September Book Groups

Decorah Public Library staff are hosting four book discussions in September. 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 to be added to any of the four groups’ email distribution lists. Funds for multiple copy sets were generously provided by Friends of Decorah Public Library.

The Happy Hour Book Group will hold a hybrid meeting Wed. Sept. 8 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss Hala Alyan’s “The Arsonists’ City.” In-person attendees will meet in the lower-level public meeting room at the library and digital attendees will join via Zoom. The Nasr family is spread across the globe—a Syrian mother, Lebanese father, and three American children have all lived a life of migration. But following his father’s death, Idris, the family’s new patriarch, has decided to sell their ancestral home. The decision brings the family to Beirut, where everyone unites against Idris in a fight to save the house.

The Cookbook Group will meet in person on Thur. September 9 at 7 PM in the library’s public meeting room to finish discussing Joshua McFadden’s “Six Seasons.” This cookbook highlights the evolving attributes of vegetables throughout their growing seasons—an arc from spring to early summer to midsummer to the bursting harvest of late summer, then ebbing into autumn and, finally, the earthy, mellow sweetness of winter. Each chapter begins with recipes featuring raw vegetables at the start of their season. As weeks progress, McFadden turns up the heat—grilling and steaming, then moving on to sautés, pan roasts, braises, and stews. His ingenuity is on display in 225 revelatory recipes that celebrate flavor at its peak.

The History Book Group will meet on the 2nd floor of the library Thurs. Sept. 16 at 3:00 p.m. to discuss Sylvia Neely’s “A Concise History of the French Revolution.” In this introduction to the French Revolution, historian Sylvia Neely shows how particular political choices during that period led to reform and dictatorship. The transformations in government and society during the revolution forced the French to come up with new ways of thinking about their place in the world and led to what we know today as liberalism, conservatism, terrorism, and nationalism.

The Friday Book Group will hold a hybrid meeting. Fri. Sept. 17 at 2:00 p.m. to discuss Colson Whitehead’s “The Nickel Boys.” In-person attendees will meet in the lower level public meeting room at the library and digital attendees will join via Zoom. Abandoned by his parents and brought up by his grandmother, Elwood Curtis is about to enroll in the local Black college in the 1960s. But one innocent mistake destroys his future, and Elwood arrives at The Nickel Academy, where physical, emotional, and sexual abuse is rife, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear.

The Speculative Fiction Book Group will meet via Zoom Wed. Sept. 22 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss parts 1-3 of Michael McDowell’s “Blackwater.” “Blackwater” traces more than fifty years in the lives of the powerful Caskey family of Perdido, Alabama, under the influence of the mysterious and beautiful—but not quite human—Elinor Dammert.

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.