January Book Discussions

Decorah Public Library staff are hosting five book discussions in January. 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 Calendar of Events page or you can email to be added to any of the five groups’ email distribution lists. Funds for multiple copy sets were generously provided by Friends of Decorah Public Library.

For more information, contact Carmen Buss (Friday Book Group), Zach Row-Heyveld (Cookbook Group) or Kristin Torresdal (Happy Hour, History, and Speculative Fiction Book Groups) at 563-382-3717.

The Thirty Names of Night

The Happy Hour Book Group will meet via Zoom Wed. Jan. 12 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss Zeyn Joukhadar’s “The Thirty Names of Night.” Five years after a suspicious fire killed his ornithologist mother, a closeted Syrian American trans boy sheds his birth name and searches for a new one. One night, he finds the journal of a Syrian American artist named Laila Z, who dedicated her career to painting the birds of North America. She famously and mysteriously disappeared more than sixty years before, but her journal contains proof that both his mother and Laila Z encountered the same rare bird before their deaths.


Italian American

The Cookbook Group will meet in the lower-level public meeting room on Thursday, January 12 at 7 p.m. to discuss “Italian American” by Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli. In “Italian American,” Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli, the chefs of critically acclaimed Don Angie in New York City’s West Village, reinvigorate the genre with a modern point of view that proudly straddles the line between Italian and American. They present family classics passed down through generations side-by-side with creative spins and riffs inspired by influences both old and new. These comforting dishes feel familiar but are far from expected, including their signature pinwheel lasagna, ribs glazed with orange and Campari, saucy shrimp parm meatballs, and a cheesy, bubbling gratin of broccoli rabe and sharp provolone.

Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life

The History Book Group will meet on the 2nd floor of the library Thurs. Jan. 20 at 3:00 p.m. to discuss chapters 11-21 of Robert Dallek’s “Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life.” For FDR, politics was a far more fulfilling pursuit than the management of family fortunes or the indulgence of personal pleasure, and by the time he became president, he had commanded the affection of millions of people. While all Roosevelt’s biographers agree that the onset of polio at the age of thirty-nine endowed him with a much greater sense of humanity, Dallek sees the affliction as an insufficient explanation for his transformation into a masterful politician who would win an unprecedented four presidential terms, initiate landmark reforms that changed the American industrial system, and transform an isolationist country into an international superpower.

The Butterfly Effect

The Friday Book Group will meet via Zoom Fri. Jan. 21 at 2:00 p.m. to discuss Rachel Mans McKenny’s “The Butterfly Effect.”  Greta Oto far prefers the company of bugs to humans. But when she learns that her twin brother Danny has suffered an aneurysm and is now hospitalized, she abandons her research gig in the rainforest and hurries home to America. But coming home means confronting all that she left behind, including her lousy soon-to-be sister-in-law, her estranged mother, and her ex-boyfriend Brandon.

A Deadly Education

The Speculative Fiction Book Group will meet via Zoom Wed. Jan. 26 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss Naomi Novik’s “A Deadly Education.” “A Deadly Education” is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where there are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, and failure means certain death—until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions.