December Book Discussions

Decorah Public Library staff are hosting five 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 to be added to any of the five 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) or Kristin Torresdal (Happy Hour, History, and Speculative Fiction Book Groups) at 563-382-3717.

The Covenant of Water

The Happy Hour Book Group will meet at Pulpit Rock Brewing Co. Wed. Dec. 13 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss pages 404-end of Abraham Verghese’s “The Covenant of Water.” Set in Kerala, on South India’s Malabar Coast, “The Covenant of Water” spans the years 1900 to 1977 and follows three generations of a family that suffers a peculiar affliction: in every generation, at least one person dies by drowning—and in Kerala, water is everywhere. The family is part of a Christian community that traces itself to the time of the apostles, but times are shifting, and the matriarch of this family will witness unthinkable changes at home and at large over the span of her extraordinary life. 


The House in the Pines

The Friday Book Group will meet on the 2nd floor of the library Fri. Dec. 15 at 2:00 p.m. to discuss Ana Reyes’ “The House in the Pines.” Maya was a high school senior when her best friend, Aubrey, mysteriously dropped dead in front of the enigmatic man named Frank whom they’d been spending time with all summer. Seven years later, Maya lives in Boston with a loving boyfriend and is kicking the secret addiction that has allowed her to cope with what happened years ago, the gaps in her memories, and the lost time that she can’t account for. But her past comes rushing back when she comes across a recent YouTube video in which a young woman suddenly keels over and dies in a diner while sitting across from none other than Frank.  


A Psalm for the Wild-Built

The Speculative Fiction Book Group will meet via Zoom Wed. Dec. 20 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss Becky Chambers’ “A Psalm for the Wild-Built.” Centuries before, robots of Panga gained self-awareness, laid down their tools, and wandered en masse into the wilderness, never to be seen again. They faded into myth and urban legend. Now the life of the tea monk who tells this story is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered. Zoom link available on the library website.  

The Paper Menagerie”: “The Waves,” “Mono No Aware,” and “All the Flavors

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 the following stories from Ken Liu’s “The Paper Menagerie”: “The Waves,” “Mono No Aware,” and “All the Flavors.” Zoom link available on the library website. 


The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler-Colonial Conquest and Resistance, 1917-2017

The History Book Group will meet on the 2nd floor of the library Thurs. Dec. 21 at 3:00 p.m. to discuss Rashid Khalidi’s “The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler-Colonial Conquest and Resistance, 1917-2017.” In 1899, Yusuf Diya al-Khalidi, mayor of Jerusalem, alarmed by the Zionist call to create a Jewish national home in Palestine, wrote a letter aimed at Theodore Herzl: the country had an indigenous people who would not easily accept their own displacement. He warned of the perils ahead, ending his note, “in the name of God, let Palestine be left alone.” Thus Rashid Khalidi, al-Khalidi's great-great-nephew, begins this sweeping history, the first general account of the conflict told from an explicitly Palestinian perspective.