Book Club

We were fortunate to be invited in 1997 to join a long-standing book discussion, which has been meeting monthly (most months) since 1977. It was organized (founded?) by Judy's dad Chuck Coenen, and friend Jim Martin.

Each person selects a book in turn, researching the author and leading the discussion. Meetings rotate from house to house. The expectation is that enough books be available in the library systems so we don't have to purchase each book, AND that the selector has already read the book before proposing it.

(Both of these "rules" are occassionally ignored, at the risk of receiving raucous rebukes from the rest of the group.) Another thing sure to solicit sneers is selecting a long book. (More than 400 pages?)

There is an occasionally (rarely?) updated blog with links to online resources for some of the books we have discussed.

Here's a compilation of readings, by year, for the 21st Century. (Let me know if you see any mistakes or omissions... I'll catch up eventually.) The current pick is at the bottom of this page.

-->> See the readings for the 20th Century.

In 2017 we celebrated 40 YEARS of book discussion. A brochure was created to mark the occasion, which you may read in PDF form.

Presenter @ Host Joined Left
2001-02Psychic Warrior: The True Story of America's Foremost Psychic Spy and the Cover-Up of the CIA's Top-Secret Stargate Program
David Morehouse
Judy @ Martins  
2001-03The Sheltering Sky
Paul Bowles
Ruth @ Fishmans  
Victor Hugo
Jim @ Grina  
2001-06Poinsonwood Bible
Barbara Kingsolver
Rick @ Baumanns  
2001-07Trial of Scorates
I.F. Stone
Larry @ Scotts  
2001-09The Hours
Michael Cunningham
Maryellen @ Coenen  
2001-10The American
Henry James
Grina @ Wattmans  
2001-12Wheat That Springeth Green
J.F. Powers
Jean @ Grina  
2002-01A Rumor of War
Philip Caputo
Phil @ Fishmans  
2002-02The God of Small Things
Arundhati Roy
Sheila @ Baumans  
2002-03My Son's Story
Nadine Gordimer
Carol @ Martins  
2002-04No Great Mischief
Alistair McLeod
Ruth @ Scott  
2002-05Passage to India
E.M. Forster
Jim M. @ Coenen  
Alison McGhee
Maryellen @ Wattmans  
2002-08The Underpainter
Jane Urquart
Judy @   
2002-09Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation
Joseph Ellis
Rick @ Baumans  
2002-11How Proust Can Change Your Life
Alain De Botton
Larry @ Fishmans  
2002-12The Voyage
Philip Caputo
Phil @ Coenen  
2003-01Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
Dai Sijie
Sheila @ Scott  
2003-02Not Without Laughter
Langston Hughes
Mary @ Martins  
2003-03Prodigal Summer
Barbara Kingsolver
Carol @ Wattmans  
2003-04My Other Life
Paul Theroux
Theo @ Fishmans  
2003-06Dreams of My Russian Summers
Andrei Makine
Ruth @ Baumans  
2003-07What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response
Bernard Lewis
Jim @   
2003-09Three Junes
Julia Glass
Judy @   
2003-10Pillars of the Earth
Ken Follett
Rick @ Carol  
2003-11The Spartans
Paul Cartledge
Larry @ Theo  
2004-01Sailing Around the World
Billy Collins
Maryellen @ Wattmans  
2004-02Life of Pi
Yann Martel
Phil @ Baumanns  
2004-03Interpreter of Maladies
Jhumpa Lahiri
Sheila @   
2004-04On the Road
Jack Kerouac
Mary @ Fishmans  
2004-05The Da Vinci Code
Dan Brown
Theo @ Martins  
2004-06Mill on the Floss
George Eliot
Ruth @   
2004-07Five Quarters of the Orange
Joanne Harris
Theo @ Wattmans  
2004-08We've Got to Talk About Kevin
Lionel Shriver
Jim @   
2004-10Secret Life of Bees
Sue Kidd
Judy @   
2004-11Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy
Frances Mayes
Rick @ Baumanns  
2004-12I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Maya Angelou
Maryellen @ Grina  
2005-01The Plague
Albert Camus
Larry @ Martins  
J.M. Goetzee
Sheila @ Wattmans  
2005-03Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer
Steven Millhauser
Phil @ Coenen  
2005-04The Riders
Tim Winton
Mary @ Baumanns  
2005-05Beethoven's Hair
Russell Martin
Theo @ Fishmans  
2005-06The Kite Runner
Khaled Hosseini
Carol @ Coenen  
2005-07Friend of My Youth
Alice Munro
Ruth @ Martins  
2005-08Henderson, the Rain King
Saul Bellow
Jim @ Theo  
2005-09A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Betty Smith
Judy @ Fishmans  
2005-10Selected short stories
Edgar Allen Poe, O. Henry
Rick @ Baumanns  
2005-11Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Jared Diamond
Larry @ Wattmans  
2005-12In Cold Blood
Truman Capote
Maryellen @ Grina  
Ian McEwan
Sheila @ BaumannsJoined:
Burck / Pearson
2006-02The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship
David Halberstam
Phil @ Coenen  
2006-03The House of Mirth
Edith Wharton
Mary @ Fishmans  
2006-04Heir to the Glimmering World
Cynthia Ozick
Ruth @ Martins  
2006-05The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason
Sam Harris
Jim @ Grina  
Mary Shelley
Rick @ Burck/Pearson  
2006-07On Liberty
John Stuart Mill
Larry @ Martins  
2006-09A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
Robert Olen Butler
Maryellen @ Fishmans  
2006-10The Perfect Storm
Sebastian Junger
Bob @ Baumann  
2006-12Forever Ours
Janis Amatuzio
Yvonne @ Grina  
@ Burck/Pearson  
2007-02The Sea
John Banville
Sheila @ Martin  
2007-03The Unconsoled
Kazuo Ishiguro
Phil @ Wattman  
2007-05Legends of the Fall
Jim Harrison
Ruth @ Baumann  
2007-06American Pastoral
Philip Roth
Jim @ Fishman  
2007-07Water for Elephants
Sara Gruen
Maryellen @ Grina  
2007-08Hard Times
Charles Dickens
Larry @ Martin  
2007-09The Guns of August
Barbara Tuchman
Bob @ Burck/Pearson  
2007-10The Painted Drum
Louise Erdrich
Yvonne @ Coenen/Dahle  
2007-11The Killer Angels
Michael Shaara
Phil @ Wattman  
2007-12The Final Solution: A Story of Detection
Michael Chabon
Sheila @ Baumann  
2008-01Final Payments
Mary Gordon
@ Fishman  
2008-02The Bastard of Istanbul
Elif Shafak
@ Grina  
2008-03Independence Day
Richard Ford
@ Burck/Pearson  
2008-04The Eyre Affair
Jasper Fforde
Rick @ Martin  
2008-05Stolen Lives
Malika Oufkir
@ Fishman  
2008-06Suite Française
Irène Némirovsky
@ Coenen/Dahle  
2008-07The Jungle
Upton Sinclair
Larry @ Martin  
2008-09Negro President: Jefferson and the Slave Power
Garry Wills
Bob @ Wattman  
Yvonne @ Baumann  
2008-11The Road
Cormac Mccarthy
Phil @ Grina  
Geraldine Brooks
Sheila @ Burck/Pearson  
Emile Zola
Mary @ Grina  
2009-02The Gathering
Anne Enright
Ruth @ Wattman  
2009-03The Second Coming
Walker Percy
Jim @ Baumann  
2009-05Love, again : a novel
Doris Lessing
Judy @ Grina  
2009-06Genghis Khan and the making of the modern world
Jack Weatherford
Rick @ Martin  
2009-07Haroun and The Sea of Stories
Salman Rushdie
Mary @ ??  
2009-08Benjamin Franklin: An American Life
Walter Isaacson
Larry @ Wattman  
2009-09The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague In History
John Barry
Bob @ Fishman  
2009-10Purple Hibiscus
Chimamanda Adichie
Yvonne @ Baumann  
2009-11The Art of Seeing
Cammie McGovern
Sheila @ Grina  
2009-1284 Charing Cross Road
Helene Hanff
(all) @   
2010-01The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao
Junot Díaz
Phil @   
2010-04A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Mark Twain
Jim @ Martins  
2010-06The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
Michael Chabon
Ruth @ Fishman  
2010-07Empire Falls
Richard Russo
Theo @ Baumann  
2010-08The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Douglas Adams
Rick @ Grina  
2010-09The Cellist of Sarajevo
Steven Galloway
Judy @ Burck-Pearson  
2010-10Let the Great World Spin
Colum McCann
Maryellen @ Coenen  
[moved to January]
2011-01Homage to Catalonia
George Orwell
Larry @ Wattman  
2011-02Soldiers' Pay
William Faulkner
Phil @ Baumann  
2011-03A Woman In Jerusalem
A.B. Yehoshua
Phil @   
2011-04Madame Bovary
Gustave Flaubert
Bob @ Martin  
2011-05I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother
Allison Pearson
Yvonne @ Grina  
2011-06Olive Kitteridge
Elizabeth Strout
Mary @ Burck-Pearson  
2011-07The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter
Carson McCullers
Ruth @   
Pete Dexter
Jim @ Theo  
2011-09Loving Frank
Nancy Horan
Theo @ Fishman  
Vladimir Nabokov
Judy @   
2011-12Into AfricaThe Epic Adventures of Stanley & Livingstone
Martin Dugard
Rick @ Martin  
2012-01The House of Seven Gables
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Maryellen @ Grina  
2012-01It Can't Happen Here
Sinclair Lewis
Larry @ Wattman  
2012-04Every Man Dies Alone
Hans Fallada
Phil @ Fishman  
Paul Harding
Sheila @ Baumann  
2012-06My Life in France
Julia Child
Mary @ Martin  
2012-07No Great Mischief
Alistair MacLeod
Ruth @ Grina  
2012-08Little Big Man
Thomas Berger
Jim @ Burck/Pearson  
2012-09Cutting for Stone
Abraham Verghese
Theo @ Fishman  
Karl Marlantes
Bob @ Baumann  
2012-12The Patrick Melrose Novels
Edward St. Aubyn
Yvonne @ Wattman  
Amy Bloom
Sheila @ Martins  
2013-02A Lesson Before Dying
Ernest Gaines
Phil @ Fishman  
2013-03The Sense of an Ending
Julian Barnes
Ruth @ Grina  
2013-04Bone by Bone
Peter Matthiessen
Jim @ Baumann  
2013-05True Grit
Charles Portis
Rick @ Burck/Pearson  
2013-06A Place Where the Sea Remembers
Sandra Benitez
Judy @ Coenen  
2013-07The Lotus Eaters
Tatijana Soli
Mary @ Wattman  
2013-08The Bell Jar
Sylvia Plath
Maryellen @ Martin  
2013-09Tomcat in Love
Tim O'Brien
Theo @ Fishman  
2013-10Jude the Obscure
Thomas Hardy
??? @ Grina  
2013-11The Orphan Master's Son
Adam Johnson
??? @ Burck/Pearson  
2013-12Peace Like A River
Leif Enger
Yvonne @ Martin  
2014-01A Hologram for the King
Dave Eggers
Sheila @ Baumann  
2014-02The Imperfectionists
Tom Rachman
Phil @ Fishman  
2014-04Nineteen Eighty-Four
George Orwell
??? @ Martin  
2014-05Confederacy of Dunces
John Kennedy Toole
Jim @ Grina  
2014-06Tenth of December
George Saunders
Ruth @ Wattman  
2014-07The Round House
Louise Erdich
Judy @ Baumann  
2014-08Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
Gregory Maguire
Rick @ Fishman  
2014-09Call of the Wild
Jack London
Maryellen @ Burck/Pearson  
Hermann Hesse
Larry @ Grina  
2014-11The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Sherman Alexie
Yvonne @ Martin  
2014-12The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson
Mark Twain
Bob @ Martin  
2015-01In the Lake of the Woods
Tim O'Brien
Sheila @ Baumann  
2015-02In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
Erik Larson
Phil @ Wattman  
2015-03This Side of Paradise
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Ruth @ Fishman  
2015-04Lush Life
Richard Price
Jim @ Grina  
2015-05All the Names
Jose Saramago
Judy @ Burck-Pearson  
2015-06To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee
Theo @ Wattman  
Max Barry
Rick @ Martin  
2015-08When Paris Went Dark
Ronald Rossbottom
Mary @ Theo  
2015-10Ordinary Grace
William Kent Krueger
Maryellen @ Fishman  
2015-11The Castle
Franz Kafka
Larry @ ???  
2015-12All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr
Jim @ Burck/Pearson  
2016-01In Reach
Pamela Carter Joern
Ruth @ n/a  
Lilly King
Sheila @ Baumann  
2016-03The Boys In the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Daniel James Brown
Phil @ Fishman  
Robert Louis Stevenson
Rick @ Martin  
2016-06St. Maybe
Anne Tyler
Judy @ Burck/Pearson  
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Yvonne @ Grina  
2016-08From a Crooked Rib
Nuruddin Farah
Bob @ Wattman  
2016-09The Old Man and the Sea
Ernest Hemingway
Mary @ Fishman  
2016-10The Alchemist
Paulo Coelho
Maryellen @ ???  
2016-11Alexander Hamilton
Ron Chernow
Jim @ ???  
2016-12An Unneccessary Woman
Rabih Alameddine
??? @ ???  
2017-01Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel
Maria Semple
Sheila @ Fishman  
Sinclair Lewis
Larry @ Wattman  
2017-04In Paradise
Peter Matthiesen
Phil @ Grina  
2017-05The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer
Mary @ Martin  
2017-06Civilization: The West and the Rest
Niall Ferguson
Rick @ Baumann  
2017-07News of the World
Paulette Jiles
Judy @ Burck/Pearson  
2017-08The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum
Heinrich Böll
Yvonne @ Fishmann  
2017-09Dead Wake: the last crossing of the Lusitania
Erik Larson
Theo @ Grina  
2017-1040th Anniversary Party
ALL @ Wattman  
2017-11And Then All Hell Broke Loose
Richard Engle
Maryellen @ Martin  
2017-12Strangers in Their Own Land
Arlie Russell Hochschild
Bob @ Burck/Pearson  
2018-01History of Wolves
Emily Fridlund
Phil @ Baumann  
2018-02Notes from the Underground
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Larry @ Martin  
2018-03Underground Railroad
Colson Whitehead
Mary @ Wattman  
2018-04Manhatten Beach
Emily Fridlund
Sheila @ Grina  
Don DeLillo
Jim @ Fishmann  
Orhan Pamuk
Ruth @ Burck-Pearson  
2018-08The Garden of Evening Mists
Tan Twan Eng
Judy @ Fishmann  
Kent Haruf
Rick @ Grina  
Kent Haruf
Theo @ Bauman  
2018-11Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Books 1 & 2
William L. Shirer
Bob @ Burck/Pearson  
2018-12The Bear
Wiliam Faulkner
Phil @ Baumann  
2019-01The Mayor of Casterbridge: The Life and Death of a Man of Character
Thomas Hardy
Larry @ Wattman  
Amos Oz
Jim @ Grina  
2019-05The Ministry of Special Cases
Nathan Englander
Sheila @ Baumann  
2019-06The Burgess Boys
Elizabeth Strout
Yvonne @ Fishmann  
2019-07The Swerve
Stephen Greenblatt
Maryellen @ Burck-Pearson Left:
Ruth (dies)
2019-08Prague Winter
Madeline Albright
Mary @ Martin  
2019-092 Books of Angelou, essays
Maya Angelou
Judy @ Grina  
2019-10The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
C.S. Lewis
Rick @ Martin  
2019-11H is for Hawk
Bob @ Fischmann  
2019-12Go Down Moses
William Faulkner
Phil @ Grina  
2020-01The Oddysey
Larry @ Baumann  
2020-02Their Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston
Maryellen @ Wattman  
2020-03(Caneclled by Social Distancing)
2020-04A Man Called Ove
Fredrick Backman
Mary @ ZOOM  
2020-05The Winter Soldier
Daniel Mason
Sheila @ ZOOM  
2020-06Dream Country
Shannon Gibney
Yvonne @ ZOOM  
2020-07Moby Dick
Herman Melville
Jim & Bob @ ZOOM  
2020-08Born a Crime
Trevor Noah
Theo @ ZOOM  
2020-10Little Bee
Chris Cleave
Rick @ ZOOM  
2020-11Animal Dreams
Barbara Kingsolver
Judy @ ZOOM  
2020-12The Splendid and the Vile:
A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz

Erik Larson
Bob @ ZOOM  
2021-01A Gentleman in Moscow
Amor Towles
Phil @ ZOOM  
2021-02The Turn of the Screw
Henry James
Larry @ ZOOM  
2021-03The Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad
Maryellen @ ZOOM  
2021-04Have You Seen Luis Velez?
Catherine Ryan Hyde
Mary @ ZOOM  
2021-05There There
Tommy Orange
Sheila @ Martin  
2021-06A Farewell to Arms
Ernest Hemingway
Sheila @ Martin  
Colum McCann
Jim @ Fischman  
2021-08The Water Dancer
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Judy @ Martin  
Kent Haruf
Rick @ Grina  
2021-11Two Years Before the Mast
Richard Henry Dana Jr.
Bob @ ZOOM  
2021-12Welcome to Hard Times
E. L. Doctorow
Phil @ Burck-Pearson  
2022-01Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure
Donald Kladstrup and Petie Kladstrup
Mary @ Wattman  
Fredrik Backman
Jim @ Grina  
2022-03Anxious People
Fredrik Backman
Judy @ Martin  
2022-04Lincoln Highway
Amor Towles
Judy @ Wattman  
2022-05The Iliad
Larry @ ???  
Peter Guey
??? @ Baumann  
2022-08How Civil Wars Start
Barbara Walter
Phil @ Martin  
2022-09The Shadow of the Wind
Carlos Ruiz Zafrón
Judy @ Baumann  
2022-10Anxious People
Fredrik Backman
Mary @ Fishman  
2022-11State of Wonder
Ann Patchett
??? @ ???  
2023-01Bel Canto
Ann Patchett
Judy @ Grina  
2023-02The Lost Girls of Paris
Pam Genoff
Mary @ Wattman  
2023-03Feast of the Goat
Mario Vargas Llosa
Jim @ Grina  
2023-04Station Eleven
Emily St. John Mandel
Yvonne @ Rob  
2023-05A Canticle for Leibowitz
Walter M. Miller Jr.
Rick @ Jim  
2023-06The Faraway NearbyRebecca Solnit
Bob @ Fishman
Jun-23 Left:
2023-07New Yorker Stories
Sheila @ Baumann  
2023-08Max Perkins: Editor of Genius
A. Scott Berg
Maryellen @ Wattman  
2023-09The Beautiful and Damned
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Larry @ Baumann  
2023-10Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
David Grann
Mary @ Burck-Pearson  
2023-11Last Bus to Wisdom
Ivan Doig
Rick @ Grina  
2023-12Three short stories: "Ward #6," "The Grasshopper," and "The Student"
Anton Chekhov
Phil @ Martin  
n/aSend for Me
Lauren Fox
Rob @ n/a  
-->> See the readings for the 20th Century. ^ Jump to the top of this list.