What Are You Reading? Lawrence Book Clubs Tell All

I’m always intrigued to find out what book clubs around Lawrence are reading, both out of curiosity as well as a selfish desire to build my own reading list. From books that offer classic comedy, to a tale about traveling giraffes, to a horror novel featuring a murderous telepathic pig, our local book club friends did not disappoint. Here you go:

Last Tuesday of the Month Book Club’s selection for October is The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman. It is a sequel to The Thursday Murder Club, Osman’s debut crime novel that was a smash hit. Coming up in December, the Last Tuesday crew will read Sarah Smarsh’s tribute to Dolly Parton, She Come by it Natural. Club members who have read ahead are giving the book a big thumbs up!

Persian Pickle Book Club just finished Horse by Geraldine Brooks. They report that it is “one of those books that got a good review by everyone (kind of a rarity!)” The club is still deciding on their next book. It’s between The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and An Illuminated Life: Belle da Costa Greene's Journey from Prejudice to Privilege by Heidi Ardizzone. 

MPBC is reading Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. This might just be the “it” book club book of 2022, as it’s getting lots of buzz among several local clubs. Described as a fun, feminist charmer, it tells the story of single mother Elizabeth Zott, a brilliant chemist in a man's world—1960s America—as she becomes an unlikely cooking-show host. Other MPBC selections include The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See and A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.

Do-Over Book Club is reading Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger for October. The novel is about a young man, a small town, and murder in the summer of 1961. It won the Edgar Award for Best Novel in 2014. This group of retired USD 497 teachers also gave high marks to two of their summer book selections, The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris and Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi.

Bluestocking Book Club is reading The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles. The novel follows four boys — three 18-year-olds who met in a juvenile reformatory, plus a brainy 8-year-old — as they set out from Nebraska in June, 1954 in pursuit of a better future. Club members have tagged this as one of their favorites of the year, along with The Midnight Library by Matt Haig and Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

PBR Book Club wins the prize for the most adventurous read for October: Pearl by Josh Malerman. Their recent Facebook post says it all: “Halloween isn’t over until PBR Book Club reads a book about a murderous telepathic pig.” (I’m intrigued.) For next month, they’ll read N.K. Jemisin’s new book The World We Make.  

Kappa Alumnae Book Club just finished up West With Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge. This historical fiction novel is based on the true story of the cross-country road trip America's first giraffes took in 1938. Part adventure, part historical saga, and part coming-of-age love story, West with Giraffes explores what it means to be changed by the grace of animals, the kindness of strangers, the passing of time, and a story told before it’s too late.

Delphi Book Club has their selections ready to roll for 2022 and 2023. Among them is The Reading List by Sarah Nisha Adams. It is the story of two lonely souls who connect through a shared book list that helps them escape everyday troubles. Other selections include Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson and Elizabeth and Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters by Andrew Morton.

Assorted No-Name Book Clubs offer these recommendations: The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford, a classic comedy from 1945 that is the first of a trilogy about growing up in a privileged and eccentric English family. I Will Die in a Foreign Land by Kalani Pickhardt is a timely historical fiction book that tells the story of Ukraine’s turbulent history. Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones & the Six gets rave reviews as a fun read that is loosely based on Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac. Elephant Company, by Vicki Croke, is part biography, part war story, and part wildlife adventure about an important, little-known piece of World War II history.

LPL Book Club selections top off our reading lists. The library’s Last Wednesday Book Club discusses Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia on November 2 (a one time move to an alternate day due to Sara Paretsky coming on October 26. A gothic horror novel, it centers on a young woman investigating her cousin's claims that her husband is trying to murder her. On November 13, the Social Justice Book Club will discuss The Trayvon Generation. This new book from Elizabeth Alexander reflects on the challenges facing young Black America. Check out the selections for each of Lawrence Public Library’s eight fantastic book clubs in the Reader magazine.

-Kathleen Morgan is the Director of Development and Community Partnerships at Lawrence Public Library.