The Bookworm has moved!
90th & Center Streets
2501 South 90th Street, Suite 111
Omaha, NE 68124
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.
Monday, July 6 / 6:30 p.m. | The I Should Have Read That in School classics group will discuss The Illiad by Homer (Penguin, $14.00). Homer's Iliad tells the story of the darkest episode of the Trojan War. At its center is Achilles, the greatest warrior-champion of the Greeks, and his conflict with his leader Agamemnon. Interwoven in the tragic sequence of events are powerfully moving descriptions of the ebb and flow of battle, the besieged city of Ilium, the feud between the gods, and the fate of mortals. Discussion will continue in the August meeting.
Tuesday, July 7 / 1 p.m. | The Art Discussion Group will discuss In Montmartre: Picasso, Matisse and the Birth of Modernist Art by Sue Roe (Penguin, $29.95). In Montmartre relates the birth of Modernist art as it arose from one of the most astonishing collections of artistic talent ever assembled. It begins in October 1900, as a teenage Pablo Picasso first makes his way up the hillside of Paris’s famous district. Over the next decade, the young Spaniard is joined Henri Matisse, André Derain, Maurice de Vlaminck, Georges Braque, Amedeo Modigliani, Constantin Brancusi, Gertrude Stein, and many more. Roe writes a remarkable group portrait of the men and women who profoundly changed the arts of painting, sculpture, dance, music, literature, and fashion. She describes the origins of movements like Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism, and reconstructs the stories behind immortal paintings by Picasso and Matisse and illuminates the excitement of the moment when these bold experiments in artistic representation and performance began to take shape.
Tuesday, July 7 / 6 p.m. | Rinker Buck will sign The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey (Simon & Schuster, $28.00). Told with humor and heart, this is a major work of participatory history: an epic account of traveling the entire 2,000-mile length of the Oregon Trail for the first time in a century the old-fashioned way, in a covered wagon with a team of mules. Buck also relates the rich history of the trail, the people who made the migration, and its significance to the country. This book was partially inspired by a covered wagon trip across PA that Buck's father took his eleven kids on in 1958. It was a magical experience for Rinker who was seven at the time, and when he sets out to cross the Oregon Trail he brings along his extremely colorful brother Nick, and Nick's loveable Jack Russell Terrier, Olive Oyl, as a way of reconnecting with family and finally addressing the haunting loss of his father years earlier.
Tuesday, July 7 / 6:30 p.m. | The Killing Time Book Group will discuss An Eye for an Eye by T. Frank Muir (Soho, $9.99). Six corpses have appeared in the cobbled back streets of St. Andrews in recent times, all known spousal abusers who suffered the same gruesome fate: stabbed to death in the left eye. But with no new leads left to explore, detective Andy Gilchrist is forced off the case. What is the significance of the left eye? Gilchrist can’t seem to focus on anything else, and with his career and his reputation on the line, he vows to catch the killer even if it means he must do it alone.
Wednesday, July 8 / 6:30 p.m. | The Wednesday Bookworms will discuss Comet’s Tale: How the Dog I Rescued Saved My Life by Steve Wolf (Algonquin, $14.95). Comet’s Tale is a story about a friendship between two former winners, both a little down on their luck, who together stage a remarkable comeback. A former hard-driving attorney, Steven Wolf has reluctantly left his job and family and moved to Arizona for its warm winter climate. There he is drawn to a local group that rescues abused racing greyhounds. Although he can barely take care of himself because of a spinal condition, Wolf adopts Comet, an elegant cinnamon-striped racer. Or does Comet adopt Wolf? In Comet’s Tale we follow their funny and moving journey as Wolf teaches Comet to be a service dog. With her boundless enthusiasm and regal manners, Comet attracts new friends to Wolf’s isolated world. And finally, she plays a crucial role in restoring his health, saving his marriage, and broadening his definition of success.
Thursday, July 9 / 6 p.m. | Desha Kelly will sign Almost Crimson (Consortium, $15.95). From a young age CeCe copes with her mother's crippling depression, their severe poverty, an absentee father, and her own insecurities. With gorgeous language, a vivid cast of characters, and an eye for poignant detail, Kelly tells the story of CeCe's struggle to break free from the grips of codependency and poverty to find confidence and success in her career and her personal life, finally becoming the strong woman she's always dreamed of being. "CeCe couldn't remember when her mother became too weak to carry anything but tears. When the Sad started to come, pressing her mother to their bed, her Mama cried slick silent tears for a long, long time. Longer than a game of hopscotch. Longer than singing the alphabet in her head five times. Longer than a nap, even. The Sad made her mother cry all the time."
Thursday, July 9 / 6 p.m. | Amiable Adult Readers Discussing Books Almost Always Read by Kids (Aardbaark) will discuss Anomaly by Tonya Kuper and Control by Lydia Kang. The authors will be invited.
Anomaly (IPS, $9.99): What if the world isn't what we think? What if reality is really only an illusion? What if you were one of the few who could control it? Yeah, Josie Harper didn't believe it, either, until strange things started happening. When this hot guy tried to kidnap her, shouting about ultimate observers and pushing and consortiums hell-bent on controlling the world ... well, that's when things got real.
Control (Penguin, $9.99): When their overprotective father is killed in a terrible accident, Zel and her younger sister, Dylia, are lost in grief. But it's not until strangers appear, using bizarre sensory weapons, that the life they had is truly eviscerated. Zel ends up in a safe house for teens that aren't like any she's ever seen -- teens who, by law, shouldn't even exist. One of them -- an angry tattooed boy haunted by tragedy -- can help Zel reunite with her sister. But only if she is willing to lose him.
Saturday, July 11 / 1 p.m. | Marcus Sikora will sign Black Day - The Monster Rock Band. Brad is a paper boy who wants to be a rock star, so when he discovers the band Black Day playing in old Professor Hammer’s garage, he really wants to join. The band’s monsters have a different idea and send him away, “No humans!” Brad sets out to change their minds, but the monsters have bigger problems than finding a bass player. Halloween may never be the same again.
Sunday, July 12 / 11 a.m. | The book group Books and Bagels will discuss All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Scribner, $17.00). 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.
Sunday, July 12 / 1 p.m. | Kira Gale will sign Meriwether Lewis: The Assassination of an American Hero and the Silver Mines of Mexico ($24.95). This new full-length biography of Meriwether Lewis is presented within the context of the turbulent times of the early American Republic. After Thomas Jefferson’s election, Lewis lived in the White House as his confidential aide. In 1803, he left the White House as the leader of an elite army unit to reinforce America’s claim to the Pacific Northwest. When he returned, Jefferson appointed him governor of Louisiana Territory based in St. Louis with orders to remove followers of Aaron Burr from positions of power and influence. Within two years Meriwether Lewis was dead at the age of 35, killed by an assassin’s bullets in 1809. This biography of Lewis offers a very different interpretation of his character and achievements, supporting the idea that, if he had lived, Lewis was in line to become president of the United States. It presents a detailed account of his activities as a loyal Jefferson supporter, presidential aide, leader of a continental expedition, and governor of Louisiana Territory.
Monday, July 13 / 2 – 4 p.m. | Alan Guebert and Mary Grace Foxwell will sign The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey (University of Illinois Press, $17.95). "The river was in God's hands, the cows in ours." So passed the days on Indian Farm, a dairy operation on 700 acres of rich Illinois bottomland. Alan Guebert and his daughter-editor Mary Grace Foxwell recall Guebert's years working in the all-consuming collaborative effort known as the family farm. Here are Guebert's tireless parents, measuring the year not in months but in seasons; Jackie the farmhand, needing ninety minutes to do sixty minutes' work and cussing the entire time; Hoard the dairyman, sore fingers wrapped in electrician's tape; and the unflappable Uncle Honey, spreading mayhem via mistreated machinery, flipped wagons, and the careless union of diesel fuel and fire. Guebert's heartfelt and humorous reminiscences depict the hard labor and simple pleasures to be found in ennobling work, and show that in life, as in farming, Uncle Honey had it right with his succinct philosophy for overcoming adversity: "the secret's not to stop."
Monday, July 13 / 6:30 p.m. | A Mockingbird Pop-Up Discussion Group focusing on Harper Lee and her books will discuss To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper, $14.99), Harper Lee's classic novel of a lawyer in the Deep South defending a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has earned many distinctions since its original publication in 1960. It won the Pulitzer Prize, has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, and been made into an enormously popular movie. Most recently, librarians across the country gave the book the highest of honors by voting it the best novel of the twentieth century.
Thursday, July 16 / 6 p.m. | The World War II At Night Group will discuss Patton, Montgomery, Rommel: Masters of War by Terry Brighton (Three Rivers, $17.00). Brighton presents a study of the land war in the North African and European theaters, as well as their chief commanders--three men who also happened to be the most compelling dramatis personae of World War II. He illuminates the personal motivations and historical events that propelled the three men's careers: how Patton's, Montgomery's, and Rommel's Great War experiences helped to mold their style of command--and how, exactly, they managed to apply their arguably megalomaniacal personalities (and hitherto unrecognized political acumen and tact) to advance their careers and strategic vision. Opening new avenues of inquiry into the lives and careers of three men, Brighton answers numerous lingering and controversial questions.
Thursday, July 16 / 6 p.m. | Steven Hendricks will sign Little Is Left to Tell ($16.00). Readers enter a narrative rabbit hole through bedtime stories that Mr. Fin, a man with dementia, conjures for his long-lost son. Virginia the Wolf writes her last novel to lure her daughter home. A rabbit named Hart Crane must eat words to speak, while passing zeppelins drop bombs. Mr. Fin tries to read the past in marginalia and to rebuild his son from boat parts. The haunting fables in this lyrical first novel trace the fictions that make and unmake us.
Saturday, July 18 / 11 a.m. | Cynthia Swanson will sign The Bookseller (Harper, $25.99). Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence. She can come and go as she pleases, answering to no one. There was a man once, a doctor named Kevin, but it didn’t quite work out the way Kitty had hoped. Then the dreams begin. Denver, 1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends. It’s everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted but it only exists when she sleeps. Convinced that these dreams are simply due to her overactive imagination, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. But with each visit, the more irresistibly real Katharyn’s life becomes. Can she choose which life she wants? If so, what is the cost of staying Kitty, or becoming Katharyn? As the lines between her worlds begin to blur, Kitty must figure out what is real and what is imagined. And how do we know where that boundary lies in our own lives?
Saturday, July 18 / 1 p.m. | Marilyn June Coffey will sign Thieves, Rascals, and Sore Losers: The Unsettling History of the Dirty Deals That Helped Settle Nebraska ($19.95). On they came, from Belgium and New Hampshire, from Ireland, Germany and Scandinavia, from the Chicago fire, from the territories: Utah, Wyoming, Kansas, the Dakotas. All the way they brawled, about Indians, about border lines, about slavery, about who was the bigger imbecile. And then they fought County Seat Wars in most of the 3,000 new counties. A thousand of those remaining ended up in south central Nebraska, scrapping about Harlan County and which still-imagined town should hold the seat of government. In Nebraska, a person could get away with as much as he dared.
Saturday July 18 / 2:30 p.m. | The U.S. Presidents group will become the Biography Discussion Group and discuss Eleanor: The Years Alone by Joseph Lash (Norton, $15.95). Lash, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and National Book Award-winning writer of Eleanor and Franklin, turns to the seventeen years Eleanor Roosevelt lived after FDR's death in 1945. Already a major figure in her own right, Roosevelt gained new stature with her work at the United Nations and her contributions to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She continued her activism on behalf of civil rights, as well as her humanitarian work, which led President Harry Truman to call her the First Lady of the World. Lash has created an extraordinary portrait of an extraordinary person.
Sunday, July 19 / 1 p.m. | Mary Widdifield will sign Behind the Wall ($16.95). When Elin Widdifield learned her son’s mental illness diagnosis, she and her sister, Mary Widdifield, recognized that stories about the parenting experience had not been told. Though Elin is professionally trained in psychology and has years of experience treating families and individuals, she became acutely aware that living with a person who has mental illness is quite distinct from treating that person. Each remarkably candid story in Behind the Wall highlights parents’ shared experience; the first signs of disorder, the search for proper diagnosis and treatment, and the coping mechanisms families are forced to acquire. Through each story and each parent’s journey, readers will gain insight into how these parents moved through grief, guilt, hope, and recovery. The book also provides a valuable resource for mental health professionals, raising a deeper awareness of the condition they’re treating. –
Sunday, July 19 / 2 p.m. | Bob Suren will sign Crate Digger: An Obsession with Punk Records (Perseus, $14.95). A small town Florida teenager discovers punk rock through a loaned mix tape and punk music and culture slowly takes over all aspects of his life. His new passion causes him to form a band, track down out-of-print records that he loves and begin to reissue them, open a record store, begin a record distribution operation as a public service, mentor a host of young musicians, and befriend all manner of punk luminaries along the way. Slowly, his life s pursuit pushes him to the point of personal ruination and ultimately redemption.
Tuesday, July 21 / 6:30 p.m. | The International Intrigue Book Group will discuss An Easy Thing by Paco Ignacio Taibo (Poisoned Pen, $14.95). An Easy Thing introduces readers to Taibo's human and world-weary protagonist, independent detective Hector Belascoaran Shayne. In this debut outing, our hero, who possesses an insatiable appetite for Coca Cola and cigarettes, tackles three cases simultaneously: a killing in a corrupt factory; the deadly threats against a former porn starlet's teenage daughter; and, strangely, the search for Emiliano Zapata, folk hero and leader of the Mexican Revolution, rumored to be alive and hiding out in a cave outside Mexico City. Combining black comedy, social history and a touch of surrealism, Paco Taibo's wonderfully idiosyncratic detective novels are admired the world over and are particularly popular in Europe and in the Spanish-speaking world.
Wednesday, July 22 / 6 p.m. | The Mysterious Readers Group will discuss Donna Leon’s third novel, Dressed for Death by (Grove, $15.00). Venetian Commissario Guido Brunetti's hopes of escaping the sweltering heat of Venice in August for a refreshing family holiday in the mountains are dashed when a gruesome discovery is made in a field in Marghera--a body so badly beaten the face is completely unrecognizable. The victim appears to be a transsexual prostitute. Brunetti searches Venice--including the red-light district--for someone who can identify the corpse, but he is met with a wall of silence. Then he receives a phone call promising tantalizing information, provided he meets with the caller under a bridge outside of town in the middle of the night. This dangerous rendezvous leads to more senseless murders, but despite the danger, Brunetti remains determined to uncover the truth.
Thursday, July 23 / 6:30 p.m. | The Enquiring Minds Group will discuss Nothing: A Very Short Introduction by Frank Close (Oxford University Press, $11.95). What remains when you take all the matter away? Can empty space--"nothing"--exist? To answer these questions, eminent scientist Frank Close takes us on a lively and accessible journey that ranges from ancient ideas and cultural superstitions to the frontiers of current research, illuminating the story of how scientists have explored the void and the rich discoveries they have made there. Readers will find an enlightening history of the vacuum: how the efforts to make a better vacuum led to the discovery of the electron; the ideas of Newton, Mach, and Einstein on the nature of space and time; the mysterious aether and how Einstein did away with it; and the latest ideas that the vacuum is filled with the Higgs field. The story ranges from the absolute zero of temperature and the seething vacuum of virtual particles and anti-particles that fills space, to the extreme heat and energy of the early universe.
Saturday, July 25 / 10 a.m. | The Civil War Book Group will broaden its scope to become the American History Book Club, focusing on the 1760 to 1900 time period. The July book is Mr. and Mrs. Madison's War: America's First Couple and the War of 1812 by Hugh Howard (Bloomsbury, $18.00). The War of 1812 remains the least understood of America's wars. Neither side gained a clear triumph, but in truth it was our second War of Independence, settling once and for all that America would never again submit to Britain. It featured humiliating disasters - Washington was attacked, the White House burned - and stirring successes, like the Battle of Lake Erie, one of the greatest naval victories in American history. Here Howard brings a forgotten conflict alive, and offers a vivid portrait of two key figures at its center, President James Madison and his courageous First Lady, Dolley.
Monday, July 27 / 2 p.m. | The World War II Book Group will continue its discussion of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich:A History of Nazi Germany by Willian Shirer. (Simon & Schuster, $29.99). Famed foreign correspondent and historian Shirer spent five and a half years sifting through the vast paperwork behind Hitler's drive to conquer the world to bring this definitive record of one of the most frightening chapters in the history of mankind.” One of the most important works of history of our time”-The New York Times.
Tuesday, July 28 / 6:30 p.m. | The Crime Through Time Book Group will discuss The Ides of April by Lindsey Davis (Minotaur, $15.99). Flavia Albia is the adopted daughter of Marcus Didius Falco and Helena Justina. From her mother, she learned how to blend in at all levels of society; from her father, she learned the tricks of the private informer trade. Hired to help investigate a fatal accident, she finds herself stuck with a truly awful person for a client and facing a well-heeled, well-connected opponent. That is, until her client unexpectedly dies under what might be called "suspicious circumstances." While this is not a huge loss for society, it is a loss for Flavia Albia's pocket. Even worse, it's just one of a series of similar deaths for which she now finds herself under suspicion. Before things go from abysmal to worse, Flavia must sort out what is happening.
Saturday August 1 / 10 a.m.|The Biography Discussion Group will discuss George Norris, Going Home: Reflections of a Progressive Statesman (University of Nebraska Press, $18.95). After forty years of congressional service, five terms in the House and five in the Senate, George William Norris (1861–1944) was going home to Nebraska. It is here that authors Gene A. Budig and Don Walton begin their journey with this great statesman, perhaps the last progressive Republican, a tireless champion of “public power” and the common man. This book carries readers back through Norris’s career and accomplishments: the establishment of the TVA and the REA as well as the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution and the shaping of Nebraska’s unique unicameral legislature. Norris recalls the battles he waged, one of which landed him in John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage, and the alliances he formed with leading political figures of his day, from Fiorello La Guardia to Franklin D. Roosevelt. The result is a contemporary perspective on a man who fiercely defended the public interest and followed his convictions to the lasting benefit of his state and his country.
Saturday August 1 / 1 p.m. | Alex Kava will sign Silent Creed (Putnam, $26.95). When Ryder Creed responds to a devastating mudslide in North Carolina, he knows that the difference between finding survivors and the dead is time. He and his sturdiest search-and-rescue dog, Bolo, get to work immediately, but the scene is rife with danger: continued rainfall prevents the rescue teams from stabilizing the land; toxic household substances spread by the crushing slide fill the area with hazardous waste; and the detritus and debris are treacherous for both man and dog to navigate. But most perilous are the secrets hidden under the mud and sludge—secrets someone would kill to protect. For this is no ordinary rescue mission. Among the buildings consumed by the landslide was a top-secret government research facility, and Creed has been hired to find what’s left of it. Then rescuers recover the body of a scientist from the facility who was obviously dead before the landslide—killed by a gunshot to the head. The FBI sends Agent Maggie O’Dell to investigate, and she and Creed are soon caught in a web of lies, secrets, and murder that may involve not only the government facility, but decades-old medical experiments that are the subject of current congressional hearings. As more bodies are found under even more unusual circumstances, they come ever closer to exposing the truth—but with unknown forces working against them, Maggie, Creed, and the dogs are running out of time.
Sunday August 2 / 1 p.m. | Dr. Catherine Pope will sign In Search of the Crown., a celebration of the joys, disappointments, hurdles, and triumphs of a Negro beauty queen in Omaha. With her own life as a gripping back drop, 19 year old black college student Catherine Pope sets her eyes on the 1969 Miss America Crown. Her captivating story takes place in Omaha but includes other rural communities and small towns in Nebraska. Her story spans generations of family drama and history. You will find yourself surprised at how enthralled and entangled you become; you will encounter love, compassion, celebrations, disappointments, laughter, tears, murder, sexual assault, demonstrations, riots, and brushes with death. In a predominately white community, people both black and white strongly react. While searching for the crown she finds herself fighting to fulfill her own destiny. This spellbinding, compelling, real life drama could happen anywhere in the United States.
Monday, August 3 / 6:30 p.m. | The I Should Have Read That in School classics group will continue its discussion of The Illiad by Homer (Penguin, $14.00). Homer's Iliad tells the story of the darkest episode of the Trojan War. At its center is Achilles, the greatest warrior-champion of the Greeks, and his conflict with his leader Agamemnon. Interwoven in the tragic sequence of events are powerfully moving descriptions of the ebb and flow of battle, the besieged city of Ilium, the feud between the gods, and the fate of mortals.
Tuesday, August 4 / 1 p.m. | The Art Discussion Group will discuss Alice Neel: The Art of Not Sitting Pretty by Phoebe Hoban (St. Martin’s, $35.00). Hoban recounts the remarkable story of Neel's life and career, transcending her often tragic circumstances. In every aspect of her life, Neel dictated her own terms--from defiantly painting figurative pieces at the height of Abstract Expressionism, convincing her subjects to disrobe (which many of them did, including, surprisingly, Andy Warhol) to becoming a single mother to the two sons she bore to dramatically different partners. No wonder she became the de facto artist of the Feminist movement. When Time magazine put Kate Millet on its cover in 1970, she was asked to paint the portrait. Very much in touch with her time, Neel was also always ahead of it. Although she herself would probably have rejected such label, she was America's first feminist, multicultural artist, a populist painter for the ages.
Tuesday, August 4 / 6:30 p.m. | The Killing Time Book Group will discuss The Dinosaur Feather by S. J. Gazan (Quercus, $15.99). Selected by NPR's Maureen Corrigan as her favorite mystery of 2013 and one of the top ten mysteries of the year by The Wall Street Journal, S.J. Gazan's debut novel The Dinosaur Feather is a classic of Scandinavian noir. With keenly observed and deeply flawed characters, this scintillating thriller uniquely employs one of the most controversial and fascinating areas of contemporary dinosaur and avian research in its diabolical twists. Biology postgraduate, PhD hopeful, and single mom Anna Bella Nor is just two weeks away from defending her thesis on the saurian origin of birds when her academic supervisor, the highly respected yet widely despised Dr. Lars Helland, is found dead in his office chair at the University of Copenhagen. The police discover a copy of Anna's thesis in the dead man's bloody lap. When the autopsy suggests that Helland was murdered in a fiendishly ingenious way, brilliant but tormented young Police Superintendent Soren Marhauge begins the daunting task of unraveling the knotted skeins of interpersonal and intellectual intrigue among the scientists at the university.
Wednesday, August 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, August 9 / 1 p.m. | Patrick Dobson will sign Canoeing the Great Plains: A Missouri River Summer (University of Nebraska Press, $24.95). Patrick Dobson left his job and set off on foot across the Great Plains. After two and a half months, 1,450 miles, and numerous encounters with the people of the heartland, Dobson arrived in Helena, Montana. He then set a canoe on the Missouri and asked the river to carry him safely back to Kansas City, hoping this enigmatic watercourse would help reconnect him with his life. In Canoeing the Great Plains, Dobson recounts his journey on the Missouri, the country’s longest river. Dobson, a novice canoeist when he begins his trip, faces the Missouri at a time of dangerous flooding and must learn to trust himself to the powerful flows of the river and its stark and serenely beautiful countryside. He meets a cast of characters along the river who assist him both with the mundane tasks of canoeing—portaging around dams and reservoirs and finding campsites—and with his own personal transformation. Mishaps, mistakes, and misadventures plague his trip, but over time the river shifts from being a frightening adversary to a welcome companion. As the miles float by and the distinctions blur between himself and what he formerly called nature, Dobson comes to grips with his past, his fears, and his life beyond the river.
Monday, August 10 / 6:30 p.m. | A Mockingbird Pop-Up Discussion Group focusing on Harper Lee and her books will discuss Go Set a Watchman (Harper, $27.99). Originally written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman was the novel Harper Lee first submitted to her publishers before To Kill a Mockingbird. Assumed to have been lost, the manuscript was discovered in late 2014. Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Returning home to Maycomb to visit her father, Jean Louise Finch—Scout—struggles with issues both personal and political, involving Atticus, society, and the small Alabama town that shaped her. Exploring how the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird are adjusting to the turbulent events transforming mid-1950s America, Go Set a Watchman casts a fascinating new light on Harper Lee’s enduring classic. Moving, funny and compelling, it stands as a magnificent novel in its own right.
Wednesday, August 12 / 6:30 p.m. | The Wednesday Bookworms will discuss Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan (Ballantine, $16.00). San Francisco art patron Bibi Chen has planned a journey of the senses along the famed Burma Road for eleven lucky friends. But after her mysterious death, Bibi watches aghast from her ghostly perch as the travelers veer off her itinerary and embark on a trail paved with cultural gaffes and tribal curses, Buddhist illusions and romantic desires. On Christmas morning, the tourists cruise across a misty lake and disappear. With picaresque characters and mesmerizing imagery, Saving Fish from Drowning gives us a voice as idiosyncratic, sharp, and affectionate as the mothers of The Joy Luck Club. Bibi is the observant eye of human nature–the witness of good intentions and bad outcomes, of desperate souls and those who wish to save them. In the end, Tan takes her readers to that place in their own heart where hope is found.
Thursday, August 13 / 6 p.m. | Amiable Adult Readers Discussing Books Almost Always Read by Kids (Aardbaark) will discuss The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen (Scholastic, $7.99). In a discontented kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point -- he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well. As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.
Tuesday, August 18 / 6:30 p.m. | The International Intrigue Book Group will discuss Terra Cotta Dog by Andrea Camilleri (Penguin, $15.00). Inspector Montalbano has garnered millions of fans worldwide with his sardonic take on Sicilian life. Montalbano's latest case begins with a mysterious Mafioso, some inexplicably abandoned loot from a supermarket heist, and dying words that lead him to an illegal arms cache in a mountain cave. There, the inspector finds two young lovers, dead for fifty years and still embracing, watched over by a life-sized terra-cotta dog. Montalbano's passion to solve this old crime takes him on a journey through Sicily's past and into one family's darkest secrets. With sly wit and a keen understanding of human nature, Montalbano is a detective whose earthiness, compassion, and imagination make him totally irresistable.
Thursday, August 20 / 6 p.m. | The World War II At Night Group will discuss The Liberator by Alex Kershaw (Broadway, $16.00). The Liberator traces the remarkable battlefield journey of maverick U.S. Army officer Felix Sparks through the Allied liberation of Europe—from the first landing in Italy to the final death throes of the Third Reich. Over five hundred bloody days, Sparks and his infantry unit battled from the beaches of Sicily through the mountains of Italy and France, ultimately enduring bitter and desperate winter combat against the die-hard SS on the Fatherland’s borders. Having miraculously survived the long, bloody march across Europe, Sparks was selected to lead a final charge to Bavaria, where he and his men experienced some of the most intense street fighting suffered by Americans in World War II. And when he finally arrived at the gates of Dachau, Sparks confronted scenes that robbed the mind of reason—and put his humanity to the ultimate test.
Saturday, August 22 / 10 a.m. | The Civil War Book Group will broaden its scope to become the American History Book Club, focusing on the 1760 to 1900 time period. The August book is War on the Run: The Epic Story of Robert Rogers and the Conquest of America's First Frontier by John Ross (Bantam, $18.00). Often hailed as the godfather of today's elite special forces, Robert Rogers trained and led an unorthodox unit of green provincials, raw woodsmen, farmers, and Indian scouts on "impossible" missions in colonial America that are still the stuff of soldiers' legend. The child of marginalized Scots-Irish immigrants, Rogers learned to survive in New England's dark and deadly forests, grasping, as did few others, that a new world required new forms of warfare. Ross not only re-creates Rogers's life and his spectacular battles with breathtaking immediacy and meticulous accuracy, but brings a new and provocative perspective on Rogers's unique vision of a unified continent, one that would influence Thomas Jefferson and inspire the Lewis and Clark expedition. Rogers's principles of unconventional war-making would lay the groundwork for the colonial strategy later used in the War of Independence--and prove so compelling that army rangers still study them today.
Sunday, August 23/ 1 p.m. | Clayton Anderson will sign The Ordinary Spaceman: From Boyhood Dreams to Astronaut (University of Nebraska Press, $29.95). The Ordinary Spaceman puts you in the flight suit of U.S. astronaut Clayton C. Anderson and takes you on the journey of this small-town boy from Nebraska who spent 167 days living and working on the International Space Station, including more than forty hours of space walks. Having applied to NASA fifteen times over fifteen years to become an astronaut before his ultimate selection, Anderson offers a unique perspective on his life as a veteran space flier, one characterized by humility and perseverance. From the application process to launch aboard the space shuttle Atlantis, from serving as a family escort for the ill-fated Columbia crew in 2003 to his own daily struggles—family separation, competitive battles to win coveted flight assignments, the stress of a highly visible job, and the ever-present risk of having to make the ultimate sacrifice—Anderson shares the full range of his experiences. With a mix of levity and gravitas, Anderson gives an authentic view of the highs and the lows, the triumphs and the tragedies of life as a NASA astronaut.
Monday, August 24/ 2 p.m. | The World War II Book Group will discuss Taste of War: World War II and the Battle for Food by Lizzie Cunningham (Penguin, $22.00). Food, and in particular the lack of it, was central to the experience of World War II. In this richly detailed and engaging history, Lizzie Collingham establishes how control of food and its production is crucial to total war. How were the imperial ambitions of Germany and Japan - ambitions which sowed the seeds of war - informed by a desire for self-sufficiency in food production? How was the outcome of the war affected by the decisions that the Allies and the Axis took over how to feed their troops? And how did the distinctive ideologies of the different combatant countries determine their attitudes towards those they had to feed? Tracing the interaction between food and strategy, on both the military and home fronts, this gripping, original account demonstrates how the issue of access to food was a driving force.
Tuesday, August 25 / 6:30 p.m. | The Crime Through Time Book Group will discuss River of Darkness by Rennie Airth (Penguin, $16.00). Inspector John Madden in the years following World War I is sent to a small village to investigate a particularly gruesome attack. The local police dismiss the slaughter as a botched robbery, but Madden detects the signs of a madman at work. With the help of Dr. Helen Blackwell, who introduces him to the latest developments in criminal psychology, Madden sets out to identify and capture the killer, even as the murderer sets his sights on his next innocent victims.
Thursday, August 27 / 6:30 p.m. | The Enquiring Minds Group will discuss Science and Religion: A Very Short Introduction by Thomas Dixon (Oxford University Press, $11.95). A whole range of views, subtle arguments, and fascinating perspectives can be found on this complex and centuries-old subject. He explores the key philosophical questions that underlie the debate, but also highlights the social, political, and ethical contexts that have made the tensions between science and religion such a fraught and interesting topic in the modern world. Dixon emphasizes how the modern conflict between evolution and creationism is quintessentially an American phenomenon, arising from the culture and history of the United States, as exemplified through the ongoing debates about how to interpret the First-Amendment's separation of church and state. Along the way, he examines landmark historical episodes such as the Galileo affair, Charles Darwin's own religious and scientific odyssey, the Scopes "Monkey Trial" in Tennessee in 1925, and the Dover Area School Board case of 2005, and includes perspectives from non-Christian religions and examples from across the physical, biological, and social sciences.
Saturday, August 29 | Local Author Day – details to come