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Adult Book Discussion
This group meets at 6:30pm in the Board Room at the Sugar Grove Public Library on the first Tuesday of each month.

May 6, 2014
Half Broke Horses
by Jeannette Wells

"Those old cows knew trouble was coming before we did."

So begins the story of Lily Casey Smith, Jeannette Wall's no-nonsense, resourceful, and spectacularly compelling grandmother. By age six, Lily was helping her father break horses. At fifteen, she left home to teach in a frontier town--riding five hundred miles on her pony, alone, to get to her job. She learned to drive a car and fly a plane. And, with her husband, Jim, she ran a vast ranch in Arizona. She raised two children, one of whom is Jeannette's memorable mother, Rosemary Smith Walls, unforgettably portrayed in The Glass Castle.

Lily survived tornadoes, droughts, floods, the Great Depression, and the most heartbreaking personal tragedy. She bristled at prejudice of all kinds--against women, Native Americans, and anyone else who didn't fit the mold. Rosemary Smith Walls always told Jeannette that she was like her grandmother, and in this true-life novel, Jeannette Walls channels that kindred spirit.

June 3, 2014
She's Come Undone
by Wally Lamb

In this extraordinary coming-of-age odyssey, Wally Lamb invites us to hitch a wild ride on a journey of love, pain, and renewal with the most heartbreakingly comical heroine to come along in years. Meet Dolores Price. She's 13, wise-mouthed but wounded, having bid her childhood goodbye. Stranded in front of her bedroom TV, she spends the next few years nourishing herself with Mallomars, potato chips, and Pepsi her anxious mother supplies. When she finally orbits into young womanhood at 257 pounds, Dolores is no stronger and life is no kinder. But this time she's determined to rise to the occasion and give herself one more chance before she really goes under.

July 1, 2014
The Shadow of the Wind
by Carols Ruiz Zafon

Barcelona, 1945--just after the war, a great world lies in the shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his eleventh birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother's face. To console his only child, Daniel's widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona's guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again. Daniel's father coaxes him to choose a volume from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning to him. And Daniel so loves the novel he selects, The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax, that he sets out to find the rest of Carax's work. To his shock, he discovers that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book this author has written. In fact, he may have the last one in existence. Before Daniel knows it his seeming innocent quest has opened a door into one of Barcelona's darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, magic, madness and doomed love. And before long he realizes that if he doesn't find out the truth about Julian Carax, he and those closest to him will suffer horribly.

August 5, 2014
We Band of Angels
by Elizabeth M. Norman

In the fall of 1941, the Philippines was a gardenia-scented paradise for the American Army and Navy nurses stationed there. War was a distant rumor, life a routine of easy shifts and dinners under the stars. On December 8 all that changed, as Japanese bombs began raining down on American bases in Luzon, and this paradise became a fiery hell. Caught in the raging battle, the nurses set up field hospitals in the jungles of Bataan and the tunnels of Corregidor, where they tended to the most devastating injuries of war, and suffered the terrors of shells and shrapnel.

But the worst was yet to come. After Bataan and Corregidor fell, the nurses were herded into internment camps where they would endure three years of fear, brutality, and starvation. Once liberated, they returned to an America that at first celebrated them, but later refused to honor their leaders with the medals they clearly deserved. Here, in letters, diaries, and riveting first-hand accounts, is the story of what really happened during those dark days, woven together in a deeply affecting saga of women in war.

September 2, 2014
Jackdaws
by Ken Follett

D-Day is approaching. They don't know where or when, but the Germans know it'll be soon, and for Felicity "Flick" Clariet, the stakes have never been higher. A senior agent in the ranks of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) responsible for sabotage, Flick has survived to become one of Britain's most effective operatives in Northern France. She knows that the Germans' ability to thwart the Allied attack depends upon their lines of communications, and in the days before the invasion no target is of greater strategic importance than the largest telephone exchange in Europe. But when Flick and her Resistance-leader husband try a direct, head-on assault that goes horribly wrong, her world turns upside down. Her group destroyed, her husband missing, her superiors unsure of her, her own confidence badly shaken, she has one last chance at the target, but the challenge, once daunting, is now near-impossible. The new plan requires an all-woman team, none of them professionals, to be assembled and trained within days. Code-named the Jackdaws, they will attempt to infiltrate the exchange under the noses of the Germans--but the Germans are waiting for them now and have plans of their own. There are secrets Flick does not know--secrets within the German ranks, secrets among her hastily recruited team, secrets among those she trusts the most. And as the hours tick down to the point of no return, the most daunting of all, there are secrets within herself...

October 7, 2014
The Third Bullet
by Stephen Hunter

Bob Lee Swagger is back in a thriller fifty years in the making . . . It's not even a clue. It's a whisper, a trace, a ghost echo, drifting down through the decades via chance connections so fragile that they would disintegrate in the puff of a breath. But it's enough to get legendary former Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger interested in the events of November 22, 1963, and the third bullet that so decisively ended the life of John F. Kennedy and set the stage for one of the most enduring controversies of our time. Swagger begins his slow night stalk through a much-traveled landscape. But he's asking questions that few have asked before: Why did the third bullet explode? Why did Lee Harvey Oswald, about to become the most hunted man on earth, risk it all by returning to his rooming house to secure a pistol he easily could have brought with him? How could a conspiracy that went unpenetrated for fifty years have been thrown together in the two and a half days between the announcement of the president's route and the assassination itself? As Bob investigates, another voice enters the narrative: knowing, ironic, almost familiar, that of a gifted, Yale-educated veteran of the CIA Plans Division. Hugh Meachum has secrets and the means and the will to keep them buried. When weighed down against his own legacy, Swagger's life is an insignificant expense--but to blunt the threat, he'll first have to ambush the sniper. As each man hunts the other across today's globe and through the thickets of history, The Third Bullet builds to an explosive climax that will finally prove what Bob Lee Swagger has always know: it's never too late for justice.

November 4, 2014
Olive Kitteridge
by Elizabeth Strout

In a voice more powerful and compassionate than ever before, New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Strout binds together thirteen rich, luminous narratives into a book with the heft of a novel, through the presence of one larger-than-life, unforgettable character: Olive Kitteridge. At the edge of the continent, Crosby, Maine, may seem like nowhere, but seen through this brilliant writer's eyes, it's in essence the whole world, and the lives that are lived there are filled with all of the grand human drama--desire, despair, jealousy, hope, and love. At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town and in the world at large, but she doesn't always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive's own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse. As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life--sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition--its conflicts, its tragedies and joy, and the endurance it requires.

December 2, 2014
After the Prophet
by Leslie Hazleton

As Muhammad lay dying, the battle over who would succeed him as the ruler of the Muslim people had begun. And as Lesley Hazleton shows in her gripping history, After the Prophet, the battle has never ended. This is the foundation story of the Shia-Sunni split in Islam, a magnificent tale of power, intrigue, assassination, and passionate faith. Starting in Arabia in the 632 and reaching its terrible breaking point fifty years later in Iraq, it still shapes modern headlines from Iran's Islamic Revolution to the Iraq civil war. The succession crisis set Muhammad's son-in-law, the philosopher-warrior Ali, in opposition to the controversial Aisha, Muhammad's favorite wife. She would defy all expectations by leading an army against Ali, urging on her warriors in the thick of battle. The ultimate breaking point came when soldiers of the first Sunni dynasty massacred seventy-two warriors led by Ali's son, Hussein, at Karbala in Iraq, forging the Shia-Sunni split in blood. Hussein's ordeal would quickly become the Passion story at the core of Shia Islam, and the history would be transformed into sacred history. Balancing past and present, Lesley Hazleton shows how this story is alive in Middle Eastern hearts and minds today, as though it had just happened. Even as she tells what happened in the seventh century,m she never lets the reader lose sight of where those events have left us, and why they matter so much now as the struggle for dominance in the Muslim world plays out in the cities and mountains of Iraq and Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The discussion is group-moderated and open to anyone who has read the book. Copies of each book are available at the circulation desk one month before each discussion. Contact the library with any questions about this group by calling 630-466-4686 or click HERE to send us an email message.
 

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