March Book Discussions

Decorah Public Library staff are hosting five book discussions in March. 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 Frozen River

The Happy Hour Book Group will meet at Pulpit Rock Brewing Co. Wed. March 13 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss Ariel Lawhon’s “The Frozen River.” Maine, 1789: When the Kennebec River freezes, entombing a man in the ice, Martha Ballard is summoned to examine the body and determine cause of death. As a midwife and healer, she is privy to much of what goes on behind closed doors in Hallowell. Her diary is a record of every birth and death, crime and debacle that unfolds in the close-knit community. Months earlier, Martha documented the details of an alleged rape committed by two of the town’s most respected gentlemen—one of whom has now been found dead in the ice. But when a local physician undermines her conclusion, declaring the death to be an accident, Martha is forced to investigate the shocking murder on her own.  

Go As a River

The Friday Book Group will meet on the 2nd floor of the library Fri. March 15 at 2:00 p.m. to discuss Shelly Read’s “Go As a River.” On a cool autumn day in 1948, Victoria Nash delivers late-season peaches from her family’s farm set amid the wild beauty of Colorado. As she heads into her village, a disheveled stranger stops to ask her the way. How she chooses to answer will unknowingly alter the course of both their young lives.

A Concise History of the New Deal

The History Book Group will meet on the 2nd floor of the library Thurs. March 21 at 3:00 p.m. to discuss Jason Scott Smith’s “A Concise History of the New Deal.” During the 1930s, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal carried out a program of dramatic reform to counter the unprecedented failures of the market economy exposed by the Great Depression. Contrary to the views of today’s conservative critics, this book argues that New Dealers were not “anticapitalist” in the ways in which they approached the problems confronting society. Rather, they were reformers who were deeply interested in fixing the problems of capitalism, if at times unsure of the best tools to use for the job. In undertaking their reforms, the New Dealers profoundly changed the United States in ways that still resonate today. This narrative history focuses on the impact of political and economic change on social and cultural relations.


The Speculative Short Fiction Book Group will meet via Zoom Wed. March 27 at 6:00 p.m. to discuss Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 201 (June 2023), edited by Neil Clarke and Kate Baker. Clarkesworld is a monthly science fiction and fantasy magazine first published in October 2006. Each issue contains interviews, thought-provoking articles, and between six and eight works of original fiction. Clarkesworld has been recognized with a World Fantasy Award, three Hugo Awards, and a British Fantasy Award, among others. A full content list for each issue is available at  

The Deep Sky

Immediately following the Short Fiction discussion, the group will discuss Yume Kitasei’s full-length novel “The Deep Sky” (beginning at 6:30 p.m. using the same Zoom link). It is the eve of Earth’s environmental collapse. A single ship carries humanity’s last hope: eighty elite graduates of a competitive program, who will give birth to a generation of children in deep space. But halfway to a distant but livable planet, a lethal bomb kills three of the crew and knocks The Phoenix off course. Asuka, the only surviving witness, is an immediate suspect. With the crew turning on each other, Asuka is determined to find the culprit before they all lose faith in the mission—or worse, the bomber strikes again. Zoom link available on the library website.