Books ‘n’ Bites

We’re #Stillhere with Virtual Events
In response to the COVID-19 virus and public health concerns,
Vail Public Library is suspending all in person gatherings

Join us each month for a fun and lively Virtual Book Club experience!

We meet the second Wednesday of the month via Zoom, contact Lori Barnes at lbarnes@vailgov.com for an invitation to the monthly Books ‘n Bites.


Titles for the 2020 year

January 2020: “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Tracy Chevalier

In seventeenth-century Delft, there’s a strict social order -rich and poor, Catholic and Protestant, master and servant -and all know their place. When Griet becomes a maid in the household of the painter Johannes Vermeer, she thinks she knows her role: housework, laundry, and the care of his six children. She even feels able to handle his shrewd mother-in-law; his restless, sensual wife; and their jealous servant. What no one expects is that Griet’s quiet manner, quick perceptions, and fascination with her master’s paintings will draw her inexorably into his world. Their growing intimacy sparks whispers; and when Vermeer paints her wearing his wife’s pearl earrings, the gossip escalates into a full-blown scandal that irrevocably changes Griet’s life.Written with the precision and focus of an Old Master painting, Girl With a Pearl Earring is a vivid portrait of colorful seventeenth-century Delft, as well as the hauntingly poignant story of one young girl’s rite of passage.

February 2020: “The Secret Life of Bees: A Novel” by Sue Monk Kidd

Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily’s fierce-hearted black “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina–a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

April 2020: “Flight of Dreams: A Novel” by Ariel Lawhon

On the evening of May 3rd, 1937, ninety-seven people board the Hindenburg for its final, doomed flight to Lakehurst, New Jersey. Among them are a frightened stewardess who is not what she seems; the steadfast navigator determined to win her heart; a naive cabin boy eager to earn a permanent spot on the world’s largest airship; an impetuous journalist who has been blacklisted in her native Germany; and an enigmatic American businessman with a score to settle. Over the course of three hazy, champagne-soaked days their lies, fears, agendas, and hopes for the future are revealed.
Flight of Dreams is a fiercely int

imate portrait of the real people on board the last flight of the Hindenburg. Behind them is the gathering storm in Europe and before them is looming disaster. But for the moment they float over the Atlantic, unaware of the inexorable, tragic fate that awaits them.

May 2020:  “The Last Midwife: A Novel” by Sandra Dallas

It is 1880 and Gracy Brookens is the only midwife in a small Colorado mining town where she has delivered hundreds, maybe thousands, of babies in her lifetime. The women of Swandyke trust and depend on Gracy, and most couldn’t imagine getting through pregnancy and labor without her by their sides.
But everything changes when a baby is found dead…and the evidence points to Gracy as the murderer.
She didn’t commit the crime, but clearing her name isn’t so easy when her innocence is not quite as simple, either. She knows things, and that’s dangerous. Invited into her neighbors’ homes during their most intimate and vulnerable times, she can’t help what she sees and hears. A woman sometimes says things in the birthing bed, when life and death seem suspended within the same moment. Gracy has always tucked those revelations away, even the confessions that have cast shadows on her heart.
With her friends taking sides and a trial looming, Gracy must decide whether it’s worth risking everything to prove her innocence. And she knows that her years of discretion may simply demand too high a price now…especially since she’s been keeping more than a few dark secrets of her own.

June 2020: “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith

The beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness — in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

July 2020: ” The House at the Edge of Night” by Catherine Banner

Spanning nearly a century, through secrets and mysteries, trials and sacrifice, this beautiful and haunting novel follows the lives of the Esposito family and other islanders who live and love on Castellamare. The people of Castellamar are transformed by two world wars and a great recession, by the threat of fascism, by their deep bonds of passion and friendship, and by bitter rivalries and the power of forgiveness.

 

 

August 2020: “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd

From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees and the forthcoming novel The Book of Longings, a novel about two unforgettable American women.
Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world.
Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.
Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.
Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.
This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.


Past Books Include:

  • October 2019: “Zorro : A Novel” by Isabel Allende
  • September 2019: “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry: A Novel” by Gabrielle Zevin
  • August 2019: “Pigs in Heaven: A Novel” by Barbara Kingsolver
  • July 2019: “The Martian: A Novel” by Andy Weir
  • June 2019: “The Stars Are Fire” by Anita Shreve
  • May 2019: “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold
  • April 2019 : “All Grown Up” by Jami Attenberg
  • March 2019: ” The Last of the Menu Girls” by Denise Chavez (OBOV 2019 Title)
  • February 2019: “Everybody’s Son” by Thrity Umrigar
  • January 2019: “The Dinner ” by Herman Koch
  • December 2018: No Book Club
  • November 2018: “Mansfield Park” by Jane Austen
  • October 2018: “The Silver Star” by Jeannette Walls

     

                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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