Join us for lively discussion with fellow booklovers the first Tuesday of every month at 7:00 pm. Our staff hosts after regular business hours so book club has the run of the store. All are welcome! Cookies are served to go with enthusiastic discussion prompts and moderation by friendly QABC staff.
We're taking July off for summer travels, but we'll reconvene in August on the **THIRD** Tuesday of the month, due to conflicts. (*Updated 7/27/17. Sorry for the change of plans!)
Tuesday August 15*: News of the World by Paulette Jiles (Wendee)
Tuesday September 5: The Sport of Kings by C. E. Morgan (Tegan)
Tuesday October 3: LaRose by Louise Erdrich (Wendee)
Tuesday November 7: The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar (Tegan)
Tuesday December 5: Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (Wendee)
January 2: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Tegan)
Previous Books from QABC Reads Book Group
DISCUSSED June 2017 (Tegan)
Not as swashbuckling as we'd been led to believe by the blurbs, but it ended up being a very interesting discussion about the history of scholarship, Islam, fundamentalism, and terrorism in the region.
DISCUSSED MAY 2017 (Wendee): Not well-liked...
DISCUSSED APRIL 2017 (Tegan): Very well-liked for the most part! Great discussion
DISCUSSED MARCH 2017 (Wendee): The winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as six other awards, The Sympathizer is the breakthrough novel of the year. With the pace and suspense of a thriller and prose that has been compared to Graham Greene and Saul Bellow, The Sympathizer is a sweeping epic of love and betrayal. The narrator, a communist double agent, is a "man of two minds," a half-French, half-Vietnamese army captain who arranges to come to America after the Fall of Saigon, and while building a new life with other Vietnamese refugees in Los Angeles is secretly reporting back to his communist superiors in Vietnam. The Sympathizer is a blistering exploration of identity and America, a gripping espionage novel, and a powerful story of love and friendship.
DISCUSSED 2/8/17 (Tegan): A dark, fantastical, multi-generational tale about a family whose patriarch is consumed by the hunt for the mythical, elusive sasquatch he encountered in his youth.
Discussed 1/3/17 (Wendee). Seattle Public Library/ Seattle Reads picks for 2017!
Discussed 12/6/16 (Tegan)
Discussed 11/1/16. (Wendee)
Discussed October 2016. Discussion led by Tegan
Discussed September 2016. Discussion led by Wendee.
Discussed August 2016. Discussion led by Tegan.
Discussed June 7, 2016 (Wendee)
Discussed May 3, 2016 (Tegan)
Discussed April 2016 (Tegan)
Discussed March 2016 (Wendee)
Discussed February 2016 (Tegan)
Discussed January 2016 (Janis)
Discussed December 2015. (Wendee)
Discussed November 2015 (Tegan)
Discussed October 2015 (Wendee)
Discussed September 2015 (Tegan)
Discussed July 2015
Discussed 6/2/15 (led by Tegan): Piquant humor, refulgent language, a canny plot rooted in real-life experiences, an irresistible narrator, threshing insights, and tender emotions Fowler has outdone herself in this deeply inquisitive, cage-rattling novel. "Booklist "(starred review)
Discussed May 2015 (Janis)
Discussed April 2015 (Wendee)
Discussed March 2015 (Tegan)
Discussed February 2015 (Janis)
Discussed 1/15 (Tegan): There is nothing like a good visit with old friends, and that is what it's like to savor this novel. Even better, really, since in this retelling of Jane Eyre the characters are imbued with a more modern sensibility -- and this time around Mr. Rochester is not a reprehensible misogynist! Livesey's Gemma remains true to the spirit of Jane, and the dark settings of Scotland and the Orkney Islands are as atmospheric as they come. This is the perfect book to curl up with for a weekend with a pot o' tea -- or perhaps a wee dram of something stronger. -- Emily Crowe, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA
Discussed 12/2/14 (Wendee): National Book Award Finalist and shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize The Lowland is an engrossing family saga steeped in history: the story of two very different brothers bound by tragedy, a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past, a country torn apart by revolution, and a love that endures long past death. Moving from the 1960s to the present, and from India to America and across generations, this dazzling novel is Jhumpa Lahiri at the height of her considerable powers.
Discussed 11/4/14 (Tegan): Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun. When "Verity" is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn't stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she's living a spy's worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution. As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?
Discussed October 7, 2014 (Wendee)
Discussed September 2, 2104 (Janis)
Discussed August 12, 2014 (Tegan)
Discussed July 1, 2014 (Wendee)
Discussed June 3, 2014 (Janis)
Discussed 5/6/14 (Wendee):
Nao, a suicidal Japanese girl, postpones her death as she grows closer to her 104-year-old great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun. Ruth, an American author with writer's block, discovers a diary washed ashore on her remote island in the Pacific Northwest. Ruth becomes obsessed with Nao and her diary, and readers will be drawn in as their stories intertwine. Ozeki's creatively constructed novel, complete with footnotes, Japanese characters, and appendices, will have readers marveling at the leaps in time and connection that bring the two women together in this witty, daring, and thoughtful novel. -- Cheryl Krocker McKeon, Book Passage, San Francisco, CA (and friend of QABC!)
Discussed 4/1/14 (Tegan):
JAMES BEARD AWARD NOMINEE • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY VOGUE • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “One of the great culinary stories of our time.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times It begins with a simple ritual: Every Saturday afternoon, a boy who loves to cook walks to his grandmother’s house and helps her prepare a roast chicken for dinner. The grandmother is Swedish, a retired domestic. The boy is Ethiopian and adopted, and he will grow up to become the world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson. This book is his love letter to food and family in all its manifestations. Yes, Chef chronicles Samuelsson’s journey, from his grandmother’s kitchen to his arrival in New York City, where his outsize talent and ambition finally come together at Aquavit, earning him a New York Times three-star rating at the age of twenty-four. But Samuelsson’s career of chasing flavors had only just begun—in the intervening years, there have been White House state dinners, career crises, reality show triumphs, and, most important, the opening of Red Rooster in Harlem. At Red Rooster, Samuelsson has fulfilled his dream of creating a truly diverse, multiracial dining room—a place where presidents rub elbows with jazz musicians, aspiring artists, and bus drivers. It is a place where an orphan from Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, living in America, can feel at home.
Discussed 3/4/14 (Janis):
On the morning after harvest, the inhabitants of a remote English village awaken looking forward to a hard-earned day of rest and feasting at their landowner's table. But the sky is marred by two conspicuous columns of smoke, replacing pleasurable anticipation with alarm and suspicion.
One smoke column is the result of an overnight fire that has damaged the master's outbuildings. The second column rises from the wooded edge of the village, sent up by newcomers to announce their presence. In the minds of the wary villagers a mere coincidence of events appears to be unlikely, with violent confrontation looming as the unavoidable outcome. Meanwhile, another newcomer has recently been spotted taking careful notes and making drawings of the land. It is his presence more than any other that will threaten the village's entire way of life.
DISCUSSED 2/4/14 (Wendee):
When the local drama school turns the story of the scandal into their year-end show, the real world and the world of the theater are forced to meet. With both performances--the musicians' and the acting students'--approaching, the boundaries between dramas real and staged, private and public, begin to dissolve. THE REHEARSAL is a tender portrait of teenage yearning and adult regret, an exhilarating, darkly funny, provocative novel about the complications of human desire.
DISCUSSED 1/7/14 (Tegan):
An intense, psychological novel about one doctor's suspense-filled quest to unlock the mind of a suspected political assassin: his twenty-year old son.
As a rheumatologist, Dr. Paul Allen's specialty is diagnosing patients other doctors have given up on. His son, Daniel Allen has always been a good kid but, as a child of divorce, he is also something of a drifter. Which may be why, at the age of nineteen, he quietly drops out of Vassar and begins an aimless journey across the United States, shedding his former skin and eventually even changing his name. One night, Paul is home with his family when a televised news report announces that the Democratic candidate for president has been shot, and Daniel is the lead suspect. Convinced of his son’s innocence Paul begins to trace his sons steps to see where Daniel, or perhaps Paul, went wrong, beginning a harrowing journey--about the responsibilities of being a parent and the capacity for unconditional love in the face of an unthinkable situation—that keeps one guessing until the very end.
DISCUSSED 12/3/13 (Tegan):
Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.
This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.
DISCUSSED 11/5/13 (Janis):
A San Francisco Chronicle and Atlantic Monthly Best Book of the Year
Hig somehow survived the flu pandemic that killed everyone he knows. Now his wife is gone, his friends are dead, and he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, Jasper, and a mercurial, gun-toting misanthrope named Bangley.
But when a random transmission beams through the radio of his 1956 Cessna, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life exists outside their tightly controlled perimeter. Risking everything, he flies past his point of no return and follows its static-broken trail, only to find something that is both better and worse than anything he could ever hope for.
DISCUSSED 10/1/13 (Wendee):
From the acclaimed Nordic Council Literature Prize winner, a story that reveals the devastating effects of mistaking silence for peace and feeling shame for inevitable circumstances
Eva and Simon have spent most of their adult lives together. He is a physician and she is a teacher, and they have three grown daughters and a comfortable home. Yet what binds them together isn’t only affection and solidarity but also the painful facts of their respective histories, which they keep hidden even from their own children. But after the abrupt dismissal of their housekeeper and Simon’s increasing withdrawal into himself, the past can no longer be repressed.
Lindstrøm has crafted a masterpiece about the grave mistakes we make when we misjudge the legacy of war, common prejudices, and our own strategies of survival.
DISCUSSED 9/3/13 (Wendee):
Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.
DISCUSSED 8/13/13 (Tegan):
Thirteen-year-old Ava Bigtree has lived her entire life at Swamplandia!, her family’s island home and gator-wrestling theme park in the Florida Everglades. But when illness fells Ava’s mother, the park’s indomitable headliner, the family is plunged into chaos; her father withdraws, her sister falls in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, and her brilliant big brother, Kiwi, defects to a rival park called The World of Darkness. As Ava sets out on a mission through the magical swamps to save them all, we are drawn into a lush and bravely imagined debut that takes us to the shimmering edge of reality.
At once intimate and epic, The Orchardist is historical fiction at its best, in the grand literary tradition of William Faulkner, Marilynne Robinson, Michael Ondaatje, Annie Proulx, and Toni Morrison. In her stunningly original and haunting debut novel, Amanda Coplin evokes a powerful sense of place, mixing tenderness and violence as she spins an engrossing tale of a solitary orchardist who provides shelter to two runaway teenage girls in the untamed American West, and the dramatic consequences of his actions.