Decorah Public Library staff are hosting six book discussions in December. 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 firstname.lastname@example.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 Wed. Dec. 7 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss Lauren Groff’s “Matrix.” Cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine, 17-year-old Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey, its nuns on the brink of starvation and beset by disease. At first taken aback by the severity of her new life, Marie finds focus and love in collective life with her singular and mercurial sisters, and she becomes determined to chart a bold new course for the women she now leads and protects.
The Cookbook Group will meet in the library at 6:30 on Thursday, December 8 to discuss Modern Bistro by America’s Test Kitchen. Bistro cooking is intimate and inviting, rustic yet casually elegant. America’s Test Kitchen brings you recipes that will comfort and impress, from simple Chicken Provençal with Saffron, Orange, and Basil; French Onion Burgers; and Leeks Vinaigrette to splendid Gnocchi à la Parisienne and Chocolate Brioche Buns. Foolproof techniques and plentiful photos help you master even the most finicky foods like tender French omelets folded around hearty fillings, no-fail Eggs Benedict and custardy Brioche French Toast, crispy, airy Gougères, velvety Chicken Liver Pâté, and tempting Gruyère, Mustard, and Caraway Cheese Coins to nibble with wine, and profiteroles, refined tarts, and a buttery rich Gâteau Breton for dessert.
The Crimean War: A History
The History Book Group will hold a hybrid meeting Thurs. Dec. 15 at 3:00 p.m. to discuss the chapters 8-13 of Orlando Figes’ “The Crimean War: A History.” In-person attendees will meet in the lower-level public meeting room at the library and digital attendees will join via Zoom. The Charge of the Light Brigade, Florence Nightingale—these are the enduring icons of the Crimean War. Less well-known is that this savage war (1853-1856) killed almost a million soldiers and countless civilians; that it enmeshed four great empires—the British, French, Turkish, and Russian—in a battle over religion as well as territory; that it fixed the fault lines between Russia and the West; that it set in motion the conflicts that would dominate the century to come.
Hell of a Book
The Friday Book Group will meet via Zoom Fri. Dec. 16 at 2:00 p.m. to discuss Jason Mott’s “Hell of a Book.” “Hell of a Book” tells the story of an African-American author who sets out on a cross-country book tour to promote his bestselling novel; it also tells the story of Soot, a young Black boy living in a rural town in the recent past, and The Kid, a possibly imaginary child who appears to the author on his tour.
The Speculative Fiction Book Group will meet via Zoom Wed. Dec. 28 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss Octavia E. Butler’s “Kindred.” Dana, a Black woman, is celebrating her 26th birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous.
“Exhalation”: “The Lifecycle of Software Objects,” “Dacey’s Patent Automatic Nanny,” and “The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling”
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 stories 4-6 from Ted Chiang’s collection “Exhalation”: “The Lifecycle of Software Objects,” “Dacey’s Patent Automatic Nanny,” and “The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling.”