What we're about

This is a group for all those who miss the pleasure of digging into a new book with the knowledge that on the other side of the cover they will have the opportunity for engaging conversation! Prepare yourself for some mid-brow chatter, snacks, and reading. We're aiming for one book a month, democratic voting selection, and wide array of subject matters probably heavily leaning towards fiction. Did I mention the snacks?

Here are a few useful tips for joining our discussions:

- You're welcome to join even if you haven't finished the book! Often people who haven't finished find the discussion a helpful motivator to finish things up. The one caveat is, be prepared for spoilers.

- You're welcome to join even if you're on the wait list. We certainly wouldn't want to turn anyone away.

- Newcomers are always welcome! We enjoy hearing new points of view and fresh perspectives.

- Typically we meet at the Democracy Center (45 Mt Auburn St., Cambridge MA) in the Rosa Parks room. The Rosa Parks room is on your right after you walk through the front door on Mt. Auburn St. The Democracy Center is a free, non-profit space that is very generously offering us its space, but doesn't have any food service. So you won't be able to order food or drinks, but feel free to bring your own! We'll also pass the hat for donations to the Democracy Center at the end - so if you could chip in a few bucks, that would be lovely.

- The group is volunteer-run and we definitely encourage members to step up and help out. If you are interested in leading a discussion, joining the organizers group, or organizing a one-off event (like a movie outing, trivia night, author event at a local bookstore, etc.) please get in touch! The more the merrier.

Upcoming events (2)

May: THE LIBRARY BOOK, by Susan Orlean

Democracy Center

Join us in May back at the Democracy Center to talk about THE LIBRARY BOOK, by Susan Orlean (the bestselling author of The Orchid Thief). A dazzling love letter to a beloved institution—and an investigation into one of its greatest mysteries—from the bestselling author hailed as a “national treasure” by The Washington Post. On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm. As one fireman recounted, “Once that first stack got going, it was ‘Goodbye, Charlie.’” The fire was disastrous: it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who? Weaving her lifelong love of books and reading into an investigation of the fire, award-winning New Yorker reporter and New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean delivers a mesmerizing and uniquely compelling book that manages to tell the broader story of libraries and librarians in a way that has never been done before. In The Library Book, Orlean chronicles the LAPL fire and its aftermath to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives; delves into the evolution of libraries across the country and around the world, from their humble beginnings as a metropolitan charitable initiative to their current status as a cornerstone of national identity; brings each department of the library to vivid life through on-the-ground reporting; studies arson and attempts to burn a copy of a book herself; reflects on her own experiences in libraries; and reexamines the case of Harry Peak, the blond-haired actor long suspected of setting fire to the LAPL more than thirty years ago. Along the way, Orlean introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters from libraries past and present—from Mary Foy, who in 1880 at eighteen years old was named the head of the Los Angeles Public Library at a time when men still dominated the role, to Dr. C.J.K. Jones, a pastor, citrus farmer, and polymath known as “The Human Encyclopedia” who roamed the library dispensing information; from Charles Lummis, a wildly eccentric journalist and adventurer who was determined to make the L.A. library one of the best in the world, to the current staff, who do heroic work every day to ensure that their institution remains a vital part of the city it serves. Brimming with her signature wit, insight, compassion, and talent for deep research, The Library Book is Susan Orlean’s thrilling journey through the stacks that reveals how these beloved institutions provide much more than just books—and why they remain an essential part of the heart, mind, and soul of our country. It is also a master journalist’s reminder that, perhaps especially in the digital era, they are more necessary than ever. “A constant pleasure to read…Everybody who loves books should check out The Library Book.” —The Washington Post *** Remember to bring $$$ for the collection we take up for the Democracy Center! *** *** Consider chipping in to help out with the costs for hosting this meetup by contributing to our meetup group at https://tinyurl.com/bookclub-chipin *** See you there! Diane

June: MAID, by Stephanie Land

Democracy Center

In June we are reading one of the most anticipated memoirs for 2019, MAID, by Stephanie Land. (NOTE: In June we are meeting on the second Sunday.) At 28, Stephanie Land's plans of breaking free from the roots of her hometown in the Pacific Northwest to chase her dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer were cut short when a summer fling turned into an unexpected pregnancy. She turned to housekeeping to make ends meet, and with a tenacious grip on her dream to provide her daughter the very best life possible, Stephanie worked days and took classes online to earn a college degree, and began to write relentlessly. She wrote the true stories that weren't being told: the stories of overworked and underpaid Americans. Of living on food stamps and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) coupons to eat. Of the government programs that provided her housing, but that doubled as halfway houses. The aloof government employees who called her lucky for receiving assistance while she didn't feel lucky at all. She wrote to remember the fight, to eventually cut through the deep-rooted stigmas of the working poor. Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it's like to be in service to them. "I'd become a nameless ghost," Stephanie writes about her relationship with her clients, many of whom do not know her from any other cleaner, but who she learns plenty about. As she begins to discover more about her clients' lives-their sadness and love, too-she begins to find hope in her own path. Her compassionate, unflinching writing as a journalist gives voice to the "servant" worker, and those pursuing the American Dream from below the poverty line. Maid is Stephanie's story, but it's not her alone. It is an inspiring testament to the strength, determination, and ultimate triumph of the human spirit. *** Remember to bring $$$ for the collection we take up for the Democracy Center! *** *** Consider chipping in to help out with the costs for hosting this meetup by contributing to our meetup group at https://tinyurl.com/bookclub-chipin *** See you there! Diane

Past events (121)

April: A VERY ENGLISH SCANDAL, by John Preston

Saloniki Greek

Photos (49)