Book Discussions

Subject Specific DiscussionsFriday Frolic Books & MoviesGraphic NovelsAward Winners
Tremont Think & Drink Brew Pub Book ClubStart a Discussion on Race • History Book & Movie Club

Brown Bag Book Clubs

Brown Bag Book Clubs begin at 12:00pm. Bring your lunch!

Social Sciences

Louis Stokes Wing, 5th Floor

Queen of KatweThursday, May 10
Queen of Katwe: One Girl’s Triumphant Path to Becoming a Chess Champion
by Tim Crothers
The “astonishing” ( The New York Times Book Review ) and “inspirational” ( Shelf Awareness ) true story of Phiona Mutesi, a teenage chess prodigy from the slums of Uganda. One day in 2005 while searching for food, nine-year-old Phiona Mutesi followed her brother to a dusty veranda where she met Robert Katende. By the age of eleven, Phiona was her country’s junior champion, and at fifteen, the national champion. Now a Woman Candidate Master–the first female titled player in her country’s history–Phiona dreams of becoming a Grandmaster, the most elite level in chess. But to reach that goal, she must grapple with everyday life in one of the world’s most unstable countries.

The Baby TheifThursday, June 14
The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption
by Barbara Bisantz Raymond
The story was shockingly first told by Barbara Raymond in a magazine article that inspired a 60 Minutes feature. Georgia Tann, nationally-lauded for arranging adoptions out of her children’s home in Memphis, Tennessee, was actually a baby seller who terrorized poor, often unwed, mothers by stealing their children and selling them to wealthy clients like actors Joan Crawford and Dick Powell. Parents would keep toddlers indoors, and the mother superior of a local orphanage hid babies in attics, but, protected by political boss Ed Crump, Tann sold over 5,000 children, and did much worse.

GUEST DISCUSSION LEADER: Ms. Barbara Bisantz Raymond is an adjunct professor, adoptive mother, and writer. She received an award from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute for her work on this book. Publisher’s Weekly named The Baby Thief a 2007 Best Book Of The Year.

Center for Local and Global History
Book and Movie Club

Book discussions begin at 12:00 PM, film begins at 1:00 PM.”
Center for Local and Global History, Louis Stoke Wing, 6th Floor

Color of Law book jacket

Monday, April 16
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America
By Richard Rothstein
Film: A Raisin in the Sun (Directed by Daniel Petrie. Runtime: 128 Minutes)

“This compassionate and scholarly diagnosis of past policies and prescription for our current racial maladies shines a bright light on some shadowy spaces.”
Publishers Weekly review of The Color of Law

“The struggle to triumph in the face of adversity transcends the film being pegged as a civil rights picture, and thanks to the leadership of Poitier, a classic is born.”
– review of A Raisin in the Sun

Charles Wilson's War

Monday, May 21
Charlie Wilson’s War : the Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History
By George Crile, III
Film: Charlie Wilson’s War

“Put the Tom Clancy clones back on the shelf; this covert-ops chronicle is practically impossible to put down. No thriller writer would dare invent Wilson, a six-feet-four-inch Texas congressman, liberal on social issues but rabidly anti-Communist, a boozer, engaged in serial affairs and wheeler-dealer of consummate skill.”
– Publisher’s Weekly

“Wickedly funny” – Roger Ebert

Literary Frolic Fridays

Join us for discussions, followed by screenings of cinematic adaptations of of the stories or plays
Literature Department, Main Library, 2nd floor on Fridays from 12:00pm—4:00pm

The Secret Life of Bees (book jacket)April 13, 2018
Discussion of Sue Monk Kidd’s novel The Secret Life of Bees followed by a screening of Gina Prince-Bythewood’s People’s Choice Award winning 2008 20th Century Fox adaptation starring Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, and Dakota Fanning. (MPAA: PG-13 – 114minutes)

Sounder (book jacket)April 27, 2018
Discussion of William H. Armstrong’s novel Sounder followed by a screening of Martin Ritt’s Oscar nominated 1972 20th Century Fox adaptation starring Cicely Tyson and Paul Winfield. (MPAA: G – 105 minutes)

Nuremberg Diary (jacket cover)May 11, 2018
Discussion of the chapters “Goering’s Defense,” “Hess’ Defense,” and “The Epilogue—The Condemned” from First Lt. Gustave Mark Gilbert’s book Nuremberg Diary, followed by a screening of the episodes – “Goering” and “Hess” from the 2006 BBC documentary Nuremburg: Nazis on Trial. (120 minutes)

Von Ryan's Express (book jacket)May 25, 2018
Screening of Mark Robson’s Oscar nominated 1965 20th Century Fox film Von Ryan’s Express starring Frank Sinatra, Trevor Howard, and Edward Mulhare. (MPAA: NR – 1hr 57 minutes)

Get Graphic

Two Thursday each month at 4:00pm with Guest Reader Valentino Zullo
Literature Department, Main Library, 2nd floor

Cosmic Comics

Welcome to the Twilight Zone! In this series we will explore dystopian worlds far off (and some much like our own), alien civilizations, cyborgs, and imagined futures. Join us as we explore science fiction comics.

Two Thursdays a Month

Paper Girls bright pink book jacketMay 3, 2018
Paper Girls, Book One
by Brian K. Vaughn and Jared K. Fletcher

Descender, Book 1, book jacketMay 17, 2018
Descender, Volume One: Tin Stars
by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen

Visions of Violence

BAM! BANG! BOOM! Is violence in comics just TOO MUCH? Has it grown worse over the years? Or has it always been endemic to the medium? This summer, join the discussion on violence in comics.

First and Third Thursdays at 4:00 p.m.

The Punisher (book jacket)

June 7, 2018
Punisher: The Complete Collection. Volume 1
by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson
When a mob hit killed his beloved wife and children, Frank Castle became the Punisher – an unstoppable one-man army waging war on every piece of criminal scum plaguing New York’s streets. But do the Punisher’s origins trace back even further? In 1971 Vietnam, Captain Castle’s platoon faces a Viet Cong attack…and to survive, he must make a grim choice. Collecting Born issues 1-4, and Punisher (2004) 1-12

Batman: The Dark Night Returns

June 21, 2018
Batman: Dark Knight Returns. 30th Anniversary Ed.

by Frank Miller
Celebrate 30 years of one of the most influential stories ever told in the comics medium with the anniversary edition of the graphic novel masterpiece Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Writer/artist Frank Miller completely reinvents the legend of Batman in this saga of a near-future Gotham City gone to rot, 10 years after the Dark Knight’s retirement. Forced to take action, the Dark Knight returns in a blaze of fury, taking on a whole new generation of criminals and matching their level of violence.

Scalped (book jacket)

July 5, 2018
Scalped: Indian Country
by Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera
Jason Aaron, writer of the critically acclaimed series The Other Side, teams with gritty artist R.M. Guéra for an intense crime drama that mixes organized crime with current Native American culture. Fifteen years ago, Dashiell “Dash” Bad Horse ran away from a life of abject poverty and utter hopelessness on the Prairie Rose Indian Reservation searching for something better. Now he’s come back home armed with nothing but a set of nunchucks, a hell-bent-for-leather attitude and one dark secret, to find nothing much has changed on “The Rez” — short of a glimmering new casino, and a once-proud people overcome by drugs and organized crime. Is he here to set things right or just get a piece of the action?

 July 19, 2018
by Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido
This internationally acclaimed series took Europe by storm in 2000 and has won nearly a dozen prestigious awards including the Angoulême Comics Festival prizes for Best Series and Best Artwork. Guarnido reinvents anthropomorphism in these pages with Private investigator John Blacksad up to his feline ears in mystery, digging into the backstories behind murders, child abductions, and nuclear secrets. Guarnido’s sumptuously painted pages and rich cinematic style bring the world of 1950s America to vibrant life.

Wolverine (book jacket)

August 2, 2018
Wolverine: Old Man Logan
by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven
Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, who last teamed up for the monumental Civil War, bring us the most important Wolverine story of the 21st century. Nobody knows what happened on the night the heroes fell. All we know is that they disappeared and evil triumphed and the bad guys have been calling the shots ever since. What happened to Wolverine is the biggest mystery of all. For 50 years, no one has heard from him … and in his place stands an old man called Logan. A man concerned only about his family. A man forced to help an old friend — the blind archer, Hawkeye — drive three thousand miles to secure his family’s safety. Get ready for the ride of your life, Logan.

Sheriff of Babylon

August 16, 2018
The Sheriff of Babylon 1:  Bang. Bang. Bang
by Tom King and Mitch Gerads
One of the most poignant retellings of the Iraq War, Tom King’s critically acclaimed series begins in Baghdad, 2003. The reign of Saddam Hussein is over. The Americans are in command, and no one is in control.  Former cop turned military contractor Chris Henry knows that better than anyone. He’s in the country to train up a new Iraqi police force, and one of his recruits has just been murdered. With civil authority in tatters and dead bodies clogging the streets, Chris is the only person in the Green Zone with any interest in finding out who killed him—and why. Inspired by his real-life experiences as a CIA operations officer in Iraq, writer King, with artist Mitch Gerads, delivers a wartime crime thriller like no other. Collecting issues #1-6

Portrait of Valentino Zullo

Guest Reader Valentino Zullo is a PhD student in the Department of English at Kent State University and a Therapist in the Maternal Depression Unit at Ohio Guidestone. He holds a Master of Arts in English and Women’s Studies from Bowling Green State University, and a Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University. Valentino believes in Literature, Social Justice and the Superhero Way!

Award Winning Books

First Tuesday of Every Month at 4pm
Main Library, 2nd Floor, Literature Department & Ohio Center for the Book

Book jacket art: red umbrella propped against wall inside a brown wooden cabinet.June 5th, 2018
The Buddha in the Attic
by Julie Otsuka
Winner of the 2012 Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction, finalist for the 2011 National Book Award for Fiction.
A tour de force of economy and precision, a novel that tells the story of a group of young women brought from Japan to San Francisco as “picture brides” nearly a century ago.

Interpreter of MaladiesJuly 3rd, 2018
Interpreter of Maladies
by Jhumpa Lahiri
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award in 2010.
Navigating between the Indian traditions they’ve inherited and the baffling new world, the characters in Jhumpa Lahiri’s elegant, touching stories seek love beyond the barriers of culture and generations.

Blue book jacket with silver text of book titleAugust 7th, 2018
Song of Solomon
by Toni Morrison
Winner of the National Books Critics Award and cited by the Swedish Academy in awarding Morrison the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Milkman Dead was born shortly after a neighborhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight. For the rest of his life he, too, will be trying to fly. With this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison transfigures the coming-of-age story as audaciously as Saul Bellow or Gabriel García Márquez. As she follows Milkman from his rustbelt city to the place of his family’s origins, Morrison introduces an entire cast of strivers and seeresses, liars and assassins, the inhabitants of a fully realized black world.

Tremont Think & Drink

Join us for engaging book discussions as the Jefferson Branch Library teams up with neighborhood watering holes.

Women & Power (book jacket)

Monday, June 11, 2018, at 7:00 p.m.
Prosperity Social Club, 1109 Starkweather Ave.
Women & Power: A Manifesto
by Mary Beard
Two essays connect the past with the present, tracing the history of misogyny to its ancient roots and examining the pitfalls of gender.  The author asks “if women aren’t perceived to be fully within the structures of power, isn’t it power that we need to redefine?”


World Without Mind (book jacket)

Monday, July 9, 2018, at 7:00 p.m.
Prosperity Social Club, 1109 Starkweather Ave.
World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech
by Franklin Foer
Recently, there has been a revolution in terms of who controls knowledge and information. This rapid change has imperilled the way we think. Without pausing to consider the cost, the world has rushed to embrace the products and services of four titanic corporations. They have produced an unstable and narrow culture of misinformation, and put us on a path to a world without private contemplation, autonomous thought, or solitary introspection – a world without mind.


Furnishing Eternity

Monday, August 13, 2018, at 7:00 p.m.
Prosperity Social Club, 1109 Starkweather Ave.
Furnishing Eternity: A Father, a Son, a Coffin, and a Measure of Life
by David Giffels
From the acclaimed author of The Hard Way on Purpose, a vibrant, heartfelt memoir about confronting mortality, surviving loss, finding resilience in one’s Midwest roots and seeking a father’s wisdom through an unusual woodworking project, constructing his own coffin.

Brew Pub Book Club

Second Wednesday of each month, discover the lives of extraordinary women.
Fourth Tuesday of each month, explore engaging titles from our Science & Technology collection.
Masthead Brewery • 1261 Superior Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114 • 5:30-6:30pm

Cover image for April 11, 2018
Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
by Helene Cooper
“In this biography of Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Cooper does more than document the historic rise of Liberia’s first female leader. She presents a harrowing account of the Liberian civil war; the countless deaths, rapes, and abuses suffered by the people of Liberia . . . Cooper details the lives of Liberia’s market women, who watched their children perish, who answered Sirleaf’s call to “vote for woman,” and who fell victim to Ebola. From start to finish, Cooper presents an eye-opening account, holding nothing back.” Library Journal Review

Cover image for April 24, 2018
Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War
by Mary Roach
“With compassion and dark humor, Roach delves into the world of military scientists and their drive to make combat more survivable for soldiers. Her interest in military matters wasn’t piqued by the usual aspects of warfare – armaments, tactics, honor – but the more “esoteric” ones: “exhaustion, shock, bacteria, panic, ducks.” Roach goes into great detail about the historical conditions that spawned particular areas of research, and she often describes seemingly absurd tests and experiments. Roach’s book is not for the squeamish or those who envision war as a glorious enterprise; it is a captivating look at the lengths scientists go to in order to reduce the horrors of war.” Publisher’s Weekly

Cover image for May 9, 2018
Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel
by Francine Klagsbrun
“As a child, Ukrainian-born Golda Meir moved from Russia to Milwaukee and later Chicago, eventually dedicating her life to the formation of Israel, becoming the country’s first and only female prime minister in 1969. Often seen as energetic and irascible, Meir spurned feminism as a political movement, and her complex story deserves an examination. Klagsbrun attempts to capture the richness and depth of Meir’s life with the details she feels other accounts have lacked by making the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War the defining event of Meir’s life.” Library Journal Review

Cover image for May 22, 2018
The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food
by Jennifer Lee
“Readers will take an unexpected and entertaining journey—through culinary, social and cultural history—in this delightful first book on the origins of the customary after-Chinese-dinner treat by New York Times reporter Lee. There are satisfying minihistories on the relationship between Jews and Chinese food and a biography of the real General Tso, but Lee also pries open factoids and tidbits of American culture that eventually touch on large social and cultural subjects such as identity, immigration and nutrition. Copious research backs her many lively anecdotes, and being American-born Chinese yet willing to scrutinize herself as much as her objectives, she wins the reader over.” Publishers Weekly

Cover image for June 13, 2018
American Girls in Red Russia: Chasing the Soviet Dream
by Julia L. Mickenberg
Professor Mickenberg limns the many intrepid women who finagled their way into Russia, starting in the late nineteenth century, to help with everything that needed to be done, and that was a lot. Many of these American women in Russia came to support not just children or communism but also what they saw as great freedoms for women, freedoms not offered in the U.S. in the 1900s abortion rights, maternity benefits, child care supported by the state, and more. Though success stories are here, so is much disillusionment, as the reality failed to meet the promise.” Booklist Review 26, 2018
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life
by Ed Yong
“You are not alone. Smothered in and transformed by microbes, each one of us is a we not a me, insists science-writer Yong. Recent estimates figure around 39 trillion microbes (mostly bacteria but also fungi, viruses, and archaea) and 30 trillion human cells share a symbiotic relationship in the typical person. The title of the book, repurposed from Walt Whitman, is indeed apt. Bottom line: don’t hate or fear the microbial world within you. Appreciate its wonders. After all, they are more than half of you.” Booklist Review