Category Archives: ◊Past◊

Reading for a past meeting.

The Last Palace / Susan & Howard / October 23

The author moved into the ambassador’s residence in Prague and discovered hidden swastikas. He investigated. This book is the startling history of this building and its occupants.


Note: An extra credit assignment is to also read Never Stop Walking, by Christina Rickardsson. This is her journey from poverty in Brazil, to education in Sweden, and beyond.

The Winter Soldier / Nicky & Ron / July 16

The Winter Soldier

An intense novel of war, medicine, and romance set in World War I.

The New York Times liked it: “Brims with improbable narrative pleasures. Pages crackle with excitement. A spectacular success.” Also liked by the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle and NPR.


Note: Nicky & Ron ask that we bring appetizers and wine. We will nibble and converse elegantly in a common room at their new residence, Holladay Park Plaza.

Fascism: A Warning / Kacey & Bruce / May 21

fascism [fash-iz-uh m] : a political movement that follows the principles and methods of Mussolini in Italy 1922-1944.

This book examines its methods, revival, and danger. Secretary Albright was U.S. Secretary of State and is a World War II refugee from Czechoslovakia. Chosen as a Best Book of 2018 by The Economist.

Some reviewers noted that the audio version, read by the author, was clear and powerful.

Americanah / Louise / March 4

Americanah is the story of two Nigerians making their way in the U.S. and UK.

It is the Multnomah County Library Everyone Reads 2019 selection.

Also, winner of the National Book Critics Award for Fiction,  one of PBS’s best-loved novels, and a Barack Obama summer reading pick.

Wikipedia has a nice profile of the author.

To organize the events and lessons of the book, you may profit from the author’s TED talks: The Danger of a Single Story (2009, 20 min) and We Should All Be Feminists (2012, 30 min).

The Ninth Hour / Nadja & David / January 15

A widely praised book by a respected author.

Some reviews: “A haunting and vivid portrait of an Irish Catholic clan in early 20th century America” /  “A remarkable snapshot of early 20th-century Irish-Catholic Brooklyn” / “Vivid and arresting. Marvelously evocative.”  — The Associated Press, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times Book Review.

Our local libraries have many copies, including large print and audio books.

The author is the Richard A. Macksey Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University. (more details)

Ironfire / Julie & Geoff / November 13

The blurb is excited: From the acclaimed author of Empires of Sand comes a mesmerizing new adventure. Sweeping from the drawing rooms of Paris to the palace of Suleiman the Magnificent to the dark hold of a slave ship racing across the sea, here is a dazzling story of love and valor, innocence and identity, an epic novel of the clash of civilizations on a barren island where the future was forged.

By David Ball; 2004; 688 pages. Also published as Sword and the Scimitar, 2003.

Amazon  Goodreads

RBG / Louise / September 16

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is small, quiet, and studious. And now we realize, she is also pretty amazing.

Your assignment is to dive deep into her world, emerge again, and be prepared to discuss.

Here are resources:

She can do 20 pushups. Check out her workout book.

Note: Our next book is IronFire by David Ball. Start early: 688 pages.