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What We're Reading in Iowa - Part 4

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Book discussion groups abound in Iowa libraries. Their reading lists spark conversation, inspire friendships and build community. This is the third in a series of articles featuring Iowa library book clubs for adults and what their members have been reading together this year. The All Iowa Reads annual winner is widely read by book groups, but otherwise the variety of titles shared is stunning. Ideas for everyone!

What We're Reading in Iowa - Part 4

Reading Builds Community

This is the fourth article featuring Iowa library book clubs and what they're reading. Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 for more.

The mission of the Williamsburg Public Library is to further the well-being of the people of the community by providing materials of informational and recreational interest. The library places special emphasis on current high demand, high interest materials in a variety of formats. Kristin Carlson, director, says, "We have had a General Reading Group for 10 years, a Gentle Reads group for 4 years and now we are starting a Sci/Fi group this year-- geeks unite!" Titles discussed this year are:

Reading Group @ the Library:
"Loving Frank" by Nancy Horan
"Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey" by The Countess of Carnarvon
"The Book of Bright Ideas" by Sandra King
"Bel Canto" by Ann Patchett
"Remarkable Creatures" by Tracy Chelvalier
"Beneath a Marble Sky" by John Shors
"Charms for the Easy Life" by Kaye Gibbons
"The Elegance of the Hedgehog" by Muriel Barbery
"Nickeled and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich

Sci/Fi & Fantasy Reading Group
"Windup Girl" by Paola Bacigalupi
"Old Man's War" by John Scalzi
"Speed of Dark" by Elizabeth Moon
"Under Heaven" by Guy Gavriel Kay


Pat Sleister, Director of Guthrie Center's Mary Barnett Memorial Library reports that this season they are reading:

"The Whistling Season" by Ivan Doig
"The Red Tent" by Anita Diamont
"Living with Honor" by Sal Giunta
"Sacred Acre: the Ed Thomas Story" by Mark Tabb
"The Reunion" by Dan Walsh
"The Sixth Man" by David Baldacci
"Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand
"And Then Came the Angels" by Beth Gayle
"The End of Your Life Book Club" by Will Schwalbe
"The Forgotten Garden" by Kate Morton
"Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" by Jamie Ford
"Peace Like a River" by Leif Enger


Elizabeth Drey Stevens, Public Services at Johnston Public Library reports the Library's Book Club selections this year include:

"The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid" by Bill Bryson
"The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien
"It’s Easier to Reach Heaven than the End of the Street" by Emma Williams   
"The Widower’s Tale" by Julia Glass
"The Age of Miracles" by Karen Thompson Walker
"Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens
"A Visit From the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan
All Iowa Reads 2013 selection "The Year We Left Home" by Jean Thompson


"Fort Atkinson Public Library began our very successful monthly Book Discussion Group in 2009," says Chris Bodensteiner, Director.  You can see their historical list here. Discussion titles this season are:

"Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon
All Iowa Reads 2013 selection "Strength in what Remains" by Jean Thompson
Any of Ellen Hopkins books to discuss her poetry style of writing (Poetry Month)
"Pie Town" by Lynne Hinton
"Weight of Silence" by Iowa Author Heather Gudenkauf
"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot
"The Orchard: A Memoir" by Theresa Weir
"Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn
"The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, Madness at the Fair that Changed America" by  Eric Larson
"State of Wonder" by Ann Patchett
"The Christmas Box" by Richard Paul Evans
"Roots" by Alex Haley


The Last Tuesday Book Club is a book discussion group for adults hosted by the Kalona Public Library. The club meets eight times over the course of a year--reading, reviewing, and discussing recent and classic works of fiction and non-fiction by authors from around the world.  Book Club members choose the eight books for the coming year every spring.  The Book Club takes the summer and December off. Anne Skaden, director, notes "The first meeting in September is always a discussion of 'what I read over the summer.' I compile the "Book of Choice" list and hand it out the next month. Sometimes titles from the "choice" list in up in our suggestions for the next year. The group always recommends and votes on the titles for the next year. If anyone wants to know what our group thought of certain books we've read, I would be happy to answer any questions. Our group is so much fun because of their varied tastes :-)"

Book of Your Choice by Any Author    
"Lucky Child: A Daughter of Cambodia Reunites by Loung Ung
"Travels with Charley" by John Steinbeck
All Iowa Reads 2012 selection "Strength in What Remains: A Journey of Remembrance" by Tracy Kidder        
"To Fetch a Thief" by Spencer Quinn          
"The Worst Hard Time" by Timothy Egan
"Reading Lolita in Tehran" by Azar Nafisi    
"Fine Art of Insincerity" by Angela Hunt


The Kendall Young Library in Webster City book discussion group is reading:

"Still Alice" by Lisa Genova
"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer
"The Paris Wife" by Paula McClain
"Little Bee" by Chris Cleave
"People of the Book" by Geraldine Brooks
"The Handmaid’s Tale" by Margaret Atwood
All Iowa Reads 2013 selection "The Year We Left Home" by Jean Thompson
"Change me into Zeus's Daughter" by Barbara Robinette Moss
"Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand
"Pay it Forward" by Catherine Ryan Hyde
"Caleb's Crossing" by Geraldine Brooks


Britt Public Library's Book Talk is led by Linda Friedow, director. Selections this year are:

"The Dovekeepers" by Alice Hoffman
"The Hobbit" JRR Tolkien
"The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein
"Midwives" by Chris Bohjalian
All Iowa Reads 2013 selection "The Year We Left Home" by Jean Thompson
"March" by Geraldine Brooks
"Mudbound" by Hillary Jordan
"Prodigal Summer" by Barbara Kingsolver
"Population 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time" by Michael Perry
"East of Eden"  by John Steinbeck
"Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" by Amy Chua


The fifth article in our series is forth coming. Stay tuned! Read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 here.

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