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May Book Discussion Groups

Decorah Public Library staff are hosting three book discussions in May. All groups are open to the public and newcomers are encouraged to attend. Anyone interested should call the library at 382-3717 to learn more or to reserve a book.


The Happy Hour Book Group will meet at Rubaiyat on Wed. May 10 at 5 p.m. to discuss George Saunders’ “Lincoln in the Bardo.” The book opens in February 1862, when the Civil War is less than one year old. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved 11 year old son, Willie, dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. From that seed of historical truth, Saunders spins a story of love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and tell their stories. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a struggle erupts.

The History Book Group will talk about Tim Pat Coogan’s “The Famine Plot” at 6:30 p.m. Thurs. May 18 on the 2nd floor of the library. “The Famine Plot” details the 7 year period in the mid-19th century when 25% of Ireland's citizens either died of starvation or emigrated in what came to be known as “Gorta Mor,” the Great Hunger. Coogan argues that the British government avoided blame by hiding behind the smoke screen of laissez faire economics, the invocation of Divine Providence, and a carefully orchestrated publicity campaign. 

The Friday Book Group will delve into “All Fall Down” by Ally Carter at 2 p.m. Fri. May 19 on the 2nd floor of the library. In “All Fall Down,” protagonist Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:

1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.

As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her -- so there's no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.

Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can't control Grace -- no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

For more information, contact Kristin Torresdal (Happy Hour and History Book Groups) or Gretchen Carolan (Friday Book Group); both can be reached at 563-382-3717.