Fiction | Nonfiction | NEW! Speculative Fiction| Past Books
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Fiction Book Discussions
The library's Fiction Book Club meets one Monday each month at 1 or 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.
All synopses from Publishers Weekly.
Monday June 13 | 1pm & 7pm
The First of July by Elizabeth Speller (2013)
This well-told, well-plotted war epic from British novelist Speller tracks the life experiences of four disparate Allied soldiers fighting in the bloody Battle of the Somme…. Each young man is swept into the First World War’s maelstrom and serves in a different capacity. The four soldiers encounter each other on occasion, while the stark battlefield scenes evoke Hemingwayesque realism in Speller’s unsentimental, always engaging literary war narrative.
Nonfiction Book Discussions
Nonfiction Book Discussion meets once monthly, on Tuesday 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 May 17 | 7pm
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015)
Coates intimately presents the text as a letter to his son, both an expression of love and a cautionary tale about "police departments... endowed with the authority to destroy his body." As a meditation on race in America, haunted by the bodies of black men, women, and children, Coates's compelling, indeed stunning, work is rare in its power to make you want to slow down and read every word.
Tuesday June 21 | 7pm
I'm a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson (1999)
Although he happily describes himself as dazzled by American ease, friendliness and abundance, Bryson has no trouble finding comic targets, among them fast food, computer efficiency and, ironically, American friendliness and putative convenience. Bryson sometimes strains for yuks, but he's deft when he compares the two cultures. Bryson also nudges into domestic territory with regular references to his own British wife, the resolutely sensible Mrs. B. In a few columns, Bryson adopts a sentimental tone, writing about his family and his new hometown of Hanover. In others, he's more sober, criticizing anti-immigration activists, environmental depredation and drug laws..
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 May 25 | 7pm
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity. Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.
Wednesday June 29 | 7pm
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter,Witch (the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner. So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth's mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture.
And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist . . .
All synopses from Goodreads.
Wednesday July 27 | 7pm
Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer
Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.
This is the twelfth expedition. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.
Past Book Discussions