Friday, October 9, 2015

Don't miss Boston Book Fair -- it's a readers' nirvana!

Boston Book Festival organizers have announced the author lineup for the seventh annual festival, slated for Oct. 23-24 at Copley Square, Boston. Some 175 authors and presenters are expected, and events—beyond two ticketed events—are free. They are held in buildings surrounding the square and adjacent churches, with many sessions in the Boston Public Library. The largest groups meet in Trinity Church.
A large crowd attends, so arrive early for good seating. This is a chance to hear authors who have won some of the most prestigious writing awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, Caldecott and Newbery awards, and the Mann-Booker Award. Sessions include scientists, architects, historians and authors of multiple genres.
One special element—the city-wide "read" of a story—features Jennifer De Leon's "Home Movies" this year. It has been available throughout the Boston area, free (check libraries, book stores), in preparation for what may be the world's largest book discussion. For details, see the web site,
The few paid events generally are inexpensive, and proceeds support free events at the festival. At one, author Neil Gaiman will interview his wife, memoirist and singer/songwriter Amanda Palmer, on Oct. 24. Her book is "The Art of Asking." Cost is $10.
The other paid event is exclusive to BBF supporters at the $150 level or higher: Margaret Atwood's kickoff keynote speech, Friday, Oct. 23. This is the festival's major fundraising event, hence the price. If you'd like to donate, see the web site (there's a $50 to $100 level as well as much higher possibilities).
Workshops, interviews and spirited discussions are offered all day each day, with the festival kicking off late Friday.
Among other major participants: Atul Gawande, Colum McCann, James Wood, Louis Sachar, and Libba Bray. A complete list is available online.

The site features a large contingent of booths set up by booksellers, publishers and other book-related enterprises, plus free music and lots of food stands. The entire day is relaxing and cheerful, as participants are surrounded by others who love books!
Recommendations for classic favorites
This month, the Northboro Friday Morning Book Group recommends these classics for clubs to consider—"which we feel are highly discussable.  We consider a classic as being published in the 1960s, and previously and we've read four classics a year for the past 14 or 15 years."
1)  "Huckleberry Finn," Mark Twain
2)  "A Man for All Seasons"  (the play)
3)  "Middlemarch, George Eliot"
4)  "Two Years Before The Mast," Richard Dana, Jr.

Book groups/selections for October
The Athol Public Library's "Booked for Lunch" club will discuss "Delicious!" by Ruth Reichl  when the group starts its season tomorrow (Monday). "Our group varies in size from 12 to 24. Membership is not required and participation varies based on the selection (and often time of year!). We encourage new folks to join us," said Robin Brzozowski. "Throughout the year we read popular fiction, a few non-fiction selections and an occasional classic. Everyone is given the opportunity to share their thoughts."
NOW Women's Issues Book Group will discuss "The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer.” This hefty title is by Anne-Marie O’Connor, and it concerns the real-life story of Adele’s Jewish family, their ordeal in Nazi-occupied Vienna, and the fight to reclaim the famous painting, stolen by Nazi officers. A movie version (called the “Woman in Gold”) starred Helen Mirren. The group meets at 7 p.m., Oct. 12 in Barnes & Noble, 541 Shrewsbury St., Worcester.
Off-Track Bookies in Lancaster has slated Sue Monk Kidd's "The Intervention of Wings" for its Oct. 8 meeting. "Wings" is based on the life of Sarah Grimk√©, an abolitionist and early proponent of women’s rights. On her eleventh birthday, Sarah—daughter of a wealthy plantation family—is presented with her own slave, which horrifies her. Hetty is the slave. The two defy traditional slavery.
At Lancaster's Thayer Memorial Library, book club members will talk about Kathleen Norris's "The Cloister Walk," a memoir of her time as an oblate (and Presbyterian minister) who examines her faith while staying with Benedictine monks. Meeting is Oct. 27.
At 7 p.m., Oct. 27, Merrick Public Library in Brookfield, members will read Rachel Joyce's "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry," a novel about an anti-hero seeking himself, and respect, in his travels.
The Contemporary Book Club at Gale Free Library, Holden, will discuss "Black River" by E.M. Hulse at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 6. Check the library for a book loan.
Mendon Public Library's group will discuss "A Snicker of Magic" by Natalie Lloyd (a 2014 Newbery Award nominee) on Monday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. Call librarian Brenda Whitner for details.
At Simon Fairfield Public Library in Douglas, book club members will discuss Derek B. Miller's "Norwegian by Night" at 6:30 p.m., Oct. 13. The N.Y. Times described this book as having "the brains of a literary novel and the body of a thriller." Call 508-476-2695 to reserve a copy.
Malcolm Gladwell's "David and Goliath" will be the focus of a 4:30 p.m. Oct. 28 meeting at Gardner's Heywood Memorial Library.
Haston Public Library, North Brookfield, chose books for the new season at an August cookout. The group has slated "A History of Reading" by Alberto Manguel for its Oct. 27 meeting.
Erik Larson's "Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania" is the topic for Crawford Library's book group, meeting at 6 p.m., Oct. 1 in Dudley.
"The Girls of Atomic City" by Denise Kiernan will be discussed at Leominster Public Library's Brown Bag meeting on Oct. 1.
Fitchburg Public Library's book club will discuss Sue Monk Kidd's "The Invention of Wings" on Oct. 14 at 1 and 6:30 p.m.
In Southbridge, group members will discuss Michael Ponsor's "The Hanging Judge" at 6:30 p.m. in Jacob Edwards Library.
Jhumpa Lahiri's "Unaccustomed Earth," eight stories exploring family life in India, Thailand and the United States, will be discussed at the 10 a.m., Oct. 9 meeting of Northboro Public Library's Friday Morning Book Club.

Ann Connery Frantz writes about authors and book clubs for the Telegram & Gazette. Contact her at

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The world of "Poldark" and other club selections

It's unlikely I would have read Winston Graham's "Poldark" without having seen the series opener on Masterpiece Theater this year (admittedly, having the handsome Aidan Turner in the title role helps draw viewers). I purchased the first book, in what I've happily noted is a long series, and read it insatiably in early August. Then I read the second, "Demelza." The third, "Jeremy" sits on my shelves while I consider whether to read it ahead of season two.
Will I go the distance, reading all 12 books? I doubt it. Rarely do I plunge into a series, given that I read for this column and a blog, author profiles, my book club, my own
choices and books about the writing craft. I don't have the kind of time I did when I devoured Nancy Drew, as a kid left to her own resources. I've never taken the time to re-read "Gone With the Wind" or the Tolkien trilogy, though I want to. I've read the first "Outlander," the first Evanovich, Ken Follett's "The Pillars of the Earth," but not "World Without End." Etcetera.
In fiction reading, I tend to return more often to a specific author, rather than a series. Ivan Doig, Annie Proulx, Louise Erdrich, T.C. Boyle, Colum McCann, Chris Bohjalian, Kate Atkisson, Kristin Hannah, and many of the classics. People do love series, however, and readers often remain absorbed in a favorite author from book one onward. That's what passionate reading is all about. There's also a huge following for historical non-fiction series writers: Bernard Cornwell, Phillippa Gregory, the late Leon Uris, Ken Follett.
"Masterpiece Theater" prodded me to read Henning Mankell's series of Wallander books, one or two Sherlock Holmes mysteries, and now, "Poldark." The entire series is slated for BBC, six seasons in all. It was first popularized in an earlier version, around 1975-76.
"Poldark" is a rich narrative, full of the wild sea and constant winds in Cornwall, draped around the class advantages of the rich amid the everyday difficulties of impoverished lives in 18th century England. Poldark, despite a privileged background, champions the common man. But he has his flaws. I'm absorbed in the love, the greed, the cruelty and the rich characterization it offers. Graham isn't around today to enjoy a second draught of fame, but the stories remain classic for this age as well.
Many of these books make excellent book group fodder, though tackling a series is impossible. Best you can do is focus on one or two of the best ones, hoping members will pursue the others on their own.
Area authors
R.A. Salvatore, a Leominster-based fantasy writer whose best-sellers include many series, "The Dark Elf Trilogy" and "The Demon Wars Saga" among them, will be guest author at the 7:30 p.m. Sept. 9 "A Conversation with R.A. Salvatore," at the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut. Tickets are $25, available from the museum.
Salvatore has written more than 40 books, selling more than 10 million copies in a dozen languages. During 2012, he received the prestigious Chandler Award of Merit from Thayer Memorial Library in Lancaster.
Worcester resident and artist Karla Cinquanta, marketing and creative content manager at Bancroft School, recently received an Indie Book Award of 2015 for "The Tiny Portrait," a story and picture book for children or adults. Indies recognize the best books from self-published authors an small publishers. The book has also received a Mom's Choice 2015 Gold Award. Cinquanta's story centers on two siblings who discover a tintype portrait of an unknown ancestor in a family heirloom trunk and embark on an adventure as they seek her identity. The children also explore their own connection to the past by creating a family tree. Cinquant's photo illustrations make the book unique. It is available through Barnes & Noble and
Joseph W. Bebo of Hudson has applied a master's in computer science from Boston University to his latest techno-thriller, "Lamp of the Gods." This self-published work follows a journalist's search for missing astrophysicist Benjamin Teller—pursued by the FBI, police, the White House and those greedy to profit from Dr. Teller's time-exploration discovery. Bebo has written a number of sci-fi novels and two fictionalized histories, "The Charbonneau Letter" and "Of Lake, Land and Liberty: The Battle of Plattsburgh in the War of 1812." The books are available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble.
Organizing your "reads"
Anna Ford, a young book club member in Philadelphia, has created a free book club organizing site—dreamed up with her boyfriend when she wanted to keep better track of selections, member information and popular books. You can also send invites and gather RSVP responses there. She invites book club members to check it out at I did, and thought it interesting to see what other clubs have most liked lately ("The Goldfinch," "Just Kids," "Madame Bovary," "The Magic of Ordinary Days" and "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves.")
Book group selections
Friday Morning Book Club in Northborough, meets Sept. 11, to discuss "Andersonville," the Pulitzer Prize-winning story of the Civil War prison. The group meets at 10 a.m. in the library.
Food is the topic at Worcester Public Library's September meeting, says Morgan Manzella, reference librarian. He encourages participants to bring in a favorite recipe as the group discusses local harvests. Call the library for times, or email
"We decided to take on another of Sue Monk Kidd’s novels for our September book," says Joan Killough-Miller of the NOW Women's Issues Book group, Worcester. "Most of us liked 'The Secret Life of Bees' very much. Perhaps Kidd is a better novelist than she is memoirist. So the book for Sept. 14 will be 'The Invention of Wings,' a novel set in slavery times, inspired in part by the historic figure of Sarah Grimk√©." This group meets at 7 p.m. in Barnes & Noble, 541 Lincoln St., Worcester.
Off-Track Bookies in Lancaster is reading JoJo Moyes' touching "Me Before You" for its Sept. 10 meeting.
Full Court Press of Sutton is reading "The Beast in the Garden" by David Baron. Selections are chosen by the month, and recently included: "All the Light We Cannot See;" "The Girl on the Train" and "Orphan Train."
The next meeting of the Douglas Library Book Group will consider "Isaac's Storm" by Eric Larson. The group meets at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 8, marking the 115th anniversary of a hurricane that killed over 6,000 people in Galveston, Texas.
Brown Bag Book Group is reading Ayaan Hirsi Ali's "Infidel" for its Sept. 3 meeting, and "The Girls of Atomic City" by Denise Kiernan for its Oct. 1 meeting. Contact Leominster Public Library for times.
The book club at Fitchburg Public Library meets at 1:30 and 6:30 p.m. for each selection. Next meetings are Sept. 9 and the book is "Signora da Vinci" by Robin Maxwell.
Merrick Public Library's Bannister Book Group, Brookfield, will meet Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. to discuss Cathy Luchetti's "Women of the West," a myth-shattering look at the women who really settled the West, told through their own words and illustrated with period photographs.
The Southbridge book group meets the first Monday of the month at Jacob Edwards Library. Next selection is Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" and the meeting is at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 14.
At Thayer Memorial Library in Lancaster, the Adult Book Group has chosen "Enon" by Paul Harding, slated for 6:30 p.m., Sept. 29. All readers welcome. To reserve a copy, call the library.
Anne Young of Heywood Library, Gardner, says the 4:30 p.m., Sept. 30 meeting will revolve around Isabel Allende's "My Invented Country: A Nostalgic Journey Through Chile."
The Contemporary Book Club at Gale Free Library in Holden meets at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 8, to discuss "A Tale for the Time Being" by Ruth Ozeki. Books are available through the library. Coming up in October: "Black River" by S.M. Hulse.
The Pearle L. Crawford Memorial Library Book Group will meet at 6 p.m., Thursday (Sept. 3) to discuss "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" by Rachel Joyce. Library Director Karen Wall says the group explores a variety of genres in fiction and nonfiction throughout the year, normally meeting the first Thursday of the month. The Oct. 1 selection is Erik Larson's history, "Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania."

Ann Connery Frantz writes about books and book clubs at (sorry for the two e's). Send news or comments to

Saturday, August 1, 2015

'The Ladies of Managua' author considers generations, cultures in collision

There's a bit of magic in Eleni Gage's life. She's willing to follow her instincts, and those of trusted others—so much so that she picked a wedding date a year ahead of time, before even meeting her eventual husband.
Oh, yes, she did. They married on 10-10-10. More about that later.
Gage has pursued a busy freelance and full-time career at magazines and is now executive editor of Martha Stewart Weddings, mother of two small children, and an author. In May, St. Martin's Press published "The Ladies of Managua," her second novel, third book.
Born in Greece, she grew up in Athens and North Grafton (where her parents, Nicholas and Jane Gage, still live). She is named after her grandmother, Eleni Gatzoyiannis—executed by Communist forces for whisking her children out of Greece to keep them out of Communist "training" camps. The children settled in the Worcester area, and one of them, Nicholas, became a New York Times reporter who researched his mother's death before writing an award-winning book, "Eleni." That book became a movie starring John Malkovich and Kate Nelligan in 1985.
With creative parents (Jane has turned to photography and art), and her brother Christos a screenwriter, she may have been destined to write as well, but she didn't plan it that way.
"I wanted to be a teacher. I saw my parents writing, and from the perspective of a child it looks fairly boring—you sit at the computer a lot. But it was a way of looking at things and observing things. Mom's not Greek, and she was always pointing out to me, 'Look at that ritual or celebration," "Isn't it interesting the way this is cooked or this holiday is celebrated?' So when I went to college, I studied folklore and mythology, because I became so interested in ritual and cultures—in what makes up a person's identity." That is what she has written about in her books and many of her travel articles.
After graduating from Harvard, she landed a role as editorial assistant (later associate editor) at "Allure" magazine. She moved on to "Elle" and "InStyle," later becoming beauty editor at "People." But with a solid career—still not teaching—she wanted to do more.
On a visit to Greece, she began writing a travel memoir, "North of Ithaka." She credits the elder residents of her grandmother's small village, Lia, who sat outside for part of each day and shared stories, for the memories and traditions that fed into her writing. "We were there overseeing the rebuilding of my grandmother's house, which had fallen into ruin after the Greek civil war," she said.
The memoir drew fans, but presented her with another problem. "A lot of people loved it, but I also got, from relatives, why did or didn't you do this?" She began to think writing fiction might be better.
One doesn't just sit down and become a novelist, however.
She pursued an MFA (Master's degree in fine arts) from Columbia University and achieved another goal: "I taught while I was getting it." She also wrote the draft of a novel. Later, she re-entered the freelance world, successfully publishing articles in travel and lifestyle magazines. (She has also contributed to The New York Times, Parade, and The American Scholar.)
She was researching a novel, when an Indian astrologer predicted her marriage to "a soft-hearted businessman" on 10-10-10, she chose that date for her wedding. She did, indeed, meet that businessman, a Nicaraguan coffee trader named Emilio Baltadano. "Other Waters" is about an Indian-American psychiatrist convinced her family is cursed. Its themes revolve around multi-cultural identity and conflict. The novel was released to good reviews in early 2012.
It was through her husband that seeds were sown for "The Ladies of Managua." The couple brought their first child to meet her Nicaraguan family. "We lived there for seven months between 2012 and 2013, in Grenada. He told me about his grandmother, who had gone to convent school in New Orleans during the late 1940s to '50s." His grandmother's own star-crossed romance as an adolescent led Gage to imagine one of the three characters who narrate the latest novel—her favorite, as it turns out. Her first draft took shape.
"I learned about the things girls learned in these schools: how to set a nice table, how to get into a cab properly." This set the character of Isabella in the novel, mother to the revolutionary Ninexin and grandmother to Maria Vazquez, who returns to Nicaragua for her grandfather's funeral. "I loved writing about her (Isabella); I feel like, as women we're always trying to figure out the rules of the world around us. We're raised to listen to the rules of society, as opposed to men, and I sort of realized by the time you figure out the rules, they've all changed. Older women carry so many worlds inside them—both the societies that don't exist anymore, and themselves at a younger age. I like how they (older women) are kind of uncensored. People of that age stop worrying about what others think."
She studied the revolution from the writings of a prominent Nicaraguan writer-revolutionary, Gioconda Belli. "I read a lot of books and articles by her; she wrote about coming across her daughter's college entrance essay (her daughter was raised in the United States, as is the character Maria). In it, her daughter wrote that she wished her mother had been around more. Belli felt badly when she read the essay, but her daughter told her it was alright, saying, 'You couldn't have been a good revolutionary and a good mother.' That inspired me for the conflict between daughter and mother. Guilt is hard to escape, especially for women. You're expected to do certain things. Raise your kids a certain way. Ninexin wanted to change society and was a little more fearless in that way, but the judgments of the people she loved weighed on her. She had this secret about Manuel (Maria's father) that she couldn't reveal because he was a national hero, and was a hero in his daughter's mind."

Their secrets, and their passage across years of disappointment and misunderstanding to find each other again, is what makes "The Ladies of Managua" a deeply satisfying novel. "They're all intelligent and I think they're all pretty passionate about things—but the difference comes in that they're all passionate about different things."
She wrote the novel in three voices, as "a way of exploring how much we can misunderstand even the people closest to us. Often, they don't know what we're thinking. So that was a really fun exercise."
She read a lot about women in Nicaragua and the revolution, while there. "There are not many novels written about that period of history in Nicaragua. But if you think of World War II, and about our own Civil War—how many books have been written about that?"
In September 2013, she became executive editor at Martha Stewart Weddings, living in New York City. "I have a great day job for a writer. You are exercising the skills that you use in writing; I'm writing and editing all day long, so that is really nice, and I enjoy the people I work with, but I do feel like there's never enough time in the world to do the things I want to do."
She finished working on "The Ladies of Managua" over the course of 18 free Fridays. With kids you have to plan carefully. She did a brief  book tour during maternity leave for her four-month-old. "It's a little crazy bringing the kids, but a lot of that is done digitally these days. You can blog or Skype with book clubs, or things like that. I try to fit in events when I'm going to places anyway. I was in Miami for my husband's work, and I did a reading there."
She hopes to do another book, when time allows, setting it in Greece again. But at present, she's enjoying the release of her newest, busy mothering her 4-year and 4-month-old children, and working full-time. She has learned to write whenever she can, wherever she is. "If you've got 20 minutes, sit down and write. You can edit it later. You can't wait for those magical moments when you'll have all the time in the world.
The author blogs at There, she writes about themes of identity, family and cultural differences.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Talking over Go Set a Watchman a great book club opportunity

As everyone weighs in on Harper Lee's "Go Set a Watchman," let's consider it as a book club selection.
There's a lot to argue about.
Realize: This is not the same book, not the same plot, not the same Atticus, and not consistently crafted. Although it occurs later in time (Scout is grown up) it was written before "To Kill a Mockingbird." That's important, because Lee's writing skill was not what it became on a second approach. She is a good writer, but she's undisciplined here.
As two million or so people have now learned, you can't judge a book by its author. I tried to read "... Watchman" with an open mind. That mind has now closed the book, finished.
As a fall book club topic, it's a natural. There is much to debate.
First off, high praise for the nameless editor who persuaded Harper Lee to shelve this book in the first place and create another, based on the young Jean Louise—whom the world knows as "Scout." Jean Louise's childhood memories in "Go Set a Watchman" are far more interesting than the rest of the overwritten novel. The result of that advice, "To Kill a Mockingbird," is a beautiful, impactful book with memorable characters. "Watchman" is not.
Yet, it's a bit unfair to compare the two, as clubs must do. They are not companion pieces. (They are, however, a publisher's dream.)
In "...Watchman," we meet Scout—now Jean Louise Finch, five years into her career. She's working in New York City and visiting her father in Maycomb annually, and she's ready to say "yes" to a childhood friend she doesn't really love because she's susceptible to the siren call of traditional marriage and family, although reluctant to commit. As it's set in a time of early civil rights unrest, the book basically revolves around a horrific revelation about Atticus. You'll have to decide for yourself what his motivations are and how much they reflect the times vs. his character.
This is an immature work, beautiful in parts, funny in others. It's also stocked with exaggerated characters, awkward narrative shifts, and a nearly incomprehensible, poorly written climax, in which Jean Louise rails hysterically against her father's betrayal of all she believes he stands for. Lee wraps it up with a epiphany of sorts for Scout.
The plot plods, especially over first hundred pages—a little too much Jan Karon and not enough Harper Lee. But the racial unrest is real, reflected in the characters and in situations Jean Louise confronts.
Reading both books is the best way for club members to grasp the enormous task of making a weak novel into a good one. Sometimes, an author has to throw out what doesn't work. The question is whether people can and should separate the two works. And whether Lee should have thrown this out.
The society of the confederate flag, segregation and slavery, in the early years of the civil rights movement, haunts Jean Louise. And, she says, "I need a watchman to lead me around and declare what he seeth every hour on the hour. I need a watchman to tell me this is what a man says but this is what he means, to draw a line down the middle and say here is this justice and there is that justice and make me understand the difference."
But the novel dissipates into confusion, histrionics and an emotional morass, at least in my reading.
Borrow, don't buy, "Go Set a Watchman" new. There'll be many copies available at used books sales in the fall.
Book clubs, Facebook style
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerman is gearing up his 50,000 minions—err, Facebook users—to read a book!
Zuckerman set up a "virtual" book club, dubbed "A Year of Books," geared toward history, technology, various cultures. Lecturers, experts, geniuses—expect the unexpected. He announces a new choice every two weeks on a dedicated Facebook page, A Year of Books. Michelle Alexander's "The New Jim Crow" is a recent selection. Alexander is a civil rights lawyer writing about the realities of incarceration specific to African-American man, certainly a hot topic in our society.
Earlier choices (and discussions) include: "Dealing with China" by Henry M. Paulson Jr.; "Orwell's Revenge" by Peter Huber; "Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration" by Ed Catmull; "On Immunity" by Eula Biss; "Gang Leader for a Day" by Sudhir Venkatesh; "The Better Angels of Our Nature" by Steven Pinker, psychology professor at Harvard.
Your group may find one of these books perfect for discussion.
Book group meetings
At Haston Library in North Brookfield, Ellen Smith says, the club is reading "Orphan Train" by Christina Baker Kline for its Aug. 25 meeting. The group meets the last Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Robin Brzozowski leads one of two book groups at Athol Public Library. Booked for Lunch (nice name!) meets the fourth Monday, noon to 1 p.m., with refreshments from Friends of the Library. New member drop-in visits are fine. "We read popular fiction, a few non-fiction selections and an occasional classic," says Brzozowski. "Our discussions are intelligent and they are quite lively. Everyone is given the opportunity to share their thoughts, followed by an informal roundtable discussion." Contact the library for September's selection.
Book club at Sterling Library will resume at 1 p.m., Sept. 2, with a classic selection, Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment."
At Southbridge, members will meet at 6:30 p.m., Aug. 3, in Jacob Edwards Library to discuss "This Boy's Life" by Tobias Wolff.
The evening book group at Thayer Memorial Library will meet July 28 to discuss Kafka's "The Trial" and Aug. 25, to discuss "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand.
The Worcester Public Library book club, says Morgan Manzella, next meets at 2:30 p.m., Aug. 8, and 3 p.m., Aug. 12, to discuss Neil Gaiman's "American Gods."
The Women's Issues Book Group of National Organization for Women meets the second Monday monthly, 7 p.m., at Barnes & Noble, 541 Lincoln St., Worcester. Up next (Aug. 10) is Sonia Sotomayor's "My Beloved World." Sotomayor is the first Hispanic to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court; she writes of her life, beginning at a Bronx house project.
The Friday Morning Book Club at Northborough Public Library has slated "Call the Nurse" by Mary MacLeod for 10 a.m., Aug. 14.
At Westborough Public Library, readers will discuss "The God of Small Things" by Arundhati Roy at the 7 p.m., Aug. 3 Monday Evening Book Discussion.
Douglas Library Book Group will consider Pearl Buck’s "The Good Earth" at 6:30 p.m., Aug. 11. A copy of the book may be borrowed through Simon Fairfield Public Library, 508-476-2695. New members are welcome, says Director Justin Snook. Homemade refreshments, inspired by the title, will be served.
Leominster's Brown Bag Book Club, which meets at noon, Aug. 6, will discuss Lisa Genovra's "Left Neglected." Leader Jane Maguire says the Sept. 3 meeting topic is "Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Send comments, questions or suggestions to