Decorah Public Library staff are hosting five book discussions in July. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
When Women Were Dragons
The Happy Hour Book Group will meet via Zoom Wed. July 19 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss Kelly Barnhill’s “When Women Were Dragons.” Alex Green is a young girl in a world much like ours, except for its most seminal event: the Mass Dragoning of 1955, when hundreds of thousands of ordinary wives and mothers sprouted wings, scales, and talons, and took to the skies. To speak of it is taboo. Alex nevertheless must face the consequences of this astonishing event: a mother more protective than ever; an absentee father; the upsetting insistence that her aunt never even existed; and watching her beloved cousin Bea become dangerously obsessed with the forbidden.
Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India
The History Book Group will meet on the 2nd floor of the library Thurs. July 13 at 3:00 p.m. to discuss Shashi Tharoor’s “Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India.” In the eighteenth century, India’s share of the world economy was as large as Europe’s. By 1947, after two centuries of British rule, it had decreased six-fold. Beyond conquest and deception, the Empire massacred unarmed protesters, entrenched institutionalized racism, and caused millions to die from starvation. British imperialism justified itself as enlightened despotism for the benefit of the governed, but Shashi Tharoor demolishes this position, demonstrating how every supposed imperial ‘gift’—from the railways to the rule of law—was designed in Britain’s interests alone.
The Friday Book Group will meet via Zoom Fri. July 21 at 2:00 p.m. to discuss Isabel Allende’s “Violeta.” Violeta comes into the world on a stormy day in 1920, the first girl in a family of five boisterous sons. From the start, her life will be marked by extraordinary events, for the ripples of the Great War are still being felt, even as the Spanish flu arrives on the shores of her South American homeland almost at the moment of her birth. She tells her story in the form of a letter to someone she loves above all others, recounting devastating heartbreak and passionate affairs, times of both poverty and wealth, terrible loss and immense joy. Her life will be shaped by some of the most important events of history: the fight for women’s rights, the rise and fall of tyrants, and, ultimately, not one but two pandemics.
The Bone Shard Daughter
The Speculative Fiction Book Group will meet via Zoom Wed. July 26 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss Andrea Stewart’s “The Bone Shard Daughter.” The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands. Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognize her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic. Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright—and save her people.
The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe
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 Kij Johnson’s “The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe.” Professor Vellitt Boe teaches at the prestigious Ulthar Women’s College. When one of her most gifted students elopes with a dreamer from the waking world, Vellitt must retrieve her. But the journey sends her on a quest across the Dreamlands and into her own mysterious past, where some secrets were never meant to surface.