Book groups

ELPL offers book groups for all ages and reading preferences.

Better Living Book Club - September 2015

East Lansing Public Library - Meeting Room

September's title is Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen.

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Books on Tap - September 2015

On September 8 at 6:30, Books on Tap will discuss People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. See you at Jimmy's!

"In 1996, Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, which has been rescued from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with images. When Hanna, a caustic loner with a passion for her work, discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient binding—an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair—she begins to unlock the book’s mysteries. The reader is ushered into an exquisitely detailed and atmospheric past, tracing the book’s journey from its salvation back to its creation.

In Bosnia during World War II, a Muslim risks his life to protect it from the Nazis. In the hedonistic salons of fin-de-siècle Vienna, the book becomes a pawn in the struggle against the city’s rising anti-Semitism. In inquisition-era Venice, a Catholic priest saves it from burning. In Barcelona in 1492, the scribe who wrote the text sees his family destroyed by the agonies of enforced exile. And in Seville in 1480, the reason for the Haggadah’s extraordinary illuminations is finally disclosed. Hanna’s investigation unexpectedly plunges her into the intrigues of fine art forgers and ultra-nationalist fanatics. Her experiences will test her belief in herself and the man she has come to love.

Inspired by a true story, People of the Book is at once a novel of sweeping historical grandeur and intimate emotional intensity, an ambitious, electrifying work by an acclaimed and beloved author."

Review from Goodreads.

Books on Tap - August Follow Up

What an amazing discussion about such an important issue. Our discussion of the One Book, One Community 2015 selection Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson revealed that there is much more to the prison institution that guity people being sentenced and life moving on. Along with the OBOC selection we discovered ties to many other works: The House I Live InThe New Jim CrowAnnie's Ghosts, and The True American to name a few. This book is not just about being sentenced to death - whether that be the death penalty or serving life without parole - but a much broader range of issues. It encompasses socio-economic issues, poverty, drug use, emotional and physical trauma, mental disorders and how we treat them, race, and so many other concerns we as a nation should look at with a more critical eye. We ended the night with some overwhelming questions: how can this cycle change? And how can we, as individuals and groups, make a change? As one member put it, this book makes you think. It forces you think about everything you want to bury your head in the sand about. But something needs to give, and we the people need to lead that charge. Please join the East Lansing community as they welcome Bryan Stevenson to the Hannah Center on Sunday August 30 at 7pm.

Better Living Book Club

Meeting Room

Better Living Book Club's August selection:  Being Mortal by Atul Gawande 

Books on Tap - August 2015

Come discuss Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson before he comes to speak in East Lansing! Books on Tap will discuss the One Book, One Community 2015 selection on August 11th at 6:30pm at Jimmy's Pub.

"A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time

 Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.
Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice."

Review from Amazon.

Books on Tap - July Follow Up

With a majority of the group apparently on summer vacation, we had a small group discussion about The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. Overall, this light read with hints of the tale of Forrest Gump, was the perfect summer read for our group. It was interesting to see the history of Allan Karlson and the interesting group of people he encountered through his life (Mao Zedong, Winston Churchill, and Harry S. Truman to name a very few). Jonasson's background in journalism is on full display in this book: even though the idea that Allan led the life in the story is far-fetched; the timeline of his actions was thoroughly researched and lined up accordingly.

We also did our summer book exchange and talked a little about other books we've been reading. See the list and descriptions here.

Come to Jimmy's August 11 when we discuss the One Book, One Community selection Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson.

Out of This World Books For the Rest of 2015

On July 27 at 7:00pm, we will be discussing The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu. The Three-Body Problem has been nominated for this year's Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novel, after winning the Chinese Science Fiction Galaxy Award in 2006. It is the first in the Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy and is a first contact story set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution. The film adaptation is scheduled for 2016.

On August 24 at 7:00pm, we will be discussing Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold. This is the first book in the Vorkosigan Saga, a space opera series that has received numerous awards over the 26 years it has been being published, including two Nebulas, four Hugo, two Locuses, and 16 more nominations for those awards. You may also find this book in the collection Cordelia's Honor. The Vorkosigan Saga is noted for its politics, romance, cleverness, and treatment of disability.

On September 28 at 7:00pm, we will be discussing Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. This dystopian novel follows a troupe of Shakespearean actors around Lake Michigan after a global epidemic. Station Eleven was selected by the Michigan Humanities Council as the Great Michigan Read for 2015-2016.

On October 26 at 7:00pm, we will be discussing The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson. Our annual Halloween horror novel is a hallucinatory account of a recluse's stay at a remote house and his experiences with supernatural creatures and otherworldly dimensions. H.P. Lovecraft listed The House on the Borderlands as one of his greatest influences. Also available in graphic novel version, by Simon Revelstroke and Richard Corben.

On November 23 at 7:00pm, we will be discussing Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie, scheduled for publication in October. We have enjoyed the previous two books in the series, Ancillary Justice, which won last year's Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novel, and Ancillary Sword, which is nominated for this year's Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novel. To tell you about Breq would spoil the first book.

We will not be meeting in December.

Books on Tap - July 2015

Are you intrigued by this title: The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared? If so, read the book by Jonas Jonasson and join us at Jimmy's Pub on July 14 at 6:30 pm to discuss this book.

**Also: Christmas in July book exchange!!**

Bring in a book you love, a book you hate, something funny, something awful - wrapped up and ready to swap for our summer book exchange.

"A reluctant centenarian much like Forrest Gump (if Gump were an explosives expert with a fondness for vodka) decides it’s not too late to start over …

After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he’s still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100. A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn’t interested (and he’d like a bit more control over his vodka consumption). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash, some unpleasant criminals, a friendly hot-dog stand operator, and an elephant (not to mention a death by elephant).

Books on Tap - June Follow Up

Thank you to everyone who came to Jimmy's to discuss Yes Please by Amy Poehler. As usual, we had a very lively conversation about the different topics that struck a chord with the group. There was a slight divide on if you loved it or just kind of went with it. It was agreed that throughout the book Poehler had inserted little nuggets of wisdom that rang out clear and loud as to how we should strive to live our lives and how to treat others:

"How a person treats their waitress is a great indication of their character."

"I think we should stop asking people in their twenties what they 'want to do' and start asking them what they don’t want to do."

After jumping around to different points, the conversation veered towards cell phones and the role they now play in our everyday lives - and not necessarily that they are trying to kill us (as Amy suggests). It was interesting to see the different reactions to cell phone use, appropriate time and place, the idea of multi-tasking, and the level of addiction that some have.

Come to Jimmy's on July 14 to discuss The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

Also! Bring a wrapped book for our Christmas in July book exchange!

Books on Tap - July 2015

Jimmy's Pub, East Lansing, MI
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Better Living Book Club - July 2015

East Lansing Public Library - Meeting Room

July's title is Twinkie Deconstructed by Steve Ettlinger.

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Out of This World Book Club - June 2015

East Lansing Public Library - Children's Storytime Room

June's title is The Martian by Andy Weir.

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Better Living Book Club - June 2015

East Lansing Public Library - Meeting Room

June's title is Don't Sweat the Small Stuff  by Richard Carlson, PhD.

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Books on Tap - June 2015

On June 9 at 6:30pm we will talk about the book Yes Please by Amy Poehler.

"Do you want to get to know the woman we first came to love on Comedy Central's Upright Citizens Brigade? Do you want to spend some time with the lady who made you howl with laughter on Saturday Night Live, and in movies like Baby Mama, Blades of Glory, and They Came Together? Do you find yourself daydreaming about hanging out with the actor behind the brilliant Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation? Did you wish you were in the audience at the last two Golden Globes ceremonies, so you could bask in the hilarity of Amy's one-liners?

If your answer to these questions is "Yes Please!" then you are in luck. In her first book, one of our most beloved funny folk delivers a smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational read. Full of the comedic skill that makes us all love Amy, Yes Please is a rich and varied collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras and advice. With chapters like "Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend," "Plain Girl Versus the Demon" and "The Robots Will Kill Us All" Yes Please will make you think as much as it will make you laugh. Honest, personal, real, and righteous,Yes Please is full of words to live by."

Review from Amazon.

Books on Tap - May Follow Up

One way or another, I will keep sneaking science fiction into Books on Tap meetings! The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, explored the world of fantasy science fiction. Many people were intrigued by the descriptive qualities of the book. Morgenstern has a way with words that bring the images of the circus to life. Overall, people enjoyed the book and were interested by the fact that this was Morgenstern's first book. We discussed the connections between this work and the works of William Shakespeare, as well as how it was different from other books in the manner in which the storyline switched around in time. 

Come to Jimmy's on June 9th at 6:30pm to discuss Yes Please by Amy Poehler.