Our Book Group at Byrd’s Books meets once a month on a Thursday from 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. each month (see calendar). For information call: 203-730-2973. We are committed to having the book available in paper for Book Group and choose a hardcover only rarely.
Any cancellations due to weather will be posted on our website and our Facebook page. Some of us meet at 6:30 for take-out and to discuss a book we have all already read, the “Dinner Book”. Please email Alice (firstname.lastname@example.org) to join in.
April 16 Book Group pick: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
About the book:
Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse…
As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.
Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.
Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.
The “Dinner Book” in April is “A Wrinkle In Time” by Madeleine L’Engle. We will order from Famous Pizza and discuss this book from 6:30-7:30. Please call the store and speak to Alice to place your order and join us for dinner.
May 21 Book Group pick: This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
About the book:
Blending literature and memoir, Ann Patchett, author of “State of Wonder”, “Run”, and “Bel Canto”, examines her deepest commitments–to writing, family, friends, dogs, books, and her husband–creating a resonant portrait of a life in “This is the Story of a Happy Marriage”.
“This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage” takes us into the very real world of Ann Patchett’s life. Stretching from her childhood to the present day, from a disastrous early marriage to a later happy one, it covers a multitude of topics, including relationships with family and friends, and charts the hard work and joy of writing, and the unexpected thrill of opening a bookstore.
As she shares stories of the people, places, ideals, and art to which she has remained indelibly committed, Ann Patchett brings into focus the large experiences and small moments that have shaped her as a daughter, wife, and writer.
June 18 Book Group pick: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
About the book:
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, a stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall. In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure. Doerr’s gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work.
July 16th Book Group pick: A Certain Justice: An Adam Dalgliesh Novel by P.D. James
When noted criminal lawyer Venetia Aldridge turns up murdered after defending young Garry Ashe for the brutal killing of his mother, Commander Adam Dalgliesh and his team struggle to unravel the case, which involves him in a series of deadly crimes linked to the complexities of the legal system.
August 20th Book Group pick: The Glass Sentence by S. E. Grove
About the book:
Boston, 1891. Sophia Tims comes from a family of explorers and cartologers who, for generations, have been traveling and mapping the New Worlda world changed by the Great Disruption of 1799, when all the continents were flung into different time periods. Eight years ago, her parents left her with her uncle Shadrack, the foremost cartologer in Boston, and went on an urgent mission. They never returned. Life with her brilliant, absent-minded, adored uncle has taught Sophia to take care of herself.
Then Shadrack is kidnapped. And Sophia, who has rarely been outside of Boston, is the only one who can search for him. Together with Theo, a refugee from the West, she travels over rough terrain and uncharted ocean, encounters pirates and traders, and relies on a combination of Shadrack’s maps, common sense, and her own slantwise powers of observation. But even as Sophia and Theo try to save Shadrack’s life, they are in danger of losing their own.
The Glass Sentence plunges readers into a time and place they will not want to leave, and introduces them to a heroine and hero they will take to their hearts. (This is book targeted to ages 9-12, but I loved it so much we thought it might make a GREAT summer read!)
September 17th Book Group pick: To Kill a Mockingbird & Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird: Regarded as a masterpiece of American literature, this timeless story of growing up in the South became an instant bestseller when first published in 1960 and later was made into a classic film.
Go Set a Watchman
(July 17, 2015 release, you may pre-order this title from us here)
An historic literary event: the publication of a newly discovered novel, the earliest known work from Harper Lee, the beloved, bestselling author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic,To Kill a Mockingbird.
Originally written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman was the novel Harper Lee first submitted to her publishers before To Kill a Mockingbird. Assumed to have been lost, the manuscript was discovered in late 2014.
Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Returning home to Maycomb to visit her father, Jean Louise Finch—Scout—struggles with issues both personal and political, involving Atticus, society, and the small Alabama town that shaped her.
Exploring how the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird are adjusting to the turbulent events transforming mid-1950s America,Go Set a Watchman casts a fascinating new light on Harper Lee’s enduring classic. Moving, funny and compelling, it stands as a magnificent novel in its own right.
Harper Lee: Harper Lee was born in 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama. She attended Huntingdon College and studied law at the University of Alabama. She has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Pulitzer Prize, and many other accolades.
October 15th Book group pick: A Sudden Light by Garth Stein
About the book:
The bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain presents a long-awaited new novel in which a boy trying to save his parents’ marriage uncovers a vast legacy of family secrets.
The author has offered to Skype with the Book Group provided his schedule permits.