Engage in stimulating conversation about books and exchange perspectives about characters and plot in an informal and friendly environment. Readers have been introduced to many interesting books, varying from recent biographies, poetry, historical novels and well-known classics, to recent prize-winning novels or more obscure titles which members might not have discovered for themselves.
FAQs on Book Groups
Do I have to be a member to join a book group?
Yes. If you are not yet a Library member but would like to participate in one of our book groups, please join the Library before the first session of your selected group or be prepared (and leave enough time) to join or renew at the first session (check/cash/credit card, photo ID and proof of residence required).
How often and where do book groups meet?
Book Groups on different themes begin twice a year (in September/October and again in January/February) and meet once a month. Group meetings take place in the Library unless otherwise advertised.
What should I do for the first book group session?
Please come to the first session prepared to discuss the first book on the list. Arriving 15 minutes early will allow everyone to become acquainted. If you will not be present, you are expected to let the book group leader know, as others may be on a waiting list.
How do the groups work?
Discussion groups are organized at the Library’s initiative, but group leaders -- and members -- will have broad discretion in how they unfold.
Are snacks or beverages provided?
The Library will provide coffee, tea, and water for the discussion groups, whose members also may wish to bring other refreshments or snacks. Group members are responsible for clean-up in Library spaces, including the kitchen.
How do I sign up for a book group?
You must include the TITLE of your desired group in the SUBJECT LINE and your MEMBERSHIP NUMBER in the body of the email
The group leader will confirm your participation (up to twelve members per group) and send further details.
Book Groups Spring 2017
Rock n’ Roll Memoirs
led by John Gridley
These books are by rock stars we know to varying degrees, but also are human stories about the 20th century in all its glory. Beyond--or in some cases--far from--the clichés of excess, these memoirs reveal their writers' passions, creative process, and history and what it is to be at the forefront of the culture. The group will meet on the following Thursday evenings at 19h30-21h30pm on the following dates:
January 26 | Chronicles, Volume 1 - Bob Dylan
February 23| Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen
March 23 | Life - Keith Richards
April 27 | Just Kids - Patti Smith
led by Maurice Lanman and Laurie Calvet
The outcome of the 2016 election was a surprise for many Americans. How did this divided United States come to be and why was it so surprising? In this book group we will address these questions by reading four books written by both left and right leaning authors. The meetings will be on the following Thursdays from 17h-18h30.
March 2 | The Populist Explosion - John B. Judis
March 30 | The New Minority -Justin Gest
April 27 | Strangers in Their Own Land - Arlie Russel Hochschild
June 8 | The Fractured Republic - Yuval Levin
led by Neil Heims
This group will explore Shakespeare plays, from lesser-read works to the Bard’s most famous, Measure for Measure, Henry IV, Part I, Romeo and Juliet, and The Winter's Tale.The group will meet on the following Fridays at 14h30-16h30pm on the following dates:
January 27 | Measure for Measure
February 24 | Henry IV, Part I
March 24 | Romeo and Juliet
April 28 | The Winter's Tale
The US and Vichy 1940-44
led by Philippe Mélot
The brutal collapse of France in June 1940 was a shock and a great disappointment for FDR's administration. What led them to side with the dubious Vichy regime? How did Americans survive in occupied France? How to understand the cans of worms that were Vichy, Algiers, London , Washington DC, in the preparation of the liberation and future France? . The book group will explore this complex era through individual adventures (DrJackson , Virginia d'Albert Lake) as well as historical studies ( Paxton, Vaughan) The group will meet at 17h30-19h the following Tuesdays:
January 31 | Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order - Robert Paxton
February 28 | Doctor to The Resistance: The heroic true story of an American surgeon and his family in Occupied Paris - Hal Vaughan
March 28 | FDR's 12 Apostles: The Spies Who Paved The Way For the Invasion of North Africa -Hal Vaughan
April 25 | An American Heroine in the French Resistance: The Diary and Memoir of Virginia d'Albert-Lake - Virginia D'Albert-Lake
led by Bengt Magnusson
This book group will focus on discovering that "Nordic literature" is so much more than crime-writing. We meet around four novels published in the 1900's, one from each of the Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The group will meet on the following Tuesdays at 14h-16h.
February 14 | Serious Game - Hjalmar Söderberg
March 14 | Stolen Spring -Hans Scherfig
April 18 | The Year of the Hare - Arto Paasilinna
May 16 | Dina’s Book - Herbjorg Wassmo
Knowing the Government
led by Heather Bryant
What is American policy? This question is at the center of thought post-election. This group will look at government’s framework, as well as its trade, immigration, and foreign policies. After these readings, members will come away with a better understanding of the United States. The fourth book will be decided later. The groupi will meet on the following Wednesdays at 14h -16h.
January 25 | The Federalist Papers - Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison
February 22 | A Nation by Design: Immigration Policy in the Fashioning of America - Aristide Zolberg
March 29 | Remaking U.S. Trade Policy - Nitsan de Chorev
April 26 | TBA
Proust Reading Group
led by Morgan Thomas
Since fall 2015, the Library has hosted this group engaged in the close reading of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time/A la recherche du temps perdu. Members have the choice of reading either in English translation or in the original French, and discussions are in English. The group undertakes one volume (out of the seven that compose the novel) per session, and has finished three to date. Although it has been fully subscribed from the beginning, because of natural attrition a small number of places may soon be available. Those interested in joining now should either already have read the novel or be willing to make the effort to catch up during the coming session and over the summer. The group meets on the following Thursdays from 14h-16h.
France via American Eyes
led by Janet Hulstrand
This group will read two memoirs and two novels by American authors, in which observation and description of Franco-American cultural ways and cultural differences play an important role. The group will meet at 15h-16h30 on the following Thursdays:
Feb 23 | French Spirits - Jeffrey Greene
March 30 | French by Heart - Rebecca Ramsey
April 27 | Playground for Misunderstanding - Ellen Hampton
May 25 | Le Divorce - Diane Johnson
The Spread of Populism
led by Ed Turner
This group pivots from racism in America to the growing populist movements being seen around the globe. The last two books--and the meet dates--will be decided later. This group meets at 17h-19h on the following Thursdays.
January 25 | All The King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
February 23 | Hillbilly Elegy - J.D. Vance
March 9 | The Populist Explosion - John Judis
April date and book TBA