Battle of the Book Club Titles

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We invite YOU to participate in the Battle of the Book Club Titles to determine which books will be in the 2018 reading schedule. Second round closes July 31, 2017. Click here to read the book synopsis.

Voting is easy!

  1. Select ALL of the books you’d like to see in our 2018 reading schedule
  2. Click VOTE at the bottom of the poll
  3. Come back daily to keep voting

Book Synopsis

Book of love – Kathleen McGowan

Journalist Maureen Pascal receives a mysterious package from an anonymous source. It appears to be an ancient document written in Latin and signed in code by a famous woman in the eleventh century, Matilda of Tuscany. .

History has overlooked—or covered up—Matilda, but Maureen realizes the significance of the document and a new search begins. Maureen plunges into the search for the Book of Love, the gospel written in Jesus’ own hand, and begins to see the eerie connections between herself and Matilda.

The song of Achilles – Madeline Miller

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name.

Not forgetting the whale – John Ironmonger

When a young man washes up, naked, on the sands of St Piran, he is quickly rescued by the villagers. But what the villagers don’t know is that Joe Haak worked as an analyst and has fled the City amid fears of a worldwide banking collapse caused by a computer program he invented. But is the end of the world really nigh? And what of the whale that lurks in the bay?

The German girl – Armando Lucas Correa

A stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel, about twelve-year-old Hannah Rosenthal’s harrowing experience fleeing Nazi-occupied Germany with her family and best friend, only to discover that the overseas asylum they had been promised is an illusion. Based on a true story, this masterful novel gives voice to the joys and sorrows of generations of exiles, forever seeking a place called home.

The piano shop on the left bank – Thad Carhart

Walking his two young children to school every morning, Thad Carhart passes an unassuming little storefront in his Paris neighborhood. Intrigued by its simple sign — Desforges Pianos — he enters, only to have his way barred by the shop’s imperious owner. Intertwined with the story of a musical friendship are reflections on how pianos work, their glorious history, and stories of the people who care for them, from amateur pianists to the craftsmen who make the mechanism sing.

Team of rivals – Doris Kearns Goodwin

Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln’s political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president.

Massey murder – Charlotte Gray

A scandalous crime, a sensational trial, a surprise verdict—the true story of Carrie Davies, the maid who shot a Massey.

Sweetland – Michael Crummey

The epic tale of an endangered Newfoundland community and the struggles of one man determined to resist its extinction.

My grandmother sends her regards and apologies – Fredrik Backman

Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy.

So when Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has hurt, it marks the beginning of Elsa’s greatest adventure. Her grandmother’s letters lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and totally ordinary old crones-but also to the truth about fairytales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

The silent sister  – Diane Chamberlain

Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager. Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she’s in New Bern, North Carolina, cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary.  Lisa is alive. Alive and living under a new identity. But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now?

Inward bound  – Katrine Geneau

This fast-moving narrative is about an adventurous young woman awakening to the spiritual significance and wonder of life on our planet.

Bury your dead – Louise Penny

It is Winter Carnival in Quebec City, bitterly cold and surpassingly beautiful. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache has come not to join the revels but to recover from an investigation gone hauntingly wrong.

As past and present collide in this astonishing novel, Gamache must relive a terrible event from his own past before he can begin to bury his dead.

They left us everything  – Plum Johnson

A funny, touching memoir about the importance of preserving family history to make sense of the past and nurturing family bonds to safeguard the future.

Did you just call me old lady – Lillian Zimmerman

An upbeat look at aging and the impacts of Canada s increasingly aged population through the eyes of a ninety-year-old woman.

Life after life – Kate Atkinson

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. Sadly, she dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual.

Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi

A novel of breathtaking sweep and emotional power that traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way becomes a truly great American novel. Extraordinary for its exquisite language, its implacable sorrow, its soaring beauty, and for its monumental portrait of the forces that shape families and nations

I’m thinking of ending things – Iain Reid

In this deeply suspenseful and irresistibly unnerving debut novel, a man and his girlfriend are on their way to a secluded farm. When the two take an unexpected detour, she is left stranded in a deserted high school, wondering if there is any escape at all. What follows is a twisted unraveling that will haunt you long after the last page is turned.

Everybody’s son – Thrity Umrigar

The bestselling, critically acclaimed author of The Space Between Us and The World We Found deftly explores issues of race, class, privilege, and power and asks us to consider uncomfortable moral questions in this probing, ambitious, emotionally wrenching novel of two families—one black, one white.

Born a crime – Trevor Noah

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother: his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

Pillars of light – Jane Johnson

In the Syrian city of Akka, Nathanael, a young Jewish doctor, and a Muslim girl called Zohra are about to fall in love, unaware that Jerusalem has just been taken by Saladin’s army and that their city will soon be engulfed by war.   Pillars of Light is a powerful and moving novel about the triumph of the human spirit against all the odds.

The narrow road to the deep north – Richard Flanagan

A novel of the cruelty of war, and tenuousness of life and the impossibility of love.

H is for Hawk – Helen MacDonald

When Helen Macdonald’s father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer—Helen had been captivated by hawks since childhood—she’d never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk’s fierce and feral temperament mirrored her own. Resolving to purchase and raise the deadly creature as a means to cope with her loss, she adopted Mabel, and turned to the guidance of The Once and Future King author T.H. White’s chronicle The Goshawk to begin her challenging endeavor. Projecting herself “in the hawk’s wild mind to tame her” tested the limits of Macdonald’s humanity and changed her life.

Orphan’s tale – Pam Jenoff

A powerful novel of friendship and sacrifice, set in a traveling circus during World War II

Women in the castle – Jessica Shattuck

Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined—an affecting, shocking, and ultimately redemptive novel from the author of the New York Times Notable Book The Hazards of Good Breeding.

The book that matters most – Ann Hood

An enthralling novel about love, loss, secrets, friendship, and the healing power of literature, by the bestselling author of The Knitting Circle.

Invisible man – H.G. Wells

This masterpiece of science fiction is the fascinating story of Griffin, a scientist who creates a serum to render himself invisible, and his descent into madness that follows.

The circle – Dave Eggers

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

Fifteen dogs – Andre Alexis

André Alexis’s contemporary take on the apologue offers an utterly compelling and affecting look at the beauty and perils of human consciousness. By turns meditative and devastating, charming and strange, Fifteen Dogs shows you can teach an old genre new tricks.

The break – Katherena Vermette

When Stella, a young Métis mother, looks out her window one evening and spots someone in trouble on the Break — a barren field on an isolated strip of land outside her house — she calls the police to alert them to a possible crime. In a series of shifting narratives, people who are connected, both directly and indirectly, with the victim tell their personal stories leading up to that fateful night.

Commonwealth – Ann Patchett

The enthralling story of how an unexpected romantic encounter irrevocably changes two families’ lives.

One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.

Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved.

Orphan train – Christina Baker-Klein

Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adoles-cence of hard labor and servitude?

Boys in the boat – Daniel James Brown

The story about the American Olympic triumph in Nazi Germany

Man called Ove – Frederik Backman

In this bestselling and delightfully quirky debut novel from Sweden, a grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door. Fredrik Backman’s novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.

Underground railroad – Colson Whitehead

A magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South.

The best kind of people – Zoe Whittall

What if someone you trusted was accused of the unthinkable?

With exquisite emotional precision, award-winning author Zoe Whittall explores issues of loyalty, truth, and the meaning of happiness through the lens of an all-American family on the brink of collapse.

Indian horse – Richard Wagamese

With compassion and insight, author Richard Wagamese traces through his fictional characters the decline of a culture and a cultural way. For Saul, taken forcibly from the land and his family when he’s sent to residential school, salvation comes for a while through his incredible gifts as a hockey player. But in the harsh realities of 1960s Canada, he battles obdurate racism and the spirit-destroying effects of cultural alienation and displacement.

Iris and Lily – Angela Scipioni

In Book One, Iris and Lily are the lovably ingenuous youngest daughters in a family of fourteen, starving for attention as they struggle to survive in the chaotic Capotosti household. The explosive rage of Carlo, their hot-blooded father; the submissiveness of Betty, their overwhelmed mother; the abuse meted out by half a dozen domineering brothers; the inaccessible ken of their older sisters; all join forces to make the home a minefield of emotional pitfalls for the two neglected girls, whose natural exuberance is squelched by the fear of punishment and the dictates of Catholicism.

The piano maker – Kurt Palka

Helene Giroux arrives alone in St. Homais on a winter day. She wears good city clothes and drives an elegant car, and everything she owns is in a small trunk in the back seat. In the local church she finds a fine old piano, a Molnar, and she knows just how fine it is, for her family had manufactured these pianos before the Great War. Then her mother’s death and war forces her to abandon her former life. The story moves back and forth in time as Helene, settling into a simple life, playing the piano for church choir, recalls the extraordinary events that brought her to this place. When the town policeman confronts her, past and present suddenly converge and she must face an episode that she had thought had been left behind forever.

The fall out – Tamar Cohen

Dan and Sasha are Josh and Hannah’s closest friends, and lately they all seem to spend more time with each other than they do apart. But cozy weekends together quickly dissolve into a bitter game of tug-of-war when Dan utters three treacherous little words: I’m leaving her. Darkly witty and utterly chilling, The Fallout exposes the volatile nature of divorce—and the new lovers, obsessions and broken relationships that are left in its wake.

Walking disaster – Jamie McGuire (Book 2 of series)

In Walking Disaster, the life of Travis is full of fast women, underground gambling, and violence. But just when he thinks he is invincible, Abby Abernathy brings him to his knees.

Every story has two sides. In Beautiful Disaster, Abby had her say. Now it’s time to see the story through Travis’s eyes.

The perfect girl – Gilly MacMillan

Zoe Maisey is a seventeen-year-old musical prodigy with a genius IQ. Three years ago, she was involved in a tragic incident that left three classmates dead. She served her time, and now her mother, Maria, is resolved to keep that devastating fact tucked far away from their new beginning, hiding the past even from her new husband and demanding Zoe do the same.

Tonight Zoe is giving a recital that Maria has been planning for months. It needs to be the performance of her life. But instead, by the end of the evening, Maria is dead. In the aftermath, everyone—police, family, Zoe’s former solicitor, and Zoe herself—tries to piece together what happened. But as Zoe knows all too well, the truth is rarely straightforward, and the closer we are to someone, the less we may see.

The girl you left behind – Jojo Moyes

In 1916, French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything – her family, reputation and life—in the hope of seeing her true love one last time.

Nearly a century later and Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting’s dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is threatened…

The girl with the river – Kate Rhodes

Jude Shelley, daughter of a prominent cabinet minister, had her whole life ahead of her until she was attacked and left to drown in the Thames. Miraculously, she survived. A year later, her family is now asking psychologist Alice Quentin to re-examine the case. Then a body is found: an elderly priest, attacked in Battersea, washed up at Westminster Pier. An ancient glass bead is attached to his wrist.

Alice is certain that Jude and her family are hiding something, but unless she can persuade them to share what they know, more victims will come. Because the Thames has always been a site of sacrifice. And Alice is about to learn that some people still believe in its power to hurt and destroy human lives.

Did you ever have a family – Bill Clegg

On the eve of her daughter’s wedding, June Reid’s life is upended when a shocking disaster takes the lives of her daughter, her daughter’s fiancé, her ex-husband, and her boyfriend, Luke—her entire family, all gone in a moment. June is the only survivor.

Alone and directionless, June drives across the country, away from her small Connecticut town. In her wake, a community emerges, weaving a beautiful and surprising web of connections through shared heartbreak.