October book groups to meet at DPL

Decorah Public Library will host six book discussions in October.

Decorah Public Library staff will host six book discussions in October.

The groups are open to the public and newcomers are encouraged to attend. Anyone interested should call the library at 382-3717 to learn more or to reserve a book. Zoom links are available on the Library’s website or you can email ktorresdal@decorahlibrary.org to be added to any of the six groups’ email distribution lists. Funds for multiple copy sets were generously provided by Friends of Decorah Public Library.

*The Happy Hour Book Group will meet via Zoom Wednesday, Oct. 12 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss Liese O’Halloran Schwarz’s “What Could Be Saved.” Laura Preston is a reclusive artist at odds with her older sister Bea as their mother slowly slides into dementia. When a stranger contacts Laura claiming to be her brother who disappeared 40 years earlier when the family lived in Bangkok, Laura ignores Bea’s warnings of a scam and flies to Thailand to see if it can be true. But meeting him in person leads to more questions than answers. 

*The Cookbook Group will meet in the library’s mezzanine on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss “Baking with Dorie” by Dorie Greenspan. Every recipe is easy and accessible, made with everyday ingredients. You’ll find ingenious twists like Berry Biscuits. Footlong cheese sticks made with cream puff dough. Apple pie with browned butter spiced like warm mulled cider. A s’mores ice cream cake with velvety chocolate sauce, salty peanuts, and toasted marshmallows. It’s a book of simple yet sophisticated baking. Like all of Dorie’s recipes, they lend themselves to being remade, refashioned, and riffed on.

*The History Book Group will hold a hybrid meeting Thursday, Oct. 20 at 3 p.m. to discuss Woody Holton’s “Unruly Americans and the Origin of the Constitution.” In-person attendees will meet in the lower-level public meeting room at the library and digital attendees will join via Zoom. The framers of the Constitution who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 were determined to reverse America’s post-Revolutionary War slide into democracy. The primary purpose of the Constitution was to make America more attractive to investment, which meant taking power away from the states and ultimately away from the people. That the framers were only partially successful in curtailing citizen rights is due to the reaction of unruly average Americans.

*The Friday Book Group will meet via Zoom Friday, Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. to discuss Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray’s “The Personal Librarian.” In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J.P. Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs: she was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard. 

*The Speculative Fiction Book Group will meet via Zoom Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss John Elizabeth Stintzi’s “My Volcano.” On June 2, 2016, a protrusion of rock is spotted by a jogger growing from the Central Park Reservoir. Three weeks later, when it finally stops growing, it’s nearly two-and-a-half miles tall, and has been determined to be an active volcano. As the volcano grows and then looms over New York, an eight-year-old boy in Mexico City finds himself transported 500 years into the past; a scholar in Tokyo studies a folktale about a woman who descends a mountain and destroys a village; a writer in Jersey City struggles to write a sci-fi novel; a nurse tends to refugees in Greece while grappling with the trauma of living through the bombing of a hospital; a nomadic farmer in Mongolia is stung by a bee, magically transforming him into a creature that aspires to connect every living thing into its consciousness.

*Following the Speculative Fiction Book Group, the Speculative Short Fiction Group will meet at 6:15 p.m. via the same Zoom link to discuss the following stories from Ted Chiang’s collection “Exhalation:” “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate,” “Exhalation,” and “What’s Expected of Us.”For more information, contact Tricia Crary (Friday Book Group), Kristin Torresdal (Happy Hour, History, and Speculative Fiction Book Groups), or Zach Row-Heyveld (Cookbook Group) at 563-382-3717.

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