Decorah Public Library staff are hosting nine book discussions in June. 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 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, Quick Bites Groups and Troubled Water) or Kristin Torresdal (Happy Hour, History, and Speculative Fiction Book Groups) at 563-382-3717.
Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World
Join facilitator Jim Martin-Schramm, chair of the Decorah Sustainability Commission, for a discussion of Katharine Hayhoe’s book “Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World” at 6 p.m. on June 7 and 14 at Pulpit Rock Brewery. Books are currently available for checkout at Decorah Public Library, thanks to the generous support of the Luther College Center for Sustainable Communities. “Saving Us” is focused less on doomsday facts and figures and more on how everyone can play a role in shaping attitudes towards climate change through our conversations with skeptical friends and family members. Hayhoe argues for collective action through shared values instead of relying solely on facts about our changing climate.
The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot
The Happy Hour Book Group will hold a hybrid meeting Wed. June 8 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss Marianne Cronin’s “The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot.” In-person attendees will meet in the lower-level public meeting room at the library and digital attendees will join via Zoom. Life is short. No one knows that better than seventeen-year-old Lenni living on the terminal ward. Dodging doctor’s orders, she joins an art class where she bumps into fellow patient Margot, a rebel-hearted eighty-three-year-old from the next ward. Their bond is instant as they realize that together they have lived an astonishing one hundred years. To celebrate their shared century, they decide to paint their life stories: of growing old and staying young, of giving joy, of receiving kindness, of losing love, and of finding the person who is everything.
The Cookbook Group will meet in person on Thursday, June 9 at 6:30 in the lower-level meeting room at the library to discuss Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Ottolenghi Flavor.” In this groundbreaking cookbook, Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage offer a next-level approach to vegetables that breaks down the fundamentals of cooking into three key elements: process, pairing, and produce. For process, Yotam and Ixta show how easy techniques such as charring and infusing can change the way you think about cooking. Discover how to unlock new depths of flavor by pairing vegetables with sweetness, fat, acidity, or chile heat, and learn to identify the produce that has the innate ability to make dishes shine.
Brownies & Back When We Talked to the Dead
The Quick Bites group will hold a hybrid meeting on Tuesday, June 14 from 12:15 – 1:00 to discuss ZZ Packer’s “Brownies” and Mariana Enriquez’s “Back When We Talked to the Dead.” Both stories explore how groups experience and shape collective trauma, through the lens of teen and preteen girls. In “Brownies” a Brownie troop with only black girls plan an attack on an all-white troop after hearing one of them use a racial slur. “Back When We Talk to the Dead” focuses on four girls living in and around Buenos Aires who turn to a Ouija board to connect with family members who have been “disappeared” during Argentina’s military dictatorship in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In person attendees can join from the lower-level meeting room at the library. Links to materials are on the Decorah Public Library website.
The Cause: The American Revolution and its Discontents, 1773-1783
The History Book Group will hold a hybrid meeting Thurs. June 16 at 3:00 p.m. to discuss Joseph J. Ellis’ “The Cause: The American Revolution and its Discontents, 1773-1783.” In-person attendees will meet in the lower-level public meeting room at the library and digital attendees will join via Zoom. For more than two centuries, historians have debated the history of the American Revolution, disputing its roots, its provenance, and above all, its meaning. These questions have intrigued Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joseph J. Ellis throughout his entire career. From the end of the Seven Years’ War to 1783, “The Cause” interweaves action-packed tales of North American military campaigns with parlor-room intrigues back in England, creating a narrative that brings together a cast of familiar and long-forgotten characters: British and American, loyalist and patriot, white and Black.
Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love
The Friday Book Group will hold a hybrid meeting Fri. June 17 at 2:00 p.m. to discuss Dani Shapiro’s “Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love.” In-person attendees will meet in the lower-level public meeting room at the library and digital attendees will join via Zoom. In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history crumbled beneath her. “Inheritance” is a book about secrets—secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness—and it is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years.
The Speculative Fiction Book Group will meet via Zoom Wed. June 22 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss China Mieville’s “Railsea.” On board the moletrain “Medes,” Sham Yes ap Soorap watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt: the giant mole bursting from the earth, the harpoonists targeting their prey, the battle resulting in one’s death and the other’s glory. But no matter how spectacular it is, Sham can’t shake the sense that there is more to life than traveling the endless rails of the railsea, even if his captain can think only of the hunt for the ivory-coloured mole she’s been chasing since it took her arm all those years ago. When they come across a wrecked train, Sham finds in the derelict a series of pictures hinting at something, somewhere, that should be impossible—and it leads to far more than he’d bargained for.
The Prom Terrorists & The Paper Menagerie
The Quick Bites group will hold a hybrid meeting on Tuesday, June 28 from 12:15 – 1:00 to discuss “The Prom Terrorists” by Rabih Alameddine and “The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu. While tonally these two stories share little in common, they both feature narrators who are the children of immigrants and explore immigration, assimilation, prejudice, and cultural expectations. “The Prom Terrorists” is the story of a hapless, not-too-bright, 28 year old who still lives with his parents and is recruited by the FBI to infiltrate the local mosque to find out what the new imam is planning (despite not being Muslim or speaking Arabic.) “The Paper Menagerie” tells the story of a son’s relationship with his Chinese mother who can breathe life into origami animals and won the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards when it was published in 2011. In person attendees can join from the lower-level meeting room at the library. Links to materials are available on the Decorah Public Library’s website.