Check It Out Category: Books

Book Discussion Questions: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

the Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper book coverTitle: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
Author: Phaedra Patrick
Page Count: 331 pages
Genre: Mainstream Fiction
Tone: Bouncing-back, Relatable, Heartwarming, Engaging

Summary: Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater-vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden. But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met– a journey that leads him to find hope, healing, and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.

SPOILER WARNING: These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points if you have not read the book.

The Library is happy to share these original questions for your use. If reproducing, please credit with the following statement: 2018 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.

  1. 1. How is Arthur set in his ways?  How does his journey change his attitude toward daily routine and the comforts of home?

2. Arthur feels comfortable in his house and finds security in his daily routine.  Are there any problems with this?  If someone wants to stay home a lot, is that in and of itself a bad thing?  How does one find the right balance of being home and going out, and can this change over time?  What are the downsides of being a “homebody” as people age?

3. Is it more difficult to break out of routines (and comfort zones) as we age?  Is it more difficult to open our minds to new possibilities?

4. How much does daily routine factor into the experience of marriage?  How is Arthur’s routine disrupted after he loses Miriam?  How can routine be helpful in coping with the loss of a spouse?  How can it become a hindrance?

5. How does this book capture the experience of being a widow?

5. Speaking of their neighbor Bernadette, Miriam had remarked once to Arthur that “bereaved people act in one of two ways…” (pg. 32).  Based on your observations and life experience, what do you think?  Do you believe Miriam would have accurately predicted how Arthur handled bereavement?

7. How many secrets did Miriam keep from Arthur?  Which revelations are most surprising?

8. How do Arthur’s discoveries affect his view of their marriage?  How does Arthur’s view of Miriam change by the end of the book?

9. How does Arthur view the bracelet as he learns more about his wife?  How does he balance his curiosity with the frustration of not knowing Miriam as well as he had thought? Several times he said he wished he never found the bracelet. Do you think by the end of the story he still wished that?

10. There are popular wedding shower games based on discovering how well the engaged couple knows one another – how would Arthur have fared in such a party game?  If a fiancé doesn’t perform well on such quizzes, should it be a cause for concern?   (How important is it for a couple to know details about their lives before they met?)

11. What are the different ways in which a relationship can change over time?  Is it bad if the relationship doesn’t change?  How are Miriam and Arthur similar to other lifelong couples that you know?

12. Ponder some of Arthur’s concerns about his marriage after he learns more about Miriam’s past – do you think Miriam was bored with Arthur and/or with married life?  Did Miriam feel trapped?  Had she settled?  Did he keep her from doing things she enjoyed?

13. Did Miriam’s secrets prevent them from having a successful marriage?  Were Arthur and Miriam happily married?  (Was their marriage a good one?)  Were they a good match for each other?  Was Arthur a good husband to Miriam?

14. Does the novel provide enough info about their marriage for you as reader to form an opinion of it?  Are you curious about Miriam’s perspective on her marriage with Arthur?

15. If he could start over again, what would Arthur do differently in his marriage with Miriam?

16. “They should have visited new places together” (pg. 112 ) —   Do you think it is common to have some elements of regrets when looking back on a long, seemingly successful marriage?  Even if they had traveled more, if Arthur and Miriam were always together is that another form of being “sheltered”?

17. How important is it for couples to get out of the house and do (fun) things together?  How important is it for people to get out and do things (on their own or with friends) without their partner?   Should couples encourage each other to pursue their own interests and strengthen connections with others?

18. Whether you are married or not, why is it important to seek out novelty, such as exploring new places and meeting new people?

19. Do you strive to seek variety and new experiences in your life?  How do you balance the comfort of the old with the fun of the new?  Has reading this book inspired you to shake up your routine, seek new experiences, meet new people, and/or travel?

20. Through his adventures seeking info about his wife’s charms, how is Arthur pushed out of his comfort zone?  Do these experiences contribute to any personal change?  How is Arthur better able to connect with other people by the end of the book?

21. Do you believe Miriam left the bracelet in a place where she knew Arthur would likely discover it?

22. When Arthur looks at the photos hung for his birthday celebration, what is the significance of his noticing Miriam wearing the bracelet in a photo when the children were young?  How long ago do you think she stopped wearing it?  (How long do you think it had been in the boot?)

23. If her illness hadn’t been so sudden, do you believe Miriam would have ever told Arthur about her past?

24. What’s next for Arthur after he returns from Goa?  What kind of daily routine do you think he’ll develop, and how will it differ from before he discovered the bracelet?  How do you see him interacting with village residents/neighbors/ acquaintances/friends?  How about with Lucy and Dan?  Do you see him becoming good friends with Bernadette?

25. Why can it be difficult for adult children and their aging parents to connect and relate to one another?  Do you believe Lucy and Dan are emotionally distant?  What about Arthur?

26. There are two chapters focused on Lucy.  Would you have liked to read more from her point of view?  Do you believe there should have been a chapter or two focused on Dan for balance?

27. How would you describe the interactions between Arthur and Nathan?  How do they view each other?

Want help with your book discussion group? Check out tips, advice, and all the ways the Library can help support your group!

OTHER RESOURCES:

The Nolan Show audio interview with Phaedra Patrick
Publisher’s Weekly book review
Phaedra Patrick’s official author website
LitLovers discussion guide
“Why I Write” article by Phaedra Patrick

READALIKES:

A Man Called Ove book coverA Man Called Ove
by Fredrik Backman

Meet Me at the Museum book coverMeet Me at the Museum
by Anne Youngson

Staff Picks: Andrea’s Selections of the Day

picture of Andrea

We asked Teen Librarian Andrea
what books she’s recommending today.
She chose a combination of mysteries, thrillers and realistic fiction, with secrets and suspense aplenty.

 

 

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

The story of five brothers who bring each other up in a world run by their own rules. As the Dunbar boys love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world, they discover the moving secret behind their father’s disappearance. At the center of the Dunbar family is Clay, a boy who will build a bridge—for his family, for his past, for greatness, for his sins, for a miracle. The question is, how far is Clay willing to go? And how much can he overcome?

Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson

Monday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. Claudia and Monday have always been inseparable—more sisters than friends. So when Monday doesn’t turn up for the first day of school, Claudia’s worried. When she doesn’t show for the second day, or second week, Claudia knows that something is wrong. Now Claudia needs her best—and only—friend more than ever. But Monday’s mother refuses to give Claudia a straight answer, and Monday’s sister April is even less help. No one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone?

 

 

Books: Readalikes for Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Nine Perfect Strangers book cover

 

Are you on the hold list for, or have you just finished, Liane Moriarty’s new book, Nine Perfect Strangers? The story of nine people who all travel to the same remote health spa and find their lives mixing and overlapping in unexpected ways is one book everybody’s talking about. If you are looking for a novel with a similar flavor, try one of these readalikes!

 

 

 

A Week in Winter book coverIf you liked the large cast, resort-like locale, and character-driven plot – Maeve Binchy’s Irish tale, A Week in Winter.

Stoneybridge is a small town on the west coast of Ireland where all the families know one another. Chicky Starr decides to take an old, decaying mansion set high on the cliffs overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean and turn it into a restful place for a holiday by the sea. After the renovations she welcomes the first guests to Stone House’s big warm kitchen, log fires, and understated elegant bedrooms. John, the American movie star, thinks he has arrived incognito; Winnie and Lillian, who are forced into taking a holiday together; Nicola and Henry, a husband and wife who have been shaken by seeing too much death practicing medicine; Anders, who hates his father’s business, but has a real talent for music; Miss Nell Howe, a retired schoolteacher, who criticizes everything and leaves a day early, much to everyone’s relief; the Walls, who are disappointed to have won this second-prize holiday in a contest where first prize was Paris; and Freda, the librarian, who is afraid of her own psychic visions.

 

The Nest book coverIf you liked the flawed and relatable charactersThe Nest by Cynthia Sweeney

Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a 19-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs’ joint trust fund, “The Nest”, which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest midlife supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems.

 

The Ship of Brides book coverIf you liked the theme of people thrown together in a remote location, with hidden backstories and rendezvous, and a connection to AustraliaThe Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes

1946. World War II has ended and all over the world, young women are beginning to fulfill the promises made to the men they wed in wartime. In Sydney, Australia, four women join 650 other war brides on an extraordinary voyage to England–aboard HMS Victoria, which still carries not just arms and aircraft but a thousand naval officers. Rules are strictly enforced, from the aircraft carrier’s captain down to the lowliest young deckhand. But the men and the brides will find their lives intertwined despite the Navy’s ironclad sanctions. And for Frances Mackenzie, the complicated young woman whose past comes back to haunt her far from home, the journey will change her life in ways she never could have predicted–forever.

 

Siracusa book coverIf you liked the darker secrets, plot developments and psychological explorationsSiracusa by Delia Ephron

New Yorkers Michael, a famous writer, and Lizzie, a journalist, travel to Italy with their friends from Maine—Finn; his wife, Taylor; and their daughter, Snow. “From the beginning,” says Taylor, “it was a conspiracy for Lizzie and Finn to be together.” Told Rashomon-style in alternating points of view, the characters expose and stumble upon lies and infidelities, past and present. Snow, ten years old and precociously drawn into a far more adult drama, becomes the catalyst for catastrophe as the novel explores collusion and betrayal in marriage. Set on the sun-drenched coast of the Ionian Sea.

 

MPPL Staff Favorites of 2018

animated pictureTake a moment to reflect: what did you love this year?

As 2018 is drawing to a close, MPPL staff took time to look back on everything they watched, read, listened to, and played throughout the year in order to choose some of their top favorites. With 32 staff members sharing, you’re bound to find plenty to add to your own reading, listening, and watching lists!

 

Picture of ErinBook: Theft by Finding
by David Sedaris
Book: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark
by Michelle McNamara
Book: Peter and Ernesto
by Graham Annable
picture of AndreaBook: The Poet X
by Elizabeth Acevedo
Book: Moxie
by Jennifer Mathieu
Book: Leah on the Offbeat
by Becky Albertalli
Picture of ClaireBook: The Girl Who Smiled Beads 
by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil
Book: The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row 
by Anthony Ray Hinton
picture of ChelseaAudiobook: Baby Teeth
by Zoje Stage
Graphic Novel: Black Hammer, Vol. 1: Secret Origins
by Jeff Lemire
DVD: Legion: Season 1
picture of AngelaBook: Homegoing
by Yaa Gyasi
Book: Educated
by Tara Westover
Book: The Hating Game

by Sally Thorne
Picture of JessicaBook: Lady Q: The Rise and Fall of A Latin Queen
by Reymundo Sanchez and Sonia Rodriguez
DVD: Acrimony
Book: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
by Gail Honeyman
Picture of MaryBook: The Great Alone
by Kristin Hannah
Book: The Feather Thief
by Kirk Johnson
Book: Astral Weeks
by Ryan H. Walsh
Picture of KeldaBook: The One-in-a-Million Boy
by Monica Wood
DVD: Tulip Fever
Audiobook: Lily and the Octopus
by Steven Rowley
Picture of CaitlinBook: Into the Drowning Deep
by Mira Grant
DVD: Love, Simon
Book: Jane, Unlimited
by Kristin Cashore

 

Picture of ChrisBook: Mortal Engines
by Philip Reeve
DVD: Incredibles 2
Book: How the Grinch Stole Christmas
by Dr. Seuss
picture of DanBook: The Necronomicon
by H.P. Lovecraft
Book: 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed
by Eric H. Cline
Book: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry 
by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
picture of KarenBook: The Woman in the Window
by A. J. Finn
Book: Hum If You Don’t Know the Words
by Bianca Marais
Book: The Fallen
by David Baldacci

 

Picture of CathleenBook: How Long ‘Til Black Future Month?
by N.K. Jemisin
Graphic Novel: My Boyfriend Is a Bear
by Pamela Ribon
DVD: Eighth Grade
Picture of FrankBook: All My Sons
by Arthur Miller
Book: The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov
by Andrea Pitzer
Book: The Trial
by Franz Kafka
Book: Front Desk 
by Kelly Yang
Book: One of Us Is Lying
by Karen M. McManus
Book: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Picture of DeniseBook: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Audiobook: If We Were Villains
by M. L. Rio
Book: One Day in December
by Josie Silver
picture of Mary Jane Book: Walk Until Sunrise
by J. J. Maze
Book: A Gentleman in Moscow
by Amor Towles
Book: A Man Called Ove 
by Fredrik Backman

 

Picture of JohnDVD: Leave No Trace
Graphic Novel: Berlin
by Jason Lutes
DVD: The Americans: The Complete Final Season
picture of Jennifer ABook: I Am Princess X
by Cherie Priest
CD: Reputation
by Taylor Swift
Book: Haunted Ground
by Erin Hart
picture of JanineBook: Becoming
by Michelle Obama
Audiobook: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told
by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman
Book: Tin Man
by Sarah Winman
Audiobook: The Second Mrs. Hockaday
by Susan Rivers
Book: Salt to the Sea
by Ruta Sepetys
Book: Spinning Silver
by Naomi Novik
Picture of DonnaBook: Behold the Dreamers
by Imbolo Mbue
Book: The Copenhagen Affair
by Amulya Malladi
Book: Anansi Boys
by Neil Gaiman
picture of CatherineBook: Senlin Ascends 
by Josiah Bancroft
Book: Into the Drowning Deep 
by Mira Grant
Book: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle 
by Stuart Turton
picture of emilyBook: At Home: A Short History of a Private Life
by Bill Bryson
Book: Melmoth
by Sarah Perry
Book: The Mothers
by Brit Bennett
Picture of JoeGraphic Novel: The Black Hammer: Vol. 1, Secret Origins
by Jeff Lemire
Graphic Novel: Hot Dog Taste Test  
by Lisa Hanawalt
Graphic Novel: Royal City: Vol 1, Next of Kin
by Jeff Lemire
Picture of DonnaDVD: Wyeth: The Life of Andrew Wyeth in Bold Strokes
Book: In the Midst of Winter
by Isabel Allende
Book: Identicals
by Elin Hilderbrand

 

picture of MariaBook: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine 
by Gail Honeyman
Book: Hillbilly Elegy 
by J. D. Vance
Book: Mrs. Dalloway
by Virginia Woolf
Mariel photoBook: The Secret History
by Donna Tartt
Book: Circe
by Madeline Miller
Book: The Raven Cycle Series
by Maggie Stiefvater

 

Picture of DaleBook: We Sold Our Souls
by Grady Hendrix
Book: Little Heaven
by Nick Cutter
Book: The Family Plot
by Cherie Priest
Book: The Art of Gathering
by Priya Parker
Book: The Book of Joy

by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Book: The Distant Marvels
by Chantel Acevedo

 


Want more? Take a look at what staff chose in 2014 and 2015 and 2017 as their favorites.

We would love to hear from you!
Write to us on Facebook or Twitter and share what your own favorites this year were. If you’re interested in personalized reading, watching, and/or listening suggestions… Ask!

Asked at the Desk: Holiday Fiction

Picture of Fiction/AV/Teen desk

The year wraps up with a month of various festivities and celebrations. As we embrace past holiday traditions or forge ahead making new ones, sometimes we just want to pause in the midst of the bustle to curl up with a good book, finding comfort in a seasonal story. This month we have had several patrons asking for holiday book recommendations. These are just some of the titles we have in our collection.

Alaskan Holiday book coverAlaskan Holiday
Debbie Macomber
Lighting the Flames book coverLighting the Flames
Sarah Wendell
Holiday Cheer book coverHoliday Cheer
Rochelle Alers
my true love gave to me book coverMy True Love Gave to Me
Stephanie Perkins
Hiddensee book coverHiddensee
Gregory Maguire
One Day in December book coverOne Day in December
Josie Silver
Remembrance book coverRemembrance
Mary Monroe
Burning Bright
Megan Hart
Skipping Christmas book coverSkipping Christmas
John Grisham

Season of Wonder book coverSeason of Wonder
RaeAnne Thayne

Interested in more suggestions? Stop by Fiction/AV/Teen Services on the second floor to ask at the desk yourself, or ask online to visit our virtual desk.

Chelsea’s Pick: This Is Just My Face by Gabourey Sidibe

This Is Just My Face: Try Not To StareChelsea Staff Pick Photo was incredibly funny. Gabourey Sidibe is so unusually honest in her memoir. She is able to tell you her life’s highlights and traumas in her extraordinarily sarcastic way. I was laughing out loud at things that I thought were maybe crossing the line at some points, but it didn’t matter—and that’s her point!

Book Discussion Questions: Behold the Dreamers

behold the dreamers book coverTitle: Behold the Dreamers
Author: Imbolo Mbue
Page Count: 382 pages
Genre: Mainstream Fiction
Tone: Fast-Paced, Compelling, Immigrant Experience

Summary: In 2007, Manhattan-based Cameroonian immigrant Jende Jonga gets a job chauffeuring for Lehman Brothers executive Clark Edwards, easing the financial strain on his family. At first, all goes well, but problems in the Edwards’ marriage lead to problems for the Jongas, and when Lehman falls, both families are caught up in the terrible aftermath. The Jongas — at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, fearing deportation — have much more to lose than the wealthy Edwards family, but together provide a perspective on the accessibility (or lack thereof) of the American Dream, as well as a poignant look at globalization and immigrant life.

SPOILER WARNING: These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points if you have not read the book.

The Library is happy to share these original questions for your use. If reproducing, please credit with the following statement: 2018 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.

1. Jende is trying to get a green card and stay in the U.S. We learn that that he is seeking asylum, using an invented excuse (his girlfriend’s father wants to kill him). What did you think about this?

2. Why do you think Jende wanted to come to the United States?

3. Jende’s cousin Jende was helping Jende to come here. What do you think differentiated their experiences in the U.S.?

4. What was your initial impression of Jende’s lawyer, Bubaker?

5. While Jende is driving Clark, they are having a conversation wherein Jende extols the virtues of Limbe. Clark then asked him why he wants to stay in America:

Jende: “Because my country is no good…..I stay in my country I would have nothing. My son will grow up and be poor like me, just like I was poor like my father. But in America, Sir? I can become something.”

What do you think of Jende’s comments? Does his view change by the end of the story?

6. We are introduced to Lehman Brothers and right away, start seeing the cracks. Clark seemed to know what was happening with Lehman Brothers. Do you see any culpability on his part? What do you think he should have or could have done?

7. Did you feel empathy for Clark?

8. Jende and Neni get married at city hall. Jende told Clark that it wasn’t the marriage certificate that made him feel married; it was the bride price he paid. Your thoughts.

9. Let’s explore Jende and Neni’s relationship. What did you think about their marriage?

10. Can you compare Clark and Jende? What do you see as the differences between how their diverse cultures treat women.

11. What were your thoughts initially about Cindy? Were you surprised by how her character developed?

12. Jende’s brother called for him to send money because he couldn’t afford tuition for his kids. Cindy gives him $500. He sends $300 and pockets the rest. What should he have done with the money?

13. Let’s look at the children; we’ll start with Vince Edwards. He turned down a prestigious internship, wants to drop out of law school and move to India to “find his truth.” What did you think about that? Did Vince like the United States?

14. What did you think of Mighty? Do you think the Jongas genuinely liked him?

15. Let’s look at Neni’s character. What did you think of her as a mother? How do you think her parenting style compares with a typical American born mother? Jende as a father? The Clarks as parents?

16. When working for Cindy Edward at the vacation house, Neni finds Cindy passed out in her room and doesn’t know what to do. Jende tells her to pretend she sees nothing. What did you think about this?

17. Anna the housekeeper wants Neni to talk to Clark about Cindy’s drinking. Not knowing what is going to happen to Cindy, if you were in Neni’s position, what would you have done?

18. What did you think about Neni’s desire to join a church?

19. Jende was very upset that Neni told the church about their immigration status.

“For the first time in a long love affair she was afraid he would beat her…and if he had, she would have known that it was not her Jende who was beating her, but a grotesque being created by the sufferings of an American Immigrant life.”

What did you think about Jenda’s reaction? What about how Neni response to Jende’s anger?

20. Cindy approaches Jende and wants him to spy on Clark. What should Jende have done? What did you think of Winston’s’ suggestion that Jende blackmail Cindy, with her drug use, in order to get her to stop pushing him to spy on Clark?

21. Ripped from actual headlines, comes a scandal. An “escort” is interviewed by the paper and mentions Clark by title and said that her services were being paid for by bailout money. What were your thoughts?

22. After Lehman collapses, who was affected most by it? Victimless?

23. Clark fires Jende. How did you feel about that?

24. Neni went to Mrs. Edward to try to get Jende’s job back, let’s talk about that? Could you sympathize with Neni’s blackmail attempt because of her situation?

25. Do you think this was something Neni would have done when she was living in Limbe? Did America change her? What did you think of Jende’s reaction to the money Neni got from Mrs. Edwards?

26. Why do you think Neni was so desperate to stay in America? Was her experience so different from Jende’s?

27. What did you think of her idea of divorcing Jende and marrying her friend’s cousin? What were your thoughts at her idea to let her professor adopt Liomi?

28. Let’s talk about Neni’s conversation with Dean Flipkins. She wanted his help with a scholarship and he denied her. What did you think about that?

29. Let’s talk about Cindy’s death. Do you believe that Neni was complicit? Were you surprised at how guilty she felt?

30. Vince called Neni to step in as Mighty’s nanny. What did you think of Neni’s decision not to help?

31. Jende makes the decision to go back home. What did you think about that? Why did he make this decision? Do you think Neni had a choice about leaving the country?

32. At the end of the novel, there were several characters that seemed to change their opinions of living in the U.S.:
a. Winston said, “one day …there will be no more Mexicans crossing the border to come to America”
b. Fatou said, “after 26 years, she was ready to stop braiding hair for a living and go back home”, her children wanted nothing to do with West Africa and she wondered if they thought they were better than her.
c. Natasha said, “remember when we welcomed our visitors at Ellis Island with lunch boxes and free medical checkups. They (the Jongas) are returning home because we as a country have forgotten how to welcome strangers.”

What were your thoughts?

33. Jende went to see Clark at the end to thank him for all he did and told him he was a good man. Thoughts. Why do you think Jende never went to Clark for help?

24. Do you think the Jonga’s will be happy back in Limbe? Why/Why Not? Did America change Jende?

35. Is New York a good place for immigrants? Did this book give you any insight into immigration in the United States?

Want help with your book discussion group? Check out tips, advice, and all the ways the Library can help support your group!

OTHER RESOURCES:

NPR’s Book Review
The New York Time’s Book Review
Imbolo Mbue’s official author website
LitLovers discussion guide
Lithub interview with Imbolo Mbue

READALIKES:

Cover of AmericanahAmericanah
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

little bee book coverLittle Bee
by Chris Cleave

Homegoing book coverHomegoing
by Yaa Gyasi

Donna C’s Pick: The Wingman by David Pepper

Donna C Staff Pick photoJack Sharpe is an investigative television news reporter. Congressman Anthony Bravo is a decorated Iraq War veteran and a Democratic candidate for president. In the fast-paced political thriller The Wingman by David Pepper, these two characters become embroiled in a high-stakes world entangled in dark money, deep pockets and scandal at every turn.

Books: Native American Heritage Month

In celebration of Native American Heritage month this November, treat yourself to one of these wonderful books written by Native American authors.

Murder on the Red River book coverMurder on the Red River by Marcie R. Rendon

Cash and Wheaton—a strange partnership. He pulled her from her mother’s wrecked car when she was three. Northern Minnesota, cold Indian Country. Wheaton kept an eye out. So there they are, staring at the unidentified dead Indian. Cash said he was Red Lake. Dreamed his cheap house on the reservation, mother and kids waiting. That’s the place to start looking.

There There book coverThere There by Tommy Orange

Urban Indians living in Oakland, California, who converge and collide on one fateful day. As we learn the reasons that each person is attending the Big Oakland Powwow—some generous, some fearful, some joyful, some violent—momentum builds toward a shocking yet inevitable conclusion that changes everything.

Trail of LightningTrail of Lightning book cover by Rebecca Roanhorse

While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters. Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

The Man Who Heard the Land book coverThe Man Who Heard the Land by Diane Glancy

An unnamed man driving a lonely Minnesota highway hears the voice of the land–but he can’t make out what it has said. The man is a professor who teaches a ‘Literature and the Environment’ course, but he soon realizes that there is much he must still learn about the land, his past, and his home state. What follows is a kind of odyssey of self-discovery. He submerges himself into the history of the region, trying to piece together geology, Native folklore, and early explorer literature, all in an effort to decipher what the land has said.

Hearts Unbroken book coverHearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith

When Louise’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. Long-held prejudices are being laid bar. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey — but as she’s learned, “dating while Native” can be difficult.