November Book Discussions

Decorah Public Library staff are hosting six book discussions in November. 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.


The Happy Hour Book Group will meet via Zoom Wed. Nov. 9 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss Karen Joy Fowler’s “Booth.” In 1822, a secret family moves into a secret cabin some thirty miles northeast of Baltimore, to farm, to hide, and to bear ten children over the course of the next sixteen years. Junius Booth—breadwinner, celebrated Shakespearean actor, and master of the house in more ways than one—is at once a mesmerizing talent and a man of terrifying instability. One by one the children arrive, as the country draws closer to the boiling point of secession and civil war.


Baking with Dorie

The Cookbook Group will meet in the library’s lower level meeting room on Thursday, November 10 at 6:30 p.m. for the potluck and final discussion of “Baking with Dorie” by Dorie Greenspan. Every recipe is easy and accessible, made with everyday ingredients. You’ll find ingenious twists like Berry Biscuits. Footlong cheese sticks made with cream puff dough. Apple pie with browned butter spiced like warm mulled cider. A s’mores ice cream cake with velvety chocolate sauce, salty peanuts, and toasted marshmallows. It’s a book of simple yet sophisticated baking. Like all of Dorie’s recipes, they lend themselves to being remade, refashioned, and riffed on.


The Crimean War: A History

The History Book Group will hold a hybrid meeting Thurs. Nov. 17 at 3:00 p.m. to discuss chapters 1-7 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.


Cloud Cuckoo Land

The Friday Book Group will meet via Zoom Fri. Nov. 18 at 2:00 p.m. to discuss Anthony Doerr’s “Cloud Cuckoo Land.” Constantinople, 1453: An orphaned seamstress and a cursed boy with a love for animals risk everything on opposite sides of a city wall to protect the people they love. Idaho, 2020: An impoverished, idealistic kid seeks revenge on a world that’s crumbling around him. Can he go through with it when a gentle old man stands between him and his plans? Unknown, Sometime in the Future: With her tiny community in peril, Konstance is the last hope for the human race. To find a way forward, she must look to the oldest stories for guidance.

Light From Uncommon Stars

The Speculative Fiction Book Group will meet via Zoom Wed. Nov. 30 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss Ryka Aoki’s “Light From Uncommon Stars.” Shizuka Satomi made a deal with the devil: to escape damnation, she must entice seven other violin prodigies to trade their souls for success. She has delivered six. When Katrina Nguyen, a young transgender runaway, catches Shizuka’s ear with her talent, Shizuka can almost feel the curse lifting. She’s found her final candidate.

This is How You Lose the Time War

The Speculative Fiction Novella Group will meet via Zoom Wed. Nov. 30 at 6:15 p.m. to discuss Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone’s “This is How You Lose the Time War.” Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions, and what began as a battlefield boast grows into something more. But the discovery of their bond would mean death—there’s still a war going on, after all.