Book discussion groups are springing up everywhere -- in libraries, among friends, in the workplace, in bookstores, in churches and schools. Reading a good book and discussing it with others opens us up to new ideas and different viewpoints, and gives people the opportunity to socialize with other book lovers. Here are some books that are popular with book discussion groups. – Judy Waters, Adult Librarian from the Pearl River Public Library
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Cutting for Stone, an epic novel spanning continents and generations is a memorable story of love, family, betrayal, compassion and redemption that covers five decades in India, Ethiopia, and America. This first novel by well-known doctor/author Verghese follows a man on a quest to find his father. It begins with the dramatic birth of twins with their father attending as the surgeon and their mother dying on the table in 1950s Ethiopia. As the boys both become doctors and practice medicine, their story of lives saved and lost is tenderly and vividly told.
A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
In 1890 Wisconsin, Ralph Truitt, a successful businessman, waits on a train platform for a woman who answered his newspaper ad for "a reliable wife." Catherine Land steps off the train from Chicago. But she's not the "simple, honest woman" that Ralph is expecting. She is fleeing a terrible past and is motivated by greed. She has a simple plan. She will win Ralph’s love and devotion, and then, slowly, she will poison him and leave Wisconsin a wealthy widow.
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
Iris James is the spinster postmistress of Franklin, Massachusetts on Cape Cod in the 1940s. She knows a lot more about the towns people than she will ever say. She knows that Emma Trask has come to marry the town’s doctor and she knows that Harry Vale watches the ocean from the town hall tower looking for German U-boats. Iris believes that it is her job to deliver the mail and keep people’s secrets and to pass along the news of love and sadness that letters carry. One day Iris does something unthinkable. She reads a letter and then doesn’t deliver it. This simple act changes the course of people’s lives and things to come.
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
A bittersweet but funny and uplifting story of family, love, loyalty and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a wonderfully written book that looks at the absurdities of human life … as only a dog could tell it. Denny’s beloved pet, Enzo knows he is different from other dogs. He is only a dog but one with an almost human soul. Enzo is a reliable companion who helps his owner, Denny Swift, a race car driver, and his daughter, overcome life’s problems.
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Dr. Marina Singh, a research scientist for a pharmaceutical company, is sent to the Amazon jungle to find her former mentor, Dr. Swenson, who has disappeared in the Brazilian jungle while working on what was going to be a valuable new drug. Marina's task is not easy. She does not know where Dr. Swenson is, and the last person who was sent to find her, Marina's research colleague, Anders Eckman, died before he could find her. Marina embarks on her journey into the insect infested Amazon hoping to finding her former teacher as well as the answers to the disconcerting questions about her friend's death, the state her company's future, and her own past.
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
The Language of Flowers beautifully combines the past and present to create a picture of an unforgettable woman whose love and gift for growing flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she ties to overcome her own troubled past. The Victorian language of flowers has romantic expressions for each flower. For example, honeysuckle is for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, they present grief, mistrust, and solitude. Her unhappy childhood was spent in foster-care and she is unable to get close to anyone. Her only way to connect with the world is through flowers and their meanings.
The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay
Irene Blum acquires valuable relics. She finds a rare map that holds the clue to a set of copper scrolls that record the lost history of Cambodia’s ancient Khmer civilization. Finding them would reestablish her reputation and it would be one of the most amazing archaeological discoveries of the century. As she and her fellow explorers make surprising discoveries in their pursuit of the map, the adventure becomes more and more dangerous.
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
In 1946 in the Mississippi delta region, Laura McAllan is raising her children on her husband's farm. In the middle of the family's labors, two young men return from the war to work the land. One is Jamie McAllan, Laura's brother-in-law, and the other is Ronsel Jackson, son of the black sharecropper who lives on the McAllan farm. An improbable friendship develops as Mudbound explores the many forms of prejudice.