Book Clubs

Read with us!

Grand Avenue
Book Club
Est. 2008

Questions?
Ask Dan.


November 4
Online at 7pm

The Long Call
Ann Cleeves

The Long Call cover image

December 2
Online at 7pm

Olive, Again

Elizabeth Strout
Olive Again cover image

 

Or run your own book club!

NPL book club kits include 8-10 books, discussion questions, book management log, and more. Choose from over 30 titles, fiction and nonfiction. Six-week loan periods give you plenty of time to read and gather. Check the catalog to see which ones are available now or to place a hold.

Extra resources for our newest book club kits!

American Cheese by Joe Berkowitz
At an artisanal tasting at an upscale cheese shop, Joe Berkowitz experienced cheeses like nothing he had ever tasted—a visceral drug-punch that reverberated deliciousness. Inspired, he embarked on a cheese adventure, spending a year exploring its subculture. The journey would take him around the world, from the underground cheese caves in Paris to the mountains of Gruyere, and his rise from amateur to aficionado mirrors the rise of American cheese on the world stage, from Team USA at an international mongering competition and the World Cheese Awards. [adapted from back cover of American Cheese]

Author Bio and Discussion Questions (pdf)

Read
J.B. talks to The Cheese Professor.
On Working Undercover.
Jaya Saxena (Eater) and Berkowitz talk  Artisanal Cheese and the Pandemic.

Watch
Hot Cheese author Polina Chesnakova  and Berkowitz chat.

Listen to the author on...
Cutting the Curd with hosts Diane and Cara.
Stay for Dinner with host DC Pierson: books, cheese boards, cheese parties, cheese-cutting competitions, and more.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
"Michelle Obama, [former First Lady of the United States of America], invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it."  -BecomingMichelleObama.com

Author Bio and Discussion Questions (pdf)

Read
Obama's interview with NPR News.
Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman and Obama discuss Art, Identity and Optimism.
NPR News reporter Danielle Kurtzleben reviews Becoming.

Watch
Note to Self: Obama on love, loss, and making history.
Meet the Author.

Listen to the author on...
The Michelle Obama Podcast, available wherever you listen to podcasts
Educated by Tara Westover
"Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home."

Author Bio and Discussion Questions (pdf)

Read
Westover's Northeastern Commencement Address 2019.
On What It Means to be Educated, an interview with Robin Young (WBUR).
Jeffrey Goldberg (The Atlantic) and Westover talk about Places the Recession Never Ended.

Watch
Westover's Northeastern Commencement Address 2019.
Westover talks survival, success, and lessons learned (2019 Aspen Ideas Festival).
In conversation with David Runciman, Professor of Politics at Cambridge.

Listen to the author on...
NPR's Fresh Air with host Dave Davies.
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

"Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable.

"Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now . . ."


Read

Atwood on the historical events that inspired her.
Why The Handmaid's Tale relevant today, Jennifer Keishin Armstrong (BBC).

Watch
Conversation with Atwood at WPSU Penn State.
Young Ambassadors Emily Webb and Grace Murray ask Atwood about the challenging topics in her novels and her top writing tips (National Centre for Writing).
Atwood and showrunner Bruce Miller discuss The Handmaid's Tale and its TV adaptation (BookCon 2017).

Listen to the author on...
Radio 4 Bookclub (BBC): celebrating 20 years of Bookclub with The Handmaid's Tale
How I Found My Voice with host Samira Ahmed
The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea

"The House of Broken Angels is a sprawling and epic family saga helmed by patriarch Big Angel. The novel gathers together the entire De La Cruz clan, as they meet for the final birthday party Big Angel is throwing for himself, as he nears the end of his struggle with cancer and reflects on his long and full life.

But when Big Angel's mother, Mama America, dies as the party nears, he must plan her funeral as well: a farewell double-header. Among the attendants is his half-brother and namesake, Little Angel, who comes face to face with the siblings with whom he shared a father but not, as the weekend proceeds to remind him, a life.

This story of the De La Cruzes is the story of what it means to be a Mexican in America, to have lived two lives across one border."

Author Bio and Discussion Questions (pdf)

Read

Urrea on Inspiration in Family, Tragedy and Trump (Fresh Air, NPR)
Interview with Linda Robertson, MFA candidate in Chatham University’s Creative Writing Program

Watch 
Urrea's TEDx Talk: Children of the Border
Festival of Books, LA Times, 2018 (PBS)
National Book Festival, Library of Congress, 2018 

Listen to the author on...
The Seattle Public Library - Author Readings and Library Events  
Write-Minded with hosts Grant and Brook: Building Bridges Across Borders
Aspen Ideas to Go (The Aspen Institute): The Power of Family

The Library Book by Susan Orlean
"Susan Orlean re-opens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and delivers a dazzling homage to a beloved institution – our libraries. On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. Raging through the stacks, the fire reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. It was the largest library fire in the history of the United States: it destroyed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more, and shut the library down for seven years. The mystery remains: did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?" -SusanOrlean.com

Author Bio and Discussion Questions (pdf)

Read
Susan Orlean's New Yorker articles
Shelf respect: an interview with BookPage writer Alice Cary
How to Muscle Through a Bad Review 

Watch
2019 Carole Phillips Memorial Lecture,  a Free Library of Philadelphia Author Event
The Art of Telling Amazing Stories

Listen to the author on...

The Turnaround with Jesse Thorn
The Archive Project, by Literary Arts, Inc.
Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come by Jessica Pan

"What would happen if a shy introvert lived like a gregarious extrovert for one year? If she knowingly and willingly put herself in perilous social situations that she’d normally avoid at all costs? Writer Jessica Pan intends to find out.

With the help of various extrovert mentors, Jessica sets up a series of personal challenges (talk to strangers, perform stand-up comedy, host a dinner party, travel alone, make friends on the road, and much, much worse) to explore whether living like an extrovert can teach her lessons that might improve the quality of her life. Chronicling the author’s hilarious and painful year of misadventures, this book explores what happens when one introvert fights her natural tendencies, takes the plunge, and tries (and sometimes fails) to be a little bit braver."

Author Bio and Discussion Questions (pdf)

Read
Q&A with Erin Khar (Ravishly).
An Introvert Guides an Extrovert Through Lockdown, Stephen Carlick (Penguin Random House).
How to Travel Alone as an Introvert, Jessica Pan (Penguin Random House).
"I Don’t Want to Confuse Self-Care and Self-Coddling", Alyssa Oursler (BLARB: Blog // Los Angeles Review of Books).

Listen to the author on...
Matt Lewis and the News: Talking to Strangers.
Live Happy Now: Living Life as an Extrovert.

There There by Tommy Orange
"[There There] follows twelve characters from Native communities: all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, all connected to one another in ways they may not yet realize. Among them is Jacquie Red Feather, newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind. Dene Oxendene, pulling his life together after his uncle’s death and working at the powwow to honor his memory. Fourteen-year-old Orvil, coming to perform traditional dance for the very first time. Together, this chorus of voices tells of the plight of the urban Native American—grappling with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and spirituality, with communion and sacrifice and heroism."

Author Bio and Discussion Questions (pdf)

Read
Powell Book Blog chooses There There as their pick for Indiespensable Vol. 74
Cowboys & Indians Magazine

Watch
Orange: On writing out of a loneliness and becoming an author
Orange speaks with Carolina de Robertis, creative writing professor at San Francisco State University

Listen to the author on...
The Archive Project, by Literary Arts
Read it Forward, by Penguin Random House
Radio Wolinsky with host Richard Wolinsky (KPFA)


Need some tips on starting and facilitating a book club?

Here are some resources to help you begin!