Books in the Afternoon
Book Discussion Group
Join us for lively discussions of contemporary fiction and other notable books! All are welcome. Discussions are free and open to the public. No registration is necessary.
Discussions are held on the third Thursday of the month from
1 to 2 p.m. and again from 6 to 7 p.m. in Large Print Room on the First Floor of the Main Library.
May 16, 2013 6-7 pm
At the age of 12, Will is sent alone into the wilderness to run an Indian trading post. His life becomes intertwined with the destiny of the Cherokee Indians, as he falls in love with a girl named Claire and builds a friendship with a chief named Bear.
July 18, 2013 6-7 pm
The Dovekeepers is inspired by the tragic first-century massacre of hundreds of Jewish people at Masada. The narrative weaves the stories of a hated daughter, a baker's wife, a girl disguised as a warrior, and a medicine woman who keep doves and secrets while Roman soldiers draw near.
January 20, 2011 6-7 pm
Last Night at the Lobster
Managing a failed seafood restaurant in a run-down New England mall just before Christmas, Manny DeLeon coordinates a challenging final shift of mutinous staff members, an effort that is complicated by his love for a waitress, a pregnant girlfriend, and an elusive holiday gift.
February 17, 2011 6-7 pm
Limited and persecuted by racial divides in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, an African-American maid and her sassy and unemployed friend team up with a recently graduated white woman for a clandestine project.
March 17, 2011 6-7 pm
A Reliable Wife
Ralph Truitt, a wealthy businessman with a troubled past who lives in a remote 19th-century Wisconsin town, has advertised for a reliable wife. His ad is answered by a woman who makes every effort to hide her own dark secrets.
April 21, 2011 6-7 pm
Await Your Reply
While Miles pursues elusive letters and clues in a perpetual search for his missing twin, Ryan struggles with the discovery that he is adopted, and Lucy finds her daring escape from her hometown posing unexpectedly dangerous consequences.
May 19, 2011 6-7 pm
The Elegance of the Hedgehog
The lives of fifty-four-year-old concierge Rene Michel and extremely bright, suicidal twelve-year-old Paloma Josse are transformed by the arrival of a new tenant, Kakuro Ozu.
June 16, 2011 6-7 pm
The Art of Racing in the Rain
Nearing the end of his life, Enzo, a dog with a philosopher's soul, tries to bring together the family, pulled apart by a three-year custody battle between daughter Zoe's maternal grandparents and her father Denny, a race car driver.
July 21, 2011 6-7 pm
The Quiet American
An eager American envoy is mysteriously assigned to Saigon during the French occupation of Indochina.
September 15, 2011 6-7 pm
Cutting for Stone
Twin brothers born from a secret love affair between an Indian nun and a British surgeon in Addis Ababa, Marion and Shiva Stone come of age in an Ethiopia on the brink of revolution, where their love for the same woman drives them apart.
October 20, 2011 6-7 pm
In a story inspired by the father character in Little Women and drawn from the journals and letters of Louisa May Alcott's father, a man leaves behind his family to serve in the Civil War and finds his beliefs challenged by his experiences.
November 17, 2011 6-7 pm
The Power of One
Peekay, a white British boy in South Africa during World War II, survives an abusive boarding school and goes on to succeed in life and the boxing ring, with help from a chicken, a boxer, a pianist, black African prisoners, and many others.
December 15, 2011 6-7 pm
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired) leads a quiet life in the village of St. Mary, England, until his brother's death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But will their relationship survive in a society that considers Ali a foreigner?
January 19, 2012 6-7 pm
An expectant mother is overwhelmed by the desire to reclaim an antique cradle that her mother took when she abandoned the family years earlier. As her husband searches for the cradle, he confronts his own childhood memories and makes a discovery that will change everything he knows. The story is interwoven with that of a middle-aged couple who worries about their son's imminent stationing in Iraq.
February 16, 2012 6-7 pm
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells--taken without her knowledge--became one of the most important tools in medicine. In this nonfiction account, Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the "colored" ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta's small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia-a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo-to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells.
March 15, 2012 6-7 pm
Forced to leave Shanghai when their father sells them to California suitors, sisters May and Pearl struggle to adapt to life in 1930s Los Angeles. Bound to old customs, they face discrimination and confront a life-altering secret.
April 19, 2012 6-7 pm
The idyllic lives of civic-minded environmentalists Patty and Walter Berglund come into question when their son moves in with aggressive Republican neighbors. Green lawyer Walter takes a job in the coal industry, and go-getter Patty becomes increasingly unstable and enraged.
May 17, 2012 6-7 pm
Please Look After Mom
Family members try to find their mother, who went missing from Seoul Station, and come to sobering realizations when they recall memories that suggest she may not have been happy.
June 21, 2012 6-7 pm
The Plague of Doves
Unaware of a violent event that marked the beginning of her mixed ancestry, ambitious young Evelina Harp, a part-Ojibwe, part-white girl prone to falling hopelessly in love, learns disturbing truths from her gifted storyteller grandfather.
July 19, 2012 6-7 pm
A Visit from the Goon Squad
Working side-by-side for a record label, former punk rocker Bennie Salazar and the passionate Sasha hide illicit secrets from one another while interacting with a motley assortment of equally troubled people from 1970s San Francisco to a post-war future.
September 20, 2012 6-7 pm
The Marriage Plot
Madeleine Hanna breaks out of her straight-and-narrow mold when she enrolls in a semiotics course and falls in love with charismatic loner. Her life becomes more complicated by the resurfacing of man who is obsessed with the idea that Madeleine is his destiny.
October 18, 2012 6-7 pm
Newly independent widow Emily Maxwell dreams of visits by grandchildren and mourns changes in her quiet Pittsburgh neighborhood before realizing an inner strength to pursue developing opportunities.
November 15, 2012 6-7 pm
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (nonfiction)
On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared. The plane's bombardier surfaced in the ocean, struggled onto a tiny raft, and drifted into the unknown. The lieutenant's name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he'd been an incorrigible delinquent. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running. But when war came, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Telling an unforgettable story of a man's journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.
December 20, 2012 6-7 pm
Diego de la Vega, the son of an aristocratic Spanish landowner and a Shoshone mother, returns to California from school in Spain to reclaim the hacienda on which he was raised and to seek justice for the weak and helpless.
January 17, 2013 6-7 pm
The Art of Fielding
A baseball star at a small college near Lake Michigan launches a routine throw that goes disastrously off course and inadvertently changes the lives of five people, including the college president, a gay teammate, and the president's daughter.
February 21, 2013 6-7 pm
In 1946, Laura McAllan tries to adjust after moving with her husband and two children to an isolated cotton farm in the Mississippi Delta.
March 21, 2013 6-7 pm
Haigh’s story follows 25 years in the life of a charismatic opportunist as seen through the eyes of his three wives.
April 18, 2013 6-7 pm
People of the Book
Join us this month for Allegheny County’s One Book One Community selection.
Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered a coveted job to analyze and conserve a priceless Sarajevo Haggadah. She discovers a series of tiny artifacts in the volume's ancient binding that reveal its historically significant origins.
Book descriptions are taken from Novelist, copyright 2013 EBSCO Publishing