Batavia Public Library

Book discussions led by Laura


The Whites  by Harry Brandt
High suspense and sharp prose highlight this electrifying police procedural. Billy Graves is marking time on night duty when he catches a case that threatens his career, friends, and family. A gritty, darkly humorous and compelling examination of justice and vengeance. (Hardboiled mystery; Gritty; Suspenseful)

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Rosemary’s story begins when she is arrested; from there the tragedy at the heart of her family is slowly revealed.  A moving tale of familial love and loss that examines the bonds of sisterhood. For full impact, avoid reading spoilers. (Literary fiction; Moving; Thought-provoking)

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
This sweeping family saga tells the stories of two half-sisters and seven generations of their descendants living in Ghana and the US. Each generation lives with the ghosts of the past, touched by the legacy of slavery, and presented in intimate portraits. Empathetic, haunting and, in the end, quietly triumphant. (Historical fiction; issue-oriented, haunting)

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
This profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive domestic portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family, and uncovering the ways in which family members struggle, all their lives, to understand one another. (Psychological fiction; Gripping; Thought-provoking)

The Things They Carried  by Tim O’Brien
The men of Alpha Company battle the enemy, miss the lives they left behind, and struggle with loneliness, rage, and fear in a testament to the devastating legacy of the Vietnam War. This modern classic is a painful, lyrical, and intensely personal account of the war. (Literary Fiction; War Stories; Haunting)

The Buddha in the Attic  by Julie Otsuka
Unforgettable choral-like narrative recounts the experiences of six Japanese “picture brides” who struggle to adjust to a new culture, raise families, and face the prospect of wartime internment. (Literary fiction; Spare: Elegant)

A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
Can a children’s book appeal to adults? Find out with this novel-in-stories in which a man recalls his annual Depression-era summer visits with his larger-than-life grandma. Grandma Dowdel is not a good influence, but her dirty tricks and cunning plots are what makes those visits remarkable. (Historical fiction; funny, witty)

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
A riveting and suspenseful tale of a Jesuit expedition to make first contact with the source of the mysterious music originating from another planet. The disastrous encounter leads Emilio Sandoz, the sole survivor, to question his faith and humanity. (Science fiction; Haunting, reflective)

Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
Inspired by the film The Magnificent Seven, Nayeli and her three friends leave their tiny Mexican village to bring home seven men to protect their home. As Nayeli marches north, she finds far more than she’d been looking for. (Humorous fiction; Multicultural; Rollicking adventure)

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
A chance encounter triggers August’s memory of her Brooklyn childhood, when her family was adjusting to trauma, and friendship was everything. This own voices novel is a bittersweet prose-poem about childhood, friendship, race, love, and grief. (Literary fiction; Moving, lyrical)


Just Mercy  by Bryan Stevenson
This searing indictment of the American justice system covers the inspiring story of Stevenson’s battle, as founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, to defend “hopeless cases,” freeing people from excessive punishment or wrongful convictions. The overarching narrative focuses on an African-American man on death row for killing a white woman despite credible evidence to the contrary.  (Memoir; Law; Social Reform; Engaging, touching)