May Book Discussions

Decorah Public Library staff are hosting six book discussions in May. 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. May 10 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss Vaishnavi Patel’s “Kaikeyi.” The only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya, Kaikeyi watches as her father unceremoniously banishes her mother and listens as her own worth is reduced to the marriage alliance she can secure. Desperate for independence, she turns to the texts she once read with her mother and discovers a magic that is hers alone. With it, Kaikeyi transforms herself from an overlooked princess into a warrior, diplomat, and most favored queen. 

Evolutions in Bread

The Cookbook Group will meet Thurs. May 11th at 6:30 p.m in the library’s lower level meeting room for the potluck and final discussion of Ken Forkish’s “Evolutions in Bread.” If you want to craft artisan pan breads and rustic Dutch oven loaves at home with professional, consistent results, this is the book for you. Think crispy, crackly crusts and soft, airy interiors, just like from your favorite artisan bakery—except it came from your own oven. Approachable to the home baker, while still being chock-full of expert knowledge and all-new recipes, Evolutions in Bread covers same-day loaves, overnight cold-proof doughs, and classic levains. Forkish shares the secrets he has learned for making sourdough starter that’s more flour efficient while also exploring classic breads and enriched doughs, such as Japanese Milk Bread and Brioche. This is an excellent follow-up to Forkish’s James Beard Award Winning Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast. 

Enslaved, Indentured, Free: Five Black Women on the Upper Mississippi, 1800-1850

The History Book Group will meet on the 2nd floor of the library on Thurs. May 18 at 3:00 p.m. to discuss Mary Elise Antoine’sEnslaved, Indentured, Free: Five Black Women on the Upper Mississippi, 1800-1850.” [note: this is a change from the Cox Richardson book we had been planning to do, because that title was backordered.] The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 made slavery illegal in the territory that would later become Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota. However, many Black individuals’ rights were denied by white enslavers who continued to hold them captive in the territory well into the nineteenth century. Set in this period of American history, Enslaved, Indentured, Free shines a light on five extraordinary Black women—Marianne, Mariah, Patsey, Rachel, and Courtney—whose lives intersected in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.


Life on the Mississippi

The Friday Book Group will meet via Zoom Fri. May 19 at 2:00 p.m. to discuss Rinker Buck’s “Life on the Mississippi.” “Life on the Mississippi” is a blend of history and adventure in which Buck builds a wooden flatboat from the grand “flatboat era” of the early 1800s and sails it down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. Over the course of his voyage, Buck steers his fragile craft through channels dominated by cargo barges, rescues his first mate gone overboard, sails blindly through fog, breaks his ribs not once but twice, and camps every night on sandbars, remote islands, and steep levees. As he charts his own journey, he also brings to life a lost era.

The Sword of Kaigen

The Speculative Fiction Book Group will meet via Zoom Wed. May 24 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss M.L. Wang’s “The Sword of Kaigen.” At the edge of the Kaigenese Empire live the most powerful warriors in the world, superhumans capable of raising the sea and wielding blades of ice. Born into the legendary Matsuda family, Mamoru has always known his purpose: to master his family’s fighting techniques and defend his homeland. But when an outsider pulls back the curtain on Kaigen’s alleged age of peace, Mamoru realizes that he might not have much time to become the fighter he was bred to be—and the empire may stand on a foundation of lies.


Remote Control

Following the Speculative Fiction Book Group, the Speculative Fiction Novella Group will meet at 6:15 p.m. via the same Zoom link to discuss Nnedi Okorafor’s “Remote Control.” The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From hereon in she would be known as Sankofa, a name that meant nothing to anyone but her. Her touch is death, and she walks—alone, except for her fox companion—searching for an object that came from the sky. But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion?