Fiction | Nonfiction | 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 April 10 | 1pm & 7pm
The Blessings by Elise Juska
Several generations of the Blessings, a Philadelphia-based, Irish-American family, come beautifully to life in a deceptively simple tale that examines the foibles, disappointments and passions that tie family members together. Juska traces the trajectory of several family members’ lives over a 15-year period, starting with college student Abby, who comes to understand her family’s supportive and close-knit nature only after leaving for college.
Monday May 8 | 1pm & 7pm
The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard
Aron (Sh’maya to his family) is a young Polish Jew who survives as a thief, urchin, and smuggler forcibly relocated to Warsaw’s Jewish ghetto following the German invasion. Typhus, blackmail, and the Nazis’ wanton violence are routine, but perhaps the greatest threat is the Jewish Order Service, in charge of requisitions and expulsions, for whom Aron agrees to become an informer.
Monday June 12 | 1pm & 7pm
The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
In Barry's captivating debut, Towner Whitney, a dazed young woman descended from a long line of mind readers and fortune tellers, has survived numerous traumas and returned to her hometown of Salem, Mass., to recover. Any tranquility in her life is short-lived when her beloved great-aunt Eva drowns under circumstances suggesting foul play.
All synopses from Publishers Weekly.
Monday July 10 | 1pm & 7pm
At The Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier
A compelling showcase of 19th-century American pioneering spirit in which a family from Connecticut struggles to establish an apple orchard in the swamplands of Ohio. James Goodenough can trace his family and his beloved Golden Pippin apples back to England, though he seeks his own future away from his family's farm. The story of his adventure going west unfolds from his point of view as well as from that of Sadie, his contentious wife, a tough woman with a wild libido and a hankering for applejack.
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 April 18 | 7pm
We should all be feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-viewed TEDx talk of the same name—by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun.
With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness.
Tuesday May 16 | 7pm
Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey
In this deeply affecting work about her increasingly debilitating dermal sensitivity to light, former British civil servant turned piano teacher Lyndsey moves the reader with her wry, intimately detailed narrative. When exposure to her computer screen became unbearable pain on her face, she quit her high-level writing job at the Department of Work and Pensions in 2005 and began a gradual process of vanishing from sight.
Tuesday June 20 | 7pm
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan
Married to a man with violent tendencies and a severe drinking problem, Evelyn Ryan managed to keep her 10 children fed and housed during the 1950s and '60s by entering-and-winning-contests for rhymed jingles and advertising slogans of 25-words-or-less. This engaging and quick-witted biography [is] written by her daughter Terry.
Tuesday July 18 | 7pm
My Life in France by Julia Child
With Julia Child's death in 2004 at age 91, her grandnephew Prud'homme completed this playful memoir of the famous chef's first, formative sojourn in France with her new husband, Paul Child, in 1949. The couple met during WWII in Ceylon, working for the OSS, and soon after moved to Paris, where Paul worked for the U.S. Information Service. Child describes herself as a "rather loud and unserious Californian," 36, six-foot-two and without a word of French, while Paul was 10 years older, an urbane, well-traveled Bostonian. Startled to find the French amenable and the food delicious, Child enrolled at the Cordon Bleu…
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 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.
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.
Wednesday June 28| 7pm
Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
In 1988 Mexico City, 15-year-old Meche and her only friends, book-loving Sebastian and dreamer Daniela, discover literal magic in Meche’s record collection. They use their newfound powers to raise their social status, but the emotional stresses of magic and adolescence test their friendships to the breaking point. In 2009, Meche returns to Mexico City for the funeral of her father, a radio deejay and washout performer who fed her love of music, and confronts her estranged friends, reopening old wounds.
All synopses from Goodreads.
Wednesday July 22 | 7pm
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
In California of the near future, when the U.S. is only a ``Burbclave'' (city-state), the Mafia is just another franchise chain (CosaNostrastet Pizza, Incorporated) and there are no laws to speak of, Hiro Protagonist follows clues from the Bible, ancient Sumer and high technology to help thwart an attempt to take control of civilization--such as it is.
Past Book Discussions