Book Groups

Books by Women | CLL Monthly Book Club
Academy for Faith and Life

Books by Women

Second Tuesdays from 6:00 to 7:15 p.m.
September through June
Bumpus Activity Room in the Gratz Center

Books by Women has met faithfully for more than twenty years to discuss classic and contemporary works by women authors. All women are invited to join in the conversations whenever their schedules allow.

2016–2017 Book Discussion Schedule

Tuesday, November 8, 2016
The Witches of Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff

The author unpacks the mystery of the Salem Witch Trials. Aside from suffrage, the Salem Witch Trials represent the only movement when women played the central role in American history. It began in 1672 during an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter when a minister’s daughter began to scream and convulse.  It ended less than a year later, but not before nineteen men and woman had been hanged. Author Stacy Schiff won the Pulitzer Prize for Cleopatra in 2011.

Paperback; 512 pages

Tuesday, December 13, 2016
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Sparks

The story is set in the 1930s in Edinburgh, Scotland. Six ten-year-old girls were assigned to be mentored by Miss Jean Brodie, a teacher. Under her mentorship, these six girlswhom Miss Brodie singles out as the elite group among her studentsbegin to stand out from the rest of the school; however, one of these girls will betray her.

Paperback; 160 pages

Tuesday, January 10, 2017
The Girl Next Door by Ruth Rendell

In 1944 a group of children playing in a tunnel near their London neighborhood found a tin box containing two skeletal hands, one male and one female. Six decades later, they react to the rediscovery by construction workers of these hands and the crime investigation that follows.

Paperback; 304 pages

Tuesday, February 14, 2017
The Underground Girls of Kabul:
   In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan

by Jenny Nordberg

In Afghanistan, a country culturally dominated by men, the birth of a son is cause for celebration, and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned as a misfortune. A third kind of child, a bacha posh, is a girl dressed as a boy and raised as a boy and presented as such to the outside world. The author, a Swedish journalist, broke the story of this phenomenon to the New York Times

Paperback; 288 pages

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War
by Karen Abbott

This book chronicles the stories of four women who played unconventional roles during the Civil War. Belle was a boisterous flirt and Confederate spy; Rose was a seductive widow who also spied for the South; Emma disguised herself as a man and enlisted in the Union Army; and Elizabeth is a wealthy spinster in the Confederate capital with Union loyalties.

Paperback; 412 pages

Tuesday, April 11, 2017
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

This story focuses on the experiences of two sisters living in France during World War II. One sister has a child and a missing husband yet works quietly to save Jewish children. The other sister wants to do something heroic to save France.

Paperback; 448 pages

Tuesday, May 9, 2017
The Girls of Atomic City:
   The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II

by Diane Kiernan

This narrative, which uses interviews with the surviving women and meticulous historical research, tells the story of the young women, mostly southern and mostly poor, who were recruited to live and work in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on a top-secret project to build an atomic bomb.

Paperback; 373 pages

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende

This is a multi-generational love story that spans the decades from the Holocaust in Poland and the wars in the Balkans to present-day San Francisco. Alma Belasco is an elderly widow, living in a nursing home in San Francisco, who shares with her young Romanian caregiver the story of the longtime love of a Japanese gardener who, as a child, had been sent with his family to a retention camp.

Paperback; 336 pages


Books by Women Reading List

A reading list of books read by Books by Women from December 1991 through the present is available here.

For more information about Books by Women, contact Anne Ellis (312.573.3369).

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CLL Monthly Book Club

   Tuesdays, October 25, November 22, December 20  
   11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
   Free and open to all 60 and older; no RSVP necessary

In its second year, the CLL member-run book club enjoys books selected by members who wish to lead the discussion. Grab a great read, and bring a friend to our monthly gatherings!

Tuesday, October 25
The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks
Writing about The Secret Chord, one reviewer said that it “reads like a prose poem, with battle after battle recounted in detail, but it’s a page turner of a poem.” Geraldine Brooks’ fictional account of the life of the Bible’s King David is rich with historical detail and characters who defy what we think we know about them.

Tuesday, November 22
The Meaning of Human Existence by Edward O. Wilson
Provocative and lively, biologist and naturalist Edward O. Wilson considers humanity’s place in the cosmos and other ticklish existential questions. You might not agree with all his answers, but the group will surely have plenty to talk about.

Tuesday, December 20
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
Find out what all the buzz is about! Book One of the Neopolitan Novels (Elena Ferrante’s series that has developed quite the cult following), My Brilliant Friend details the story of Lily and Elena, two working class girls from 1950s Naples, and also the story of their country in the midst of epic changes.

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Academy for Faith and Life Book Study Group

Join pastors and staff of Fourth Church in a monthly book study group.
The books are chosen individually by the staff and are presented as a way to more deeply dive into the theological topics and conversations in our world. Books for the study groups will be available at the Book Nook during Coffee Hour.

Race in a Post-Obama America: The Church Responds,
   David Maxwell, editor
Discussion led by Mark Eldred, Interim Director of Adult Education
6:30–8:00 p.m. in the Page Smith Room
Tuesdays, November 1, 15, and 22 (3 weeks)

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