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 twenty years to discuss classic and contemporary works by women authors. All women are invited to join in the conversations whenever their schedules allow.

Books by Women Reading List

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

2015–2016 Book Discussion Schedule

Guest Speaker
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Change of Heart: Justice, Mercy, and Making Peace with My Sister's Killer
     by Jeanne Bishop

Fourth Church member, Cook County Public Defender, and author Jeanne Bishop will give a presentation on her new book, Change of Heart: Justice, Mercy, and Making Peace with My Sister's Killer, a story about Jeanne's path to reconciliation with the teenager who murdered her sister, Nancy, along with Nancy's husband and their unborn child.

Hardcover; 155 pages

Tuesday, October 13, 2015
The Midwife of Venice
   by Roberta Rich

Hannah Levi is known for her gift of delivering babies alive. A count implores her to attend to his dying wife and save their unborn son, but a papal edict forbids Jews from rendering medical treatment to Christians. Can she refuse her duty to a woman who is suffering? 

Paperback; 332 pages

Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Mary Coin
   by Marisa Silver

This novel is based on the iconic photograph of an Oklahoma Dust Bowl mother and her children taken by Works Progress Adminisration (WPA) photographer Dorothea Lange. Author Marisa Silver interweaves the stories of Mary Coin, the woman in the photo; Vera Dare, a portraitist who found her true calling in the faces of those who moved from camp to camp in search of work; and Walker Dodge, a professor who begins an exhaustive search of his own family's history after his father's death.

Paperback; 336 pages

Tuesday, December 8, 2015
The Grass Is Singing
   by Doris Lessing

This murder mystery is set in Southern Rhodesia during a time in which the country is under white rule. It opens with a newspaper announcement of the death of Mary Turner, the wife of a disgraced farmer, and outlines the circumstances of her death in the face of her failed marriage and her environment. Author Doris Lessing won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2007.

Paperback; 272 pages

Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Even the Terrible Things Seem Beautiful to Me Now: The Best of Mary Schmich
   by Mary Schmich

This book is a collection of the columns Mary Schmich wrote for the Chicago Tribune for over two decades on a biweekly basis. Schmich includes 164 columns in this book, including the 10 columns that earned her the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.

Paperback; 320 pages

Tuesday, February 9, 2016
   by Lily King

The novel is based on the life of Margaret Mead and tells the story of a love triangle that takes place in the most remote provinces of New Guinea. Euphoria was a finalist for the National Book Critics Award for Fiction in 2014.  

Paperback; 288 pages

Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Ghost Hero
   by S. J. Rozan

Chau Chun, known as the Ghost Hero, is a celebrated Chinese ink painter who was killed in 1989 during the Tiananmen Square uprising. An American-born Chinese private investigator, Lydia Chin, is contacted by an art world insider to investigate the rumor that new paintings by the deceased artist have emerged. Ghost Hero won the Dilys Award for Mystery in 2012. 

Paperback; 336 pages

Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?
   by Roz Chast

Author Roz Chast, a cartoonist for the New Yorker, depicts through cartoons, family photos, and documents the decline of her aging parents. A poignant and funny narrative, Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography in 2014.

Hardcover; 240 pages

Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Go Set a Watchman
   by Harper Lee

This sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird is set in author Harper Lee's famed Maycomb, Alabama, during the 1950s. Scout Finch, now an adult woman, returns to New York to visit her father, Atticus.

Hardcover; 304 pages

Tuesday, June 14, 2016
The Girl on the Train
   by Paula Hawkins

Protagonist Rachel becomes obsessed with a “perfect” couple that she sees through the windows of a train, one she takes each morning and evening on her commute to and from London. When the woman goes missing, Rachel finds herself in the middle of the investigation into her disappearance, all while trying to deal with her own growing addiction to alcohol and lapses in memory.

Hardcover; 336 pages

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