Any and all are both welcomed and encouraged to join the Chapel Hill Public Library book group. You are welcome any time, whether you have been in book clubs your whole life or are only interested in a single title.

We meet on the 3rd Monday of each month in Meeting Room C, with few exceptions.

  • A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
    February 18, 2019
    6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    - "A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in another elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel's doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery."
  • The Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History, by S.C. Gwynne
    March 18, 2019
    6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    - Journalist Gwynne tracks one of the U.S.'s longest-running military conflicts in this gripping history of the war against the Comanche Indians on the high plains of Texas and Colorado. The Comanches stood for decades as the single most effective military force on the southern plains; their mastery of horseback warfare and their intimate knowledge of the trackless desert of the plains stymied the armies of Spain and Mexico, and blocked American westward expansion for 40 years. Gwynne's account orbits around Quanah Parker (ca. 1852-1911), the brilliant war chief whose resistance raged even as the Comanche, increasingly demoralized by the loss of the buffalo and the American military's policy of total annihilation, retreated into the reservation.
  • Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings: A Novel by Stephen O'Connor
    April 15, 2019
    6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    - O'Connor delves with great acuity and depth into the mind of Thomas Jefferson, who required sexual intimacy from Sally Hemings, an enslaved woman, for nearly 40 years. Interweaving contemporary documents, narrative, fable, and fantasy, O'Connor creates startlingly vivid portraits of his major characters as well as the many injustices of slavery. The weighty political events of the day barely surface in the background as the novel focuses almost claustrophobically on the fraught intimacy between Jefferson and Hemings, from their humiliating first encounters to the steady companionship that evolves as they age.
  • I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad, by Souad Mekhennet
    May 20, 2019
    6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    - "The journalist who broke the "Jihadi John" story draws on her personal experience to bridge the gap between the Muslim world and the West and explain the rise of Islamic radicalism. Souad Mekhennet has lived her entire life between worlds. The daughter of a Turkish mother and a Moroccan father, she was born and educated in Germany and has worked for several American newspapers. Since the 9/11 attacks she has reported stories among the most dangerous members of her religion; when she is told to come alone to an interview, she never knows what awaits at her destination. In this compelling and evocative book, Mekhennet seeks to answer the question, "What is in the minds of these young jihadists, and how can we understand and defuse it?"
  • The Children Act, by Ian McEwan
    June 17, 2019
    6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    - The 1989 Children Act made a child's welfare the top priority of English courts-easier said than done, given the complexities of modern life and the pervasiveness of human weakness, as Family Court Judge Fiona Maye discovers in McEwan's 13th novel (after Sweet Tooth). Approaching 60, at the peak of her career, Fiona has a reputation for well-written, well-reasoned decisions. She is, in fact, more comfortable with cool judgment than her husband's pleas for passion. While he pursues a 28-year-old statistician, Fiona focuses on casework, especially a hospital petition to overrule two Jehovah's Witnesses who refuse blood transfusions for Adam, their 17-year-old son who's dying of leukemia. Adam agrees with their decision. Fiona visits Adam in the hospital, where she finds him writing poetry and studying violin. Childless Fiona shares a musical moment with the boy, then rules in the hospital's favor. Adam's ensuing rebellion against his parents, break with religion, and passionate devotion to Fiona culminate in a disturbing face-to-face encounter that calls into question what constitutes a child's welfare and who best represents it.
  • The Ambassadors, by Henry James
    August 19, 2019
    6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    - "Live all you can; it's a mistake not to," declares the primary "ambassador" of this 1903 novel, adding, "It doesn't so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you haven't had that, what have you had?" In this complex tale of self-discovery, Henry James invokes his favorite theme: the clash of American innocence with European experience. It traces the path of an aging idealist, Lambert Strether, who arrives in Paris intending to persuade his young charge to abandon an obsession with a French woman and return home. Once abroad, however, Strether arrives at unexpected conclusions. Henry James regarded The Ambassadors as his finest work. Astute, humorous, and intelligent, this masterpiece from the pinnacle of the author's long and brilliant career remains ever vital.
  • The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
    September 16, 2019
    6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    - Intensely poetic, startlingly imaginative and moving, this remarkable book will speak to many women, mothers and grown daughters, about the persistent tensions and powerful bonds between generations and cultures. The narrative voice moves among seven characters. Jing-mei ``June'' Woo recounts her first session in a San Francisco mah-jong club founded by her recently dead, spiritually vital, mother. The three remaining club members and their daughters alternate with stories of their lives, tales that are stunning, funny and heartbreaking. The mothers, all born in China, tell about grueling hardship and misery, the tyranny of family pride and the fear of losing face. The daughters try to reconcile their personalities, shaped by American standards, with seemingly irrational maternal expectations.
  • Grandma Gatewood's Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail, by Ben Montgomery
    October 21, 2019 - November 18, 2019
    6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    - Montgomery introduces listeners to Emma Gatewood, a woman who walked the length of the Appalachian Trail at age 67 in 1955 and twice more in the decade that followed. By her amazing feats, she secured attention and interest in a decaying national treasure and helped preserve it.
  • Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate
    November 18, 2019
    6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    - Wingate's tightly written novel (after 2015's The Sea Keeper's Daughters) follows the interwoven story lines of Avery Stafford, a lawyer from a prominent South Carolina family, and Rill Foss, the eldest of five

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