Book groups

ELPL offers book groups for all ages and reading preferences.

Out of This World - October 2015

Mon, 10/26/2015 - 7:00pm
East Lansing Public Library - Conference Room

October's title is The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson.

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Better Living Book Club - October 2015

East Lansing Public Library - Meeting Room

October's title is The Color of Water by James McBride.

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Out of This World - September 2015

East Lansing Public Library - Tutor Study Room

September's title is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.  Station Eleven is the Great Michigan Read for 2015-2016.

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Books on Tap - October 2015

Interested in talking about death? Interested in exploring how our society and our beliefs shape the industry of death? Come to Jimmy's on October 13th at 6:30pm to discuss Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Stories from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty. We will also have a professional from the field as a guest speaker.

"Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty—a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre—took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased.

Books on Tap - September Follow Up

I always think it's amazing how our books can be tied together! This month's selection, People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, brought up points that we discussed last month with Bryan Stevenson's book, Just Mercy, and found commonality with current events even though it was written in 2008. In the book, Brooks' research truly showed through: while it is still a work of fiction, the way in which facts are presented in-line with her narrative storyline, is very convincing to make you question the possibility that these events actually happened. Our discussion ran through numerous topics, including: religious freedom/persecution, feminism, war, morality, and literary conventions to name a few. Overall, the book appealed to our entire group and kept the reader engaged throughout.

Come to Jimmy's on October 13th at 6:30pm when we will talk about Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty with our special guest!

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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