Discussion questions and more for The Dutch House

We'll be zooming on Wednesday April 28th at 1pm to discuss The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. Email kdixon@hopkintontownlibrary.org if you would like an invitation to the zoom meeting.  If so inclined you can check out discussion questions here.

April title


April's title is The Dutch House by Ann Patchett.  We'll meet (probably via zoom but possibly outside!) on April 28th at 1pm. This book is available in lots of formats including:

  • hardcover copies, including large print editions (email kdixon@hopkintontownlibrary.org to reserve a copy for curbside pickup)
  • hoopla audiobook
  • hoopla ebook
  • Overdrive/Libby audiobook
  • Overdrive/Libby ebook

From the author's website:

Ann Patchett, the New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth and State of Wonder, returns with her most powerful novel to date: a richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go.

“Do you think it’s possible to ever see the past as it actually was?” I asked my sister. We were sitting in her car, parked in front of the Dutch House in the broad daylight of early summer.”

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.

The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakeable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.

Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives they return to the well-worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested.

The Dutch House is the story of a paradise lost, a tour de force that digs deeply into questions of inheritance, love and forgiveness, of how we want to see ourselves and of who we really are. Filled with suspense, you may read it quickly to find out what happens, but what happens to Danny and Maeve will stay with you for a very long time.

More on Disappearing Earth

I hope you are enjoying reading Disappearing Earth for the 3/31 discussion.  I'll be sending out the Zoom link early next week.  In the meantime, Now Read This (a book club from PBS NewsHour and The New York Times) has some great links to material about the book and the author, as well as background information and discussion questions that can all be found here.

March title



Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips

The Library Book Group will meet on Wednesday March 31st at 1pm via Zoom. Please email or call the library to reserve a copy of the book.  Also available as an ebook or audiobook via Overdrive/Libby. 

One of The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2019
National Book Award Finalist
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize
Finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
Finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award
National Best Seller
Spellbinding, moving—evoking a fascinating region on the other side of the world—this suspenseful and haunting story announces the debut of a profoundly gifted writer.
One August afternoon, on the shoreline of the Kamchatka peninsula at the northeastern edge of Russia, two girls—sisters, eight and eleven—go missing. In the ensuing weeks, then months, the police investigation turns up nothing. Echoes of the disappearance reverberate across a tightly woven community, with the fear and loss felt most deeply among its women.
Taking us through a year in Kamchatka, Disappearing Earth enters with astonishing emotional acuity the worlds of a cast of richly drawn characters, all connected by the crime: a witness, a neighbor, a detective, a mother. We are transported to vistas of rugged beauty—densely wooded forests, open expanses of tundra, soaring volcanoes, and the glassy seas that border Japan and Alaska—and into a region as complex as it is alluring, where social and ethnic tensions have long simmered, and where outsiders are often the first to be accused.
In a story as propulsive as it is emotionally engaging, and through a young writer's virtuosic feat of empathy and imagination, this powerful novel brings us to a new understanding of the intricate bonds of family and community, in a Russia unlike any we have seen before. 

February title

 Library Book Group

Wednesday February 24th at 1pm

via zoom

The Henna Artist 

by Alka Joshi

 Copies of the book are available.  
Call 746-3663 or email info@hopkintontownlibrary.org 
to reserve a copy.
Also available on Overdrive/Libby and hoopla.

Vivid and compelling in its portrait of one woman's struggle for fulfillment in a society pivoting between the traditional and the modern, The Henna Artist opens a door into a world that is at once lush and fascinating, stark and cruel.

Escaping from an abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone to the vibrant 1950s pink city of Jaipur. There she becomes the most highly requested henna artist--and confidante--to the wealthy women of the upper class. But trusted with the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own...

Known for her original designs and sage advice, Lakshmi must tread carefully to avoid the jealous gossips who could ruin her reputation and her livelihood. As she pursues her dream of an independent life, she is startled one day when she is confronted by her husband, who has tracked her down these many years later with a high-spirited young girl in tow--a sister Lakshmi never knew she had. Suddenly the caution that she has carefully cultivated as protection is threatened. Still she perseveres, applying her talents and lifting up those that surround her as she does.

Reading Group Guide and more for This Tender Land

Join us this Wednesday at 1pm for a discussion of This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger.

Check out the Reading Group Guide with discussion questions, a Q&A with the author, a Spotify playlist, and a map of the characters' journey.  Here are some photos that inspired the author.

Email kdixon@hopkintontownlibrary.org for the meeting link.

William Kent Krueger discusses THIS TENDER LAND with Barbara Peters

January title


This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

Wednesday January 27th at 1pm via zoom 

Print copies will be available for pickup starting on Tuesday December 29th. There will be large print and audio CD copies too.

Other options for access:

hoopla audiobook

Overdrive/Libby ebook

Ovedrive/Libby audiobook

    (Hint: make sure you are logged in to Overdrive to see copies available to you)


"For fans of Before We Were Yours and Where the Crawdads Sing, a magnificent novel about four orphans on a life-changing odyssey during the Great Depression.

1932, Minnesota—the Lincoln School is a pitiless place where hundreds of Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be educated. It is also home to an orphan named Odie O’Banion, a lively boy whose exploits earn him the superintendent’s wrath. Forced to flee, he and his brother Albert, their best friend Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own.

Over the course of one unforgettable summer, these four orphans will journey into the unknown and cross paths with others who are adrift, from struggling farmers and traveling faith healers to displaced families and lost souls of all kinds. With the feel of a modern classic, This Tender Land is an en­thralling, big-hearted epic that shows how the magnificent American landscape connects us all, haunts our dreams, and makes us whole". ...https://williamkentkrueger.com/standalone/this-tender-land/#about


 Email kdixon@hopkintontownlibrary for more information or the zoom login info.


November/December title


Our next title is Apeirogon by Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin and TransAtlantic

As in previous years, we are combining our November/December book group meeting.  We'll meet (via zoom) on December 9th at 1pm


We will have copies of the hardcover book (as well as a large print edition and audio CD edition) to borrow from the library - just email or call if you'd like to reserve one.

Or use the links below to access the online versions.

Overdrive/Libby audiobook

Overdrive/Libby ebook 



October title


Our October title is The Bear by Andrew Krivak. We'll meet via zoom on Wednesday October 28th at 1pm. Email the library if you would like the zoom login information. And good news for 'real' book lovers - we will have multiple copies of the book available for loan.  Just let us know if we should hold one for you!
Online access links below. FYI - hoopla books are always available - Overdrive/Libby books may have hold lists.

hoopla ebook

hoopla audiobook

Overdrive/Libby ebook

Overdrive/Libby audiobook

 ....and print copies available too! 


 The description of the book sounds like a bit of a departure from our usual reads, so hopefully this will inspire you to read something in a new genre!

In an Edenic future, a girl and her father live close to the land in the shadow of a lone mountain. They possess a few remnants of civilization: some books, a pane of glass, a set of flint and steel, a comb. The father teaches the girl how to fish and hunt, the secrets of the seasons and the stars. He is preparing her for an adulthood in harmony with nature, for they are the last of humankind. But when the girl finds herself alone in an unknown landscape, it is a bear that will lead her back home through a vast wilderness that offers the greatest lessons of all, if she can only learn to listen.

A cautionary tale of human fragility, of love and loss, The Bear is a stunning tribute to the beauty of nature's dominion.


September title


September Book Group

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
by Kim Michele Richardson
September 23rd at 1pm
via zoom
Available formats include 1 hardcover, 1 CD audiobook, ebook and eaudiobook.
 Reserve the hardcover or audio CD version in our catalog. Click on the links below to access the digital versions.
Please let us know if you need help with any of our online resources!  
Author information, discussion questions, videos, reviews and more can be found here!
 The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything—everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome’s got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.

Cussy’s not only a book woman, however, she’s also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy’s family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble. If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she’s going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler.

Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere—even back home.

August title

August title!   
Writers & Lovers by Lily King
Group will meet on Wednesday August 26th at 1pm 
Available formats include 1 hardcover, 1 CD audiobook, ebook and eaudiobook (links below).

hoopla ebook (always available)

hoopla audiobook (always available)

Overdrive/Libby ebook

Overdrive/Libby audiobook

Discussion Questions and more

Q & A with Lily King



Following the breakout success of her critically acclaimed and award-winning novel Euphoria, Lily King returns with an unforgettable portrait of an artist as a young woman.

Blindsided by her mother's sudden death, and wrecked by a recent love affair, Casey Peabody has arrived in Massachusetts in the summer of 1997 without a plan. Her mail consists of wedding invitations and final notices from debt collectors. A former child golf prodigy, she now waits tables in Harvard Square and rents a tiny, moldy room at the side of a garage where she works on the novel she's been writing for six years. At thirty-one, Casey is still clutching onto something nearly all her old friends have let go of: the determination to live a creative life. When she falls for two very different men at the same time, her world fractures even more. Casey's fight to fulfill her creative ambitions and balance the conflicting demands of art and life is challenged in ways that push her to the brink.

Writers & Lovers follows Casey--a smart and achingly vulnerable protagonist--in the last days of a long youth, a time when every element of her life comes to a crisis. Written with King's trademark humor, heart, and intelligence, Writers & Lovers is a transfixing novel that explores the terrifying and exhilarating leap between the end of one phase of life and the beginning of another.

Book club resources for The Mountains Sing

Since Hoopla recently featured The Mountains Sing in their Spring Spotlight, they have some awesome links to background information, discussion questions and recommended next reads.  You'll find links to all this and more here.

July title

July's title is The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai. The meeting will be on July 22nd at 1pm via zoom.  
Email Karen at kdixon@hopkintontownlibrary.org if you would like to be included in the email list for book group news or would like the zoom link.

Here are the available formats for the book:
~1 hardcover copy available via curbside pickup (reserve via our catalog
~1 mp3-cd available via curbside pickup (not here yet but on order)
~ebook from hoopla (always available)
~audiobook from hoopla (always available) 
~ebook from Overdrive/Libby (there is presently a reserve list)

 “An epic account of Việt Nam’s painful 20th century history, both vast in scope and intimate in its telling . . . Moving and riveting.” —VIET THANH NGUYEN, author of The Sympathizer, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

With the epic sweep of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko or Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing and the lyrical beauty of Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the Banyan, The Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Trần family, set against the backdrop of the Việt Nam War. Trần Diệu Lan, who was born in 1920, was forced to flee her family farm with her six children during the Land Reform as the Communist government rose in the North. Years later in Hà Nội, her young granddaughter, Hương, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Hồ Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that tore not just her beloved country, but her family apart.

Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Việt Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope.

The Mountains Sing is celebrated Vietnamese poet Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai’s first novel in English.                                                                                       Goodreads.com

June title - A Piece of the World

The group will meet on Wednesday June 24th at 1pm via zoom.  If you'd like to participate email Karen at kdixon@hopkintontownlibrary.org and I will send you a zoom invitation. 

Here are links to A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline. As always, hoopla editions are always available; Overdrive audiobook may be checked out.

.....a stunning and atmospheric novel of friendship, passion, and art, inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s mysterious and iconic painting Christina’s World.

"Later he told me that he’d been afraid to show me the painting. He thought I wouldn’t like the way he portrayed me: dragging myself across the field, fingers clutching dirt, my legs twisted behind. The arid moonscape of wheatgrass and timothy. That dilapidated house in the distance, looming up like a secret that won’t stay hidden."

To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century.

As she did in her beloved smash bestseller Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline interweaves fact and fiction in a powerful novel that illuminates a little-known part of America’s history. Bringing into focus the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, she vividly imagines the life of a woman with a complicated relationship to her family and her past, and a special bond with one of our greatest modern artists.

Told in evocative and lucid prose, A Piece of the World is a story about the burdens and blessings of family history, and how artist and muse can come together to forge a new and timeless legacy.


May title - O Pioneers!

May's book choice is O Pioneers! by Willa Cather.  Somehow I feel we are pioneers in our own right in our new world order.  We will meet on Wednesday May 27th at 1pm via zoom. If you would like to be included in the zoom invitation just send me an email at kdixon@hopkintontownlibrary.org
Access the ebook or audiobook through these links:
hoopla link (in ebook or audiobook format; titles are always available; read or listen in hoopla app)
Project Gutenberg ebook link (in multiple formats including online, kindle, epub)
Librivox audiobook link

Emma discussion

Don't forget to get in touch with me if you would like to join the Zoom meeting on April 29th at 1pm to discuss Emma.  If you haven't used Zoom before it is quite user friendly!  You just need a computer or mobile device with audio capabilities (it doesn't have to have a camera or video capabilties). Email me at kdixon@hopkintontownlibrary.org for more details.

April showers.......

....bring cancellations and hopefully beautiful May flowers!! So we are going to try something different in April - an online meeting to discuss Emma by Jane Austen. The book is readily available online and you may even have a copy hanging around on your bookshelves.  Links to online access are below.  If you need help with any of these let me know. On hoopla if you haven't created an account yet there is white "sign up" button on the top right hand side of the screen; you will need your library card number.  I can supply if needed.  Then I thought we could "meet" the last Wednesday in April (4/29) at 1pm by trying a zoom meeting (or possibly another videoconferencing platform).   More instructions will come later if you let me know that you have an interest in participating. Just email me at kdixon@hopkintontownlibrary.org.
Happy reading and let me know if you have any questions!  Karen

hoopla link (in ebook or audiobook format; titles are always available; read or listen in hoopla app)

Project Gutenberg ebook link (in multiple formats including online, kindle, epub, pdf)

March discussion meeting cancelled

We will NOT be meeting to discuss The Library Book by Susan Orlean on Wednesday March 18th.  If you would like to be added to the email list of book discussion members just let me know at kdixon@hopkintontownlibrary.org.  The group can chat via email and maybe come up with other ways to communicate as well!

March title

March book discussion title is The Library Book by Susan Orlean. We'll meet on Wednesday March 18th at 1pm.  Plenty of copies in multiple formats available. Stop by and pick one up at the Welcome Desk. 

Susan Orlean re-opens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and delivers a dazzling homage to a beloved institution – our libraries. On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. Raging through the stacks, the fire reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. It was the largest library fire in the history of the United States: it destroyed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more, and shut the library down for seven years. The mystery remains: did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?
Weaving her life-long love of books and reading with the fascinating history of libraries and the sometimes-eccentric characters who run them, award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author Orlean presents a mesmerizing and uniquely compelling story. With her signature wit, insight, compassion and talent for deep research, she investigates the legendary Los Angeles Public Library fire to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives, and reveals how these buildings provide much more than just books and are needed now more than ever.  ....from susanorlean.com

February title

Book Discussion
February 19th at 1pm

Copies of the book, including large print editions and audiobooks are available to check out at the library. Just ask at the desk!

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones 
 A look at the personal toll of the criminal justice system from the author of Silver Sparrow (2011) and The Untelling (2005). Roy has done everything right. Growing up in a working-class family in Louisiana, he took advantage of all the help he could get and earned a scholarship to Morehouse College. By the time he marries Spelman alum Celestial, she's an  up-and-coming artist. After a year of marriage , they're thinking about buying a bigger house and starting a family. Then, on a visit back home, Roy is arrested for a crime he did not commit. Jones begins with chapters written from the points of view of her main characters. When Roy goes to prison, it becomes a novel in letters. The epistolary style makes perfect sense. Roy is incarcerated in Louisiana, Celestial is in Atlanta, and Jones' formal choice underscores their separation. Once Roy is released, the narrative resumes a rotating first person, but there's a new voice, that of Andre, once Celestial's best friend and now something more. This novel is peopled by vividly realized, individual characters and driven by interpersonal drama, but it is also very much about being black in contemporary America. Roy is arrested, tried, convicted, and imprisoned in Louisiana, the state with the highest per-capita rate of incarceration in the United States, and where the ratio of black to white prisoners is 4 to 1. There's a heartbreaking scene in which Celestial's uncle—Roy's attorney—encourages her to forget everything she knows about presenting herself while she speaks in her husband's defense. "Now is not the time to be articulate. Now is the time to give it up. No filter, all heart." After a lifetime of being encouraged to be "well spoken," Celestial finds that she sounds false trying to speak unguardedly. "As I took my seat…not even the black lady juror would look at me." This is, at its heart, a love story, but a love story warped by racial injustice. And, in it, Jones suggests that racial injustice haunts the African-American  story. Subtle, well-crafted, and powerful. (Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2017)

January title

Book Discussion
January 15th at 1pm
Copies of the book, including large print editions and audiobooks are available to check out at the library.

From the award-winning author of Together Tea—a debut novel hailed as “compassionate, funny, and wise” by Jill Davis, bestselling author of Girls’ Poker Night—comes a powerful love story exploring loss, reconciliation, and the quirks of fate.

Roya is a dreamy, idealistic teenager living in 1953 Tehran who, amidst the political upheaval of the time, finds a literary oasis in kindly Mr. Fakhri’s neighborhood book and stationery shop. She always feels safe in his dusty store, overflowing with fountain pens, shiny ink bottles, and thick pads of soft writing paper.

When Mr. Fakhri, with a keen instinct for a budding romance, introduces Roya to his other favorite customer—handsome Bahman, who has a burning passion for justice and a love for Rumi’s poetry—she loses her heart at once. And, as their romance blossoms, the modest little stationery shop remains their favorite place in all of Tehran.

A few short months later, on the eve of their marriage, Roya agrees to meet Bahman at the town square, but suddenly, violence erupts—a result of the coup d’etat that forever changes their country’s future. In the chaos, Bahman never shows. For weeks, Roya tries desperately to contact him, but her efforts are fruitless. With a sorrowful heart, she resigns herself to never seeing him again.

Until, more than sixty years later, an accident of fate leads her back to Bahman and offers her a chance to ask him the questions that have haunted her for more than half a century: Why did he leave? Where did he go? How was he able to forget her?

The Stationery Shop is a beautiful and timely exploration of devastating loss, unbreakable family bonds, and the overwhelming power of love.  .. Simon and Schuster