The Friends'  BOOK CLUB


RICHARD BASS, 

CO-ORDINATOR

Cell: 323-533-3550

rbass9210@yahoo.com



The FOPSL Book Club 

meets on the 

third Friday

 of the month 

at 2:00pm in 

The Learning Center 

at the Library.


The 

Book Club

is Open

to 

EVERYONE!


Members of the Club 

read the selected book 

for the month, 

then join in 

lively discussions.


The Friends of the Palm Springs Library purchase copies of the books that are available in the Library for checkout. They are also available as downloadable E-books through the Library's Overdrive program.  


Click on the following link to view more information:

City of Palm Springs:
Book Club FOPSL


Scheduled Book Discussions

For the 2017-2018 SEASON . . .

September 15, 2017      ANOTHER BROOKLYN   

by Jacqueline Woodson, 175 pages  (published 2016)

For a summary of the discussion, click here.


October 20, 2017     The Adventures of TOM SAWYER

by Mark Twain, 1876, 274 pages (published 1876)

For a summary of the discussion, click here


November 17, 2017     

LADIES of the CANYONS: 

A League of Extraordinary Women and Their Adventures in the American Southwest 

by Lesley Poling-Kempes, 384 pages (published 2015)

For a summary of the discussion, click here.


December 15, 2017         LAB GIRL

by Hope Jahren, 291 pages (published 2016)

For a summary of the discussion, click here


January 19, 2018      FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

by Ernest Hemingway, 480 pages (published 1940)

For a summary of the discussion, click here.


February 16, 2018     The UNDERGROUND RAILROAD

by Colson Whitehead, 320 pages (published 2016)

For a summary of the discussion, click here


March 16, 2018        STILL LIFE

by Louise Penny, 320 pages (published 2008)

For a summary of the discussion, click here



April 20, 2018

The THREE-YEAR SWIM CLUB: The Untold Story of Maui's Sugar Ditch Kids and Their Quest for Olympic Glory

by Julie Checkoway, 351 pages (published 2016)

For a summary of the discussion, click here



May 18, 2018

The IMMORTAL LIFE of HENRIETTA LACKS

by Rebecca Skloot, 381 pages (published 2010)


Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta's cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.


June 15, 2018

The SEVEN STAIRS: An Adventure of the Heart

by Stuart Brent, 231 pages (published 1962)


Here in a new, updated edition is the famous story of an ex-GI named Stuart Brent who turned his passion for reading into a bookstore that became a mecca for book lovers across America. His exuberant memoir reveals the strategies and beliefs that made him one of the nation's most colorful and revered independent booksellers. Filled with personal anecdotes about celebrated authors, pioneering publishers and editors, and illustrious customers such as Katharine Hepburn and Ernest Hemingway, The Seven Stairs provides a rare window on the world of books. For everyone who believes in the power of literacy and the joy of reading, the story shines with conviction and inspiration.


For the 2017-2018 SEASON . . .

September 21, 2018

The JOB     by Sinclair Lewis, 327 pages  (2015)

Originally published in 1917, The Job is an early work by American novelist Sinclair Lewis. It is considered an early declaration for the rights of working women. The main character, Una Golden, yearns to establish herself in a legitimate occupation while balancing the eventual need for marriage. The story takes place in early 1900 thru the 1920s and takes Una from a small Pennsylvania town to New York. Forced to work due to family illness, she shows a talent for the traditional male bastion of commercial real estate and, while valued by her company, she struggles to achieve the same status of her male co-workers. On a parallel track, her quest for traditional romance and love remains important but her unique role as a working woman, doing a man's job, makes it tough to find an appropriate suitor.

Lewis's novel was published before he achieved any significant fame, providing insights on working women as well as the unique nature (for the time) of having a woman as the lead character.


October 19, 2018

A GENTLEMAN in MOSCOW   by Amor Towles, 462 pages  (2016)

Sentenced to house arrest in Moscow's Metropol Hotel by a Bolshevik tribunal for writing a poem deemed to encourage revolt, Count Alexander Rostov nonetheless lives the fullest of lives, discovering the depths of his humanity. Inside the elegant Metropol, located near the Kremlin and the Bolshoi, the Count slowly adjusts to circumstances as a "Former Person." He makes do with the attic room to which he is banished, after residing for years in a posh third-floor suite. A man of refined taste in wine, food and literature, he strives to maintain a daily routine, exploring the nooks and crannies of the hotel, bonding with staff, accepting the advances of attractive women and forming what proves to be a deeply meaningful relationship with a spirited young girl, Nina. "We are bound to find comfort from the notion that it takes generations for a way of life to fade," says the companionable narrator. For the Count, that way of life ultimately becomes less about aristocratic airs and privilege than generosity and devotion. 

Spread across four decades, this is in all ways a great novel, a non-stop pleasure brimming with charm, personal wisdom and philosophic insight. Though Stalin and Khrushchev make their presences felt, Towles largely treats politics as a dark, distant shadow. The chill of political events occurring outside the Metropol is certainly felt, but for the Count and his friends, the passage of time is "like the turn of a kaleidoscope." Not for nothing is Casablanca his favorite film. This is a book in which the cruelties of the age can't begin to erase the glories of real human connection and the memories it leaves behind.

A masterly encapsulation of modern Russian history, this book more than fulfills the promise of Towles' stylish debut, Rules of Civility (2011).


November 16, 2018

WHITE HOUSES     by Amy Bloom, 218 pages  (2018)

Lorena Hickok met Eleanor Roosevelt in 1932 while reporting on Franklin Roosevelt’s first presidential campaign. Having grown up worse than poor in South Dakota and re-invented herself as the most prominent woman reporter in America, “Hick,” as she was known to her friends and admirers, is not-quite-instantly charmed by the idealistic, patrician Eleanor. But then, as her connection with the future first lady deepens into intimacy, what began as a powerful passion matures into a lasting love and a life that Hick never expected to have. She moves into the White House, where her status as “first friend” is an open secret, as are FDR’s own lovers. After she takes a job in the Roosevelt administration, promoting and protecting both Roosevelts, she comes to know Franklin not only as a great president but as a complicated rival and an irresistible friend, capable of changing lives even after his death. Through it all, even as Hick’s bond with Eleanor is tested by forces both extraordinary and common, and as she grows as a woman and a writer, she never loses sight of the love of her life. 

From Washington, D.C. to Hyde Park, from a little white house on Long Island to an apartment on Manhattan’s Washington Square, Amy Bloom’s new novel moves elegantly through fascinating places and times, written in compelling prose and with emotional depth, wit and acuity.


December 21, 2018

BEARTOWN     by Fredrik Backman, 415 pages  (2017)

In Beartown, where the people are as "tough as the forest, as hard as the ice," the star player on the beloved hockey team is accused of rape -- and the town turns upon itself. Swedish novelist Backman’s (A Man Called Ove, 2014, et. al.) story quickly becomes a rich exploration of the culture of hockey, a sport whose acolytes see it as a violent liturgy on ice. Beartown explodes after rape charges are brought against the talented Kevin, son of privilege and influence, who's nearly untouchable because of his transcendent talent. The victim is Maya, the teenage daughter of the hockey club’s much-admired general manager, Peter, another Beartown golden-boy-hockey-star who made it to the NHL had been lured home to bring winning hockey back to Beartown. Now, after years of despair, the local club is on the cusp of a championship—but not without Kevin. 

Backman is a masterful writer; his characters are familiar yet distinct, flawed yet heroic. Despite his love for hockey, where fights are part of the game, Peter hates violence. Kira, his wife, is an attorney with an aggressive, take-no-prisoners demeanor. Minor characters include Sune, "the man who has been coach of Beartown's A-team since Peter was a boy," whom the sponsors now want fired. There are scenes that bring tears, scenes of gut-wrenching despair and moments of sly humor: the club president’s table manners are so crude "you can’t help wondering if he’s actually misunderstood the whole concept of eating." Like Friday Night Lights, this is about more than youth sports; it's part coming-of-age novel, part study in moral failure and, finally, a chronicle of group-think in which an unlikely hero steps forward to save more than one person from self-destruction. A thoroughly empathetic examination of the fragile human spirit, Backman’s latest will resonate a long time.


January 18, 2019

LAST BUS to WISDOM     by Ivan Doig, 453 pages  (2015)

Donal Cameron is being raised by his grandmother, the cook at the legendary Double W ranch in Ivan Doig’s beloved Two Medicine Country of the Montana Rockies, a landscape that gives full rein to an eleven-year-old’s imagination. But when Gram has to have surgery for “female trouble” in the summer of 1951, all she can think to do is to ship Donal off to her sister in faraway Manitowoc, Wisconsin. There, Donal is in for a rude surprise: Aunt Kate–bossy, opinionated, argumentative and tyrannical—is nothing like her sister. She henpecks her good-natured husband, Herman the German, and Donal can’t seem to get on her good side either. After one contretemps too many, Kate packs him back to the authorities in Montana on the next Greyhound. But as it turns out, Donal isn’t traveling solo: Herman the German has decided to fly the coop with him. In the immortal American tradition, the pair light out for the territory together, meeting a classic Doigian ensemble of characters and having rollicking mis-adventures along the way. Charming, wise and slyly funny, Last Bus to Wisdom is a last sweet gift from a writer whose books have bestowed untold pleasure on countless readers.


February 15, 2019

CANNERY ROW     by John Steinbeck, 208 pages  (1994)

Unburdened by the material necessities of the more fortunate, the denizens of Cannery Row discover rewards unknown in more traditional society. Henry the painter sorts through junk lots for pieces of wood to incorporate into the boat he is building, while the girls from Dora Flood’s bordello venture out now and then to enjoy a bit of sunshine. Lee Chong stocks his grocery with almost anything a man could want and Doc, a young marine biologist who ministers to sick puppies and unhappy souls, unexpectedly finds true love. Cannery Row is just a few blocks long, but the story it harbors is suffused with warmth, understanding and a great fund of human values.

First published in 1945, Cannery Row focuses on the acceptance of life as it is—both the exuberance of community and the loneliness of the individual. John Steinbeck drew on his memories of the real inhabitants of Monterey, California, and interwove their stories in a world where only the fittest survive—creating what is at once one of his most humorous and poignant works. In Cannery Row, Steinbeck returns to the setting of Tortilla Flat to create another evocative portrait of life as it is lived by those who unabashedly put the highest value on the intangibles—human warmth, camaraderie and love.


March 15, 2019

ASTRO-PHYSICS for PEOPLE in a HURRY

by Neil De Grasse Tyson, 224 pages  (2017)

What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Today, alas, few of us have time to contemplate the deeper mysteries of the cosmos, so Tyson has brought the universe succinctly down to Earth, with clear, sparkling wit in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day: waiting for your morning coffee to brew, or for the bus, the train or a plane to arrive. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the future cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics and from the search for planets to the search for extraterrestrial life.


April 19, 2019

WOMAN in the WINDOW      by A. J. Finn, 448 pages  (2018)

For readers of Gillian Flynn and Tana French comes one of the decade’s most anticipated debuts, to be published in thirty-six languages around the world and already in development as a major film from Fox: a twisty, powerful, Hitchcockian thriller about an agoraphobic woman who believes she witnessed a crime in a neighboring house. . . . It isn’t paranoia if it’s really happening!

Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors. Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, mother and their teenage son; the perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who's in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—are what they seem. Ingenious and moving, The Woman in the Window is a smart, sophisticated novel of psychological suspense that recalls the best of Hitchcock.


May 17, 2019

ELEANOR OLIPHONT is COMPLETELY FINE

by Gail Honeyman, 317 pages  (2017)



Meet Eleanor Elephant, who's never been told that life should be better than fine. Though she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking, nothing is really missing in her carefully time-tabled life of avoiding social interactions, with weekends punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka and phone chats with Mummy. 

But then, everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply un-hygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become friends who unexpectedly rescue each another from their lives of isolation. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.



Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes the only way to survive is to open your heart. 


June 21, 2019

DUBLINERS      by James Joyce, 172 pages  (1999)

Judi Hollis says: 15 short stories; the last, The Dead, was made into a film by John Houston starring his daughter, Angelica.

Living overseas but writing, always, about his native city, Joyce made Dublin unforgettable. The stories in Dubliners show us truants, seducers, gossips, rally-drivers, generous hostesses, corrupt politicians, failing priests, amateur theologians, struggling musicians, moony adolescents, victims of domestic brutishness, sentimental aunts and poets, patriots earnest or cynical and people striving to get by. In every sense an international figure, Joyce was faithful to his own country by seeing it unflinchingly and challenging every precedent and piety in Irish literature.

 
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