Join this group where a Palm Springs Library Reference Librarian leads a monthly book club meeting at the Mizell Senior Center.
The group meets the second Thursday of every month from 10:30 -11:30 a.m (September-June).
The Mizell Senior Center is located on the corner of Sunrise and Ramon at 480 S. Sunrise Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262. For more information go to www.mizell.org or call 760-323-5689.
2018 / 2019 Season
September 13, 2018: Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
October 11, 2018: Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student and a Life-Changing Friendship by Michelle Kuo
November 8, 2018: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
December 13, 2018: Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship by Isabel Vincent
January 10, 2019: The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers
February 14, 2019: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
March 14, 2019: Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans
April 11, 2019: Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister
May 9, 2019: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
June 13, 2019: The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues by Edward Kelsey Moore
September 13, 2018
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
—New York Times Bestseller
—Winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction
—The daring and magnificent novel from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author
Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond the house and by some charged mystery between the two men.
Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that once belonged to men, now soldiers abroad. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. One evening at a nightclub, she meets Dexter Styles again, and begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished.
Manhattan Beach takes us into a world populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men in a dazzling, propulsive exploration of a transformative moment in the lives and identities of women and men, of America and the world.
October 11, 2018
Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student and a Life-Changing Friendship by Michelle Kuo
—Readers witness the transformative power of their moving lessons in both literature and life (The New York Times).
Recently graduated from Harvard University, Michelle Kuo arrived in the rural town of Helena, Arkansas, as a Teach for America volunteer, bursting with optimism and drive. But she soon encountered the jarring realities of life in one of the poorest counties in America, still disabled by the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. In this stirring memoir, Kuo, the child of Taiwanese immigrants, shares the story of her complicated but rewarding mentorship of one student, Patrick Browning, and his remarkable literary and personal awakening.
Convinced she can make a difference in the lives of her teenaged students, Michelle Kuo puts her heart into her work, using quiet reading time and guided writing to foster a sense of self in students left behind by a broken school system. Though Michelle loses some students to truancy and even gun violence, she is inspired by some such as Patrick. Fifteen and in the eighth grade, Patrick begins to thrive under Michelle's exacting attention. However, after two years of teaching, Michelle feels pressure from her parents and the draw of opportunities outside the Delta and leaves Arkansas to attend law school.
Then, on the eve of her law-school graduation, Michelle learns that Patrick has been jailed for murder. Feeling that she left the Delta prematurely and determined to fix her mistake, Michelle returns to Helena and resumes Patrick's education—even as he sits in a jail cell awaiting trial. Every day for the next seven months they pore over classic novels, poems, and works of history. Little by little, Patrick grows into a confident, expressive writer and a dedicated reader galvanized by the works of Frederick Douglass, James Baldwin, Walt Whitman, W. S. Merwin, and others.
In this powerful memoir that "avoids the education-as-savior cliché," as James Forman, Jr. and Arthur Evenchik write, Kuo is herself transformed as she contends with the legacy of slavery and he questions of what constitutes a "good" life and what the privileged owe to those with bleaker prospects.
November 8, 2018
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
—New York Times Bestseller
—A sprawling, enchanting family saga (Entertainment Weekly).
—A dazzling family love story reminiscent of Everything I Never Told You from a novelist heralded by Lorrie Moore as a “great new talent.”
If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life?
It's 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.
The prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in '80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.
A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds.
December 13, 2018
Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship by Isabel Vincent
—I loved every moment of this book . . . Everyone deserves their own Edward, and everyone deserves to read this book (Susannah Cahalan, bestselling author of Brain on Fire).
When Isabel meets Edward, both are at a crossroads: he wants to follow his late wife to the grave, and she is ready to give up on love. Thinking she is merely helping Edward’s daughter—who lives far away and has asked her to check in on her nonagenarian dad in New York—Isabel has no idea that the man in the kitchen baking the sublime roast chicken and light-as-air apricot soufflé will end up changing her life.
As Edward and Isabel meet weekly for the glorious dinners that Edward prepares, he shares so much more than his recipes for apple galette or the perfect martini, or even his tips for deboning poultry. Edward is teaching Isabel the luxury of slowing down and taking the time to think through everything she does, to deconstruct her own life, cutting it back to the bone and examining the guts, no matter how messy that proves to be.
Dinner with Edward is a book about love and nourishment, and about how dinner with a friend can, in the words of M. F. K. Fisher, “sustain us against the hungers of the world.”
January 10, 2019
The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers
—New York Times Bestseller
—A gripping, triumphant adventure (Los Angeles Times) from bestselling author Dave Eggers, The Monk of Mokha tells the incredible true story of a young Yemeni American man, raised in San Francisco, who dreams of resurrecting the ancient art of Yemeni coffee but finds himself trapped in Sana’a by civil war
Mokhtar Alkhanshali is twenty-four and working as a doorman when he discovers the astonishing history of coffee and Yemen’s central place in it. He leaves San Francisco and travels deep into his ancestral homeland to tour terraced farms high in the country’s rugged mountains and meet beleaguered but determined farmers. But when war engulfs the country and Saudi bombs rain down, Mokhtar has to find a way out of Yemen without sacrificing his dreams or abandoning his people.
February 14, 2019
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
―#1 New York Times bestseller!
―A tour de force (Kirkus).
―Alaska, 1974. Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed. For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.
Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.
Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown.
At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.
But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.
In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.
March 14, 2019
Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans
Paper Moon meets the Blitz in this original black comedy, set in World War II England, chronicling an unlikely alliance between a small time con artist and a young orphan evacuee.
When Noel Bostock—aged ten, no family—is evacuated from London to escape the Nazi bombardment, he lands in a suburb northwest of the city with Vera Sedge—a thirty-six-year old widow drowning in debts and dependents. Always desperate for money, she’s unscrupulous about how she gets it.
Noel’s mourning his godmother Mattie, a former suffragette. Wise beyond his years, raised with a disdain for authority and an eclectic attitude toward education, he has little in common with other children and even less with the impulsive Vee, who hurtles from one self-made crisis to the next. The war’s provided unprecedented opportunities for making money, but what Vee needs—and what she’s never had—is a cool head and the ability to make a plan.
On her own, she’s a disaster. With Noel, she’s a team.
Together, they cook up a scheme. Crisscrossing the bombed suburbs of London, Vee starts to make a profit and Noel begins to regain his interest in life. But there are plenty of other people making money out of the war—and some of them are dangerous. Noel may have been moved to safety, but he isn’t actually safe at all. . . .
April 11, 2019
Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister
—Electrifying...a rollicking nineteenth-century thrill ride (Amy Stewart, New York Times bestselling author of Girl Waits with Gun).
Inspired by the real story of investigator Kate Warne, this spirited novel follows the detective's rise during one of the nation's times of crisis, bringing to life a fiercely independent woman whose forgotten triumphs helped sway the fate of the country.
With no money and no husband, Kate Warne finds herself with few choices. The streets of 1856 Chicago offer a desperate widow mostly trouble and ruin―unless that widow has a knack for manipulation and an unusually quick mind. In a bold move that no other woman has tried, Kate convinces the legendary Allan Pinkerton to hire her as a detective.
Battling criminals and coworkers alike, Kate immerses herself in the dangerous life of an operative, winning the right to tackle some of the agency's toughest investigations. But is the woman she's becoming―capable of any and all lies, swapping identities like dresses―the true Kate? Or has the real disguise been the good girl she always thought she was?
May 9, 2019
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
—A New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly Bestseller
—For readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale comes a "thought-provoking [and] complex tale about two families, two generations apart . . . based on a notorious true-life scandal" (Library Journal).
Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family's Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage, the Foss 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, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.
Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.
Based on one of America's most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, 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.
June 13, 2019
The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues by Edward Kelsey Moore
—Moore, besides being laugh out loud hilarious, has a profound understanding of human nature . . . A truly remarkable writer. This book is a joy to read (Fannie Flagg, author of The Whole Town’s Talking and Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe).
—The arrival of [Moore’s] new novel had me singing anything but the blues (Julia Glass, National Book Award-winning author of A House Among the Trees and Three Junes).
—From the author of the bestselling The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues, an exuberant and poignant new novel of passions, family, and forgiveness
When a late life love affair blooms between Mr. Forrest Payne, the owner of the Pink Slipper Gentleman’s Club, and Miss Beatrice Jordan, famous for stationing herself at the edge of the club’s parking lot and yelling warnings of eternal damnation at the departing patrons, their wedding summons a legend to town. Mr. El Walker, the great guitar bluesman, comes home to give a command performance in Plainview, Indiana, a place he’d sworn―and for good reason―he’d never set foot in again.
But El is not the only Plainview native with a hurdle to overcome. A wildly philandering husband struggles at last to prove his faithfulness to the wife he’s always loved. And among those in this tightly knit community who show up every Sunday after church for lunch at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, are the lifelong friends, known locally as “The Supremes” ―Clarice, facing down her longing for, chance at and fear of a great career; Barbara Jean, grappling at last with the loss of a mother whose life humiliated both of them, and Odette, reaching toward her husband through an anger of his that she does not understand.
Edward Kelsey Moore’s lively cast of characters, each of whom have surmounted serious trouble and come into love, need not learn how to survive but how, fully, to live. And they do, every one of them, serenaded by the bittersweet and unforgettable blues song El Walker plays, born of his own great loss and love.