For a complete listing of discussions about literature and writing, please click here:
The Paris Architect: a novel by Charles Belfourne
In 1942 Paris, gifted architect Lucien Bernard accepts a commission that will bring him a great deal of money - and maybe get him killed. But if he's clever enough, he'll avoid any trouble. All he has to do is design a secret hiding place for a wealthy Jewish man, a space so invisible that even the most determined German officier won't find it. He sorely needs the money, and outwitting the Nazis who have occupied his beloved city is a challenge he can't resist.
Make friends, talk about books, and read and learn in a relaxed community setting. The Next Chapter Book Club (NCBC) offers an opportunity for adults and teens with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to participate in a weekly book club. The group meets Mondays at 6:30 pm to read aloud and discuss a book for one hour. Books are provided by the library.
Space is limited; please register by calling Beth Miller at 1-866-941-8188.
Come meet author Troy Lewis as he discusses his book Gas Money a heartwarming, honest narrative that shows how the everyday people we come in contact with can shape our lives forever. Packed with humor, lots of inspiration and occasional sadness, the collection of true stories captures the perspective and imagination of a six-year-old black boy growing up in the 1960s Virginia and soul-searching journey over the next five decades.
The first of his family to go to college, Anil Patel, the golden son, carries the weight of tradition and his family’s expectations when he leaves his tiny Indian village to begin a medical residency in Dallas, Texas, at one of the busiest and most competitive hospitals in America. When his father dies, Anil becomes the de facto head of the Patel household and inherits the mantle of arbiter for all of the village’s disputes. But he is uneasy with the custom, uncertain that he has the wisdom and courage demonstrated by his father and grandfather. His doubts are compounded by the difficulties he discovers in adjusting to a new culture and a new job, challenges that will shake his confidence in himself and his abilities.
Back home in India, Anil’s closest childhood friend, Leena, struggles to adapt to her demanding new husband and relatives. Arranged by her parents, the marriage shatters Leena’s romantic hopes, and eventually forces her to make a desperate choice that will hold drastic repercussions for herself and her family. Though Anil and Leena struggle to come to terms with their identities thousands of miles apart, their lives eventually intersect once more—changing them both and the people they love forever.
This book discussion will be moderated by Colts Neck Librarian Stephanie Laurino. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome to attend, however registration is preferred. Stop by or call the library to reserve your copy of the book today.
Discussion of The Pearl that Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi.
Local Girls: A Novel
By Caroline Zancan
With an eye for the raw edges of what it means to be a girl and the intensity of early friendship, Local Girls is a look at both the role celebrity plays in our culture, and how the people we know when we are young can end up changing our lives.
Limited number of books available at the Circulation Desk.
Outlander Book Series is multi-categorical: Historical Fiction. Men in Kilts. Romance. Adventure. Mystery. SciFi. You may know and love the television series in which a determined heroine falls back in time to 18th Century Scotland. Now, dive into the books themselves and join our Outlander Book & TV Series Discussion.
Outlander, the group will share your thoughts, questions, and feelings about this multi-genre, epic work - and maybe even a few words about the show. You may love it, ya ken.
Please check with our Circulation staff as a limited number of books are available.
Moderator Dr. Nelly Segal will lead discussion on The Bride Closed the Door by Ronit Matalon
Part of the award-winning series: Literature of World Languages: A Public Forum for Multilingual Book Discussions.
Books are read and discussed in Chinese, Hebrew, Arabic, Italian, Russian and Spanish languages.
Books are available at LIbrary Headquarters' Circulation Desk.
Growing up in a small North Carolina town, Jess Hall is plunged into an adulthood for which he is not prepared when his autistic older brother, Stump, sneaks a look at something he is not supposed to see, which has catastrophic repercussions.
Copies of the book are available at the circulation desk.
An exuberant, one-of-a-kind novel about love and family, war and nature, new money and old values by a brilliant New Yorker contributor
The Portable Veblen is a dazzlingly original novel that’s as big-hearted as it is laugh-out-loud funny. Set in and around Palo Alto, amid the culture clash of new money and old (antiestablishment) values, and with the specter of our current wars looming across its pages, The Portable Veblen is an unforgettable look at the way we live now. A young couple on the brink of marriage—the charming Veblen and her fiancé Paul, a brilliant neurologist—find their engagement in danger of collapse. Along the way they weather everything from each other’s dysfunctional families, to the attentions of a seductive pharmaceutical heiress, to an intimate tête-à-tête with a very charismatic squirrel.
Nora has lost the love of her life, Maurice, the man who rescued her from the stifling world to which she was born. And now she fears she may be drawn back into it. Wounded, strong-willed, clinging to secrecy in a tiny community where everyone knows your business, Nora is drowning in her own sorrow and blind to the suffering of her young sons, who have lost their father. Yet she has moments of stunning empathy and kindness, and when she begins to sing again, after decades, she finds solace, engagement, a haven—herself.
If you have an interest in writing and you care to share your work, the Creative Writers' Group meets every third Thursday of the month at 7 o'clock at the Monmouth County Library-Headquarters. Our goal is simply to offer constructive criticism and support to fellow writers. These sessions are free and open to the public. If you are interested in reading something to the group, choose a piece that is under 1500 words.
Moderators Jih-Liang Tseng & Julia Pang will lead discussion on East Meets West by Liu, Yang
Books are available at Library Headquarters' Circulation Desk.
A blistering debut about a fearless sixteen-year-old girl who braves a northern Michigan blizzard to search for her missing meth-addicted mother. She stops by the cabin of two drug addicts and flees with their endangered baby, triggering a dangerous race from the elements and a band of desperate criminals.
Short Stories Thru the Decades
A Silver Dish by Saul Bellow (1978)
Saul Bellow's story "A Silver Dish" illustrates the skill of one of the greatest American authors of the 20th century. The story spans a period from the middle of the Great Depression to the mid-1980s, showing the changes that time renders in both society and in one man's life. The main character, Woody Selbst , is one of Bellow's finest creations. A lonesome, successful businessman, Woody reminisces about the circumstances under which his father, a con man and thief, caused him to lose his scholarship to a seminary school, an act that redirected his entire life.
“The Hunger Artist” (1922) by Franz Kafka
An artist starves himself for extended periods of time for the amusement of audiences during a time when public fasting is out of fashion.
A Different Lie by Derek Haas
Haas builds characters who are complicated, memorable, and sharply drawn. His spare, lean prose wastes no words. Haas develops a powerful and compellling voice and spends his scant 200 pages building suspense, creating atmosphere, and telling a compelling yarn. An unflinching little gem of a story: violent, dark, and unrelentingly entertaining.
Moderator Joanne Bisagna Villafane will lead discussion on the book The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
When author Jeff Hobbs arrived at Yale University, he became fast friends with the man who would be his college roommate for four years, Robert Peace. Robert’s life was rough from the beginning in the crime-ridden streets of Newark in the 1980s, with his father in jail and his mother earning less than $15,000 a year. But Robert was a brilliant student, and it was supposed to get easier when he was accepted to Yale, where he studied molecular biochemistry and biophysics. But it didn’t get easier. Robert carried with him the difficult dual nature of his existence, trying to fit in at Yale, and at home on breaks.
A compelling and honest portrait of Robert’s relationships—with his struggling mother, with his incarcerated father, with his teachers and friends—The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace encompasses the most enduring conflicts in America: race, class, drugs, community, imprisonment, education, family, friendship, and love.
Carrying Albert Home: The Somewhat True Story of a Man, His Wife, and Her Alligator
By Homer Hickam
Carrying Albert Home is the funny, sweet, and sometimes tragic tale of a young couple and a special alligator on a crazy 1,000-mile adventure. With down-home charm, Homer Hickam’s tale is ultimately a testament to that strange and marvelous emotion called love.
Beautiful Ida Chagall, the only daughter of Marc Chagall, is blossoming in the Paris art world beyond her father's controlling gaze. But her newfound independence is short-lived. In Nazi-occupied Paris, Chagall's status as a Jewish artist has made them all targets, yet his devotion to his art blinds him to their danger.
Over the course of one life-altering afternoon, the fates of seven people will change forever when a throng of protestors are determined to shut down Seattle.
Set in contemporary Northern California, The Harder They Come explores the volatile connections between three damaged people—an aging ex-Marine and Vietnam veteran, his psychologically unstable son, and the son's paranoid, much older lover—as they careen towards an explosive confrontation.
On a vacation cruise to Central America with his wife, seventy-year-old Sten Stensen unflinchingly kills a gun-wielding robber menacing a busload of senior tourists. The reluctant hero is relieved to return home to Fort Bragg, California, after the ordeal—only to find that his delusional son, Adam, has spiraled out of control.
Adam has become involved with Sara Hovarty Jennings, a hardened member of the Sovereign Citizens’ Movement, right-wing anarchists who refuse to acknowledge the laws and regulations of the state, considering them to be false and non-applicable. Adam’s senior by some fifteen years, Sara becomes his protector and inamorata. As Adam's mental state fractures, he becomes increasingly schizophrenic—a breakdown that leads him to shoot two people in separate instances. On the run, he takes to the woods, spurring the biggest manhunt in California history.
As he explores a father’s legacy of violence and his powerlessness in relating to his equally violent son, T. C. Boyle offers unparalleled psychological insights into the American psyche. Inspired by a true story, The Harder They Come is a devastating and indelible novel from a modern master.
Isla is a lonely young Tasmanian girl, who lives with her mother and brother. Bo is a Danish sailor and a crewman on an Antarctic supply ship who shares his adventures with them. Though Isla and Bo’s time together is short, it is enough to change the course of both their lives.
“The Doll's House” (1922) Katherine Mansfield
The Burnell family receives an elaborate doll house from a generous house guest, but when the girls decide to invite their friends over, they find themselves swept up by social trends.
Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper
This 'poetic, poignant" debut features last great adventures, unlikely heroes, and a "sweet, disarming story of lasting love".
Eighty-three-year old Etta has never seen the ocean. So early one morning she takes a rifle, some chocolate, and her best boots and begins walking the 3,232 kilometers from rural Saskatchewan, Canada eastward to the sea. As Etta walks further toward the crashing waves, the lines among memory, illusion, and reality blur.
Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir
By Roz Chast
A 2014 National Book Award finalist, Roz Chast brings her humor to the topic of aging parents, through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents. Chast's memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents.
Moderator Raisa Silver will lead discussion on the book Gods of the Steppe by Andrei Gelasimov
Moderator Dr. Hashem Sherif will lead discussion on Thartharah Fawqa by Naguib Mahfouz
Retiree Percy Darling has his routines disrupted when he permits a locally-beloved preschool to take over his barn. The author spins a captivating tale about a man who can no longer remain aloof from his community, his grown daughters or the precarious joy of falling in love.
Recounts how the author, an experienced falconer grieving the sudden death of her father, endeavored to train for the first time a dangerous goshawk predator as part of her personal recovery.
The Accidental Empress: A Novel by Allison Pataki
A New york Times bestseller, The Accidental Empress is the love story of "Sisi" the Austro-Hungarian Empress and wife of Emperor Franz Joseph is "captivating, absorbing, and beautifully told".
"Allison Pataki brings to life one of the most enigmatic, intelligent, and stunningly beautiful woman ever to have graced a court in Europe. A remarkable novel about a truly remarkable empress!"
Moderator Dr. Nelly Segal will lead discussion on Amnon and Tamar from 2 Samuel, Chapter 13.
Margaret and John marry in 1960s London despite John’s severe depression. The story follows the legacy of a father’s pain on the life of his family, told in alternating points of view of all five members of the family.
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
Phaedra Patrick understands the soul. Eccentric, charming, and wise. The Curious Charms is not just for those who are mourning over love or the past. This book will illuminate your heart.
Don't miss this curiously charming debut! In this hauntingly beautiful story of love, loneliness and self-discovery, an endearing widower embarks on a life changing adventure.
NOTE: Change in date due to Election Day!