Book Groups

Join one of our book clubs

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.

Book Groups on different themes begin twice a year (in September/October and again in January/February) and meet once a month at the Library. There is no additional fee for the book groups, but you must be a member of The American Library in Paris to participate. To sign up for a group, send an email to programs manager Grant Rosenberg at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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?

Please send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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 Fall 2016

Mysteries of Paris, led by Janet Hulstrand

A new book group about mysteries, this one focuses on those set in Paris. The four novels that this group will read and discuss reveal much about the pleasures, complexities, and nuances of life in the French capital--as well as its history and darker underside. All the books are by authors who know the Library well, who Library members are certainly familiar with.

The group will meet and discuss the books on the following Wednesdays at 15h00:

28 September - Murder on the Champ de Mars by Cara Black
26 October - The Paris Librarian by Mark Pryor
30 November - Paris, City of Night by David Downie
21 December - Ghosts of Saint Michel by Jake Lamar

Janet Hulstrand is a writer, editor, writing coach, and teacher.She writes frequently for Bonjour Paris, France Revisited, France Today, and for her blog, Writing from the Heart, Reading for the Road. She created and has taught “Paris: A Literary Adventure,” for City University of New York study abroad programs since 1997; a series of literature classes at Politics & Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C.; and writing workshop/retreats in Essoyes, a village in the Champagne region.

Strangers in a Strange Land, led by Mary Harries Magnusson and Deborah Singleton

This long-running group is now open to a few new members: Why do people embark on challenging journeys into the unknown? Why do they move to a new country or switch to a totally different way of life? Some are fleeing the unbearable. Some are pursuing a dream. Some have complex, mixed motivations, while others are swept involuntarily onto life-changing paths. Whatever the scenario, they all have a story to tell. This group focuses on novels where protagonists are far from home – geographically and/or spiritually – and on how life in that new land affects their destinies. 

The group meets at 14h00 on the following Mondays

17 October: Sashenka by Simon Montefiore
21 November: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
12 December: Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry

The French-American Encounter, led by Philippe Mélot

After last season exploring the U.S. Supreme Court and its justices through history, Philippe Melot returns to the theme of his first book group from 2015: the common history between France and the United States, exploring areas where the history of our two nations meet (mainly the American Revolution, WWI and WWII), through biographies of the major players, through untold stories and unknown episodes.

The group will meet and discuss the books on the following Fridays at 10h30:

23 September - The Paris Years of Thomas Jefferson by William Howard Adams
21 October - The Marquis: Lafayette reconsidered by Laura Auricchio
24 November - Allies at War: Churchill v Roosevelt v. De Gaulle by Simon Berthon
22 December - Americans in Paris: Life and death under Nazi occupation by Charles Glass

Philippe Mélot is a semi-retired lawyer, the founder and a partner at Legalteam, a consulting firm specialising in management consulting for law firms and legal departments.He is also involved in the Executive Master General Counsel, a program set up at Sciences Po Executive Education. Having grown up near Utah Beach in Normandy, he specialized in US political History at Sciences-Po He was the vice-president of the American Club of Paris ( 2006/7) and President of the Cavaliers de Lafayette, a bike club promoting Franco American friendship through rides across France and the US. (He rode hisbike from Seattle to Boston in 2010 and presented the trip at a Library program in November 2010).

Democracy, Government, and Alternatives, led by Ed Turner

The group that last year explored slavery and racism in the United States now turns to questions of political systems and government throughout history, beginning with Cicero.

The group will meet and discuss the books on the following Thursday at 17h00:

22 September - Dictator by Robert Harris
13 October - The Genius Of America:How the Constitution Saved America and Why It Can Again by Eric Lane and Michael Oreskes, 
17 November - Against Elections: The Case for Democracy by David Van Reybrouck, Bodley Head
15 December - (book TBD)

New Literature in French, led by Marjorie Lallemand

Is  French literature dead, as some foreign commentators would have it? Not even close, as this group, returning for a new season, will discover. How better to engage with this culture than by through its latest novels? These books will be read in the original French but discussed in English.

The group will meet on Saturdays at 10h30. The remainder of the reading list will be decided at the first meeting.

24 September -  Gaspard ne Répond Pas, by Anne-Marie Revol
22 October - Monsieur Origami by Jean-Marc Ceci
19 November - Ma Part de Gaulois by Magyd Cherfi
10 December - L'Envers du Décor (a play) by Florian Zeller

How the Digital Age is Changing Human Society, led by Maurice Lanman and Laurie Calvet

This semester the science/technology book group will focus on the societal implications of digital technology ranging from the philosophical aspect of evolving our collective memory from a written to a digital media to the impact on our social interactions, on our consumption and finally on crime.

All meetings will take place on the following Thursdays, 17h00-18h30, to discuss the following books:

15 September - The Internet of Us:Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data by Michael P Lynch
10 November - Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other by Sherry Turkle
8 December - What's Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption by Rachel Botsman, Roo Rogers
19 January - Future Crimes: Inside the Digital Underground and the Battle for Our Connected World by Marc Goodman


 American Revolutionary Walks in Paris

Mary Jo Padgett returns to the Library this fall to lead her walking tour series based on the book Paris: Birthplace of the U.S.A. by Daniel Jouve that cover the statues, buildings, parks, and squares throughout Paris that reflect and confirm our Franco-American partnership. ​

The three-hour long walks will take place on the Thursdays 13, 20, and 27 October from 14h00 to 17h00. Attendees should plan to take part in all three sessions of the walk.

To reserve a spot, email programs manager Grant Rosenberg at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Last modified on Thursday, 29 September 2016 11:56