Even if you aren't able to join one of our book clubs, you can follow what they're reading to get ideas. Here's a look at their titles so far this year. Click on underlined titles to go to our catalog to place a hold. For dates and times of book club meetings, check the calendar.
"The Swerve: How the World Became Modern," by Stephen Greenblatt. A work of history and a story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it. Greenblatt will speak in Syracuse as part of next season's Rosamond Gifford Lecture Series in Syracuse.
"A Constellation of Vital Phenomena," by Anthony Marra. In a rural village in December 2004 Chechnya, a failed doctor harbors the traumatized 8-year-old daughter of a father abducted by Russian forces and treats a series of wounded rebels and refugees while exploring the shared past that binds him to the child.
"All the Light We Cannot See," by Anthony Doerr. A blind French girl on the run from the German occupation and a German orphan-turned-Resistance tracker struggle with their beliefs after meeting on the Brittany coast.
"Wedding of the Waters: the Erie Canal and the Making of a Great Nation," by Peter L. Bernstein. A history of the Erie Canal's construction and subsequent influence on American geography profiles the nation in the first quarter-century of the 1800s, demonstrating how the canal's creation impacted the industrial revolution and citing the contributions of such figures as Washington, Jefferson, and van Buren.
"Just Kids" by Patti Smith. An artist and musician recounts her romance, lifetime friendship and shared love of art with Robert Mapplethorpe, in an illustrated memoir that includes a colorful cast of characters, including Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg, Andy Warhol, William Burroughs and more.
"The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry" by Gabrielle Zevin. When his most prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, is stolen, bookstore owner A. J. Fikry begins isolating himself from his friends, family and associates before receiving a mysterious package that compels him to remake his life.
“Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin" by Jill Lepore. A portrait of Benjamin Franklin's youngest sister, Jane, reveals how she was, like her brother, a passionate reader, gifted writer, and shrewd political commentator who made insightful observations about early America.
“The Shoemaker's Wife” by Adriana Trigiani. This intricately woven tapestry of love and family, war and loss, risk and destiny follows star-crossed lovers Enza, a practical beauty, and Ciro, a strapping mountain boy, who, after their first meeting in the Italian Alps, find their destinies inexplicably entwined as they build their lives in America.
"The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern. Waging a fierce competition for which they have trained since childhood, circus magicians Celia and Marco unexpectedly fall in love with each other and share a fantastical romance that manifests in fateful ways.
“Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” by Robin Sloan. After a layoff during the Great Recession sidelines his tech career, Clay Jannon takes a job at a bookstore in San Francisco, and soon realizes that the establishment is a facade for a strange secret.
“Lila” by Marilynne Robinson. Abandoning her homeless existence to become a minister's wife, Lila reflects on her hardscrabble life on the run with a canny young drifter and her efforts to reconcile her painful past with her husband's gentle Christian worldview.