Sunday, August 26, 2012

Book clubs pick their Fall reading

‘Tis the season when many book groups restart their activities, sharing all of their wonderful choices in reading—and food. While we’re sure at least one or two of them will be laughing over “Fifty Shades of Gray,” selections aren’t as predictable. We asked area group leaders to share their September choices, which revealed a variety of selections for the coming season.
Edward Bergman, head of adult services at Leominster Public Library, says the library’s Brown Bag (lunchtime) Book Group will discuss “Mrs. Pettigrew's Last Stand, by Helen Simonson, when it resumes meeting at noon on Sept. 6. Bring a lunch if you wish, and the library will provide beverages. This is a drop-in program, so no registration is necessary. Visit or call the library's Reference Desk at 978-534-7522, ext. 3, if you want to borrow a copy of the book. For more information, contact Bergman at or 978-534-7522 x 114.
Hemingway is in the air for fall in Brookfield. Brenda Metterville of Merrick Public Library  reports the Bannister Book Group will launch its season Sept. 25, with Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast,” a memoir of his life in 1920s Paris, as a young artist married to Hadley Richardson. On Oct. 30, the group discusses Hadley’s life among those of the artistic “Lost Generation” in Paris (think Owen Wilson in the movie, Midnight in Paris). They’re reading Paula McLain’s “The Paris Wife.” Nice pairing. Meetings are held at the library from 7 to 8 p.m. Call 508-867-6339 for details.
At the Merriam-Gilbert Public Library in W. Brookfield, members will discuss Shakespeare’s “MacBeth” on Aug. 30. The group meets from 4 to 5 p.m. the last Thursday of each month. Selection for Sept. 27 is “Rules of Civility” by Amor Towels.
The Spiritual Book Club, an activity of “Fun Stuff for Singles Over 40,” in Westborough, meets weekly, discussing a few chapters at a time from the book they are reading. On Sept. 11, the group will begin a discussion of “Wishes Fulfilled,” by Wayne Dyer. The group meets the first Tuesday of each month, and every Monday in the weeks after that. Contact Jacki Rose at for further information.
Princeton readers of the Afternoon Book Group will resume meetings at 1 p.m., Sept. 12, to discuss books by or about Thomas Hardyfrom their summer reading. Wendy Pape says the Evening Group meets at 7 p.m., Sept. 20, to discuss “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” by Rebecca Skloot. Lacks’ cells—the HeLa cells—were used to study a polio vaccine, cloning, genetic mapping, and in vitro fertilization, without her knowledge and with no remuneration. This has been named one of the best books of 2010 by countless critics. See an interview with Skloot at
Betsy Johnson of Holden says members regroup Sept. 4 to discuss what they’ve read over the summer; the plan for fall includes Booth Tarkington’s “Magnificent Ambersons,” some Balzac short stories and “Phantom of the Opera.” The group meets at Holden First Congregational Church, 41 Blossom Square. For more info, contact
Gale Free Library in Holden has two book groups. The Open Genre Book Group—which reads contemporary fiction—will meet at 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 6, to discuss “Heft” by Liz Moore. The Clasics Book Group meets at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 20, to discuss Shakespeare’s “King Lear.” Check the library website for details on the selections.
Still undecided? Perhaps there’s some help from Washington. In preparation for the Sept. 22-23 Library of Congress National Book Festival, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the Library of Congress has published a list of 88 books that shaped America. Clubs may want to discuss or debate the list, and select a book or more from it to read collectively during the upcoming season. The selected books are on exhibit through Sept. 29 at the Library's Thomas Jefferson Building, or see it at
September releases: Zadie Smith (“On Beauty,” “White Teeth”) has a new novel, “NW.” Michael Chabon (“The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay”) is about to release “Telegraph Avenue” and J.K. Rowling, of Harry Potter fame, releases her first novel for adults, “The Casual Vacancy,” on Sept. 27. Dark comedy set in an idyllic British town, we hear.

What is your group reading for October? What new books are you all anxiously awaiting? And – let’s put a little twist in the conversation – what popular selections have been a disappointment to your book club? Send in your comments to