Books of Note meets on Zoom only. Contact Sue Reimer if you would like to be added to the monthly Zoom meeting.
On the third Tuesday of the month from September thru May, the book discussion group, Books of Note, meets on Zoom. The group is open to anyone who would like to join.
NECC BOOKS OF NOTE READING SELECTIONS FOR 2023 – 2024
October 17- “Murder in the News“ by Robert H. Jordan Junior. Chicago TV news anchor draws from forty-seven years of news experiences to provide an eye-opening look at how news programs decide which murders to cover and which ones to ignore. Split-second decisions are made on where to send limited resources when dozens of shootings and several murders are occurring on a daily basis. Learn why will one story get “breaking news” banners and be placed at the top of the broadcast while others may not make the air at all or may be given casual mention in later segments. We also examine how the explosion of social media platforms has changed the dynamic of reporting the news and why murders are the perfect stories for television, as news organizations struggle to survive. Sue Reimer to lead the discussion.
November 21- “For Everything a Season: Simple Musings on Living Well” by Phillip Gulley. Filled with a cast of lovable, quirky characters, punctuated with simple wonders, the everyday truths found in this book offer much needed clarity to our own befuddled world. No matter where you live, no matter what your season, come along for the journey. When Philip Gulley began writing newsletter essays for the twelve members of his Quaker meeting in Indiana, he had no idea one of them would find its way to radio commentator Paul Harvey Jr. and be read on the air to 24 million people. Fourteen books later, with more than a million books in print, Gulley still entertains as well as inspires from his small-town front porch. Martha Ryan to lead the discussion.
December 19- “An Elderly Woman is Up to No Good“ by Helene Tursten. Maud is an irascible 88-year-old Swedish woman with no family, no friends, and… no qualms about a little murder.
Over the course of her adventures—or misadventures—this little bold lady will handle a crisis with a local celebrity who has her eyes on Maud’s apartment, foil the engagement of her long-ago lover, and dispose of some pesky neighbors. But when the local authorities are called to investigate a dead body found in Maud’s apartment, will Maud finally become a suspect? Sue Reimer to lead the discussion.
January 16, 2024 – “Before We Were Yours” by Lisa Wingate. Five siblings are wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, the eldest fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty. Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which the director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong. Diane Hienton to lead the discussion.
February 20- “To Kill a Mocking Bird“ by Harper Lee. The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic. Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior – to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature. Ross Ament to lead the discussion.
March 19- “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet“ by Jamie Ford. Henry, a Chinese American boy and Keiko, a Japanese American girl, both American citizens, forge a bond of friendship in 1940s Seattle. After Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept. Forty years later and now a widower, Henry begins looking for signs of the Okabe family. Henry is still trying to find his voice & words that might explain the actions of his nationalistic father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago. Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart. Marcia Valenzeno to lead the discussion.
April 16- “Waking Up White: and Finding Myself in the Story of Race” by Deborah Irving. “Waking Up White” is the book the author wishes someone had handed her decades ago. By sharing her sometimes cringe-worthy struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, she offers a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance. As Irving unpacks her own long-held beliefs about colorblindness, being a good person, and wanting to help people of color, she reveals how each of these well-intentioned mindsets actually perpetuated her ill-conceived ideas about race. She also explains why and how she’s changed the way she talks about racism, works in racially mixed groups, and understands the antiracism movement as a whole. Brandon Perrine to lead the discussion.
May 21 – “The Personal Librarian” by Marie Benedict. In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. P. Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture in New York City society and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps create a world-class collection. But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and a well-known advocate for equality. Belle’s complexion isn’t dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white—her complexion is dark because she is African American.
The Personal Librarian tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths she must go to—for the protection of her family and her legacy—to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives. Ross Ament to lead the discussion.