January Book Discussions

Decorah Public Library staff are hosting six 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 website or you can email 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.

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

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands book cover image

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands

The Happy Hour Book Group will meet via Zoom Wed. Jan. 11 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss Kate Beaton’s “Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands.” After university, Beaton heads out west to take advantage of Alberta’s oil rush, part of the long tradition of Canadian East Coasters who seek gainful employment elsewhere when they can’t find it in the homeland they love so much. With the goal of paying off her student loans, Beaton finds work in the camps owned and operated by the world’s largest oil companies, but the journey will cost her far more than she anticipates.


Modern Bistro book cover image

Modern Bistro

The Cookbook Group will meet in the library’s lower-level meeting room at 6:30 on Thursday, January 12 for the potluck and final discussion of “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.

Life of a Klansman: A Family History in White Supremacy

The History Book Group will hold a hybrid meeting Thurs. Jan. 19 at 3:00 p.m. to discuss Edward Ball’s “Life of a Klansman: A Family History in White Supremacy.” In-person attendees will meet in the lower-level public meeting room at the library and digital attendees will join via Zoom. “Life of a Klansman” tells the story of Constant Lecorgne, a carpenter in Louisiana who took up the cause of fanatical racism during the years after the Civil War. Author Edward Ball, a descendant of the Klansman, paints a portrait of his great-great grandfather that is part history, part memoir. To offer a non-white view of the Ku-klux, Ball seeks out descendants of African Americans who were once victimized by “our Klansman” and shares their stories.

Midnight’s Children book cover image

Midnight’s Children

The Friday Book Group will meet via Zoom Fri. Jan 20 at 2:00 p.m. to discuss Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight’s Children.” Saleem Sinai is born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the very moment of India’s independence, and he grows up to learn the ominous consequences of this coincidence: his every act is mirrored and magnified in events that sway the course of national affairs. Perhaps most remarkable are the telepathic powers linking him with India’s 1,000 other “midnight’s children,” all born in that initial hour and endowed with magical gifts.

The Poppy War book cover image

The Poppy War

The Speculative Fiction Book Group will meet via Zoom Wed. Jan. 25 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss R.F. Kuang’s “The Poppy War.” When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone. But being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard, the most elite military school in Nikan. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism.

The Only Harmless Great Thing book cover image

The Only Harmless Great Thing

The Speculative Fiction Novella Group will meet via Zoom Wed. Jan. 25 at 6:15 p.m. to discuss Brooke Bolander’s “The Only Harmless Great Thing.” In the early years of the 20th century, a group of female factory workers in Newark, New Jersey slowly died of radiation poisoning. Around the same time, an Indian elephant was deliberately put to death by electricity in Coney Island. These are the facts. Now these two tragedies are intertwined in a dark alternate history.