Book Groups

Books by Women

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, September 13, 2016
The Lost Tudor Princess: The Life of Lady Margaret Douglas
by Alison Weir

Lady Margaret had an alarming talent for dangerous intrigue. Margaret served four of the wives of her uncle Henry Vlll; was sent to the Tower of London more than once; used her influence to marry her son, Henry Stuart, to Mary Queen of Scots; and was instrumental in her grandson James VI, King of Scotland, being crowned King of England. The author includes genealogical charts, maps, clothing receipts, and ambassador reports.

Hardcover; 537 pages

Tuesday, October 11, 2016
The House Girl by Tara Conklin

The novel is set in 1852 Virginia and modern-day New York. The author weaves together the story of an escaped slave, Josephine, in the pre-Civil War South and a determined junior lawyer, Lina Sparrow, living in New York in 2004. The story follows Lina Sparrow as she looks for an appropriate lead plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking compensation for families of slaves. In her research, Lina learns about Lu Anne Bell, a renowned prewar artist whose famous works might have actually been painted by her slave, Josephine.

Paperback; 400 pages

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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