Book Groups

Books by Women | CLL Monthly Book Club

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.

2018-2019 Book Discussion Schedule

Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Victoria the Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire by Julia Baird

The author successfully presents Queen Victoria in all of her roles, some of which were contradictory. Victoria had a mind of her own—despite her husband and her prime minister’s advice.

Paperback; 696 pages

Tuesday, October 9, 2018
The Door by Magna Szabo; translated by Len Rix

A stylishly-told tale which recounts a strange twenty-year relationship between a writer and her housekeeper. The story is set in Hungary in the 1960s through 1980s.

Paperback; 262 pages

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesym Ward

The story takes place in Mississippi. A drug-addicted mother takes her 14-year-old boy, Jojo, and his toddler sister on a road trip to pick up their white father when he is released from prison. Mississippi native, Jesym Ward is the winner of two National Book Awards—one for this book.

Hardcover; 304 pages 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Crossing Thresholds: The Making and Remains of a 21st Century Chaplain
by Lucy A. Forster-Smith

A theological narrative weaving together the story of faith in the context of professional life as a college chaplain. Lucy is the former chaplain of Harvard chapel, and currently Senior Associate Pastor at Fourth Presbyterian Church.

Hardcover: 160 pages

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

A Walk Lillian Boxfish Takes by Kathleen Rooney

Based on the story of Margaret Fishback—one of the most talented and successful ad women at R. H. Macy’s in the 1930s—Chicago-based author Kathleen Rooney touches on the injustices faced by working women.

Hardcover; 304 pages

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

A South Carolina lawyer, researching her grandmother’s past, learns about a Tennessee orphanage that kidnapped children and  arranged for wealthy people to adopt them. Based on a real-life scandal.

Hardcover; 342 pages

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi 

A look at history, colonialism, and slavery in the British colony of Ghana (west Africa) 300 years ago. The story follows the family history of two half-sisters, Effia and Esi. Each chapter is a vignette focusing on family members of the half-sisters. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Paperback; 320 pages

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

Tara was born in 1986 and grew up in rural Idaho, in radical Mormon family dominated by her father. She was kept out of school, but eventually left her survivalist family and went on to earn a Ph.D. from Cambridge University. Educated is a story of fierce family loyalty, and the grief that comes from severing one’s closest ties.

Hardcover; 352 pages

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

In post-Civil War Texas, a 10-year-old girl makes an journey back to her aunt and uncle’s home after living with the Kiowa warriors who had killed her parents four years earlier—accompanied by a retired officer hired to care for the girl on their trip from Wichita Falls to San Antonio.

Paperback; 224 pages

Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

In post-Civil War Texas, a 10-year-old girl makes an journey back to her aunt and uncle’s home after living with the Kiowa warriors who had killed her parents four years earlier—accompanied by a retired officer hired to care for the girl on their trip from Wichita Falls to San Antonio.

Paperback; 448 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, March 20, April 17, May 29, and June 26  
   11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
   Free and open to all 60 and older; no RSVP necessary

In its third 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!

Tuesday, March 20
   Lab Girl
by Hope Jahren

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography, Lab Girl takes its readers on a journey in which a girl grows from playing in her father’s college laboratory into a woman whose love for geobiology has made her into one of the most engaging science authors writing today. Her wisdom extends beyond the walls of the lab as she paints vivid pictures of her family, co-workers, and the world around us all.

Tuesday, April 17
   The Underground Railroad
by Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad won both the 2016 Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for its ferocious re-casting of the slave narrative as adventure tale, history lesson, and reflection on the American present. In choosing it for her Book Club, Oprah Winfrey said, “Get it, then get another copy for someone you know because you are definitely going to want to talk about it once you read that heart-stopping last page.”

Tuesday, May 29
   Fahrenheit 451
by Ray Bradbury

HBO will be releasing a new film of this class novel in 2018, so we will re-visit this mid-twentieth century exploration of conscience, censorship, and of course, the critical role of books in a free society. In a time when television dictates reality and owning a book can get a person killed, one “fireman” (whose job it is to burn books) comes to wrestle with what he previously believed and unthinkingly accepted.

Tuesday, June 26
   Black Narcissus
by Rumer Godden

One of Rumer Godden’s earliest (1939) works, Black Narcissus follows a group of British Anglican nuns in India. A subtle, gentle, and even humorous consideration of cultural colonization and the cost of mission—to those on both sides of the proposition—the novel was made into a well-regarded 1947 film.

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