• The Portsmouth Book Club December Meetup - We Are Legion (We Are Bob)
    Note: This month is our annual Christmas Book Swap! If you would like to participate in the swap, please bring a wrapped book. The book doesn't have to be new, but it must be loved! The book picked for our December meetup is We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor. (Yes - seriously). Get ready for an intergalactic romp! Here is the description from GoodReads: Bob Johansson has just sold his software company and is looking forward to a life of leisure. There are places to go, books to read, and movies to watch. So it's a little unfair when he gets himself killed crossing the street. Bob wakes up a century later to find that corpsicles have been declared to be without rights, and he is now the property of the state. He has been uploaded into computer hardware and is slated to be the controlling AI in an interstellar probe looking for habitable planets. The stakes are high: no less than the first claim to entire worlds. If he declines the honor, he'll be switched off, and they'll try again with someone else. If he accepts, he becomes a prime target. There are at least three other countries trying to get their own probes launched first, and they play dirty. The safest place for Bob is in space, heading away from Earth at top speed. Or so he thinks. Because the universe is full of nasties, and trespassers make them mad - very mad. ------------------------------------ The other books nominated were: The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way by Bill Bryson The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr ---------------------------------- Thanks to all who came out this evening! We had a great discussion on Travels with Charley by Steinbeck. See you all next month!

    The Rusty Hammer

    49 Pleasant Street · Portsmouth, NH

    5 comments
  • The Portsmouth Book Club November Meetup - Travels with Charley
    Our November book discussion will be on Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck. Snyopsis from GoodReads: A quest across America, from the northernmost tip of Maine to California’s Monterey Peninsula To hear the speech of the real America, to smell the grass and the trees, to see the colors and the light—these were John Steinbeck's goals as he set out, at the age of fifty-eight, to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years. With Charley, his French poodle, Steinbeck drives the interstates and the country roads, dines with truckers, encounters bears at Yellowstone and old friends in San Francisco. Along the way he reflects on the American character, racial hostility, the particular form of American loneliness he finds almost everywhere, and the unexpected kindness of strangers. ----------------------------------- The other book nominated were: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy Red Rising by Pierce Brown See you all in November!

    The Rusty Hammer

    49 Pleasant Street · Portsmouth, NH

    5 comments
  • The Portsmouth Book Club October Meetup - The Sympathizer
    The book chosen for the October meeting is The Sympathizer by Viet Thang Nguyen. Here is the synopsis from GoodReads: It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong. The Other Books Nominated were: For Whom the Bell Tolls - Ernest Hemingway Meddling Kids - by Edgar Cantero Kitchen Confidential - by Anthony Bourdain ------------------------------------ Thanks to all who came out to discuss Lincoln in the Bardo. Great discussion as always!

    The Rusty Hammer

    49 Pleasant Street · Portsmouth, NH

    10 comments
  • The Portsmouth Book Club September - Lincoln in the Bardo
    Our September pick is Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. Synopsis from GoodReads: In his long-awaited first novel, American master George Saunders delivers his most original, transcendent, and moving work yet. Unfolding in a graveyard over the course of a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices, Lincoln in the Bardo is a literary experience unlike any other—for no one but Saunders could conceive it. February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returned to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy’s body. From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a thrilling, supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory, where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul. Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices—living and dead, historical and invented—to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end? ----------------------------------------------------------- The other nominations were: Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka Dopesick by Beth Macy The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

    The Rusty Hammer

    49 Pleasant Street · Portsmouth, NH

    7 comments
  • Portsmouth Book Club August - Brain on Fire
    Our August selection is Brain of Fire by Susannah Cahalan. Here is the synopsis from GoodReads: An award-winning memoir and instant New York Times bestseller that goes far beyond its riveting medical mystery, Brain on Fire is the powerful account of one woman’s struggle to recapture her identity. When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened? In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Cahalan tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family’s inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen. -------------------------------------- The other nominees were: Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi ------------------------------------------ Thanks to all who attended the discussion on Sometimes I Lie. Great talk, good times, and good friends. See you in August!

    The Rusty Hammer

    49 Pleasant Street · Portsmouth, NH

    6 comments
  • Portsmouth Book Club July Meetup - Sometimes I Lie
    Our July pick is Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney. Here is the description from GoodReads: My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me: 1. I’m in a coma. 2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore. 3. Sometimes I lie. Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it's the truth? ------------------------------------------------------ Thanks to everyone who came this evening to discuss FantasticLand. You made our 10 years anniversary so memorable! A special thanks to Bob for the cake and the gifts. Wow! ------------------------------------------------------- The other books nominated were: Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

    The Rusty Hammer

    49 Pleasant Street · Portsmouth, NH

    3 comments
  • Portsmouth Book Club June - FantasticLand
    We picked FantasticLand by Mike Bockoven for our July discussion. Here is the description from GoodReads: Since the 1970s, FantasticLand has been the theme park where “Fun is Guaranteed!” But when a hurricane ravages the Florida coast and isolates the park, the employees find it anything but fun. Five weeks later, the authorities who rescue the survivors encounter a scene of horror. Photos soon emerge online of heads on spikes outside of rides and viscera and human bones littering the gift shops, breaking records for hits, views, likes, clicks, and shares. How could a group of survivors, mostly teenagers, commit such terrible acts? Presented as a fact-finding investigation and a series of first-person interviews, FantasticLand pieces together the grisly series of events. Park policy was that the mostly college-aged employees surrender their electronic devices to preserve the authenticity of the FantasticLand experience. Cut off from the world and left on their own, the teenagers soon form rival tribes who viciously compete for food, medicine, social dominance, and even human flesh. This new social network divides the ravaged dreamland into territories ruled by the Pirates, the ShopGirls, the Freaks, and the Mole People. If meticulously curated online personas can replace private identities, what takes over when those constructs are lost? FantasticLand is a modern take on Lord of the Flies meets Battle Royale that probes the consequences of a social civilization built online. ------------------------------------------- Thanks to everyone who attended the discussion of Killers of the Flower Moon! Our other nominations were: Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney The Girls by Emma Cline

    The Rusty Hammer

    49 Pleasant Street · Portsmouth, NH

    9 comments
  • Portsmouth Book Club May Book - Killers of the Flower Moon
    Our May selection is Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. Here is a synopsis of the book: In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe. Then, one by one, they began to be killed off. One Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, watched as her family was murdered. Her older sister was shot. Her mother was then slowly poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more Osage began to die under mysterious circumstances. In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes such as Al Spencer, “the Phantom Terror,” roamed – virtually anyone who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll surpassed more than twenty-four Osage, the newly created F.B.I. took up the case, in what became one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations. But the bureau was then notoriously corrupt and initially bungled the case. Eventually the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only Native American agents in the bureau. They infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest modern techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most sinister conspiracies in American history. A true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history. ----------------------------------------------------------- The other books nominated were: The Whip by Karen Kondazian Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward The Townsman by Pearl S. Buck

    The Rusty Hammer

    49 Pleasant Street · Portsmouth, NH

    5 comments
  • The Portsmouth Bookclub April Meetup California Bones
    When Daniel Blackland was six, he ingested his first bone fragment, a bit of kraken spine plucked out of the sand during a visit with his demanding, brilliant, and powerful magician father, Sebastian. When Daniel was twelve, he watched Sebastian die at the hands of the Hierarch of Southern California, devoured for the heightened magic layered deep within his bones. Now, years later, Daniel is a petty thief with a forged identity. Hiding amid the crowds in Los Angeles―the capital of the Kingdom of Southern California―Daniel is trying to go straight. But his crime-boss uncle has a heist he wants Daniel to perform: break into the Hierarch's storehouse of magical artifacts and retrieve Sebastian's sword, an object of untold power. For this dangerous mission, Daniel will need a team he can rely on, so he brings in his closest friends from his years in the criminal world. There's Moth, who can take a bullet and heal in mere minutes. Jo Alverado, illusionist. The multitalented Cassandra, Daniel's ex. And, new to them all, the enigmatic, knowledgeable Emma, with her British accent and her own grudge against the powers-that-be. The stakes are high, and the stage is set for a showdown that might just break the magic that protects a long-corrupt regime. Extravagant and yet moving, Greg van Eekhout's California Bones is an epic adventure set in a city of canals and secrets and casual brutality--different from the world we know, yet familiar and true.

    The Rusty Hammer

    49 Pleasant Street · Portsmouth, NH

  • Portsmouth Book Club March Meetup Manhattan Beach
    PLEASE NOTE THE DATE CHANGE! Impending snowstorm has resulted in moving the book club to the following Tuesday. Our book for March is Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan. Here is the synopsis from GoodReads: The long-awaited novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, Manhattan Beach opens in Brooklyn during the Great Depression. Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to the house of a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. Anna observes the uniformed servants, the lavishing of toys on the children, and some secret pact between her father and Dexter Styles. Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that had always belonged to men. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. She is the sole provider for her mother, a farm girl who had a brief and glamorous career as a Ziegfield folly, and her lovely, severely disabled sister. At a night club, she chances to meet Styles, the man she visited with her father before he vanished, and she begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have been murdered. Mesmerizing, hauntingly beautiful, with the pace and atmosphere of a noir thriller and a wealth of detail about organized crime, the merchant marine and the clash of classes in New York, Egan’s first historical novel is a masterpiece, a deft, startling, intimate exploration of a transformative moment in the lives of women and men, America and the world. Manhattan Beach is a magnificent novel by one of the greatest writers of our time. ---------------------------------- Thanks to all who came out last night to discuss Everything I Never Told You! The other nominees were: The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

    The Rusty Hammer

    49 Pleasant Street · Portsmouth, NH

    5 comments