Fiction | Nonfiction | NEW! Speculative Fiction| Past Books
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Fiction Book Discussions
The library's Fiction Book Club meets the second Monday each month at 1 and 7 PM. All are welcome! Whenever possible copies of each title are borrowed from New Hampshire libraries in advance. Books are available for check out with your PPL card.
Monday December 12 | 1pm & 7pm
Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
Within the first three pages of this gripping and tender novel, Addie Moore, a 70-year-old widow, invites her neighbor, Louis Waters, to sleep over. “No, not sex,” she clarifies. “I’m talking about getting through the night. And lying warm in bed, companionably.” Although Louis is taken off guard, the urgency of Addie’s loneliness does not come across as desperate, and her logic will soon persuade him.
Monday January 9 | 1pm & 7pm
Department of Speculation by Jenny Offill
Popping prose and touching vignettes of marriage and motherhood fill Offill’s slim second book of fiction. Clever, subtle, and rife with strokes of beauty, this book is both readable in a single sitting and far ranging in the emotions it raises. The 46 short chapters are told mostly in brief fragments and fly through the life of the nameless heroine.
Monday Febrary 13 | 1pm & 7pm
The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro
Shapiro’s new novel is filled with delightful twists, turns, and ruminations on what constitutes truth in art. Broke and painting copies of famous artists’ work for a reproduction site, artist Claire Roth is enticed by gallery owner Aidan Markel’s request to forge a painting by Degas that was stolen from the Isabella Gardner Museum in 1990 (in the largest unsolved art heist in history). As Claire works, she wonders if the painting she’s forging is legitimate.
All synopses from Publishers Weekly.
Monday March 13 | 1pm & 7pm
Family Life by Akhil Sharma
The Mishras come to America in the late-1970s, the father first, in the wake of new U.S. immigration laws and the Indian Emergency, when the narrator, Ajay, is eight, and his brother Birju is 12. There are lovely scenes of their life in Delhi before they leave, the mother making wicks from the cotton in pill bottles, the parade of neighbors when their plane tickets to America arrive.
Nonfiction Book Discussions
Nonfiction Book Discussion meets the third Tuesday each month at 7 PM in the Hilton Garden Room. All are welcome! Whenever possible copies of each title are borrowed from New Hampshire libraries in advance. Books are available for check out with your PPL card.
Tuesday January 17 | 7pm
Just Mercy by Brian Stevenson
With a mandate to serve the poor and voiceless, Stevenson, a professor of law at New York University and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal firm providing services for the wrongly condemned, describes in his memoir how he got the call to represent this largely neglected clientele in our justice system.
Tuesday February 21| 7pm
Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall
All leaders of nations are constrained by geography. Their choices are limited by mountains, rivers, seas, and concrete. To understand world events, news organizations and other authorities often focus on people, ideas, and political movements, but without geography, we never have the full picture. an award-winning journalist uses ten maps of crucial regions to explain the geo-political strategies of the world powers.
Tuesday March 21 | 7pm
Tattoos on the Heart by Greg Boyle
In this artful, disquieting, yet surprisingly jubilant memoir, Jesuit priest Boyle recounts his two decades of working with “homies” in Los Angeles County, which contains 1,100 gangs with nearly 86,000 members. Boyle’s Homeboy Industries is the largest gang intervention program in the country, offering job training, tattoo removal, and employment to members of enemy gangs.
All synopses from Publishers Weekly.
Speculative Fiction Book Discussions
The Portsmouth Public Library Speculative Fiction Book Group will meet on the final Wednesday of each month. Spec Fic is a genre that encompasses fantasy, science fiction, horror and everything in between. Speculative fiction asks, what if?
This season, we’re headed out of the library to meet at The Press Room in Portsmouth. Each meeting begins at 7 PM. All are welcome! Whenever possible copies of each title are borrowed from New Hampshire libraries in advance. Books are available for check out at the library, or at the meeting, with your PPL card.
Wednesday January 25 | 7pm
The Passage by Justin Cronin
When a secret project to create a super-soldier backfires, a virus leads to a plague of vampiric revenants that wipes out most of the population…. Cronin uses a number of tropes that may be overly familiar to genre fans, but he manages to engage the reader with a sweeping epic style.
Wednesday February 22 | 7pm
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Two boys, Will and Jim, discover the dark magic and evil at work in the traveling sideshow, Cooger and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show, that comes to their town a week before Halloween.
Wednesday March 29 | 7pm
Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
Set in an unnamed Arab emirate, Wilson’s intriguing, colorful first novel centers on a callow Arab-Indian computer hacker who calls himself “Alif,” the first letter of the Arabic alphabet…. Wilson (The Butterfly Mosque, a memoir) provocatively juxtaposes ancient Arab lore and equally esoteric computer theory, highlighting the many facets of the East-West conflict.
Wednesday April 26 | 7pm
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Since the mysterious death of four family members, the superstitious Mary Katherine "Merricat" Blackwood, her ailing uncle Julian, and agoraphobic sister Constance have lived in a bizarre but contented state of isolation. But when cousin Charles arrives in search of the Blackwood fortune, a terrible family secret is revealed.
All synopses from Goodreads.
Wednesday May 31 | 7pm
Grass by Sherri Tepper
Generations in the future, when humanity has spread to other planets and Earth is ruled by Sanctity, a dour, coercive religion that looks to resurrection of the body by storing cell samples of its communicants, a plague is threatening to wipe out mankind. The only planet that seems to be spared is Grass… it was settled by families of European nobility who live on vast estancias and indulge in the ancient sport of fox hunting--although the horses, hounds and foxes aren't what they what they appear to be.
Past Book Discussions