Paradise by Toni Morrison

Donna Browne, Muncie Public Library: The many characters, family relationships, and multiple generations made the story difficult to follow. Two “regulars” told me that they gave up on the story and didn’t attend; one only read 50 pages, but decided to finish the book after the discussion. The discussion was unusually thoughtful, in themes including generational conflict, racial prejudice, the American Dream, and societal change in the ’60s-’70s.


The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library, Granger: the writer did a good job of showing Hemingway from all sides. No one denied his genius as an author – his style hit at the right time. But he was a very self-centered person. All Hadley gave was never enough, but at some level he recognized how good she was, but she couldn’t change him.

Helen Cawley, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library, Granger: We all loved it. It was better than we expected. Better understanding of Hadley Richardson Hemingway and Ernest Hemingway’s lives. We are interested in reading further about their story, also Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast to hear his side of in Paris.


The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland

Goldsteen Harris Friends: Women in the arts – what are your passions? Is it easier now to follow our passion, pursue our dreams? Are the challenges as great? different? Support? These were some of the issues raised by our group, prompted by the struggles of Artemisia Gentileschi.

Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: This was an excellent book. We all agreed it is great to learn something in addition to the story. Vreeland is very good at expressing her character’s feelings. Descriptive. Artemisia was tenacious – we all applaud her success.


A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler

Sondra Harrell, Wabash: Members felt they were “slow going” at the beginning of the novel, but as characters began to be more fully developed, they became more interested in the story. Good discussion points.

Mary Ann Dubash, Elkhart: Enjoyed by all participants.


Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde

1 “like”

Royetta Ingle, Mooresville Public Library: Great discussion.

Kimberly Porter, Bloomfield Eastern Greene Co. Public Library: We read the book first. Then watched the movie together. Afterwards we had a short discussion on both of them.


Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

Cynthia Webb, Paoli Public Library: The group enjoyed the book and recommends it to other book clubs.

Roberta Brooker, Indiana State Librarian: Most of us enjoyed the book and thought it was an exceptional and timeless story about family love and loyalty.

Jill Watson, Jasper-Dubois Co. Public Library: The print size on this book was very difficult to read. Many of us had trouble sticking with the book till the end. the book discussion was lively as there were many different things in the back to talk about. I would say that all of us enjoyed the book, but it was a harder one to get through.


A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean by Tori Murden McMahon

Debbie Itani, Garden Homes at Zionsville Meadows: A few of the residents found this book a little repetitious. It was great to have every participant share a risk that they had taken in their life, and why they had taken that risk. This made everyone understand that risks are taken for different reasons, even when they seem unbelievable. Everyone in the group also mentioned a “pearl” or dream that they accomplished with work and determination just as the author did. Making everyone “relate” to the subjects of work, determination, courage, knowledge, anger, despair and hope was beneficial to the discussion and great participation. Even when participants did not understand the motives or purpose of this character going through so much turmoil while they were reading the book, they were able to understand after the discussion was over.


The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library, Granger: Well written, humorous – those who did not enjoy mythology found it not as fun but still light reading. All appreciated the author’s humor.


Penrod by Booth Tarkington

Marsha Jones, Troyer Memorial Library, La Fontaine: Penrod was very creative and had lots of imagination. He was a storyteller, businessman, writer, dancer, singer, good actor. Was good at “tall tales.” Very normal for a lot of boys his age. Entertaining book.

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

Roberta Brooker, Indiana State Librarian: We loved this beautiful book. It made for a wonderful discussion at our book club. We all shared something special from our families.

Kathy Allen, Masonic Reading Home Group, Franklin: Be sue to get some background on Judaism and history before leading your discussion. It really helps to put everything together for the participants.

Mary Ann Dubash, Elkhart Public Library: Our discussion was spirited but hampered by having a severe snowstorm that day!

Shannon Phipps, Switzerland Co. Public Library: Those who read the book loved it, but several members did not read it because they “couldn’t get into it.” Good discussion about which character and story we each liked best. It was hard to remember them all and I wish I had made a handout so we could refer back to the People and their parts in the history of the book.

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

Amanda Wisler, LaGrange County Public Library: This was the first graphic book anyone in my group had ever read. They said they’d prefer text, but they enjoyed looking cool when they told their children/grandchildren what they were reading.

Helen Hudson, Crawfordsville: We had a lively discussion especially because this group (After School Club for At Risk Girls – the Athenas) had read My Childhood Under Fire (Nadja Halilbegovich) last fall. It is a very good companion text. Also, our leader set context with an Iran map and with a sketch of Persia-Iran history. Focus on self-awareness in discussion.

Shannon Phipps, Switzerland County Public Library: Many were reluctant to read because of the format, but all were glad they did because they enjoyed the book.

Mary Ann Dubash, Elkhart: Very well-received book!

Darcy Davidson, Eckhart Public Library: This was the first graphic novel many of the attendees have read. Pair this with other books about Iran, like Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi.


The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas

Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: Our group gave this book an average of 3 1/2 stars (out of 5). A nice story of women coming together to help one another in difficult times.

Nicole Kirchoff, Shelbyville Middle School: Really liked the book.

Phyllis A. Hawkins, Four Seasons Retirement Community: They all really enjoyed it except 1 person who didn’t like it. We had a lengthy discussion and are interested in more books by Sandra Dallas.

Pilgrim At Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

Maria Steiner, Central Indiana Land Trust: Our book club has 10-12 members, but unfortunately due to the time and the fact that this wasn’t our favorite book, only 2 showed up.

Wendi West, Tipton Public Library:  We were all drawn in because this title won the Pulitzer (and had four stars on GoodReads!).  Somewhat disappointed – we all decided this needs to be read in a quiet setting (like a private lake).

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult

Kathleen Holling, Mooresville Public Library: The participants really enjoyed the book. Many of them had read Picoult books before and enjoy her writing style.

Chris Schellenberg, Vigo County Public Library: Good book and discussion!

Liz Osisek, Anderson Public Library: Great discussion! The ending left a lot of us wondering what really happened.

Cynthia Webb, Paoli Public Library: Picoult book was excellent! We loved it!

Plainsong by Kent Haruf

Diana Kooy, Wheatfield Public Library: There were 16 people in attendance who enjoyed the book. Five people did not. Those who did not like the book, however, did like the author’s writing style – just not the subject matter.

Wilma Taylor, Hoosier Village retirement community, Zionsville: Most of our group enjoyed the book, and we had a good discussion. Some have also checked out other books of Kent Haruf.

Teresa Dustman, Wells Co. Public Library: Excellent book, led to excellent discussion!

Anni Bruns, Eckhart Public Library (Auburn): Group had trouble connecting with the characters of this book.

Kathy Allen, Masonic Home Reading Group, Franklin: Notes enclosed! We had a great discussion. [Notes will be sent with book set. “Focus on the people of Holt . . . “]

Lynne Tweedie, Putnam Co. Public Library: Everyone was delighed with this book. Usually there are some who didn’t enjoy the book & others who thought it was OK. So for this book to weigh in with blanket approval & enthusiasm is a big deal.

Wanda Bennett, Ladoga-Clark Twp. Public Library: The group loved this book!

Read Nancy’s review.

The Poet by Michael Connelly

1 “like”

Mary Hartman, Kendallville Public Library: Everyone really enjoyed the book.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

1 “like”

Donna Browne, Muncie Public Library: Fabulous book!

Cheryl Miller, Shelby Co. Public Library: Since this was a long book (500 pages) and we read it over Dec. and Jan. (busy holiday months), I handed out a couple pages of quiz questions to help spur our memories of the characters and plot. We all took a stab at answering them on our own, then went around the table taking turns reading and discussing the questions. I tossed in other discussion points as we went along. A few people had trouble getting into the book at first, but ended up like the rest saying they were so glad they’d read it. One of our group members had just been to South Africa, so this really added to our experience, as well. The group requested that I do the quiz technique again (I liked it because it helped me keep us on topic and assured everyone had a chance to contribute), but they’d like the questions ahead of time to help them absorb the story more.

Paula Starek, Indianapolis: Excellent book on many levels. Probably two discussion sessions would be better than one. All group membes liked the book.

The Ponder Heart by Eudora Welty

Wilma Taylor, Hoosier Village retirement community, Zionsville: Good discussion, but it was obvious that several of the women did not appreciate satire or Welty’s humor. We did have an interesting comparison of this book and The Professor’s House

Donna Marsh, Hoosier Village retirement community, Indianapolis: Ok – not their favorite book.

Melissa Hunt, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: This is a strange little book. I’m not sure that I would recommend it for other young adult book clubs. The people who finished it enjoyed it, but many found the beginning too slow and stopped part-way through.


The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Marsha Jones, Troyer Memorial Library, La Fontaine: Leader talked about the place (tourism & carefree) and the nice weather. We discussed each of the main characters and how they contributed to the story. Decided Will went to London to die and that Emma became a stronger person in the end. Frankie changed from a very strong and assertive woman who was fearless to a quieter and thinking person. All that she saw affected her. Book shows strength of women. FRankie thought she was the thread, but she was the scissors.

Charlene McDevitt, Peabody Public Library: Rated 3.5 on a scale of 5.


Prayers and Lies by Sherri Wood Emmons

Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: Most of us loved this book! The characters are so real and the settings were almost tangible. Better still, we were able to speak with Sherri Wood Emmons on the telephone with questions about her process of writing this book. She was so sweet to talk with us and we were glad to hear from this Indiana author.

Shelli Kauffman, Bremen Public Library: Encourage readers not to give up on this book. Apparently, if you can get to a certain point, you can’t put it down.

Jennifer McKinley, Morgan Co. Public Library: This book brought out differences in opinions for our group. Some really liked the characters and the discussion of “bad blood” and others found it to be too melodramatic and “soap opera”-like.

Shirley Mooney, Marion Public Library: We had quite a spirited discussion over this fascinating book. Most of us couldn’t say we “liked” it. It was depressing overall with so much sadness, cycle of abuse & poverty.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Phyllis Utterback, Brownsburg Public Library: Everyone enjoyed reading this old classic.


Private by James Patterson

Jackie Richards, Crestwood Village East: The younger of our seniors loved this series and two of us read Private #1 Suspect right away. The older ones in our group had a hard time with so many characters and keeping them straight, language, violence and sex.


The Private Mary Chesnut by C. Vann Woodward

Jo Vickers, Indianapolis: Not an easy read.

The Professor’s House by Willa Cather

Deanna Street, Carmel-Clay Public Library: It made an excellent discussion book. We had a lively discussion.

Jalynn Whittymore, Scott County Public Library, Lexington Book Club: Much discussion of changes both men and women go through currently. The character Tom Outland’s story was discussed. Most people liked the book and will read other things by this author.


Promise Not to Tell by Jennifer McMahon

Traci Stewart, Walkerton-Lincoln Twp. Public Library: Most enjoyed book. Kept us in suspense all the way to the end.

Louise Wolpert, Adams Public Library, Decatur: A little bit too intense.


Purity in Death by J.D. Robb

Maria Case, Hammond Public Library:  Good discussion. Wish I had read the fourteen before this one!


Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw and My Fair Lady

Gloria Marsh, Indianapolis: We shared out parts and did a reading of the first act (time prohibited a complete reading) and then discussed Shaw’s views on class, manners, and how his work was changed in the making of  “My Fair Lady.” We discussed satire in the play, and the use of character to illustrate the concepts.

Shondra Brown, Wakarusa Public Library: We had a movie night the 1st week, and the discussion the following week. We also listened to a few minutes of the audiobook. Most agreed the book was difficult to read due to the format, but they loved the movie! The “follow up”/sequel at the end of the Dover Thrift editions are a must read (pages 72-82).

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Emily Crickmore, Hamilton North Public Library: I loved the book; the other 2 participants did not.

Sondra Harrell, Wabash: Rebecca was a group favorite out of all the books we have read. We highly recommend it to other book clubs.

Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: Interesting to read work written in 1938. Why is it a classic? Because we can relate to the issues. Several read it earlier in life – and found our reading today different. Loved the build of characters, the scene becoming an integral part of the story.

Read Nancy’s review.

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett

1 “like”

Cheryl Miller, Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library: While there seemed to be a consensus that this novel contained the worst of all possible worlds and characters, we had one of the liveliest conversations ever! It rolled into a discussion about today’s drug wars and corruption in Mexico that leads to many desperate immigrants.

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant:

Shannon Phipps, Switzerland County Public Library: Great book for discussion!

Kathy Allen, Masonic Home Reading Group, Franklin: It is important to be sensitive to the fact that many people have difficulty understanding that the customs/practices of Biblical times included so much sex (polygamy) and violence. This needs to be addressed with a delicate respect for both faith and history.

Karen Blinn, Marion Public Library: Over a month later, people are still talking about the book. Something was said in an adult Sunday Education class, and someone said, “It’s just like inThe Red Tent!”

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Shondra Brown, Wakarusa Public Library: All agreed this was a book that they might not have chosen on their own. All were glad they read it, very thought provoking. I had shown those signing up the publisher’s preface at the beginning of the book, so they were aware of what they would be reading [Christian fiction]. Definitely a great discussion book.

Cynthia Webb, Paoli Public Library: The group loved this book. They were certain there was not a husband that could meet the standards of Michael Hosea! If so, the husband did not belong to any of them!


Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Sallie Pease, Waterloo Grant Twp. Public Library: Hard to get into story. Not in our top ten.

Anita Murphy, Dubois Co. Public Library, Dubois: Remarkable Creatures is an excellent book that lends itself to discussions on many topics including women’s roles, religion and science, and friendship. We highly recommend this book.

The Ride of Our Lives by Mike Leonard

Starr deJesus, Mitchell Community Public Library: Our group usually reads fiction. This was different for them. I feel they could identify with Mike Leonard’s parents (they were in their 80’s) somewhat. Some of the trips and locations that were visited triggered memories for my group of senior citizens.

Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library, Granger: Some of our participants shared they want to You Tube to hear Mike Leonard’s radio programs. Finding additional information about the author always provides additional interest. Good discussion – sparked a lot of memories.


Melissa Hunt, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: To run this discussion, it was more of an open forum and less questions from a guide – to invite stories from the attendees and relate them to the stories from the book. Comments: “This was funnier than I thought.” “It was so real, it was unreal.” “I enjoyed reading about these escapades as it reminded me of my family and you can only go forward.”

Kay Koppel, Osgood Public Library: Very entertaining – wished we had CD or DVD of trip – family updated on Internet.

Billie Clements, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: Enjoyed the family stories; entertaining.

Rocket Boys (October Sky) by Homer Hickam, Jr. 

Cheryl Miller, Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library: Conversation surrounding the book included many who said they never would have picked it up on their own, but were glad to have read it because it was so much more than “space talk”. Witnessing the life of a coal town, the dynamic personalities, including strong women and deep relationships, kept us talking way past our allotted time.

Starr deJesus, Mitchell Community Public Library: Book is very pertinent to readers who grew up or adult age during the ’60s. There are several themes that can be discussed, the space race, family relationships, teenager challenges, etc. Group watched the movie “Rocket Boys” after reading the book.

Angela Scott, Ligonier Public Library: This book really inspired one of our readers to investigate this style of living. She brought a guest who grew up in a company mine town. One of the things she talked about was survival in that town was attributed to luck or providence. Her father usually worked in one section but one day was shifted to another section. That day, the slate fell and killed the man sent in his place. Amazing story.

Amanda Wisler, LaGrange County Public Library: The whole group loved the book. If you go torocketboysfestival.com, you can find photos and biographies of the people in the book.

Erin Kirchhoff, Johnson Co. Public Library, White River Branch: They all enjoyed this title & could relate to the time period/experiences.


Room by Emma Donoghue

Peg Demott, Lakeland Leading Edge High School, LaGrange:  It was very timely with the recent Cleveland kidnapping uncovered.

Norma Newcomer, Anderson: We mostly agreed the book was somewhat difficult to get into because of the way it was written (language), but once we got past that, it became a page-turner. We had a great discussion.

Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library, Granger: A difficult book – not a book most of us would have chosen to read but almost all could not put it down once we could see hope that the story had a “happy” ending. Well written. Author is very good at tackling a difficult subject.

Read Nancy’s review.

Rosa Parks: My Story by Rosa Parks (with Jim Haskins)

Teresa Dennis, Middletown Fall Creek Library: All were surprised at how much we didn’t know about Rosa Parks.

Shirley Mooney, Marion Public Library: Very interesting. Sparked quite a discussion on bigotry, prejudice, historically, etc.

Vicki Windmiller, Roachdale-Franklin Twp. Public Library: Enjoyed, read easy – eighth grade level.

Traci Stewart, Walkerton-Lincoln Twp. Public Library: Everyone really enjoyed getting to know more about Rosa Parks!


Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Dave Miller, Bartholomew Co. Public Library, Hope: This one was not the group’s favorite. For us, the highlight of this novel is the setting.

Ellen Keese, Lawrenceburg Public Library, North Dearborn: Most thought the book was well-written & thought-provoking. Better to savor than read in a hurry. Wish the sequel, “Eve in Hollywood,” would be published in print format.


S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton

Anita Murphy, Dubois Co. Public Library, Dubois: It was a fun read. We liked the flashbacks that let you see inside the “minds” of different characters.

Linda Richards, Vincennes: It was an interesting book,  but we found it was hard to keep the timeline straight. It was challenging, a good mystery, and created a good discussion. Lots of characters – made for an interesting story.

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

Anita Murphy, Jasper-Dubois Co. Public Library: We really enjoyed discussing the book. The ones who have read other books by Sparks discussed the similarities between this one and other books he has written.


Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler

Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: This was an “okay” book. No one particularly liked or disliked it. Not a book any of us would recommend to others.

Jill Watson, Jasper-Dubois Co. Public Library: This book gave us much to discuss. We all had problems with the timing – drug terribly in spots and jumped ahead years without warning.

Ruth Gehlhausen, Jasper-Dubois Co. Public Library, Birdseye: There was no discussion guide available, which it missed. No one liked this book. We all thought it boring.

Sondra Harrell, Wabash: This book generated some good discussion on the dynamics of death in a family, guilt, etc. There are some interesting characters in the book that we talked about.


Saint Patrick’s Battalion by James Alexander Thom

Jan Harris, Lafayette: A subject that our members knew very little . . . made us all interested to find out more!


Sam’s Letters to Jennifer by James Patterson

Royetta Ingle, Mooresville Public Library: The group loved this book. Great Discussion.

Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

Kay Koppel, Osgood Public Library: Book club felt book was inspiring, moving. And most appropriate for a Holy Week discussion.

Ann Haw, Franklin:  Powerful book that provokes a lot of discussion.

Susie Highley, Indianapolis: Great book. Appreciate the opportunity.

Traci Stewart, Walkerton-Lincoln Twp. Public Library: Everyone liked the book – lots of conversation!

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Roberta Brooker, Indiana State Librarian: We enjoyed this book. Sarah’s Key brought up a great conversation about not forgetting the horror of the Holocaust. We have a man in our neighborhood who was one of the first free people in the camps.

Donna Fields, Friendship Club, Peru: 7 out of 8 really loved this book. 1 out of the 7 had never known much about the Holocaust so she had lots of questions, which led to a great discussion!

Mindy Patterson, Kendallville Public Library: Loved the book! Thank you for sending it!

Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka-Penn Harris Public Library: The book was enjoyed by all. The discussion was very engaging.

Cindy Bergquist, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin: This is a great book for discussion, with many topics to explore!

Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: Our group enjoyed Sarah’s Key, especially the side by side stories of Julia and Sarah. Out of 5 stars – 2 gave 3 stars and 5 gave 4 stars.

Sandy Nunley, Jasper: Most enjoyed the book. It brought out emotions especially to the mothers in the group.

June Goldstein (Friends volunteer leader), Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library, Harris Branch: This was one of our favorite books. Some of our younger members were not familiar with the period of WWII and the hardships and cruelty of the Nazi leaders. Our meeting on 9/11/14 made us think of the threat to security visited upon our own soil 13 years ago.


Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Mary Ann Dubash, Elkhart Public Library: Liked the book, especially for summer.

Janis Small, Morgantown: Enjoyed the joy and happy ending.

Jennifer McKinley, Morgan Co. Public Library: Everyone seemed to enjoy the light-hearted nature of the book although the story “wrapped-up” in a way that was too sweet & unbelievable (unrealistic).

Sharon Elliott-Fox, Jeffersonville Twp. Public Library: Best book so far for our group. Lots of good discussion on the many themes brought out in the story.

Jackie Richards, Crestwood Village East: Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this book. We loved the characters and the relationships that developed. You can’t beat a story about Southern women!

Helen Cawley, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library, Granger: Good read for most. Contrast of groups of women and how they support CeeCee.


The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Kay Koppel, Osgood Public Library: All agreed the language was not easy. Led to another discussion of what makes a classic.


Screwtape Letters, The by C.S. Lewis

Teresa Dustman, Wells Co. Public Library: I was leery going into a spiritual/Christian book discussion in a public library setting, but it went very well. Thoughtful discussion, but not devolving into anything approaching an argument. This is a challenging read – not for the faint of heart!

Cheryl Miller, Shelby Co. Public Library: I chose this book because it seemed short compared to ones we’d read recently and have coming up. I also selected it because CS Lewis and the title seem well known. But I wish I would have investigated it a little further before handing out the books. I believe the readers in my group would have been able to appreciate it more if I’d also given them copies of the well-done concise study guide that’s available from CSLewisInstitute.org.  Typically there are 10-12 Bookclub readers who show up for discussions. This book, however, just drew four. From struggling to get through it myself and from the participants’ comments, the other regulars may have attempted to read it and found the sophisticated writing style and unusual perspective overwhelming. (Screwtape is a devil who writes 31 letters of instruction to his nephew, another devil, on how to entice a man to do evil over good.) It was not easily digested, but those of us who did were glad in the end. Self-knowledge is essential to growth and maturity. I’m sure we will think of this book now whenever we say or hear that line from the Lord’s Prayer… Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. It would certainly be a great book for a Bible study group to devour. But it’s also possible to lead an effective discussion by focusing your questions on its literary features rather than going into theological depths.

Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand

3 “likes”

Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: We loved the story. Thank you!

Billie Clements, Mishawaka-Penn Harris Public Library – Harris Branch: Loved the book.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Chris Schellenberg, Vigo County Public Library: The discussion was lively. Many ladies shared stories from their own lives that were prompted by this book.

Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka Penn-Harris Public Library: We had a good discussion. Not everyone enjoyed the book, but all read it and participated in the discussion. The audio would have been better with a different reader.

Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: Our primary discussion topics of this book were the influence of Christian Science with the author – as well as the ways in which children are “spoiled” today – versus the children in the book. We gave this title 3.75 stars out of 5.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Melissa Hunt, Mishawaka-Penn Harris Public Library: Brought about an interest in beekeeping. We were able to have a local beekeeper come in and present about the job. Bees and humans are very similar.

Billie Clements, Mishawaka-Penn Harris Public Library, Harris Branch: The book stimulated a good amount of discussion involving teens and moms.

Tonya Schaffter, Danville Community High School: Thank you! The students really enjoyed the book.

Shirley Mooney, Marion Public Library: Love it. Thanks!

Cheryl Miller, Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library: One member of my group brought a honeycomb for everyone to taste on melba crackers. She also showed us some beekeeper’s tools, a suit and helmet. This show and tell kicked off a lively discussion of the book. Everyone loved Rosaleen – she reminded us of Minny from The Help . The group was particularly interested in talking about mothers vs. fathers abandoning their children, womens’ right to vote, and how well/poorly that is appreciated, and the ironic journey Lily went on in order to find out who she was and could be. Interestingly, four people who usually attend did not read the book, indicating they couldn’t get into it.

Rebecca Kirby, Albany Community Library: Everyone enjoyed the book.

Debbie Itani, Zionsville Meadows: Excellent book. Everyone who read it enjoyed it. I showed the DVD the following week with sweet potato biscuits and “honey.” Great experience all around!

Sharon Elliott-Fox, Jeffersonville Twp. Public Library: Book elicited a number of memories – and stories – of racism – and the overcoming of same – in the local community. Good discussion of forgiveness and the difficulty in doing that permanently.

Marsha Jones, Troyer Memorial Library, La Fontaine: Learned a lot about bees & honey. Liked the bee references at the beginning of chapters. Favorite characters were August, Roseleen & Lily. Enjoyed dau of Mary or sisters of Mary. August always was able to reach Lily in her quiet, patient way and taught her many things about life. Lily needed the companionship, love & support. P.S. We all had fun with the story – we all wore hats and had honey & biscuits for refreshments. Hope there is a sequel about Lily’s future.


A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Janis Small, Morgan Co. Public Library, Morgantown: Interesting discussion.

Kiera Donahue, Danville Public Library: Very surprised that this was a banned book. Good discussion on the idea of war then/now.

Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson

Roberta Brooker, Indiana State Librarian: The host made up a cool quiz on the book and we all got into it. We shared WWII stories from our families and experiences. A very good time!

Shane by Jack Schaefer

1 “like”

Karen Boots, Tippecanoe County Public Library: Many members of the book group had never read a Western before. I think we created a few new fans of the genre. The group gave Shane an A- rating and were pleased with the depth of human feeling and the issues of “being a good man” discussed in the book.


Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

Yvonne Welty, Lebanon Public Library:  They enjoyed learning about China during WWII and the immigration process. I mentioned some of Lisa See’s other books, and it sounds like they were going to read her other books as well.

Marsha Jones, Troyer Memorial Library, La Fontaine: Majority really liked the book and learning more about the culture and history. Felt like it generally reflected Lisa See’s own life. Decided the sisters truly loved one another but involved different kinds of love and sibling connotations. Pride & love of one’s country came through even though the bad things are ignored sometimes. May was very manipulative and mostly selfish. Pearl loved YenYen and related with her as far as status of women and her experiences with her own mother. All want to read the sequel, Dreams of Joy.

Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: The author’s attention to detail and history of Shanghai were appreciated by all. Those who read Snow Flower and the Secret Fanbelieved it was a better book but most (all?) are looking forward to reading Dreams of Joy. A good book – got the reader’s attention from the start. Many did not know about Angel Island.

Jan Harris, Lafayette: All agreed that we learned a lot of history from the book.

Shantyboat: A River Way of Life by Harlan Hubbard

Shannon Phipps, Switzerland Co. Public Library: Although we did not have questions for discussion, we enjoyed speculating about living as adventurously as the Hubbards and enjoyed reading about places they visited and lived in near us. Many wanted to read more about the Hubbards. Would also recommend showing documentary about them (“Wonder”).

Yvonne Welty, Lebanon Public Library: They enjoyed the book because they like to read “Indiana” authors. They did comment that the author left his wife out of a lot of the writing. They would have liked to hear more about her point of view.

Judy Wessar, Anderson Public Library: An interesting/sweet book, but a little long.

Shattered Dreams: My Life As A Polygamist’s Wife by Irene Spencer

Shannon Phipps, Switzerland County Public Library: Great book for discussion – much controversy and differing opinions.

Phyllis A. Hawkins, Four Seasons Retirement Center: Did not think it was well written. Was amazed at the gullibility of people. Brain washing & lack of opportunity for women. Eye opening and appalling.

She Got Up Off the Couch by Haven Kimmel

Jennifer McKinley, Morgan County Public Library: Great discussion! We love Haven Kimmel’s point of view!

Cheryl Miller, Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library: Another great “that was then, this is now” discussion spurred by this book. Plus lots of marveling over how well the author was able to tell the story from her child-perspective without analyzing what was wrong with her parents (which we couldn’t help doing ourselves!)

Shannon Phipps, Switzerland Co. Public Library:  Great book for a discussion about family dynamics, women’s lives in the ’70s and small town Indiana.  We loved it.

Suzanne Shideler, Albany: Little more cynical than first book. Not all had read book prior to discussion.

Shondra Brown, Wakarusa Public Library: Although the majority of the ladies did not enjoy the author’s style/format of writing, we still had a lively discussion night.


She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb

2 “likes”

Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: Great discussion!


Shiloh by Shelby Foote

Gloria Marsh, Indianapolis: Fascinating discussion about Civil War history. We have some students of it in the group. Good balance between technical/history and the very human aspects of being in a war, being afraid, being hungry, getting annoyed with your mates, being confused, etc. We had lots of suggestions for other books/movies to enhance the experience.

Cynthia Webb, Paoli Public Library: It was well-written. Hard to absorb all the details.


The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani

Lydia Brasher, Indianapolis: We really enjoyed this book because of the language and history. Several remarked that they didn’t feel it was a good book but really liked it. Hmm?

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library/The Village: These books have been borrowed to support a program by author Dan Wakefield. Vonnegut was his friend and mentor.

Deanna Street, Carmel Clay Public Library: This is an exceptional book for a discussion. The themes are as relevant today as when it was written. The local connection to Indianapolis is a plus.

Margo English, Owensville Carnegie Public Library: We – well some of us loved it. The more conservative ones thought Kurt was crazy.


So Cold the River by Michael Koryta

Melissa Hunt, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: The book was long, characters were not likeable but kept reading to see what happened. Story about obsession and revenge that didn’t seem worth the consequences. Not a story I would have chosen on my own but glad I read it.

Melissa Robertson, Sullivan County Public Library: Our club enjoyed the book and would like to see another book by Michael Koryta in Novel Conversations.


The Soloist by Steve Lopez

Deborah Itani, Zionsville Meadows: This book is a true testament to the power of the human spirit. Both givers and receivers of kindness, support, patience and love have their lives transformed in so many ways. This was the case in Steve’s and Nathaniel’s story. Very moving story that makes the reader reflect on the breakdown of the healthcare support for the mentally ill, in the politics that fails those without a voice, but most of all it encourages every reader to find time, patience, and determination to advocate for those less fortunate.

Great opportunity to present the participants of my discussion group with subjects that are not always easy to grasp or talk about – like mental illness in their own family, forcing a person to pursue treatment vs. waiting for them to make their own decision, etc. I played classical music (mentioned in the book) at the beginning of our session, so everyone could appreciate the power of the music that served Nathaniel and quieted his demons. I will also play the Soloist movie for everyone to compare (book and film). Great book. Everyone in our group enjoyed it and was able to provide great feedback.

Dave Miller, Bartholomew Co. Public Library, Hope: This is a powerful, thought-provoking work.


Songs in Ordinary Time by Mary McGarry Morris

Deborah Itani, Zionsville Meadows:  Do not get this book for Seniors. Too long, small print and way too many characters to follow throughout story (52!). The language did not help either. The participants of my group (me included) did NOT enjoy this book.


Sources of Light by Margaret McMullan

Rev. Dena Vittorio, First Presbyterian Church, Rushville: We all appreciated reading this book.

Read Nancy’s review.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Judy Stolz, Scott County Public Library: This book brought up many subjects of discussion. Even though the start was slow the action picked up. The ending only left unanswered questions.

Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: Very descriptive writing but plot a little convoluted. Identified as “magical realism” – not always believable. A good author but this is not her best work (Bel Canto liked better by those who have read that).

Karen Palmer, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: The book encouraged a lively discussion. 3 of the 5 participants are female senior citizens and were very open about their opinions of having a baby at their age!

Staying Put by Scott Russell Sanders

Katie Hamilton, Zionsville Meadows retirement community, Zionsville: Were not fond of this style of writing.

Janis Small, Morgan Co. Public Library, Morgantown: Great discussion on so many issues dealing with land, conservation, hope, rivers and use and possession of our world.


Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Billie Clements, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: Very long! Some group members felt there was quite a bit of technical material, so it was slow reading.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Maria Axtman, Brownsburg Public Library: This is one of my favorite books so far!

Jennifer McKinley, Morgan County Public Library: We had a fabulous discussion. SO many people had personal experiences to share. It was quite touching.

Bob Mele, Lake County Public Library, Dyer/Schererville Branch: The group as a whole rated this book 5 out of 5. It prompted an excellent discussion.

Debbie Itani, Garden Homes at Zionsville Meadows:  This book was wonderful. This author really brought the human emotions out in all of us. Perhaps because we could all relate in one way or another or remember the behavior of an afflicted friend, spouse or relative. We all learned how to be more understanding, loving, and kind, because no one knows who will be next!

The significance of the very short life of a butterfly was also moving. “Just because life is short, it does not have to be tragic.” This discussion group brought great feedback and enjoyed participating, even when they found the book very emotional and for some hard to keep reading.

For me, the monitor of the group, it was very interesting to follow throughout the book the many comparisons that Alzheimers appeared to have with raging ocean waves, fire and also demons that wash away, burn, destroy or possess the brain and rob people from their most precious memories.

Alice lived a relatively short life, but it was one lived fully. It was a great lesson in loving unconditionally, living in the moment, and leaving a legacy in the life of others. Family, friends, and even strangers.

Rebecca Kirby, Albany Community Library: Book was well received. We had a lively discussion on progression of disease, right to die, point of view, caregiver’s attitudes & others.

Still Missing: Amelia Earhart and the Search for Modern Feminism by Susan Ware

Donna Browne, Muncie Public Library: Provided good meat for discussion. Readers felt the book was repetitive and too long, but had good, little-known info about Amelia. I enjoyed learning the basics of “Feminist theory”.

Cheryl Miller, Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library: Very educational and stimulating read for the group. Even the lone male attendee agreed that women were dealt an unfair deal in the work world and that it continues to this day. The timing of our discussion happened to land in the 50th anniversary week of Earhart’s disappearance, so we discussed the value of the renewed search effort. Most people in the group were impressed, if not inspired, by Amelia as a multifaceted role model for women. We read aloud her prenuptial agreement, perhaps the first ever documented, and agreed-upon “open marriage”. This was, in fact, a real turn-off to one of our participants who had no been able to finish the book. She said she wanted to finish it, but could no longer admire Amelia Earhart knowing this about her.

Phyllis Hawkins, Four Seasons Retirement: Enjoyed Still Missing.


Stitches by David Small

Pam Seabolt, Jeffersonville Twp. Public Library, Clarksville:  It was a great discussion to have with older adults, as the author was close to their age when it was written. A great introduction of Graphic Novels to the group.


Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi

Marsha Jones, Troyer Memorial Library: We talked about what was happening in Germany to cause these wars and how the Treaty of Versailles affected these people. How all of this affected Trudie and her father. Trudie’s relationship with others all through the book was discussed and how she lived life fully as normal as possible. How in life the water still flows around and over the rocks in our life.


The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: This is a long book – 566 pages, but very captivating. Some were not able to finish reading the book before book group – but plan to finish on their own. Our book group gave this “nearly” 4 out of 5 stars.

Leslie Weaver, Brownsburg: Everyone loved the book!! Five stars.


The Story of My Life by Helen Keller

Jackie Richards, Crestwood Village East: Everyone enjoyed this book.


The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

Cheryl Miller, Shelby Co. Public Library: With this being a longer book, I chose it for the group to read between Thanksgiving and mid-January over the holiday months when we skip discussion time in December. The story is emotional, educational, and contains some horrifying actions (as one would expect when there is anything to do with Nazi crimes). To lighten the mood for our discussion, I brought a loaf of challah bread, which was one of several delicious Jewish treats baked (in detail) by characters in the book. Most were glad they’d read it. It contains mystery and twists that everyone wanted to figure out. A couple readers were quite disturbed by the evilness exposed. Such discussions teach us more about humanity, and about each other through our “what if’s” and “what would you have done” questions. I promised to pick something less intense after this one, though!


A Strong West Wind by Gail Caldwell

Cyndi Currie, Owen County Public Library: This book was enjoyed by all our members, most of whom had grown up in the same turbulent era as Gail Caldwell. The relationship between the narrator and her father seemed central to the narrator’s growth in her life. It was a well-written family history and we didn’t feel it was necessary to know a lot of details about the 1960s or 1970s to understand what was at issue in the book.

The Summons by John Grisham

1 “like”

Cheryl Miller, Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library: One of the men in our group says this is the best book he’s ever read. IN fact, this is the 1st one he’s finished reading in time for the discussion! He says he definitely wants to read more John Grisham. Everyone in the group liked this novel. We had an intriguing discussion.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

1 “like”

Cheryl Miller, Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library: Good program – good discussion about Hemingway – this title was not well liked by anoyne in the group.

Donna Browne, Muncie Public Library: People loved the romance of the Lost Generation writers.

Roberta Brooker, Indiana State Librarian: We enjoyed the discussion. Decided that the book was very date, but enjoyed learning more about bullfighting and how important it was (and still is) to Spain.

Billie Clements, Mishawaka-Penn Harris Public Library – Harris Branch: Only 3 liked the book. Lively discussion.


Surviving the Angel of Death: The True Story of a Mengele Twin by Eva Kor

Lori Nykiel, Bremen Public Schools: My students loved this book! (6th to 8th grade)

The Sweet Hereafter by Russell Banks

Sheila Urwiler, Starke County Public Library: The people who attended liked the book and had a lot to talk about. Many people who checked it out did not attend. One person who did not attend found the content too upsetting to finish the book.

Cheryl Miller, Shelby Co. Public Library:  This was an unusual, rather short (257 pgs.) book, written in somewhat lengthy chapters from the perspective of four characters. The protagonist was actually the community as a whole.

A couple “regulars” from our group chose not to be involved in this story because it involved the death of children. Thankfully it did not go into a lot of detail about their injuries and how they died, but focus was on the town’s reaction, how they dealt with the accident… who to blame. The author is an amazing writer. Most of the group said they were glad they read it and agreed it got more interesting midway through to the end. We were especially impressed with the symbolism Banks used in the final scene where the town comes face to face with its “enemy.”

The discussion questions from the publisher, which I adapted a bit, helped my group get more out of the read – perspectives from each other that hadn’t been thought of, why bad things happen to good people, and to reflect on the similarities we experience ourselves in our current and past communities. We also discussed the why’s/why not’s of seat belts on buses and the value/harm of lawsuits.

Then, watching the movie together a week later was a bonus. The film was well done, but, as usual with novel-based movies, much of the story was changed. For example, the movie left out the end scene from the novel, which we felt was superb, but more detail was added in the screen version about the personal injury lawyer and his struggle to rescue his own daughter from her wrecked life. The paperbacks in Novel Conversations’ set have a photograph, which we assumed was from movie. We were surprised to find out which characters it represented. (By the way, the movie is rated R due to some nudity and profanity, but my group didn’t think it was too bad.)

Teresa Heidenreich, Washington Carnegie Public Library: Our folks didn’t like this book. No character was special. Issues were not resolved.


The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Diana Kooy, Jasper Co. Public Library (Wheatfield): There were so many details and scenes to discuss from this story that it made it a fun discussion. Flavia made a very interesting person, as an 11 year old, to tell the story from her viewpoint. Very British and dry humor was used. More than half the group checked out #2 in this series because they had enjoyed the first one.

Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library, Granger: Very cleverly written! This group does not usually read mysteries, but the humor is what most enjoyed. Good.

Jennifer McKinley, Morgan County Public Library: All in all, everyone enjoyed the book. The best description was “Nancy Drew on steroids!”

Debbie Itani, Zionsville Meadows: Good book. Funny. Easy to read from 1/2 to end.


A Temporary Sort of Peace: A Memoir of Vietnam by Jim McGarrah

Jean Ehrman, Fort Wayne: Heart-rending account of one of my generation, whose life was forever affected by someone else’s war.


The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney

Melissa Hunt, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: Lively discussion. Enjoyed author’s treatment of Canadian wilderness, diverse characters, and mysterious plot. Slow to start; suspense builds!

Debbie Fox, North Madison Co. Public Library: They loved the book!


The Territory by Tricia Fields

Pam Okosun, La Porte County Public Library, Coolspring Branch: Tricia Fields’ website (www.triciafields.com) has pictures/photographs of some of the places that she sets the book in under her “Artemis, Texas” tab. Our patrons enjoyed seeing these photos.


That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor by Anne Sebba

Jean Walker, Indianapolis: We all enjoyed this book and had a lively discussion about it. None of us knew a lot about Wallis Simpson or the king, Edward.

Gloria Marsh, Indianapolis: We need a consistent moderator. Chaos! But lively discussion about this historical person.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Lorie Long, Morgan Co. Public Library, Monrovia: We rated this book 8 out of 10. Very powerful but hard to read and understand the vernacular at first, but with effort it pays off. Book is poetic in parts and full of humor. Easter to listen to than to read.


The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

Crista Steier, Corydon Central Jr./Sr. High School: Students enjoyed it!


The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: The readers were split on this one – half really liked this gothic story, half did not like it at all. Several of us who enjoyed the story are drawn to British authors.

Gloria Marsh, Indianapolis: Why read the end of the book first – who does that and why or why not? Very complex plot, confusing characters. Dark secrets, gothic tone, beautiful writing.


A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

AnnaMarie Fallon, Danville: Couldn’t find discussion questions on Litlovers. A brief political history of Afghan is nice to have. A background on Taliban, Islam and Jihad is helpful too.

Anita Murphy, Dubois Co. Public Library, Dubois: Everyone found the book compelling and thought-provoking. We had a lively discussion on cultural differences, women’s rights, war and personal sacrifice.

Debbie Itani, Zionsville Meadows: Great book, very talented writer. Difficult subject to read about, but wonderful topic for discussion.

The Thread That Runs So True by Jesse Stuart

Christine Sterle, Thorntown Public Library: 3 in group are former teachers. All enjoyed the book. Several were familiar with selection from high school literature textbooks. Any source with the book to help in discussion would add. Recommended “also reads” would help.

Judy Stolz, Lexington Book Club, Scott County: Many are retired or presently teaching. Much discussion about teaching styles, budgeting and positive comments about this book.

Debbie Itani, Zionsville Meadows: OK book. Repetitive. Residents liked reading it, but were not overly enthusiastic about method of writing or content.

Nancy Hawkins, Franklin County High School: Students were not very interested in this title.

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Deanna Street, Carmel-Clay Public Library: Excellent discussion.

Donna Fields, Friendship Club, Peru: Only 2 people thought the book was interesting.

Shannon Phipps, Switzerland Co. Public Library: Many in the group were aware of the controversy surrounding the book and the author which made it hard to read the book with an open mind.

Anni Bruns, Eckhart Public Library (Auburn): Loved the concept and what Mortenson was trying to accomplish. Very disappointed to hear of the latest developments to this story.

A Time To Kill by John Grisham

2 “likes”

Kay Garbicak, Village at Arborwood retirement community, Granger: Great book!

Angela Scott, Ligonier Public Library: They loved this book and its tense situation. So exciting and edge of your seat kept them talking.

Nancy Duncan, Scottsburg: The book is a brilliant courtroom drama.  It is very gripping and suspenseful. The Club gives this book 4 ink wells.


The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Liz Osisek, Anderson Public Library:  Great discussion!

Anita Murphy, Jasper-Dubois Co. Public Library, Dubois: We all enjoyed the book. Discussion centered around time travel in various books and TV shows and movies and how inventions today are mirrored in Sci Fi in the past. Maybe time travel will be possible in the future?


To Dance with the White Dog by Terry Kay

Royetta Ingle, Mooresville Public Library: They loved this book.

Sallie Pease, Waterloo Grant Twp. Public Library: Sad, with some funny parts. The older Ladies, it was too close to what they were living. Fifty & under found it to be sad/funny.

Judy Stolz, Scott Co. Public Library: We all agreed that the over 40 crowd would enjoy this book. Tender, had sweetness and the descriptions were pictures in print. Most would read more of his works.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: We enjoyed reading this classic novel.

Kay Garbicak, Village at Arborwood retirement community, Granger: Good book.

Minet Evans, Indianapolis: We all enjoyed reading this brilliant book. Our host for the discussion made “Miss Maudie’s Lane Cake.” . . . included is the recipe.

Gloria Marsh, Indianapolis: Discussion of author’s life & relationship to the stories – history of racism and where we are today, and interesting side discussion about small town life.

Read Nancy’s review.


Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

Lorie Long, Morgan Co. Public Library, Monrovia: We all enjoyed this book. We liked that it had detailed character development and a complex mystery.

Sharon Elliott-Fox, Jeffersonville: Good discussion – difficult book. High ratings. Several difficult issues concerning the progression of dementia and family dynamics.


Vermeer’s Daughter by Barbara Shoup

Gloria Marsh, Indianapolis: A member of the group brought a large book of Vermeer paintings to share and also a book about camera obscura which added depth to the discussion. Also we’d already read Girl with a Pearl Earring and did comparisons. (We preferred Girl with a Pearl Earring, written for adults.)

The View from Castle Rock by Alice Munro

Andrea Basinger, Garrett Public Library: Thumbs up by all.

Deborah Itani, Zionsville Meadows: Book was hard to follow. Not a favorite of this group.

Cynthia Schmid-Perry, Ohio Co. Public Library: Mixed reviews; most had difficulty following lineage; all waited for “redeeming generation” to appear, most disappointed. Personally, I liked that Munro was inspired by her ancestors’ lives.

A Virtuous Woman by Kaye Gibbons

Kay Garbicak, Village at Arborwood retirement community, Granger: Great!


The Waiting Years by Fumiko Endo

Traci Stewart, Walkerton-Lincoln Twp. Public Library: Difficult to read. Hard to keep track of characters. One member really enjoyed the book due to her interest in Japanese culture.


The War Comes to Plum Street by Bruce C. Smith

Lydia Brasher, Indianapolis: Those of us that are interested in history really liked the book; to others it was okay. The thing everyone enjoyed was the memories we shared about that time that impacted our families.


Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Cindy Bergquist, Johnson County Public Library, Franklin branch: Very good book discussion. Thank you!

Starr DeJesus, Mitchell Community Public Library: Our group are residents of a nursing home, so could really identify with the main character and what he experienced in the nursing home scenes. The week after we finished the book, Mitchell Manor will provide a program for the reading group that includes a lady whose mother performed in a circus. She will be bringing in memorabilia of her mother’s. They’ll serve popcorn, cotton candy, and lemonade.

Shannon Phipps, Switzerland County Public Library: Great book for discussion.

Donna Browne, Muncie Public Library: Not everyone in the group thought that the quality of writing (or storytelling) was high, but all enjoyed learning about circus life and lore. It sparked good discussion about life during the Depression, aging and care of the elderly, and animal welfare.

Teresa Heidenreich, Washington Carnegie Public Library: Great story; well done. I liked the large print.


We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee

Diana Kooy, Jasper Co. Public Library, Wheatfield Branch:  A couple enjoyed the book. A couple skimmed it after becoming tired of the tedium of his financing, bank and inspection details. One person thought he was so egotistical that it bothered her and she had no sympathy for him. We didn’t have as good a discussion as we usually do. I found YouTube videos showing the zoo and an interview with the author that the group enjoyed.

Teresa Dustman, Wells Co. Public Library:  Couldn’t find discussion questions online for book, only movie. Compare/contrast book & movie.

Sondra Harrell, Wabash: While many of us were not overly enthused about the book, we all agreed that we were glad we had read it. We learned a lot about zoo operations and the animals. I would highly recommend that readers visit the zoo’s website. It enhances what you read.

Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: We were not very impressed with this book. The concept was interesting – but the implementation was lacking. We gave it 2 stars out of five.

Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: The book didn’t always hold the reader’s interest. Some parts reminded readers of past experiences connected to zoos. We had very good discussion about how the author could have made the story more engaging for the reader. Many did not finish the book.


We’re in Trouble by Christopher Coake

Shelli Kauffman, Bremen Public Library: Several people said they wished they hadn’t read the first story because they couldn’t get the image of animal cruelty out of their heads.


What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Nicole Kirchoff, Shelbyville Middle School: Loved the book! Great addition!


What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage

Traci Stewart, Walkerton-Lincoln Twp. Public Library: Book was enjoyed by all readers. Character and relationship development was wonderfully written. Down to Earth and very relatable story.

Shannon Hart, Kingman Library: We ditched this title based on some content that my ultra-conservative readers were uncomfortable with.

What This River Keeps by Greg Schwipps

1 “like”

Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: We read this as a book group because Indiana Humanities awarded Tipton Public Library a grant to have Greg Schwipps come to the library. Of the 11 in attendance, 5 were from our group. Most enjoyed the novel and all of us enjoyed speaking with Greg for the evening. Thank you for the great opportunity to meet him and read his book!

Julie Hart, West Central Middle/Sr. High School: All but one person loved the book. The characters were believable and we all agreed we even know some of them! Heart wrenching, humorous, sad, and cleverly written. Highly recommended by our group.

Rev. Dena Vittorio, First Presbyterian Church, Rushville:  This book was a little raw for us in language, which the “blurbs” didn’t express, but we rose to the greater good and saw many redeeming points in the book, especially the dog, “Catfish.”

When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin

Marsha Jones, Troyer Memorial Library: Very well liked. Informative & touching. Excellent book, inspiring. Mixed feelings about Reese.


When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro
Georgiana Boss, Jackson County Public Library, Crothersville: Very good discussion. A couple thought it was unrealistic. We all agreed that we probably would not have read this on our own,but were glad we did.

Ann Haw, Franklin: We had mixed feelings about the book, but the discussion was very lively. In many ways we needed to read it a second time.


Where Am I Eating? by Kelsey Timmerman

Kay Koppel, Osgood Public Library: Borrowed in connection with author’s visit. Favorable reactions to both the book & the visit.


Where Am I Wearing? by Kelsey Timmerman

Kay Koppel, Osgood Public Library: Used in connection with author visit. Patrons tended to either read or attend personal appearance. Positive comments on both.


Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts

Becky Gremore, Covington Public Library: Even though this book isn’t a Christian fiction book, my ladies really enjoyed it.

Cheryl Miller, Shelby Co. Public Library: This is a great book for group discussion. Ours lasted an hour and a half and would have gone longer if we’d only had more time! I’ve made arrangements for us to watch the movie together two weeks after our books discussion. None of us can wait!


Where We Belong by Emily Giffin

Sharon Elliott-Fox, Jeffersonville: Lots of discussion on Secrets & Lies and the repercussions – how each person’s life is affected & changed.

Where We Live: Essays About Indiana, edited by David Hoppe

Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: We thought this would be a book about places in Indiana (like Kay Franklin’s essay about Beverly Shores). Somewhat disappointed- but most enjoyed Franklin & Thom’s essays. Thank you!

While I Was Gone by Sue Miller

Mary Hartman, Kendallville Public Library: Book okay. One person did not like the heroine at all. One person liked the book as far as she read it but had not finished it.

Cynthia Webb, Paoli Public Library: Mixed reviews. Group found main character intriguing and could identify with her emotions, but did not like her!

Ellen Keese, Lawrenceburg Public Library, North Dearborn Branch: No one liked the characters in the book.


The Whip by Karen Kondazian

Melissa Hunt, Morrisson Reeves Library: “Wish there was more meat to story.” “Liked the concept.” “Made me want to read some Westerns.”


Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall

Rebecca Kirby, Albany Library: Well-liked by everyone.


The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks

Cindy Bergquist, Johnson County Public Library, Franklin Branch: Great book. Everyone loved it!

Cynthia Webb, Paoli Public Library: The group truly enjoyed Widow of the South. It generated one of our liveliest conversations! Some ladies plan to visit Carnton Plantation in Franklin, TN, after reading the book.


Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Christie Sinclair, Danville Public Library:  They loved the book!

Teresa Dustman, Wells County Public Library: Led to great discussions on independence, grief, travel and adventure!

Janis Small, Morgan Co. Public Library, Morgantown: Great discussion – found many fallacies in story!

The Winner by David Baldacci

Karen Boots, Tippecanoe County Public Library: Wide variety of comments. New genre for many. B- rating.

Kathy Hyman, Westminster Village, West Lafayette: Baldacci’s mysteries are always good reads; the idea that the lottery was profitable and hidden by those in high places was excellent! Indiana has a lottery and most of the profits go to the operators!

Sandy Nunley, Jasper-Dubois Co. Public Library: Action packed, suspenseful, clever, plot twists kept us interested.

Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell

2 “likes”

Emily Crickmore, Hamilton North Public Library: Best discussion yet! Everyone raved about Woodrell’s book. Thank you!

Kay Koppel, Osgood Public Library: Book club discussion centered on literary quality (wonderful) and story element (horrific) which made for a memorable book.

Kelly Hladek, Morton High School, Hammond: Book Club members appreciated the storytelling – but thought the story itself was rather dark for their liking.

Wish You Well by David Baldacci

Cheryl Miller, Shelby Co. Public Library:  This “unusual-for-him” David Baldacci book generated great discussion and memory sharing among members of our group. The challenge is ensuring there’s enough time to let everyone talk! Thankfully, the group has decided we will meet for 1 1/2 hours from now on rather than just an hour. The place and situation we so enjoyed analyzing in this novel will segue nicely into our next book, which is non-fiction – Studs Terkel’s Hard Times. I can hardly wait to hear which two Great Depression stories each person will bring back as “their favorites” as I’ve requested.

Debbie Itani, Zionsville Meadows: Great book. Excellent description. Participants enjoyed this book and were able to compare with most recent books from this author. Great discussion about the power of family ties, the importance of support at different levels and hope as the strength to overcome so many obstacles.

Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston

Suzanne VanReed, Vigo County Public Library: Most did not care for the book, but we had an interesting discussion. Compared with Amy Tan books. Discussed US vs. Chinese parenting and schooling, and the use of mythology/stories in upbringing.

Bonnie Deakins, Thorntown Public Library: My readers all found this book to be challenging to read and understand. Since I had no background with the book or author, I was no help introducing the selection. Finding the “Spark Notes” helped me understand it better.

Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey by Lillian Schlissel

2 “likes”

Donna Browne, Muncie Public Library: Very popular topic!

Working by Studs Terkel

Donna Marsh, Hoosier Village retirement community, Indianapolis: This book was long and “tedious” for them, but it did stimulate a great discussion.


The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

Lydia Brasher, Central Christian Church: We thoroughly enjoyed The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. We gained a lot more information than we had previously known. We are now going to view Ken Burns’ documentary on the Dust Bowl.


Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Shirley Mooney, Marion Public Library: Some found the book very hard reading. Even our discussion questions (from Readersguide website) were tough – quite esoteric. But it was good for us. Ready for a lighter book next month!

Amanda Wisler, LaGrange Co. Public Library: I’d recommend having biographical information about the Brontes on hand for the disucssion.

The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey

Mindy Patterson, Kendallville Public Library: Several varying viewpoints. For a first novel, we thought it was a nice read. Several commented that they would try her 2nd novel.

Ruth Gehlhausen, Jasper-Dubois Co. Public Library, Ferdinand: We all loved the book. We had a great discussion.

Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: Novel Characters Book Group gave this book a near perfect 5 stars. Well developed characters and an interesting historical story line. Great discussion.


You Came Back by Christopher Coake

Traci Stewart, Walkerton-Lincoln Twp. Public Library: We all loved the book, but didn’t fall in love with the main character.


The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

Jalynn Whittymore, Scott County Public Library: Wide variety of comments. Informational. Aroused questions about war, women’s role in saving lives.

Sharon Elliott-Fox, Jeffersonville Twp. Public Library: Good discussion as people compared the condition/situation in Poland with what U.S. citizens had to do. Also amazed at the extent of the Underground Resistance Movement in Poland.