November Book Discussions

Decorah Public Library staff are hosting five book discussions in November. 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. Nov. 8 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss the first half of Abraham Verghese’s “The Covenant of Water” (pp.1-403). 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 second half of the book will be discussed in December.  


These Truths: A History of the United States

The History Book Group will meet on the 2nd floor of the library Thurs. Nov. 16 at 3:00 p.m. to discuss the second 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.  


The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women

The Friday Book Group will meet on the 2nd floor of the library Fri. Nov. 17 at 2:00 p.m. to discuss Kate Moore’s “The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women.” The Curies’ newly discovered element of radium makes headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War. Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. With such a coveted job, these “shining girls” are the luckiest alive—until they begin to fall mysteriously ill. But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women’s cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America’s early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights that will echo for centuries to come. 

Legends & Lattes

The Speculative Fiction Book Group will meet via Zoom Wed. Nov. 29 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss Travis Baldree’s “Legends & Lattes.” After a lifetime of bounties and bloodshed, Viv is hanging up her sword for the last time. The battle-weary orc aims to start fresh, opening the first ever coffee shop in the city of Thune. But old and new rivals stand in the way of success—not to mention the fact that no one has the faintest idea what coffee actually is. If Viv wants to put the blade behind her and make her plans a reality, she won’t be able to go it alone.


Elder Race

Following the Speculative Fiction Book Group Wed. Nov. 29, the Speculative Fiction Novella Group will meet at 6:15 p.m. via the same Zoom link to discuss Adrian Tchaikovsky’s “Elder Race.” Lynesse is the lowly Fourth Daughter of the queen. But a demon is terrorizing the land, and she understands that the only way to save her people is to invoke the pact between her family and the Elder sorcerer who has inhabited the local tower for as long as her people have lived here. But Elder Nyr isn’t a sorcerer, and he is forbidden to help, for his knowledge of science tells him the threat cannot possibly be a demon…