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Club Read meets the Fourth Wednesday of the month January – October at the Peoria Public Library Lakeview Branch, 1137 W. Lake Avenue, at 6:30 p.m. For more information please contact Jamie at 309-497-2701.
On break in November and December
Club Read Reading List for 2017
On break in January and February
Silver Sparrow - 2017 Peoria Reads pick (author will be in Peoria in February!) (368 pages – free copies available from Peoria Reads!)
Tayari Jones unveils a breathtaking story about a man's deception, a family's complicity, and two teenage girls caught in the middle. Set in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, the novel revolves around James Witherspoon's two families - the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode when secrets are revealed and illusions shattered.
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (416 pages – available to borrow in over 25 area libraries, and to purchase in hardcover, paperback, and e-book)
It’s a pleasure to discover an author who wields language in striking ways, and Burton’s setting and story line are equally singular. In her enticing debut, set in 1680s Amsterdam, she counterbalances her mischievous premise with stark commentary on greed, hypocrisy, and prejudice. Already puzzled by the indifference of her new husband, merchant-trader Johannes Brandt, 18-year-old Nella feels insulted by his seemingly childish wedding gift: a pricey dollhouse whose tiny rooms replicate the decor and layout of their home. However, she grows intrigued when the furnishings she commissions from a miniaturist reveal uncannily prescient insight into their household. Full of surprises and layers of secrets, the plot gathers suspense as Nella seeks answers from the enigmatic miniaturist and tension heightens between Johannes and a business associate over unsold sugar. While Nella’s determination and colorful observations are appealing, the inscrutability of her chilly sister-in-law, Marin, deepens the sense of mystery. The interactions between these strong characters and their spirited maid, Cornelia, make this refreshingly different historical novel a standout portrayal of the wide range of women’s ingenuity.
Lucky Us by Amy Bloom (240 pages – 30+ copies available to borrow from area libraries, as well as being available for purchase in hardcover, paperback, and e-book)
“My father’s wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us.”
So begins this remarkable novel by Amy Bloom, whose critically acclaimed Away was called “a literary triumph” (The New York Times). Lucky Us is a brilliantly written, deeply moving, fantastically funny novel of love, heartbreak, and luck.
Disappointed by their families, Iris, the hopeful star and Eva the sidekick, journey through 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris’s ambitions take the pair across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, and to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island.
With their friends in high and low places, Iris and Eva stumble and shine though a landscape of big dreams, scandals, betrayals, and war. Filled with gorgeous writing, memorable characters, and surprising events, Lucky Us is a thrilling and resonant novel about success and failure, good luck and bad, the creation of a family, and the pleasures and inevitable perils of family life, conventional and otherwise. From Brooklyn’s beauty parlors to London’s West End, a group of unforgettable people love, lie, cheat and survive in this story of our fragile, absurd, heroic species.
Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald (400 pages – 45 copies in the Peoria area, and it’s available for purchase in hardcover, paperback and e-book)
Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy's funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist--even if they don't understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that's almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend's memory. All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love.
Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It by Gina Kolata (352 pages – 20+ copies available to borrow from Peoria area libraries, and it’s also available to purchase in hardcover, paperback and e-book)
When we think of plagues, we think of AIDS, Ebola, anthrax spores, and, of course, the Black Death. But in 1918 the Great Flu Epidemic killed an estimated forty million people virtually overnight. If such a plague returned today, taking a comparable percentage of the US population with it, 1.5 million Americans would die.
In Flu, Gina Kolata, an acclaimed reporter for The New York Times, unravels the mystery of this lethal virus with the high drama of a great adventure story. From Alaska to Norway, from the streets of Hong Kong to the corridors of the White House, Kolata tracks the race to recover the live pathogen and probes the fear that has impelled government policy.
A gripping work of science writing, Flu addresses the prospects for a great epidemic’s recurrence and considers what can be done to prevent it.
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Frederick Backman (372 pages – 20+ copies available to borrow from area libraries, as well as its being available for purchase in hardcover, paperback, and e-book)
From the author of the internationally bestselling A Man Called Ove, a charming, warmhearted novel about a young girl whose grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters, sending her on a journey that brings to life the world of her grandmother's fairy tales"--
Elsa is seven years old; her grandmother is seventy-seven years old. She is Elsa's best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother's stories, in the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal. When Elsa's grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, the letters lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and totally ordinary old crones... but also to the truth about fairytales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.
LaRose by Louise Erdrich (384 pages – available to borrow in over 30 area libraries, and to purchase in harcover, paperback, and e-book)
Erdrich's most recent novel (after the National Book Award winner The Round House) acquaints us once again with members of the Peace family, though a different branch from the one in A Plague of Doves. The wives in two households, Nola and Emmaline, are half-sisters, daughters of retired schoolteacher LaRose Peace. LaRose is an old family name that originally belonged to the family progenitor, a native girl who married a fur trader's young assistant. Nola and Peter have two children, Dusty and Maggie. Emmaline and husband Landreaux Iron have four, including their youngest son, LaRose, plus a foster son. In the book 's first pages, the two families become inextricably conjoined when Landreaux kills Dusty in a hunting accident, and Emmaline and Landreaux make the agonizing decision to right this accidental wrong with an old form of justice: giving LaRose to the grieving family. The decision reverberates through the two sets of parents and siblings, and the community beyond.
The Book That Matters Most by Anne Hood (358 pages – 30+ copies available to borrow from area libraries, as well as being available for purchase in hardcover, paperback, and e-book)
Ava's twenty-five-year marriage has fallen apart, and her two grown children are pursuing their own lives outside of the country. Ava joins a book group, not only for her love of reading but also out of sheer desperation for companionship. The group's goal throughout the year is for each member to present the book that matters most to them. Ava rediscovers a mysterious book from her childhood--one that helped her through the traumas of the untimely deaths of her sister and mother. Alternating with Ava's story is that of her troubled daughter Maggie, who, living in Paris, descends into a destructive relationship with an older man. Ava's mission to find that book and its enigmatic author takes her on a quest that unravels the secrets of her past and offers her and Maggie the chance to remake their lives."—
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