. And they have two things in common: all three of them are grieving, and none of them trust anyone, not even themselves.
Thursday, April 20 / 6 p.m.| The World War II At Night Group will discuss Operation Drumbeat: The Dramatic True Story of Germany's First U-Boat Attacks Along the American Coast in World War II by Michael Gannon (U.S. Naval Institute Press, $23.95). In the first eight months of 1942, German submarines sank nearly 400 Allied freighters and tankers along the U.S. Atlantic coast with a loss of more than 5,000 merchant seamen and sailors--twice the number of fatalities at Pearl Harbor. This book helps readers understand the complexities of the long Battle of the Atlantic by examining those disastrous early days of war and following the U-boats into action. The book traces the voyages of five U-boats to their destinations as they sink twenty-five ships unmolested by the U.S. Navy, which failed to follow through on British intelligence warnings. It also provides a compilation of personal stories from crewmen and officers of U-123 and from the Allied sailors and merchant seamen cast adrift in lifeboats by the U-boat's torpedoes.
Thursday, April 20 / 6:30 p.m.| The As the Worm Turns Book Group will discuss The Life We Bury by Allen Eskins (Seventh Street Books, $15.95). College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe's life is ever the same. Iverson is a dying Vietnam veteran--and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder. As Joe writes about Carl's life, especially Carl's valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict. Joe, along with his skeptical female neighbor, throws himself into uncovering the truth, but he is hamstrung in his efforts by having to deal with his dangerously dysfunctional mother, the guilt of leaving his autistic brother vulnerable, and a haunting childhood memory. Betsy Von Kerens will facilitate the discussion.
Saturday, April 22 / 10 a.m. | The American History Book Club will discuss American General: The Life and Times of William Tecumseh Sherman by John S. D. Eisenhower (New American Library, $16.00). A century and a half after the Civil War, Sherman remains one of its most controversial figures. His scruffy, disheveled appearance belied an unconventional and unyielding intellect. Intensely loyal to superior officers, especially Ulysses S. Grant, he was also a stalwart individualist. Dubbed no soldier during his years at West Point, Sherman later rose to the rank of General of the Army, and he had great affection for the people of the South despite his commitment to the Union cause. Eisenhower takes readers from Sherman’s Ohio origins and his fledgling first stint in the Army to his years as a businessman in California and his hurried return to uniform at the outbreak of the war. From Bull Run through Sherman’s epic March to the Sea, Eisenhower offers up a fascinating narrative of a military genius whose influence helped preserve the Union.
Sunday, April 23 / 1 p.m. | Robert Mundy will sign I Fell from Earth and Slipped Through the Cracks and Other Stories ($12.95). Robert Mundy explores themes of loss and control, as well as the secrets we keep from each other, in this collection of short stories. Focusing on relationships-within families or between strangers-Mundy's writing reveals our essential loneliness and the shallowness of our perceived intimacy.
Monday, April 24 / 2 p.m. | The World War II Book Group will discuss All This Hell: U. S. Nurses Imprisoned by the Japanese by Evelyn Monahan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee (University Press of Kentucky, $19.95). More than one hundred U.S. Army and Navy nurses were stationed in Guam and the Philippines at the beginning of World War II. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, five navy nurses on Guam became the first American military women of World War II to be taken prisoner by the Japanese. More than seventy army nurses survived five months of combat conditions in the jungles of Bataan and Corregidor before being captured, only to endure more than three years in prison camps. When freedom came, the U.S. military ordered the nurses to sign agreements with the government not to discuss their horrific experiences. Evelyn Monahan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee have conducted numerous interviews with survivors and scoured archives for letters, diaries, and journals to uncover the heroism and sacrifices of these brave women.
Monday, April 24 / 6:30 p.m. | The Books To Die For Group will discuss Early Autumn by Robert Parker (Dell, $7.99). A bitter divorce is only the beginning. First the father hires thugs to kidnap his son. Then the mother hires Spenser to get the boy back. But as soon as Spenser senses the lay of the land, he decides to do some kidnapping of his own. With a contract out on his life, he heads for the Maine woods, determined to give a puny 15 year old a crash course in survival and to beat his dangerous opponents at their own brutal game.
Tuesday, April 25 / 6:30 p.m. | The Crime Through Time Book Group will discuss The Last Kashmiri Rose by Barbara Cleverly (Soho, $9.99). Calcutta, 1922. In a land of saffron sunsets and blazing summer heat, an Englishwoman has been found dead, her wrists slit, her body floating in a bathtub of blood and water. But is it suicide or murder? The case falls to Scotland Yard inspector Joe Sandilands, who survived the horror of the Western Front and has endured six sultry months in English-ruled Calcutta. Sandilands is ordered to investigate and soon discovers that there have been other mysterious deaths, with sinister ties to the present case. Now, as the sovereignty of Britain is in decline and an insurgent India is on the rise, Sandilands must navigate the treacherous corridors of political decorum to bring a cunning killer to justice, knowing the next victim is already marked to die.
Wednesday, April 26 / 6 p.m. | The Mysterious Readers Book Group will discuss Crypt Thief by Mark Pryor (Seventh Street Books, $15.95). It’s summer in Paris and two tourists have been murdered in Pere Lachaise cemetery. The cemetery is locked down and put under surveillance, but the killer returnsand breaks into the crypt of a long-dead Moulin Rouge dancer. In a bizarre twist, he disappears under the cover of night with part of her skeleton. One of the dead tourists is an American and the other is a woman linked to a suspected terrorist; so the US ambassador sends the embassy s head of security Hugo Marston to help the French police with their investigation. When the thief breaks into another crypt at a different cemetery, stealing bones from a second famed dancer, Hugo is stumped. How does this killer operate unseen? And why is he stealing the bones of once-famous can-can girls? Hugo cracks the secrets of the graveyards but soon realizes that old bones aren’t all this killer wants.