What we're about

A group for anyone interested in reading and discussing memoirs, autobiographies and biographies. Meet new people and enjoy lively discussion. We can change meetup locations and book selections for each month based on group preferences.

Here is the list of everything we've read to date as of March 21, 2020

March 18, 2020: “Murder at the Roosevelt Hotel In Cedar Rapids,” by Langton

February 19, 2020: “My Life In France,” by Julia Child

January 15, 2020: “Lies My Teacher Told Me,” by James Lowewen

November 20, 2019: “Victoria the Queen,” by Baird, second half

October 16, 2019: “Victoria the Queen,” by Baird, first half

September 18, 2019: “The Warmth of Other Suns,” by Isabel Wilkerson, second half

August 21, 2019: “The Warmth of Other Suns,” by Isabel Wilkerson, first half

July 17, 2019: “The Spirit Catches You and You All Fall Down,” by Ann Fadiman

July 2, 2019: “Out of the Darkness: The Story of Mary Ellsen Wilson, Shelman and Lazoritz

May 15, 2019: “Becoming,” by Michelle Obama

April 17, 2019: “Born A Crime,” by Trevor Noah

March 20, 2019: “Black Klansman,” by Ron Stallworth

February 20, 2019: Alexander Hamilton,” by Ron Chernow, second 400 pages

January 16, 2019: Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow, first 400 pages

October 17, 2018: “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, by Margot Lee Shetterly

September 19, 2018: “Run of His Life, People vs. O.J., by Jeffrey Toobin

August 15, 2018: “Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Churchill,” by Sonia Purnell

July 18, 2018: “White Like Her: A Family’s Story of Racial Passing” by Gail Lukasik

June 20, 2018: “Where the Past Begins,” by Amy Tan

May 16, 2018: “Madness: A Bipolar Life” by Marya Hornbacher

April 18, 2018: “Stitches: A Memoir” by David Small

March 21, 2018: “Summer at Tiffany,” by Marjorie Hart

February 21, 2018: “American Heiress, The wild saga of the kidnapping, crimes and trial of Patty Hearst,” by Jeffrey Toobin

January 17, 2018: “The Witches, Salem 1692,” by Stacy Schiff

November 15, 2017: “Twenty-Six Seconds,” by Alexandra Zapruder

October 18, 2017: “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” by Rebecca Skloot

September 20, 2017: “The Boys in the Boat,” by Daniel James Brown

August 16, 2017: "Sleepwalk with Me," by Mike Birbiglia Wonderful discussion lead by Sara Edstrom!

July 19, 2017: "Lab Girl" by Hope Jahren

June 21, 2017: "Rosemary, The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Larson (Most Memorable: Big turnout. There were probably 15 people there.)

May 17, 2017: "Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman" by Richard Feynman

April 19: 2017: "The Light of the World" by Elizabeth Alexander

March 15, 2017: "Bettyville" by George Hodgman (Interview with George Hodgman via skype at Urbandale Library on May 16.)

February 13, 2017: "The Girls from Ames: A story of women and a forty-year friendship

January 18, 2017: "Kitchen Confidential" by Anthony Bourdain

November 16, 2016: "Boys in the Trees: A Memoir" by Carly Simon

October 19, 2016: "An Invisible Thread" by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski

September 21: 2016: "Steve Jobs" by Water Isaacson

April 17, 2016: "When Breath Becomes Air" by Paul Kalanithi

July 20, 2016: "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls

June 15, 2016: "The Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion

May 25, 2016: "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin"

April 20, 2016: "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind," by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

March 30, 2016: "The Good Shufu" by Tracy Slater (Most Memorable: A pop-up Author interview with Tracy Slater who lived in Japan at the time. We got to Q&A with her via skype at Barns and Noble Bookstore on May 3.)

February 17, 2016: "Wave" by Sonali Deraniyagala

January 20, 2016: "Tiny Beautiful Things" by Cheryl Strayed

December 2, 2015: "Me Talk Pretty One Day" by David Sedaris

October 21, 2015: "Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption"

September 16, 2015: "The Water is Wide" by Pat Conroy

August 11, 2015: "The Liar's Club" by Mary Karr

June 9, 2015: Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish

April 7, 2015: "The Girl from Human Street" by Roger Cohen

Upcoming events (2)

Book Discussion My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams

Needs a location

WE WILL MEET IN PERSON OUTDOORS UNLESS THE WEATHER DOES NOT PERMIT IT. IF IT'S RAINING, WE WILL MEET VIA ZOOM, SO CHECK OUT FOR AN EMAIL THE WEEK OF THE DISCUSSION.

“A wonderfully vivid account of the momentous era they lived through, underscoring the chaotic, often improvisatory circumstances that attended the birth of the fledgling nation and the hardships of daily life.”

―Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

In 1762, John Adams penned a flirtatious note to “Miss Adorable,” the 17-year-old Abigail Smith. In 1801, Abigail wrote to wish her husband John a safe journey as he headed home to Quincy after serving as president of the nation he helped create. The letters that span these nearly forty years form the most significant correspondence―and reveal one of the most intriguing and inspiring partnerships―in American history.

As a pivotal player in the American Revolution and the early republic, John had a front-row seat at critical moments in the creation of the United States, from the drafting of the Declaration of Independence to negotiating peace with Great Britain to serving as the first vice president and second president under the U.S. Constitution. Separated more often than they were together during this founding era, John and Abigail shared their lives through letters that each addressed to “My Dearest Friend,” debating ideas and commenting on current events while attending to the concerns of raising their children (including a future president).

Full of keen observations and articulate commentary on world events, these letters are also remarkably intimate. This new collection―including some letters never before published―invites readers to experience the founding of a nation and the partnership of two strong individuals, in their own words. This is history at its most authentic and most engaging.

Book Discussion Tender to the Bone by Ruth Reichl

Needs a location

WE WILL MEET IN PERSON OUTDOORS IF THE WEATHER PERMITS. IF IT'S RAINING, WE WILL MEET VIA ZOOM SO CHECK OUT THE NEWS THE WEEK FO THE EVENT VIA EMAIL OR MESSAGE TO THE GROUP.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “An absolute delight to read . . . How lucky we are that [Ruth Reichl] had the courage to follow her appetite.”—Newsday

At an early age, Ruth Reichl discovered that “food could be a way of making sense of the world. If you watched people as they ate, you could find out who they were.” Her deliciously crafted memoir Tender at the Bone is the story of a life defined, determined, and enhanced in equal measure by a passion for food, by unforgettable people, and by the love of tales well told. Beginning with her mother, the notorious food-poisoner known as the Queen of Mold, Reichl introduces us to the fascinating characters who shaped her world and tastes, from the gourmand Monsieur du Croix, who served Reichl her first foie gras, to those at her politically correct table in Berkeley who championed the organic food revolution in the 1970s. Spiced with Reichl’s infectious humor and sprinkled with her favorite recipes, Tender at the Bone is a witty and compelling chronicle of a culinary sensualist’s coming-of-age.

Past events (79)

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