• Born a Crime - May Meetup

    The Farmhouse

    The book for May is Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. We have posted information about the book, the author, and discussion questions. The meeting location is listed with the meetup info. Should you RSVP "yes" and then decide not to come, it is helpful if you change your RSVP to "no" or send a message. We wouldn't want you to miss the conversation, so we often wait for late arrivals. It helps to know who plans to attend. Hope to see you in May! Born a Crime Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle. Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life. The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love. The Author Trevor Noah is a comedian from South Africa Discussion Questions https://network.crcna.org/faith-nurture/new-resource-discussion-guide-born-crime-trevor-noah

  • The Great Alone - June Meetup

    622 North Restaurant and Wine Bar

    The book for June is The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. We have posted information about the book, the author, and discussion questions. The meeting location is listed with the meetup info. Should you RSVP "yes" and then decide not to come, it is helpful if you change your RSVP to "no" or send a message. We wouldn't want you to miss the conversation, so we often wait for late arrivals. It helps to know who plans to attend. Hope to see you in June! The Great Alone Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier. Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown. At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources. But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves. The Author (In her words) I was born in September 1960 in Southern California and grew up at the beach, making sand castles and playing in the surf. When I was eight years old, my father drove us to Western Washington where we called home. After working in a trendy advertising agency, I decided to go to law school. "But you're going to be a writer" are the prophetic words I will never forget from my mother. I was in my third-and final-year of law school and my mom was in the hospital, facing the end of her long battle with cancer. I was shocked to discover that she believed I would become a writer. For the next few months, we collaborated on the worst, most cliched historical romance ever written. After my mom's death, I packed up all those bits and pieces of paper we'd collected and put them in a box in the back of my closet. I got married and continued practicing law. Then I found out I was pregnant, but was on bed rest for five months. By the time I'd read every book in the house and started asking my husband for cereal boxes to read, I knew I was a goner. That's when my darling husband reminded me of the book I'd started with my mom. I pulled out the boxes of research material, dusted them off and began writing. By the time my son was born, I'd finished a first draft and found an obsession. The rejections came, of course, and they stung for a while, but each one really just spurred me to try harder, work more. In 1990, I got "the call," and in that moment, I went from a young mother with a cooler-than-average hobby to a professional writer, and I've never looked back. In all the years between then and now, I have never lost my love of, or my enthusiasm for, telling stories. I am truly blessed to be a wife, a mother, and a writer. Discussion Questions http://www.litlovers.com/reading-guides/fiction/11201-great-alone-hannah?start=3

  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - July Meetup

    Sal's Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria West End Radford

    The book for July is The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. We have posted information about the book, the author, and discussion questions. The meeting location is listed with the meetup info. Should you RSVP "yes" and then decide not to come, it is helpful if you change your RSVP to "no" or send a message. We wouldn't want you to miss the conversation, so we often wait for late arrivals. It helps to know who plans to attend. Hope to see you in July! The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be "positive" all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people. For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. "F**k positivity," Mark Manson says. "Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it." In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up. Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—"not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault." Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek. There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives. The Author Mark Manson is a blogger, author and entrepreneur. He specializes in writing personal development advice that doesn't suck. His website MarkManson.net is read by over 2 million people each month. He lives in New York City. Discussion Questions https://tinyurl.com/y6rotb8o

  • A Place for Us - August Meetup

    Bull & Bones Brewhaus

    The book for August is A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza. We have posted information about the book, the author, and discussion questions. The meeting location is listed with the meetup info. Should you RSVP "yes" and then decide not to come, it is helpful if you change your RSVP to "no" or send a message. We wouldn't want you to miss the conversation, so we often wait for late arrivals. It helps to know who plans to attend. Hope to see you in August! A Place for Us A Place for Us unfolds the lives of an Indian-American Muslim family, gathered together in their Californian hometown to celebrate the eldest daughter, Hadia’s, wedding—a match of love rather than tradition. It is here, on this momentous day, that Amar, the youngest of the siblings, reunites with his family for the first time in three years. Rafiq and Layla must now contend with the choices and betrayals that lead to their son’s estrangement—the reckoning of parents who strove to pass on their cultures and traditions to their children; and of children who in turn struggle to balance authenticity in themselves with loyalty to the home they came from. In a narrative that spans decades and sees family life through the eyes of each member, A Place For Us charts the crucial moments in the family's past, from the bonds that bring them together to the differences that pull them apart. And as siblings Hadia, Huda, and Amar attempt to carve out a life for themselves, they must reconcile their present culture with their parent's faith, to tread a path between the old world and the new, and learn how the smallest decisions can lead to the deepest of betrayals. A deeply affecting and resonant story, A Place for Us is truly a book for our times: a moving portrait of what it means to be an American family today, a novel of love, identity and belonging that eloquently examines what it means to be both American and Muslim—and announces Fatima Farheen Mirza as a major new literary talent. The Author Fatima Farheen Mirza was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. Her mother is of a British-Indian family, growing up in Birmingham, England; her father is from Hyderabad, India. Mirza did her undergradute work at the University of California-Riverside and received her M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow. A Place for Us is her first novel. Discussion Questions http://www.litlovers.com/reading-guides/fiction/11321-place-for-us-mirza?start=3

  • My Oxford Year - September Meetup

    Blacksburg Wine Lab

    The book for September is My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan. We have posted information about the book, the author, and discussion questions. The meeting location is listed with the meetup info. Should you RSVP "yes" and then decide not to come, it is helpful if you change your RSVP to "no" or send a message. We wouldn't want you to miss the conversation, so we often wait for late arrivals. It helps to know who plans to attend. Hope to see you in September! My Oxford Year Set amidst the breathtaking beauty of Oxford, this sparkling debut novel tells the unforgettable story about a determined young woman eager to make her mark in the world and the handsome man who introduces her to an incredible love that will irrevocably alter her future—perfect for fans of JoJo Moyes and Nicholas Sparks. American Ella Durran has had the same plan for her life since she was thirteen: Study at Oxford. At 24, she’s finally made it to England on a Rhodes Scholarship when she’s offered an unbelievable position in a rising political star’s presidential campaign. With the promise that she’ll work remotely and return to DC at the end of her Oxford year, she’s free to enjoy her Once in a Lifetime Experience. That is, until a smart-mouthed local who is too quick with his tongue and his car ruins her shirt and her first day. When Ella discovers that her English literature course will be taught by none other than that same local, Jamie Davenport, she thinks for the first time that Oxford might not be all she’s envisioned. But a late-night drink reveals a connection she wasn’t anticipating finding and what begins as a casual fling soon develops into something much more when Ella learns Jamie has a life-changing secret. Immediately, Ella is faced with a seemingly impossible decision: turn her back on the man she’s falling in love with to follow her political dreams or be there for him during a trial neither are truly prepared for. As the end of her year in Oxford rapidly approaches, Ella must decide if the dreams she’s always wanted are the same ones she’s now yearning for. The Author Julia Whelan is a screenwriter, life-long actor, and award-winning narrator. She graduated with a degree in English and Creative Writing from Middlebury College and Oxford University. While in England, her flirtation with tea blossomed into a full-blown love affair, culminating in her eventual certification as a Tea Master. When not writing her own books, you can find her reading other people's out loud into a microphone Discussion Questions https://www.readinggroupguides.com/reviews/my-oxford-year/guide

  • The Library Book - October Meetup

    Whitebarrel Winery

    The book for October is The Library Book by Susan Orlean. We have posted information about the book, the author, and discussion questions. The meeting location is listed with the meetup info. Should you RSVP "yes" and then decide not to come, it is helpful if you change your RSVP to "no" or send a message. We wouldn't want you to miss the conversation, so we often wait for late arrivals. It helps to know who plans to attend. Hope to see you in October! The Library Book On the morning of April 28, 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—delving 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. Furthermore, Orlean brings each department of the library to vivid life through on-the-ground reporting, she studies arson and attempts to burn a copy of a book herself, and she reflects on her own experiences in libraries. Lastly, Orlean reexamines the case of Harry Peak, the blond-haired actor long suspected of setting fire to the LAPL more than thirty years ago. The book is also a master journalist’s reminder that, perhaps especially in the digital era, libraries are more necessary than ever. The Author Julia Whelan is a screenwriter, life-long actor, and award-winning narrator. Susan Orlean is an American journalist. She has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1992, and has contributed articles to Vogue, Rolling Stone, Esquire, and Outside. Discussion Questions http://www.litlovers.com/reading-guides/non-fiction/11396-library-book-orlean?start=3