DECEMBER

Booked for Lunch

Tuesday, Dec. 5, 12 p.m.

"American Dirt" by Jeanine Cummins 

Lydia lives in Acapulco. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while cracks are beginning to show in Acapulco because of the cartels, Lydia’s life is, by and large, fairly comfortable. But after her husband’s tell-all profile of the newest drug lord is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and Luca find themselves joining the countless people trying to reach the United States. Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

Booked for Lunch is facilitated by Director Karen Ball. For questions, contact kball@wilbraham-ma.gov



 

American History Book Club

Monday, Dec. 18, 6 p.m.

"Wounded Knee: Party Politics and the Road to an American Massacre" by Heather Cox Richardson 

On December 29, 1890, American troops opened fire with howitzers on hundreds of unarmed Lakota Sioux men, women, and children near Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota, killing nearly 300 Sioux. As acclaimed historian Heather Cox Richardson shows in Wounded Knee, the massacre grew out of a set of political forces all too familiar to us today: fierce partisanship, heated political rhetoric, and an irresponsible, profit-driven media.

Richardson tells a dramatically new story about the Wounded Knee massacre, revealing that its origins lay not in the West but in the corridors of political power back East. Politicians in Washington, Democrat and Republican alike, sought to set the stage for mass murder by exploiting an age-old political tool -- fear.

Assiduously researched and beautifully written, 
Wounded Knee will be the definitive account of an epochal American tragedy.



 

Evening Book Discussion

Wednesday, Dec. 20, 7 p.m.

"The Violin Conspiracy" by Brendan Slocumb

Growing up Black in rural North Carolina, Ray McMillian’s life is already mapped out. But Ray has a gift and a dream—he’s determined to become a world-class professional violinist, and nothing will stand in his way. Not his mother, who wants him to stop making such a racket; not the fact that he can’t afford a violin suitable to his talents; not even the racism inherent in the world of classical music. 
 
When he discovers that his beat-up, family fiddle is actually a priceless Stradivarius, all his dreams suddenly seem within reach, and together, Ray and his violin take the world by storm. But on the eve of the renowned and cutthroat Tchaikovsky Competition—the Olympics of classical music—the violin is stolen, a ransom note for five million dollars left in its place. Without it, Ray feels like he's lost a piece of himself. As the competition approaches, Ray must not only reclaim his precious violin, but prove to himself—and the world—that no matter the outcome, there has always been a truly great musician within him.

The Evening Book Discussion is facilitated by Assistant Director Mary Bell. For questions, contact mbell@wilbrahamlibrary.org 



 

Classics Book Club

Wednesday, Dec. 27, at 6 p.m.

"No Exit" by Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre, the great French existentialist, displays his mastery of drama in NO EXIT, an unforgettable portrayal of hell.
The play is a depiction of the afterlife in which three deceased characters are punished by being locked into a room together for all eternity. It is the source of Sartre's especially famous and often misinterpreted quotation "L'enfer, c'est les autres" or "Hell is other people", a reference to Sartre's ideas about the Look and the perpetual ontological struggle of being caused to see oneself as an object in the world of another consciousness.

The Classics Book Club is facilitated by Jessica Magill. For questions, contact Jessica at jessicammagill@hotmail.com.






 
JANUARY

Booked for Lunch

Tuesday, Jan. 2, 12 p.m.

"The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post" by Allison Pataki

Mrs. Post, the President and First Lady are here to see you. . . .

So begins another average evening for Marjorie Merriweather Post. Presidents have come and gone, but she has hosted them all. Growing up in the modest farmlands of Battle Creek, Michigan, Marjorie was inspired by a few simple rules: always think for yourself, never take success for granted, and work hard—even when deemed American royalty, even while covered in imperial diamonds. Marjorie had an insatiable drive to live and love and to give more than she got. From crawling through Moscow warehouses to rescue the Tsar's treasures to outrunning the Nazis in London, from serving the homeless of the Great Depression to entertaining Roosevelts, Kennedys, and Hollywood's biggest stars, Marjorie Merriweather Post lived an epic life few could imagine.

Bestselling and acclaimed author Allison Pataki has crafted an intimate portrait of a larger-than-life woman, a powerful story of one woman falling in love with her own voice and embracing her own power while shaping history in the process.


Booked for Lunch is facilitated by Director Karen Ball. Copies of the book are available to check out from the Service Desk. New members are always welcome. For questions, contact kball@wilbraham-ma.gov.





 

Evening Book Discussion

Wednesday, Jan. 17, 7 p.m.

"Women Rowing North" by Mary Pipher

Women growing older contend with ageism, misogyny, and loss. Yet as Mary Pipher shows, most older women are deeply happy and filled with gratitude for the gifts of life. Their struggles help them grow into the authentic, empathetic, and wise people they have always wanted to be.

In 
Women Rowing North: Navigating Life's Currents and Flourishing as We Age, Pipher offers a timely examination of the cultural and developmental issues women face as they age. Drawing on her own experience as daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, caregiver, clinical psychologist, and cultural anthropologist, she explores ways women can cultivate resilient responses to the challenges they face. “If we can keep our wits about us, think clearly, and manage our emotions skillfully,” Pipher writes, “we will experience a joyous time of our lives. If we have planned carefully and packed properly, if we have good maps and guides, the journey can be transcendent.”

The Evening Book Discussion is facilitated by Assistant Director Mary Bell. New members are always welcome. For questions, contact mbell@wilbrahamlibrary.org.




 

American History Book Club

Monday Jan. 29, 6 p.m.

"Undaunted Courage" by Stephen E. Ambrose

In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson selected his personal secretary, Captain Meriwether Lewis, to lead a voyage up the Missouri River to the Rockies, over the mountains, down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean, and back. Lewis and his partner, Captain William Clark, made the first map of the trans-Mississippi West, provided invaluable scientific data on the flora and fauna of the Louisiana Purchase territory, and established the American claim to Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

Ambrose has pieced together previously unknown information about weather, terrain, and medical knowledge at the time to provide a vivid backdrop for the expedition. Lewis is supported by a rich variety of colorful characters, first of all Jefferson himself, whose interest in exploring and acquiring the American West went back thirty years. Next comes Clark, a rugged frontiersman whose love for Lewis matched Jefferson’s. There are numerous Indian chiefs, and Sacagawea, the Indian girl who accompanied the expedition, along with the French-Indian hunter Drouillard, the great naturalists of Philadelphia, the French and Spanish fur traders of St. Louis, John Quincy Adams, and many more leading political, scientific, and military figures of the turn of the century.





 

Classics Book Club

Wednesday, Jan. 24, 6 p.m.

"Long Day's Journey Into Night" by Eugene O'Neill 
 
Long Day's Journey Into Night is the story of one devastating day in the Tyrone family.

The play is autobiographical, and O'Neill draws his drug-addicted mother, his close-fisted father, his drunken and degenerate elder brother, and his tormented self, with terrifying veracity.

The Classics Book Club is facilitated by Jessica Magill. For questions, contact jessicammagill@hotmail.com.






 
FEBRUARY

Booked for Lunch

Tuesday, Feb. 6, 12 p.m.

"The House Across the Lake" by Riley Sager

Casey Fletcher, a recently widowed actress trying to escape a streak of bad press, has retreated to the peace and quiet of her family’s lake house in Vermont. Armed with a pair of binoculars and several bottles of bourbon, she passes the time watching Tom and Katherine Royce, the glamorous couple living in the house across the lake. They make for good viewing—a tech innovator, Tom is powerful; and a former model, Katherine is gorgeous.

One day on the lake, Casey saves Katherine from drowning, and the two strike up a budding friendship. But the more they get to know each other—and the longer Casey watches—it becomes clear that Katherine and Tom’s marriage isn’t as perfect as it appears. When Katherine suddenly vanishes, Casey immediately suspects Tom of foul play. What she doesn’t realize is that there’s more to the story than meets the eye—and that shocking secrets can lurk beneath the most placid of surfaces.

Booked for Lunch is facilitated by Director Karen Ball. Copies of the book are available to check out from the Service Desk. New members are always welcome. For questions, contact kball@wilbraham-ma.gov.



 

Evening Book Discussion

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 7 p.m.

"The Lioness of Boston" by Emily Franklin
 

Based on the life of an eccentric trailblazer who lived life on her own terms, this deeply evocative novel follows Isabella Stewart Gardner who, exploring the world of art, ideas and letters, developed a keen eye for paintings and objects, scandalizing Boston's polite society and transforming the city itself.


The Evening Book Discussion is facilitated by Assistant Library Director Mary Bell. New members are always welcome. For questions, contact mbell@wilbrahamlibrary.org.





 

American History Book Club

Monday, Feb. 26, 6 p.m.

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine: The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, which are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. 

Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.

Henrietta’s family did not learn of her “immortality” until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family—past and present—is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of. 

Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family—especially Henrietta’s daughter Deborah. Deborah was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Had they killed her to harvest her cells? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn’t her children afford health insurance? 

Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, 
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.