October Book Discussions

Decorah Public Library staff are hosting five book discussions in October. 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 Cartographers

The Happy Hour Book Group will meet at Pulpit Rock Brewing Co. Wed. Oct. 11 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss Peng Shepherd’s “The Cartographers.” Nell Young’s greatest passion is cartography. Her father is a legend in the field and Nell’s personal hero. But she hasn’t seen or spoken to him ever since he fired her and destroyed her reputation after an argument over an old, cheap gas station highway map. But when Dr. Young is found dead in his office at the New York Public Library, with the very same seemingly worthless map hidden in his desk, Nell can’t resist investigating. To her surprise, she soon discovers that the map is incredibly valuable and exceedingly rare. In fact, she may now have the only copy left in existence... because a mysterious collector has been hunting down and destroying every last one—along with anyone who gets in the way. But why?


The Friday Book Group will meet on the 2nd floor of the library Fri. Oct. 20 at 2:00 p.m. to discuss R.F. Kuang’s “Yellowface.” Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars: same year at Yale, same debut year in publishing. But Athena’s a cross-genre literary darling, and June didn’t even get a paperback release. So when June witnesses Athena’s death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals the only manuscript of Athena’s masterpiece, a novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers to the British and French during World War I. So what if June edits Athena’s novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? Doesn’t this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? But June can’t get away from Athena’s shadow, and emerging evidence threatens to bring June’s success down around her. As June races to protect her secret, she discovers how far she’ll go to keep what she thinks she deserves.

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World

The Speculative Fiction Book Group will meet via Zoom Wed. Oct. 25 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss C.A. Fletcher’s “A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World.” My name’s Griz. My childhood wasn’t like yours. I’ve never had friends, and in my whole life I’ve not met enough people to play a game of football. My parents told me how crowded the world used to be, but we were never lonely on our remote island. We had each other, and our dogs. Then the thief came. There may be no law left except what you make of it. But if you steal my dog, you can at least expect me to come after you. Because if we aren’t loyal to the things we love, what’s the point?


The Ballad of Black Tom

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 Victor LaValle’s “The Ballad of Black Tom.” Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table and keep the roof over his father’s head. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.


These Truths: A History of the United States

The History Book Group will meet on the 2nd floor of the library Thurs. Oct. 19 at 3:00 p.m. to discuss the first half of Jill Lepore’s “These Truths: A History of the United States.” The American experiment rests on three ideas—“these truths,” Jefferson called them—political equality, natural rights, and the sovereignty of the people. But has the nation, and democracy itself, delivered on that promise? Lepore tells this uniquely American story, beginning in 1492, asking whether the course of events over more than five centuries has proven the nation’s truths, or belied them. To answer that question, Lepore wrestles with the state of American politics, the legacy of slavery, the persistence of inequality, and the nature of technological change.