Contemporary Book Discussion Group

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

The Contemporary Book Discussion Group meets on the 4th Tuesday of the month at 7 PM.

For the Contemporary Book Discussion Group, we will read books that are recent and have gathered critical praise, as seen in the pages of major newspapers (New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, etc.) and by book awards (National Book Award, Pulitzer, Mann Prize, etc.).  We may even sneak in a "classic" if it appeals to the group. 

If you have any questions, please contact Mark at 298-3080, ext. 1707 or

Below is the schedule of reading and links to information about the author and reviews of the books.

At the bottom of this page is  the list of books we have read since October 2016.


 esi edugyan

 On Tuesday, May 28th, at 7:00 PM, we will discuss Washington Black by Esi Edugyan.

George Washington Black, or "Wash," an eleven-year-old field slave on a Barbados sugar plantation, is terrified to be chosen by his master's brother as his manservant. To his surprise, the eccentric Christopher Wilde turns out to be a naturalist, explorer, inventor, and abolitionist. Soon Wash is initiated into a world where a flying machine can carry a man across the sky, where even a boy born in chains may embrace a life of dignity and meaning--and where two people, separated by an impossible divide, can begin to see each other as human. But when a man is killed and a bounty is placed on Wash's head, Christopher and Wash must abandon everything.

What follows is their flight along the eastern coast of America, and, finally, to a remote outpost in the Arctic. What brings Christopher and Wash together will tear them apart, propelling Wash even further across the globe in search of his true self.

LInks of Interest:

New York Times Book Review

Washington Post Book Review

New Yorker Review

Publisher's Reading Guide


 Lauren Groff

 On Tuesday, June 25th, at 7 PM, we will discuss Florida by Lauren Groff.

In her thrilling new book, Lauren Groff brings the reader into a physical world that is at once domestic and wild—a place where the hazards of the natural world lie waiting to pounce, yet the greatest threats and mysteries are still of an emotional, psychological nature. A family retreat can be derailed by a prowling panther, or by a sexual secret. Among those navigating this place are a resourceful pair of abandoned sisters; a lonely boy, grown up; a restless, childless couple, a searching, homeless woman; and an unforgettable, recurring character—a steely and conflicted wife and mother.

The stories in this collection span characters, towns, decades, even centuries, but Florida—its landscape, climate, history, and state of mind—becomes its gravitational center: an energy, a mood, as much as a place of residence. Groff transports the reader, then jolts us alert with a crackle of wit, a wave of sadness, a flash of cruelty, as she writes about loneliness, rage, family, and the passage of time. With shocking accuracy and effect, she pinpoints the moments and decisions and connections behind human pleasure and pain, hope and despair, love and fury—the moments that make us alive. Startling, precise, and affecting, Florida is a magnificent achievement.

Links of Interest:

Author's website

Author interview with the Gainesville Sun

New Yorker Review

LA Review of Books

 Tara Westover

 As part of our Annual Adult Summer Reading Program, we will discuss Educated by Tara Westover on Saturday, July 20th at 11 AM.

Copies will be available in June at the Reference Desk.

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

LInks of interest:

Author's website  (Note the several interviews under the Media page.)

New York Times Review

New Yorker Review

The Atlantic review


 Books Read - 2016-2017

 Books Read - 2018-2019

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy
October 2016
The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma
November 2016
Miss Jane by Brad Watson
December 2016

The Incarnations by Susan Barker
January 2017
Best Boy by Eli Gottlieb
February 2017
An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine
March 2017
The Distant Marvels by Chantal Acevedo
April 2017
Stoner by John Williams
May 2017
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
June 2017
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
July 2017
News of the World by Paulette Jiles
August 2017
Old Filth by Jane Gardam
September 2017
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
October 2017
Golden Age by Joan London
November 2017
Man in the Wooden Hat by Jane Gardam
December 2017





The North Water by Ian McGuire
January 2018
A Sudden Light by Garth Stein
February 2018
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunder
March 2018
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
April 2018
Days Without End by Sebastion Barry
May 2018
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
June 2018
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
July 2018
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
August 2018
Washington Square by Henry James
September 2018
Elmet by Fiona Mozley
October 2018
Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
November 2018
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
December 2018

Only Killers and Thieves by Paul Howarth
January 2019
A Room With A View by E. M. Forster
February 2019
The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery
March 2019
The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea
April 2019
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan 
May 2019