2018 Book Selections
Thursday, January 18 : Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
Since its first publication in 1826, The Last of the Mohicans has been one of the most popular English-language novels and has been adapted numerous times for film. Set in the upper New York wilderness during the French and Indian War, this is the second book of Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales series.
Thursday, February 15 : The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is caught between two worlds—the lily-white world of the private school she attends and her own neighborhood, where her father is a much-loved grocer but gangs rule the streets. After she sees her childhood friend get shot by a police officer at a traffic stop, those two worlds seem even farther apart, and Starr must find a way to bridge them. Its plot may be ripped from the headlines, but the questions posed by this critically acclaimed young adult novel are timeless.
Thursday, March 15 : The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Edith Wharton won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Age of Innocence, helping establish her as America’s “First Lady of Letters.” The Age of Innocence is the classic Gilded Age story of reputation, love, livelihood, hope, and family.
Thursday, April 19 : The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Whitehead imagines the Underground Railroad as a real railroad, with tracks and trains and conductors, in this Pulitzer Prize winning novel. Follow escaped slave Cora as she makes her way from a cotton plantation in Georgia north to freedom.
Thursday, May 17 : The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
Written in 1895, The Time Machine is an early work of science fiction that gave rise to the idea of travelling through time in a machine. Besides being an imaginative and genre-creating work, economic, political, and sociological ideas are woven into Wells’ suspenseful narrative.
Thursday, June 21 : The Boys in the Bunkhouse by Dan Barry
New York Times columnist Dan Barry tells the story of a group of intellectually disabled men who lived for almost three decades in an abandoned schoolhouse in Atalissa and were forced to work in a turkey processing plant for $65 a month and of the social workers, journalists, and lawyers who eventually freed them. Barry’s account is this year’s All Iowa Reads selection.
Thursday, July 19 : Native Son by Richard Wright
Native Son tells the story of 20-year-old Bigger Thomas, an African American man who lives in utter poverty on the South Side of Chicago and who is trapped in a cycle of violence. Wright portrays a kind of systemic inevitability in the destiny of Bigger and in his lack of choice and hope.
Thursday, August 16 : Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
In the 1920s, oil was discovered in the Osage Indian Reservation, and its residents became among the richest people on earth. Then someone started killing them. New Yorker writer Grann tells the story of the tribe, the murders, and how an undercover FBI team finally began to uncover the truth.
Thursday, September 20 : A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
This is Betty Smith’s classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the beginning of the 20th century that the New York Times called “a profoundly moving novel, and an honest and true one…it cuts right to the heart of life.”
Thursday, October 18 : One Community, One Book: TBA
Each October we read the book selected for the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights’s One Community, One book program. Stay tuned for the announcment of the 2018 title!
Thursday, November 15 : The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
Isabel Archer is a spirited, young American woman who inherits a large amount of money but finds “confronting her destiny” overwhelming. The Portrait of a Lady remains one of James’s most popular works, and is considered by many critics to be his best.
Thursday, December 20 : The Leavers by Lisa Ko
When he is eleven years old, Deming Guo’s mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant disappears. Deming is adopted by a white couple in upstate New York who change his name to Daniel Wilkinson, but as he grows up he yearns to learn more about his mother and his heritage. Barbara Kingsolver chose The Leavers for the PEN/Bellwether Prize for fiction.
Novel Conversations meets on the third Thursday of each month at 7 pm in the Library Board Room. Everyone is welcome!