Book Club

The Book Club meets

every other month, on either the second or third Wednesday, in order to give everyone time to get and read the next selection!

The next meeting is scheduled for March 14th, 2018 at 7:00pm 



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The basis for the major motion picture of the same name. An entrancing memoir of how one woman's journey of self-discovery gave her the courage to persevere in re-creating her life. 

Life is a work in progress, as ever-changing as a sandy shoreline along the beach. During the years Joan Anderson was a loving wife and supportive mother, she had slowly and unconsciously replaced her own dreams with the needs of her family. With her sons grown, however, she realized that the family no longer centered on the home she provided, and her relationship with her husband had become stagnant. Like many women in her situation, Joan realized that she had neglected to nurture herself and, worse, to envision fulfilling goals for her future. As her husband received a wonderful job opportunity out-of-state, it seemed that the best part of her own life was finished. Shocking both of them, she refused to follow him to his new job and decided to retreat to a family cottage on Cape Cod. At first casting about for direction, Joan soon began to take pleasure in her surroundings and call on resources she didn't realize she had. Over the course of a year, she gradually discovered that her life as an "unfinished woman" was full of possibilities. Out of that magical, difficult, transformative year came A Year by the Sea, a record of her experiences and a treasury of wisdom for readers.

Previous selections have included:


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

by Marie Kondo

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

An instant New York Times bestseller

Two spiritual giants. Five days. One timeless question.
Nobel Peace Prize Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Despite their hardships—or, as they would say, because of them—they are two of the most joyful people on the planet.

In April 2015, Archbishop Tutu traveled to the Dalai Lama's home in Dharamsala, India, to celebrate His Holiness's eightieth birthday and to create what they hoped would be a gift for others. They looked back on their long lives to answer a single burning question: How do we find joy in the face of life's inevitable suffering?

They traded intimate stories, teased each other continually, and shared their spiritual practices. By the end of a week filled with laughter and punctuated with tears, these two global heroes had stared into the abyss and despair of our time and revealed how to live a life brimming with joy.

This book offers us a rare opportunity to experience their astonishing and unprecendented week together, from the first embrace to the final good-bye.

We get to listen as they explore the Nature of True Joy and confront each of the Obstacles of Joy—from fear, stress, and anger to grief, illness, and death. They then offer us the Eight Pillars of Joy, which provide the foundation for lasting happiness. Throughout, they include stories, wisdom, and science. Finally, they share their daily Joy Practices that anchor their own emotional and spiritual lives.

The Archbishop has never claimed sainthood, and the Dalai Lama considers himself a simple monk. In this unique collaboration, they offer us the reflection of real lives filled with pain and turmoil in the midst of which they have been able to discover a level of peace, of courage, and of joy to which we can all aspire in our own lives.


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Longevity expert Dan Buettner draws on his research from extraordinarily long-lived communities—Blue Zones—around the globe to highlight the lifestyle, diet, outlook, and stress-coping practices that will add years to your life and life to your years.

A long healthy life is no accident. It begins with good genes, but it also depends on good habits. If you adopt the right lifestyle, experts say, chances are you may live up to a decade longer. So what's the formula for success? National Geographic Explorer Dan Buettner has lead teams of researchers across the globe to uncover the secrets of Blue Zones—geographic regions where high percentages of centenarians are enjoying remarkably long, full lives.

The recipe for longevity, Buettner has found, is deeply intertwined with community, lifestyle, and spirituality. You won't find longevity in a bottle of diet pills or with hormone therapy. You'll find it by embracing a few simple but powerful habits, and by creating the right community around yourself. In The Blue Zone, Buettner has blended his lifestyle formula with the latest longevity research to inspire lasting behavioral change and add years to your life.




Read the New York Times bestseller that has taken the world by storm!

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

A feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Fredrik Backman’s novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others. “If there was an award for ‘Most Charming Book of the Year,’ this first novel by a Swedish blogger-turned-overnight-sensation would win hands down” (Booklist, starred review).

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One Thousand White Women is the story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians. The covert and controversial "Brides for Indians" program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man's world. Toward that end May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetime. Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.

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Not so much fly-on-the-wall as cat-on-the-sill, this is the warm-hearted tale of a small kitten rescued from the slums of New Delhi who finds herself in a beautiful sanctuary with sweeping views of the snow-capped Himalayas.

In her exotic new home, the Dalai Lama's cat encounters Hollywood stars, Buddhist masters, Ivy-league professors, famous philanthropists, and a host of other people who come visiting His Holiness. Each encounter offers a fresh insight into finding happiness and meaning in the midst of a life of busyness and challenge.

Drawing us into her world with her adorable but all-too-flawed personality, the Dalai Lama's cat discovers how instead of trying to change the world, changing the way we experience the world is the key to true contentment.



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Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal bestseller The Paris Wife, returns with her keenly anticipated new novel, transporting readers to colonial Kenya in the 1920s.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR, BOOKPAGE, AND SHELF AWARENESS  “Paula McLain is considered the new star of historical fiction, and for good reason. Fans of The Paris Wife will be captivated by Circling the Sun, which . . . is both beautifully written and utterly engrossing.”—Ann Patchett, Country Living

Circling the Sun brings to life a fearless and captivating woman—Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator caught up in a passionate love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, who as Isak Dinesen wrote the classic memoir Out of Africa.

Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of nature’s delicate balance. But even the wild child must grow up, and when everything Beryl knows and trusts dissolves, she is catapulted into a string of disastrous relationships.

Beryl forges her own path as a horse trainer, and her uncommon style attracts the eye of the Happy Valley set, a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who also live and love by their own set of rules. But it’s the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Beryl’s truest self and her fate: to fly.

Set against the majestic landscape of early-twentieth-century Africa, McLain’s powerful tale reveals the extraordinary adventures of a woman before her time, the exhilaration of freedom and its cost, and the tenacity of the human spirit.


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"A secretive magician’s death becomes the catalyst for his partner’s journey self-discovery in this “enchanting” book (San Francisco Chronicle) “that is something of a magic trick in itself” (Newsweek).

When Parsifal, a handsome and charming magician, dies suddenly, his widow Sabine—who was also his faithful assistant for twenty years—learns that the family he claimed to have lost in a tragic accident is very much alive and well. Sabine is left to unravel his secrets, and the journey she takes, from sunny Los Angeles to the bitter windswept plains of Nebraska, will work its own magic on her. Sabine's extraordinary tale, “with its big dreams, vast spaces, and disparate realities lying side by side” captures the hearts of its readers and “proves to be the perfect place for miraculous transformations” (The New Yorker). "




From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees, a #1 New York Times bestselling novel about two unforgettable American women.

Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world.

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

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Order the book using this link from Amazon Smile, and a portion of the sale gets donated to Unity of the Oaks!

Named a New York Times and Washington Post Notable Book, an NPR Great Read, The Daily Beast's Novel of the Year, and a Mother Jones,, School Library Journal, and BookPage Best Book of the Year

When fifteen-year-old Maribel Rivera sustains a terrible injury, the Riveras leave behind a comfortable life in Mexico and risk everything to come to the United States so that Maribel can have the care she needs. Once they arrive, it’s not long before Maribel attracts the attention of Mayor Toro, the son of one of their new neighbors, who sees a kindred spirit in this beautiful, damaged outsider. Their love story sets in motion events that will have profound repercussions for everyone involved. Here Henríquez seamlessly interweaves the story of these star-crossed lovers, and of the Rivera and Toro families, with the testimonials of men and women who have come to the United States from all over Latin America. The Book of Unknown Americans is a stunning novel of hopes and dreams, guilt and love—a book that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be American.



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As a little boy in India, Saroo Brierley got lost on a train. Twenty-five years later, from Australia, he found his way back. This is what happened in between.

Saroo had become lost on a train in India at the age of five. Not knowing the name of his family or where he was from, he survived for weeks on the streets of Kolkata, before being taken into an orphanage and adopted by a couple in Australia.

Despite being happy in his new family, Saroo always wondered about his origins. He spent hours staring at the map of India on his bedroom wall. When he was a young man, the advent of Google Earth led him to pore over satellite images of the country for landmarks he recognized. And one day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for.

Then he set off on a journey to find his mother.

A Long Way Home is a moving and inspirational true story of survival and triumph against incredible odds. It celebrates the importance of never letting go of what drives the human spirit – hope.




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"A powerful testament to how Shakespeare continues to speak to contemporary readers in all sorts of circumstances."—Booklist

"The work that Laura Bates has been doing for years with prison inmates and Shakespeare is of extraordinary importance. It has a kind of beauty and symmetry all its own."—David Bevington, Shakespeare scholar, University of Chicago

"An eye-opening study reiterating the perennial power of books, self-discipline, and the Bard of Avon."—Kirkus

While He Was Breaking Out of Prison, She Was Trying to Break In.

Shakespeare professor and prison volunteer Laura Bates thought she had seen it all. That is, until she decided to teach Shakespeare in a place the bard had never been before — supermax solitary confinement. In this unwelcoming place, surrounded by inmates known as the worst of the worst, is Larry Newton. A convicted murderer with several escape attempts under his belt and a brilliantly agile mind on his shoulders, Larry was trying to break out of prison at the same time Laura was fighting to get her program started behind bars.

Thus begins the most unlikely of friendships, one bonded by Shakespeare and lasting years—a friendship that, in the end, would save more than one life.


The Book Selection for June 2015 was:



The Book selection for April was:

"As she did in The Descendants (2007), Hemmings deftly deploys her idyllic setting, leavens tragedy with humor, avoids sentimentality, and offers characters whom readers will find very appealing."

Booklist (starred review)

“Hemmings has dreamed up a beguiling assortment of characters…Funny, insightful and unsentimental, the book confirms that yes, people drive each other crazy much of the time, but as often as they fail, they never stop trying to rise to the occasion.”
People (4 stars)

“What’s fresh about Hemmings’s book isn’t the various story lines but the characters’ antic personalities and the language with which she creates them… surprisingly entertaining and intermittently moving…The Possibilities is a novel about learning to move forward, even while haunted by such dark thoughts.”
New York Times Book Review

"[The Possibilities] is engagingly direct and unsentimental, somehow familiar yet richly, astutely observant and reflective. Hemmings has created a vivid, memorable group of flawed yet likable kindred spirits in whom we become deeply invested, charmed by the realistic rhythms and irreverent non sequiturs of their lively conversations."—The Boston Globe

"Kaui Hart Hemmings’ novel is a graceful, subtle primer on freedom—the means by which we free (and forgive) ourselves, our parents, and our children, as well as the almost unbearable getting-of-wisdom by which we free our beloved dead. The Possibilities is familiar to us, in all its wit and intelligence, because we know the characters. We are the characters."
—Susanna Moore, author of The Life of Objects


Three months after her 21-year-old son, Cully, is killed in an avalanche, Sarah St. John decides to go back to work. But her job as cohost of Fresh Tracks, a program that is piped into the hotel rooms of Breckenridge, Colorado, now seems inane. Added to that, when Sarah and her best friend, Suzanne, clean out Cully’s room, they find evidence that he was selling pot. More surprises about Cully come to light when a girl named Kit appears on Sarah’s doorstep. Soon it is revealed that Cully and Kit had a relationship, and Sarah and her father, Lyle, with whom she shares her house, are drawn to Kit because she seems to make Cully more reachable. The whole of what Sarah calls her “tribe”—Sarah, Lyle, Suzanne, and Kit, along with Cully’s dad, Billy, whom Sarah never married—go on a road trip to Colorado Springs to attend a memorial service for Cully, and the trip helps them find a way to move forward and achieve a measure of peace. As she did in The Descendants (2007), Hemmings deftly deploys her idyllic setting, leavens tragedy with humor, avoids sentimentality, and offers characters whom readers will find very appealing.





February's selection was:

Adapting to Azheimer's: Support for When Your Parent Becomes Your Child,

The author will be facilitating the discussion.

Learn more about the book at

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The Book selection for November was Mary Coin by Marisa Silver.

Bestselling author Marisa Silver takes Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother photograph as inspiration for a story of two women—one famous and one forgotten—and their remarkable chance encounter.
In 1936, a young mother resting by the side of the road in central California is spontaneously photographed by a woman documenting migrant laborers in search of work. Few personal details are exchanged and neither woman has any way of knowing that they have produced one of the most iconic images of the Great Depression. In present day, Walker Dodge, a professor of cultural history, stumbles upon a family secret embedded in the now-famous picture. In luminous prose, Silver creates an extraordinary tale from a brief event in history and its repercussions throughout the decades that follow—a reminder that a great photograph captures the essence of a moment yet only scratches the surface of a life.


The Book selection for September was Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.

Orphan TrainOrphan Train is a gripping story of friendship and second chances from Christina Baker Kline, author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be.

Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse...

As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.


The Book selection for July was Still Life with Breadcrumbs by Anna Quinlan.


A superb love story from Anna Quindlen, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Rise and Shine, Blessings, and A Short Guide to a Happy Life
Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.
Brilliantly written, powerfully observed, Still Life with Bread Crumbs is a deeply moving and often very funny story of unexpected love, and a stunningly crafted journey into the life of a woman, her heart, her mind, her days, as she discovers that life is a story with many levels, a story that is longer and more exciting than she ever imagined.





The Book selection for MAY was: RUN by Ann Patchett

Since their mother's death, Tip and Teddy Doyle have been raised by their loving, possessive, and ambitious father. As the former mayor of Boston, Bernard Doyle wants to see his sons in politics, a dream the boys have never shared. But when an argument in a blinding New England snowstorm inadvertently causes an accident that involves a stranger and her child, all Bernard cares about is his ability to keep his children—all his children—safe.

Set over a period of twenty-four hours, Run takes us from the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard to a home for retired Catholic priests in downtown Boston. It shows us how worlds of privilege and poverty can coexist only blocks apart from each other, and how family can include people you’ve never even met. As in her bestselling novel Bel Canto, Ann Patchett illustrates the humanity that connects disparate lives, weaving several stories into one surprising and endlessly moving narrative. Suspenseful and stunningly executed, Run is ultimately a novel about secrets, duty, responsibility, and the lengths we will go to protect our children.








The Book selection for MARCH was TWO WOMEN OF GALILEE by Mary Rourke



From Publishers Weekly

Mary, Jesus's mother, and Joanna, the wife of a steward of Herod Antipas, Galilee's ruler, are the heroines of Rourke's first novel, a gentle tale with a respectable mix of suspense, murder and romance. As Joanna searches for a cure for her failing health, she hears of a miracle worker, Jesus, and decides to ask his mother to arrange a meeting. Joanna's encounter with Jesus results in her physical healing, a bright new faith and a growing closeness to Mary. Unfortunately, her alliance with the Miracle Man creates political problems for her husband, Chuza. When it becomes clear that someone is poisoning Chuza, one suspect is Joanna, whose new circumstances take her through many of the recorded events of Christ's life, including His death, burial and resurrection. Romance blooms as Nicodemus, a secret follower of Jesus, shows more than a passing interest in the widowed Mary. The conclusion puts a new spark into Joanna's life and is sure to put a smile on the face of readers fond of cozy historicals.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Joanna, a Jewish woman who abandoned her roots for a luxurious life as the wife of Chuza, chief steward to Herod, finds her happiness compromised by her deteriorating lung condition. Having heard of the mysterious healer, Jesus, she contacts her cousin, Mary, the healer's mother, and miracle of miracles, she is healed. With health also comes a renewed sense of her heritage, and she becomes a follower of the great teacher. But as Jesus moves toward his fate, Joanna is caught between the Roman world, where her loyalties are in question, and Jesus, whose fate is in the hands of the Romans and, in some sense, Chuza. Rourke tells the Crucifixion story, but her perspective on it, derived from human relationships rather than politics or doctrine, is fresh and affecting.

John Mort
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


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The Book Club will meet on March 12th at 7:00 pm.




The Book selection for JANUARY is an INVISIBLE THREAD by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski


" An Invisible Thread is the story of my friend, Maurice, and me. We met on 56th street in Manhattan in 1986, when I was a 35-year-old single, successful ad sales executive, and he was an 11-year-old homeless panhandler. He asked me for spare change; I ignored him and kept walking. But something made me stop, and turn around, and go back to him, and that day I took him to lunch at McDonalds. We met the Monday after that, and the following Monday, and every Monday for the next four years, and hundreds of times after that. Today, 25 years later, we are still great friends.

An Invisible Thread
  is the story of how Maurice changed my life, and I his. It is the story of how two people who needed each other somehow became unlikely friends, against all odds. It is the story of the mysterious, unseen connections that exist between people who are destined to meet—and how, if only we open our eyes and our hearts to them, these connections can be the great blessings of our lives."


Learn more at .


The Book Club will meet on January 15th at 7:00 pm.



The selection for October was:

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

Click the boot to see a video preview, read an excerpt, or learn more about the author at!


Previous Selections:


In this truly inspirational book, Anita Moorjani relates how, after fighting cancer for almost four years, her body began shutting down—overwhelmed by the malignant cells spreading throughout her system. As her organs failed, she entered into an extraordinary near-death experience (NDE) where she realized her inherent worth . . . and the actual cause of her disease. Upon regaining consciousness, Anita found that her condition had improved so rapidly that she was released from the hospital within weeks—without a trace of cancer in her body!


Anita had been pushed and pulled by cultural and religious customs since she was a little girl. After years of struggling to forge her own path while trying to meet everyone else’s expectations, she had the realization, as a result of her epiphany on the other side, that she had the power to heal herself . . . and that there are miracles in the Universe that she’d never even imagined. 


In Dying to Be Me, Anita freely shares all she has learned about illness, healing, fear, “being love,” and the true magnificence of each and every human being!





Heft by Liz Moore

Heft leads to hope...

"Arthur Opp is heartbreaking. A 58-year old former professor of literature, he weighs 550 lbs., hasn’t left his Brooklyn apartment in years and is acutely attuned to both the painful and analgesic dimensions of his self-imposed solitude.

Kel Keller, a handsome and popular high school athlete whose mother drinks too much to take care of him or even herself, faces his own wrenching struggles.

The pair, apparently connected only by a slender thread, at first seem unlikely as co-narrators and protagonists of this novel, but they both become genuine heroes as their separate journeys through loneliness finally intersect.

Though Moore’s narrative is often deeply sad, it is never maudlin. She writes with compassion and emotional insight but resists sentimentality , briskly moving her plot forward, building suspense and empathy.

Most impressive is her ability to thoroughly inhabit the minds of Arthur and Kel; these are robust, complex characters to champion, not pity.

The single word of the title is obviously a reference to Arthur’s morbid obesity, but it also alludes to the weight of true feelings and the courage needed to confront them.” (People Magazine )


Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle