Waltham Public Library
Book Club


Thursday Evenings from 7:30 to 8:45 PM
In the Trustees Room, 2nd Floor.



Book Lists from Recent Years:
2003    2004    2005    2006    2007    2008    2009    2010    2011    2012    2013


A Selected list of past books
Alphabetically by Author

A | B | C | D |E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Second Chances by Alice Adams
This novel relates the experiences occuring in the course of a year to a group of six friends.

Harbor by Lorraine Adams
Chronicles "the desperate, confused, marginal lives of a group of Arab Muslims in Boston,Montreal, and Brooklyn." From Amazon.com

A Death in the Family by James Agee
A loving and closely-knit family responds with great courage when sudden tragedy changes the lives of those who are left behind.

Brick Lane by Monica Ali
“The tale of one woman, Nazneen, born in a Bangladeshi village and transported to London at age eighteen to enter into an arranged marriage.” (From the Publisher)

Bastard out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
Set in South Carolina, an illegitimate child finds herself caught in a family triangle and poverty that will test her ability to survive and the loyalty of her mother.

Midnight Champagne by A. Manette Ansay
"April Liesgang and Caleb Shannon have known each other for just three short months, so their Valentine's Day wedding at a chapel near the shores of Lake Michigan has both families in an uproar." (Amazon.Com)

The Dollmaker by Hariette Arnow
The story of an uneducated but courageous dollmaker from the Kentucky hills who must uproot her family to join her husband because of his wartime job in Detroit.

Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Through the use of psychiatry, Hari Seldon has seen that the Empire is coming to an end.

Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
"Ruby Lennox begins narrating her own life at the moment of her conception, and from there takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of a girl determined to learn more about her family and the secrets it keeps." (Amazon.Com)

Regeneration by Pat Barker
An historical novel exploring Siegfried Sassoon ‘s (celebrated poet and decorated war hero) psychiatric treatment at Craiglockhart War Hospital in 1917. First of a trilogy.

Gracefully Insane by Alex Beam
"The insane asylum seems to be the goal of every good and conscious Bostonian," Clover Adams wrote in 1879. A portrait of New England's McLean Hospital, weaving patients' and employees' stories with an informal review of mental health treatments through the years.

Falling in Place by Ann Beattie
In the summer of 1979, a man attempts to escape a threadbare suburban marriage by having an affair with a college student who is herself trying to escape drug-dazed friends.

Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd
"Young, alone, and far from her family in Britain, Hope Clearwater contemplates the extraordinary events that left her washed up like driftwood on Brazzaville Beach." (Amazon.Com)

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
In a society where books are illegal, firemen start the book-burning fires.

Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner
After abandoning her fiance, a woman retreats to a sedate, Swiss hotel observing fellow guests and considering a new marriage proposal.

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
“A Harvard symbologist is shocked to find proof that the legendary secret society, the Illuminati--dedicated since the time of Galileo to promoting the interests of science and condemning the blind faith of Catholicism--is alive, well, and murderously active.” (Amazon.com)

Before and After by Rosellen Brown
A suburban couple grapples with unthinkable possibilities when mounting evidence suggests that their teenage son is guilty of a brutal murder.

The Deep Green Sea by Robert Olen Butler
"A memorable and incandescent love story between Tien, a contemporary Vietnamese woman orphaned in 1975, and Ben, a Vietnam veteran who returns from America to a war-torn land." (Amazon.Com)

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Anthills of the Savannah By Chinua Achebe
The portrait of a West African military coup leader and his moral deterioration. (Amazon.com)

The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter
A young orphaned boy is adopted by his Cherokee grandmother and half-Cherokee grandfather in the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee during the Great Depression.

Cathedral by Raymond Carver
A collection of stories in which troubled heroes are threatened by the onslaught of overwhelming feelings and despair.

The Professor's House by Willa Cather
While his family responds positively to sudden wealth and success, an aging professor finds only distress. He clings desperately to his old house, his old books, and scholarly solitude.

During the Reign of the Queen of Persia by Joan Chase
The story of three generations of women on an Ohio farm in the 1950’s and of the tough matriarch (the "Queen of Persia") who holds the family together.

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
A painting by Vermeer inspires this fictional story of a servant whose yearnings are at odds with her lowly status.

The Foreign Student by Susan Choi
"The Foreign Student is the story of a young Korean man, scarred by war, and the deeply troubled daughter of a wealthy Southern American family." (Amazon.Com)

The Awakening by Kate Chopin
First published in 1899, Chopin presents a woman who, in search of self-discovery, turns away from convention and society and toward the primal, irresistibly attracted to nature and the senses.

River Cross my Heart by Breena Clarke
"A novel of tragedy and triumph in the life of an African American family in Georgetown, circa 1925." (Amazon.Com)

Family Happiness by Laurie Colwin
A happy wife and mother must rethink her beliefs about marriage and family when she finds herself embarked on a completely unexpected love affair.

Body and Soul by Frank Conroy
A fatherless street urchin moves from failure and poverty to success in the world of music and maturity in matters of the heart.

The Hours by Michael Cunningham
"The Hours tells the story of three women: Virginia Woolf, beginning to write Mrs. Dalloway as she recuperates in a London suburb with her husband in 1923; Clarissa Vaughan, beloved friend of an acclaimed poet dying from AIDS, who in modern-day New York is planning a party in his honor; and Laura Brown, in a 1949 Los Angeles suburb, who slowly begins to feel the constraints of a perfect family and home." (Amazon.Com)

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Breath, Eyes, and Memory by Edwidge Danticat
The haunting life of a young Haitian girl.

Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat
"The crimes and tragedies that one generation barely survives, the next must reconcile." Booklist

The Orphan Game by Ann Darby
This book tells the story of a young woman’s passage from the troubled family she’s longing to escape to the "family" she struggles to create when she is forced into an early adulthood. As the war in Vietnam escalates and as brush fires blacken the California foothills, the Harris family shatters and its members are driven to find new ways to live with one another.

Song of the Exile by Kiana Davenport
"Song of the Exile follows the fortunes of the Meahuna family--and the odyssey of one resilient man searching for his soul mate after she is torn from his side by the forces of war." (Amazon.Com)

White Noise by Don Delilo
A college professor and his family live in a small Midwestern town which is evacuated after an industrial accident.

Fortunate Lives by Robb Dew
During a summer of transition, the Howell family must adjust to the imminent departure of the eldest son for his first year of college.

Paris Trout by Peter Dexter
A solitary, violent businessman exploits the black community of his small Southern town by lending money at extortionate rates.

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Jacob's daughter, Dinah, (who received a glimpse of recognition in the Book of Genesis) is initiated into the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood.

The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diamant
"Set in early 1800s Massachusetts...Diamant reimagines the community of castoffs-widows, prostitues, orphans, African-Americans and ne'er-do-wells-all eking out a harsh living in the barren terrain of cape Ann." Based on Publishers weekly

World's Fair by E.L. Doctorow
"The astonishing novel of a young boy's life in the New York City of the 1930s" (Amazon.Com)

Mourner's Bench by Susan Dodd
Leandra's "quiet, isolated life takes an unexpected turn when her sister's husband, Wim, appears, a man she has not seen for ten years, since their urgent love affair ended in tragedy." (Amazon.Com)

Stones for Ibarra by Harriet Doerr
A couple moves to a remote Mexican village to reopen a copper mine abandoned by his family fifty years before.

A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris
Three generations of Indian women offer varying perspectives of their lives on a Montana reservation.

Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle
A 10 year old boy who roams his working class Dublin neighborhood with friends by day tries to make sense of his parents' nightly fights.

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Walking Across Egypt by Clyde Edgerton
An independent but lonely woman of 78 years befriends and feeds an illegitimate and delinquent adolescent.

Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
"A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is the moving memoir of a college senior who, in the space of five weeks, loses both of his parents to cancer and inherits his seven-year-old brother." (Amazon.Com)

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
"The stories of two men:Daniel H.Burnham, the Architect responsible for the construction of the 1983 Chicago World's Fair and H.H.Holmes a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor." From Amazon.com

Peace like a River by Leif Engers
A young man grapples with loyalty and faith as he follows his fugitive brother.

The Beet Queen by Louise Erdrich
The adventures of a little girl abandoned by her widowed mother.

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
“Tita falls in love with Pedro, but they may not marry, since family tradition dictates that the youngest daughter remain at home to care for her mother. Instead, Mama Elena orchestrates the marriage of Pedro and her eldest daughter Rosaura and forces Tita to prepare the wedding dinner.” (Library Journal)

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The Girl at the Lion D'Or by Sebastian Faulks
"A mysterious young girl arrives to take up the post at the seedy Hotel du Lion D'Or in a small French town in the mid 1930s." (Amazon.Com)

The Sportswriter by Richard Ford
A study of the monotany of modern life and an uncommitted man who, over the course of an Easter week, suddenly stirs.

A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
In "clash of cultures in British India after the turn of the century...Forster reveals the menace lurking just beneath the surface of ordinary life, as a common misunderstanding erupts into a devestating affair." (book jacket)

Hanna's Daughters by Marianne Fredriksson
"This luminous story follows three generations of Swedish women--a grandmother, a mother, and a daughter--whose lives are linked through a century of great love and great loss." (Amazon.Com)

The Women's Room by Marilyn French
A woman learns to understand and accept herself.

My Summer with George by Marilyn French
When Hermione Beldame, a women's romance writer, "meets George, a southern newspaper editor, his shy, handsome honesty is a little too much for her vulnerable self." (Amazon.Com)

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Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney
"Though these sisters of the heart and soul have seen it all, talked through it all, Emma, Rudy, Lee, and Isabel will not be prepared for a crisis of astounding proportions that will put their love and courage to the ultimate test." (Amazon.Com)

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
"In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermino Daza fall passionately in love." "Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, (Florentino) will do so again," at her husband's funeral. (Amazon.Com)

Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons
This novel chronicles the lives of three generations of Southern women.

The Finishing School by Gail Godwin
A woman remembers a special friendship she held with a middle-aged woman when she was an adolescent.

Bee Season by Myla Goldberg
"When Eliza sweeps her school and district spelling bees in quick succession, (her father) Saul takes it as a sign that she is destined for greatness." (Amazon.Com)

Kaaterskill Falls by Allegra Goodman
"In the summer of '76, the Shulmans and the Melishes migrate to Kaaterskill, the tiny town in upstate New York where Orthodox Jews and Yankee year-rounders live side by side from June through August." (Amazon.Com)

A Sport of Nature by Nadine Gordimer
Traces the adventures of a Jewish South African woman who, inspired by her aunt, becomes involved in African revolutionary causes.

Final Payments by Mary Gordon
A once devout but now disillusioned Catholic woman spends nearly eleven years in isolation while caring for an invalid father. His death allows her to begin a new life and to face the guilt and shame that had crippled her emotionally for years.

Unravelling by Elizabeth Graver
"A beautifully realized novel, in which a young woman triumphantly chooses independence over conformity." (Amazon.Com)

The Giant's House: A Romance by Elizabeth McCracken
"An unusual love story about a little librarian on Cape Cod and the tallest boy in the world." From the publisher

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
A beautifully realized novel, in which a young woman triumphantly chooses independence over conformity.

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Plainsong by Kent Haruf
"Kent Haruf reveals a whole community as he interweaves the stories of a pregnant high school girl, a lonely teacher, a pair of boys abandoned by their mother, and a couple of crusty bachelor farmers." (Amazon.Com)

Eventideby Kent Haruf
"Haruf continuous the story he told in plainsong, returning to tiny Holt, Colorado, and the cattle ranch of the elderly,laconic, and kind McPheron brothers,Harold and Raymond." From Booklist

Life Estates by Shelby Hearon
Explores the long-term friendship between Sarah from the Blue Ridge Mountains of South Carolina and Harriet from East Texas, both recent widows.

Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
The story of an outcast living in a small German town during World War II.

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
“Tom Ripley travels to Italy with a commission to coax a prodigal young American back to his wealthy father. But Ripley finds himself very fond of Dickie Greenleaf. He wants to be like him--exactly like him.” (Ingram)

Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg
Set in Copenhagan, a woman investigates the death of her neighbor and discovers a group involved in drug trafficking and mysterious scientific experiments.

Blue Diary by Alice Hoffman
"One day the police show up at (the door of Ethan Ford) and his life as an irreproachable family man and heroic volunteer fireman begins to come apart." (Amazon.Com)

Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman
A divorcee moves to the suburbs of New York City in 1959 where all alone she manages work, her sons, and assorted domestic duties with a quirky flair.

Waiting to Vanish by Ann Hood
A father’s death spurs the disintegration of a New England clan forcing the survivors to reevaluate the meaning of family.

About a Boy by Nick Hornby
"About a Boy stars a guy called Will, who doesn't really want any children. He wonders why it bothers people that he lives so happily alone in his fashionable, Lego-free flat, with massive speakers, and an expensive cream-colored rug that no kid has ever thrown up on." (Amazon.Com)

Bone People by Keri Hulme
A blend of dream, myth, and harsh reality, this is the story of a New Zealand woman whose life is altered by love and brutality when she befriends a mute boy and his Maori foster father, Joe.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
“Fair and long-legged, independent and articulate, Janie Crawford sets out to be her own person -- no mean feat for a black woman in the '30s.” (From the Publisher)

Mark of the Angel by Nancy Huston
"The Mark of the Angel is a haunting and unforgettable tale of three lives woven together by longing, fate, and the weight of history." (Amazon.com)

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A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
Set in New Hampshire in the 1950’s, a short boy with a squeaky voice forsees his own death and sees himself as an instrument of god.

Daughter of Fortune by Isable Allende
"A bold Chileansenortia, oregnant by her young lover, follows him to San Francisco during the Gold Rush." From Audio File

Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
While preparing to meet the needs of a new master, an aging butler reflects on the glory that was Darlington Hall in the 1930’s and on his first master, Lord Darlington. He begins to question years of devoted, loyal service and personal sacrafice.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
"As Childern Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school in the english country side. I was a palce of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were." from the publisher

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Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh
"The Novak brothers find geographic and economic escape routes; the sisters in turn all leave Bakerton, but need obligation and family ties pull them back. Washington Post's Bookworld/washingtonpost.com

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
"One of literature’s most gripping ghost stories depicts the sinister transformation of two innocent children into flagrant liars and hypocrites." (Amazon.Com)

Typical American by Gish Jen
"A trio of young Chinese immigrants slowly transform into everything they once despised in the ""typical American"" as they set out after their dreams and create their own suburban paradise." (Ingram)

Waiting by Ha Jin
"Every Summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu."

The Known World by Edward P. Jones
“A plantation proprietor and former slave now possesses slaves of his own. When he dies, his household falls apart in the wake of a slave rebellion and corrupt patrollers who enable free black people to be sold into slavery.” (Novelist)

The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger
"Creating waves ten stories high and winds of 120 miles an hour, the storm whipped the sea to inconceivable levels few people on Earth have ever witnessed. Few, except the six-man crew of the Andrea Gail, a commercial fishing boat tragically headed towards its hellish center." (Amazon.Com)

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Floating World by Cynthia Kadohata
A Japanese-American woman’s life is revealed through a series of episodes and adventures that highlight her past.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
A "tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, thet takes us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the atrocities of the present." From the publisher

The Unwanted: A Memoir of Childhoodby Kien Nguyen
When Saigon fell to the Viet COng in 1975, Nguyen was "left to a nighmarish existence in a violed and decimatedcountry... more at risk than most because of his odd blond hair & his light eyes." From the publisher

Ironweed by William Kennedy
A one-time professional baseball player walks out on his family. After 22 years of shame, guilt, and poverty, he decides to return for a visit.

Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
A coming-of-age story set in the early 1960's against a background of racial violence and unrest. The legend of the Black Madonna and brave, kind, peculiar female characters place the novel in the tradition of the Southern Gothic.

Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid
Set in Antigua, an adolescent girl becomes estranged from her mother.

Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver
A woman abandons a medical career to look after an aging father in Arizona, and to discover her past.

Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
"In 1959, Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist, takes his four young daughters, his wife, and his mission to the Belgian Congo -- a place, he is sure, where he can save needy souls. But the seeds they plant bloom in tragic ways within this complex culture." (Amazon.Com)

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
This book "weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives amid the mountains and farms of southern Appalachia." (Amazon.Com)

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
Set in Czechloslavakia after the 1968 Soviet invasion, the novel chronicles the life of a gifted surgeon and compulsive womanizer .

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Patty Jane's House of Curl by Lorna Landvik
Two "Minnesota sisters have opened a neighborhood beauty parlor complete with live harp music and an endless supply of delicious Norwegian baked goods." (Amazon.Com)

The Diviners by Margaret Laurence
A Scottish immigrant to Ontario faces the challenge of raising a daughter alone. While doing so, she comes to know herself and to respect her own creative powers.

The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence
His classic story of a family of Midland farmers and the tides of passion and conflict within them.

Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of age in the Bronx by Adrian LeBlanc
"The American outlaw saga lurking behind the headlines of gangsta glamour, gold-drenched drug dealers and street-corner society." From the Publisher

China Boy by Gus Lee
Warm, funny and deeply moving, Gus Lee’s semi-autobiographical account of growing up in a conflict-ridden family, unable to fully embrace either American or Chinese culture, is an enthralling story of family relationships, the perils of boyhood, and the difficulty of being Chinese in 1950’s San Francisco.

The Serpent's Gift by Helen Elaine Lee
Two African American families, united at first by tragedy, go on to thrive giving testament to the strength of family and the power of storytelling.

Breath and Shadows by Ela Leffland
"Breath and Shadows is about three pairs of people (from the same family) who live in widely separated periods of time -- the late 1700s, late 1800s, and late 1900s." (Amazon.Com)

Memoirs of a Survivor by Doris Lessing
A projection into the near future when technical structures breakdown and society is forging new patterns among the chaos. A woman finds her strength when a young girl come into her care.

Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts
"Letts's debut novel concerns a pregnant teenage girl who finds a new life among the quirky inhabitants of a small town in Oklahoma." (Publisher's Weekly)

The Inn at Lake Devine by Elinor Lipman
A family, inquiring about summer openings at a Vermont inn, receives a civil response, which ends, "Our guests who feel most comfortable here, and return year after year, are Gentiles." A comedy about the power of pride and place.

Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa
Aspiring writer Mario falls in love with his Aunt Julia; his success at writing and romance contrasts with the fortunes of a devoted but declining author of radio soap operas.

Jewel by Bret Lott
"a woman's devotion to the child who is both her burden and God's singular way of smiling on her." (Amazon.Com)

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Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz
"The first book of the Cairo Trilogy recreates turn-of-the-century Cairo, with characters who are simultaneously disciplined and sensual." (Amazon.Com)

Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood
The narrator of the novel, is a Canadian painter of some reknown who, at 50, has returned to her childhood city of Toronto for a retrospective of her work. Memories of an old friend surface.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
"Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead[formerly the United States]. She may levae the home of the COmmander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose are now pictures instaed of words because women are no longer allowed to read." From the publisher

Rules of the Wild by Francesca Marciano
"A mesmerizing novel of love and nostalgia set in the vast spaces of contemporary East Africa." (Amazon.Com)

Great Short Works by Mark Twain
"Selected works of humor and criticism by a revered American master."
Brown Girl, Brownstones by Paule Marshall
"Somewhat autobiographical, this groundbreaking work describes the coming of age of Selina Boyce, a Caribbean-American girl in New York City in the mid-20th century." (The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature)

The Color of Water by James McBride
The story of Ruth McBride Jordan, the two good men she married, and the 12 good children she raised in all-black lower-income neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens, where there were abundant opportunities for her children to get into major trouble.

Miracle at St. Anna by James McBride
Black American soldiers fight the German army in the mountains of Italy around the village of St. Anna of Stazzema in December, 1944.

The Object of my Affection by Stephan McCauley
When 26 year old George is kicked out by his lover, Robert, he moves into the terminally disordered apartment of Nina and eventually becomes a surrogate, unwed father to her child.

Ferris Beach by Jill McCorkle
A woman tells of growing up in a small town in the South in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Charming Billy by Alice McDermott
"Billy Lynch's family and friends have gathered at a small Bronx bar. They have come to comfort his widow and to eulogize one of the last great romantics, trading tales of his famous humor, immense charm, and unfathomable sorrow." (Amazon.Com)

School for the Blind by Dennis McFarland
An old , retired photographer and lifelong bachelor moves to Florida to live near his spinster sister. Strange memories surface as the two spend time together and become involved in solving a mystery.

Shadow Baby by Alison McGhee
"Eleven-year-old Clara is struggling to find the truth about her missing father and grandfather and her twin sister, dead at birth, but her mother steadfastly refuses to talk about these people who are lost to her daughter." (Amazon.Com)

While I was Gone by Sue Miller
"When an old housemate settles in her small town, the fabric of Jo's life begins to unravel: seduced again by the enticing possibility of another self and another life, she begins a dangerous flirtation that returns her to the darkest moment of her past and imperils all she loves." (Amazon.Com)

Evening by Susan Minot
"As 65-year-old cancer patient Ann Grant Lord drifts in and out of a morphine-induced haze, her recollections range back and forth between 1954 and 1994, mulling over the influences that have shaped her life." (Publisher's Weekly)

Lost in Translation by Nicole Mones
"Hired by an archaeologist searching for the bones of Peking Man, Alice joins an expedition that penetrates a vast, uncharted land and brings Professor Lin Shiyang into her life. As they draw closer to unearthing the secret of Peking Man, as the group's every move is followed, their every whisper recorded, Alice and Lin find shelter in each other, slowly putting to rest the ghosts of their pasts." (Amazon.Com)

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
"Born in poland and a WWII refugee in New York, Leo has become invisible to the world... What's really missing in his life is the woman he has always loved, the son who doesn't know the Leo is his father, and his lost novel. called The History of Love, which un beknownst to Leo, was published ago in chile under a different man's name." Publishers Weekly

Gap Creek by Robert Morgan
"Julie Harmon works hard, "hard as a man" they say, so hard that at times she's not sure she can stop. People depend on her. She is just a teenager when her brother dies in her arms. The following year, she marries Hank and moves to Gap Creek. Julie and Hank discover that the modern world is complex, grinding ever on without pause or concern for their hard work." (Amazon.Com)

Vanished by Mary McGarry Morris
A simple, good-hearted, laborer is lured away from his family by a young woman with criminal tendencies. They kidnap a girl and spend five years on the road together.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime By Mark Haddon
"Narrated by a fifteen-year-old autistic savant obsessed with SHerlock Holmes," this story "weaves together an old-fashioned mystery, a contemporary coming-of-age story, and fascinating excursion into a mind incapable of processing emotions." From the publisher

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Touches of fantasy, fable, and song highlight the telling of Macon Dead’s life. Dead had money, women, and prestige in black middle-class circles. At 32 he went South. In the wilds of virginia, he faces death and emerges committed to life as a Black man who knows who he is.

Jasmine by Bharti Mukherjee
The lifestory and travels of an Indian woman.

The Green Knight by Iris Murdoch
Biblical and Medieval themes play themselves out in contemporary London when a stranger prevents a man from murdering his brother and later makes specific and ultimately fatal demands for reparation.

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Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
“A memoir about teaching Western literature in revolutionary Iran, with profound and fascinating insights into both. “ Bernard Lewis, author of What Went Wrong?

Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor
Poor black women fight courageously to keep their families together and to make homes in a tenement building.

Myenne Bone by Fae Ng
An Asian-American family struggles to survive in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
"The story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course." From the publisher

The Museum Guard by Howard Norman
"Set against the impending events of World War II, The Museum Guard, the second book of his Canadian trilogy, explores the mysteries of identity and self-determination, and the desire to step out of the ordinary into an alluring and dangerous sphere of action." (Amazon.Com)

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In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O'Brien
Stained by his experiences in Vietnam, one man faces destruction when the darkest secrets from his past become known to his wife.

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
"Told by Will Tweedy,a fourteen-year-old boy living in a small, turn-of -the-century Georgia town... When Grandpa Rucker suddenly marries his store's young milliner barely three weeks after his wife death, the town is set on its ear." From 500Great Books by Women

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Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
Joined by no common language except music, 58 international hostages and their captors forge unexpected bonds.

Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett
A memoir of Patchett’s friendship with Autobiography of a Face author Lucy Grealy. “Patchett's own self-perception as the straight arrow to her friend's daredevilry is disclosed across time, as is Grealy's increasingly frenetic chase for a reconstructed face and, as important, for fame earned through writing.” (School Library Journal)

I Don't Know How She Does It by Allision Pearson
"Plagued by guilt, Kate keeps a 'must remember' list longer than her arm, shows up important meetings with baby spit-up on her Armani jacket, and defaces supermarket bakery items so that they will look homemade at her daughter's bake sale." Library Journal

Beaming Sonny Home by Cathie Pelletier
"When her wayward boy Sonny takes two women and a poodle hostage in his ex-wife's trailer, Mattie finds herself at the center of a drama that has the whole nation glued to their TV's." (Amazon.Com)

Love in the Ruins by Walker Percy
A comedy of love set against a field of anarchy. Dr. Thomas More, a defender of order in Paradise, invents an "ontological Lapsometer", a machine that can cure the ills caused by mechanistic vision of life.

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
"Kate Fitzgerald has a rare from of leukemia. Her Sister, Anna, was conceived to provide a donor match for procedures that become increasingly invasive." Publishers weekly

Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult
"Paige's mother left when she was five. When Paige becomes a mother herself, she is overwhelmed by the demands. Unable to forget her past, Paige struggles with the difficulties of marriage and motherhood." (Ingram)

Small Changes by Marge Piercy
Follows the crisscrossing lives of two women and records subtle transformations in their loves and careers.

The Grass Dancer by Susan Power
The history, pride, tradition, and magic of an ancient people is conveyed through the lifestories inhabitants of a North Dakota reservation share with each other.

Accordion Crimes by Annie Proulx
“The fate of an accordion, built by an ambitious Sicilian immigrant in 1890, connects colorful and hair-rasing tales that ultimately span a century of American madness.” (Booklist)

The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
An abandoned husband retreats with his two daughters to his ancestral home in Newfoundland where he attempts to reclaim his life.

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Black & Blue by Anna Quindlen
"For eighteen years, Fran Benedetto kept her secret. And hid her bruises. And stayed with Bobby because she wanted her son to have a father. And because, in spite of everything, she loved him. Then one night, when she saw the look on her ten-year-old son's face, Fran finally made a choice--and ran for both their lives." (Amazon.Com)

Object Lessons by Anna Quindlen
A summer in the life of an Irish-American family in suburban New York in the 1960’s.

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Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
First introduced as a character in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, this novel imagines the childhood of Antoinette Bertha Cosway, the insane wife of Mr. Rochester who is kept hidden in the attic. Here Antoinette’s earlier life in Jamaica is described.

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
Ruth and Lucille lose their mother to suicide and find themselves in the care of a kind but quirky aunt. Lucille, embarassed by her aunt’s inability to conform, moves out while Ruth stays to follow her aunt into a transient life of her own.

Loving Kindness by Anne Roiphe
Explores the complicated relationship between mothers and daughters, reason and faith. A mother flies to Israel to oppose the Yeshiva-arranged marriage of her daughter.

August by Judith Rossner
A tale of an analysis with parallel storylines for patient and doctor.

The Ghost Writer by Philip Roth
A promising young writer has dinner with a distinguished old writer and falls in love with the old man’s latest protege.

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Anger by May Sarton
A marriage between an emotional, forthright woman and a reserved man displays the different ways in which men and women express both anger and love.

Make Believe by Joanna Scott
"Joanna Scott offers a moving, powerful, and beautifully written glimpse into the world of a remarkable child adrift in the wake of tragedy." (Amazon.Com)

The Lucky Gourd Shop by Joanna Catherine Scott
"Joanna Scott's richly imagined The Lucky Gourd Shop begins in America, where the adoptive mother of three Korean children tries to find out more about their pasts." (Amazon.Com)

Caucasia by Danzy Senna
"Growing up in a biracial family in 1970s Boston, Birdie has seen her family disintegrate due to the increasing racial tensions. Her father and older sister move to Brazil, where they hope to find true racial equality, while Birdie and her mother drift through the country, eventually adopting new identities (Sheila and Jesse Goldman) and settling in a small New Hampshire town." (Amazon.Com)

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
A gentle parody of the craft of biography-writing, this is the lifestory of one unremarkable woman told in a remarkable way.

Homeplace by Anne River Siddons
A successful New York journalist and her young daughter return to the South because of the illness of her father and confronts the memories and trauma of her past.

Anywhere but Here by Mona Simpson
A woman seeking wealth, fame, and glamour, both for herself and her adolescent daughter, runs away to California leaving her mother, sister, and small-town boredom behind.

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
Chronicles and portrays the struggles of a contemporary American farming family in the Midwest.

White Teeth by Zadie Smith
"Set in London and spanning more than 25 years, with recollections and accounts back to earlier days, it presents the combined story of the Jones and Iqbal families." (Booklist)

Coconuts for the Saint by Debra Spark
Set in Puerto Rico, a woman grows close to a mysterious widower and his three daughters.

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
“Two couples meet during the Depression years in Madison, Wis., and become devoted friends despite vast differences in upbringing and social status.” (Publishers Weekly)

Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout
"In most ways, Isabelle and Amy are like any mother and her 16-year-old daughter, a fierce mix of love and loathing exchanged in their every glance. And eating, sleeping, and working side by side in the gossip-ridden mill town of Shirley Falls doesn't help matters. But when Amy is discovered behind the steamed-up windows of a car with her math teacher, the vast and icy distance between mother and daughter becomes unbridgeable." (Amazon.Com)

Sophie's Choice by Willian Styron
Set in post-war New York, a concentration camp survivor and her brillant but paranoid lover befriend their new neighbor, a young man who has left his native South to write a great novel in the big city. Slowly, as the youth becomes a man, the survivor shares the horrors of her past while her lover’s mental condition deteriorates.

The Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri
"Vishnu is a dying vagrant whose only home is the stairwell of the building. His waning health presents numerous problems for the other residents, giving the author the chance to juxtapose the petty, the sensual, and the eternal in imaginative, perceptive, and distinctively Indian ways." (Audio File)

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The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Chapters in this novel alternate between the lives of four Chinese women in pre-1949 China and the lives of their American-born daughters in California.

A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor
"Taylor weaves a rich social web in telling the story of one family's stark social decline, symbolized by a move from Nashville to Memphis, and of the consequences through the years and down the generations." (Amazon.Com)

Mason's Retreat by Christopher Tilghman
"Set on the Eastern shore of Maryland, on the eve of World War II, the story concerns the decline of the once-grand Mason family." (Amazon.Com)

Night of Many Dreams by Gail Tsukiyama
"Emma and Joan are the two daughters of the Lew family, coming of age during and after the turbulent years of World War II." (Amazon.Com)

Dinner at the Homesick by Anne Tyler
The interior life of an unhappy, working-class Baltimore family.

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The Color Purple by Alice Walker
An abused and humiliated African American woman slowly gains the courage to demand happiness and love from life.

Montana, 1948 by Larry Watson
During a summer vacation, a young boy witnesses events that force him to choose between family loyalty and justice.

White Crosses by Lawrence Watson
"After a nighttime accident at the bottom of Sprull Hill in Bentrock, Sheriff Jack Nevelsen is compelled to try and protect a part of his hometown that even a hero would have trouble saving -- its innocence. For most everyone in the community would agree that June Moss, the quiet girl who had just graduated from high school, and Leo Bauer, the principal of Bentrock Elementary and a married man like Jack, had no business heading out of town together." (Amazon.Com)

Hearts and Lives of Men by Fay Weldon
A child is left to wander the world while her elegant parents divorce, remarry, re-divorce, etc.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
"As Sidda struggles to analyze her mother, she comes face to face with the tangled beauty of imperfect love, and the fact that forgiveness, more than understanding, is often what the heart longs for." (Amazon.Com)

The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty
A young woman returns home to face her dying father, her past, and herself.

The Wedding by Dorothy West
Set on Martha’s Vineyard in the 1950’s and focusing on the Black bourgeois community known as the Oval, Dr. and Mrs. Cole prepare unhappily for a marriage between their youngest daughter and a white jazz musician.

Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Set in the New York of the 1870’s, the story of a high-society man who falls in love with a questionable countess just as he has engaged himself to the proper sort of woman.

Dessa Rose by Shirley Williams
"The story of runaway slave Dessa Rose and a white woman who harbors runaways on her isolated farm." (Library Journal)

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
Stranded in the fourteenth century, a time of superstition, plague and fear, time traveler Kivrin becomes an unlikely angel of hope during history's darkest hour.

Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate
"While living in a remote Missouri farmhouse-and struggling to care for her husband, baby, and aging grandmother-Katie Benson finds inspiration in the pages of her grandmother's journal." (Amazon.Com)

Island Justice by Elizabeth Winthrop
"In this compelling, evocative novel set on a small island off the New England coast, Elizabeth Winthrop subtly examines our notions of home." (Amazon.Com)

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Call the Darkness Light by Nancy Zaroulis
A novel of a young woman’s passion and toil in nineteenth-century New England.

The Waltham Public Library Book Club has been meetings for over 25 years...

Click here to see a list of books read at past meetings.