Bookworm on Books

In September 2002 Lauren Van Buren led a small group of avid readers in the first Plattsmouth Book Club meeting. At first we read only part of the book. Soon members chose to read and review the entire work each month.

That's the format we've used ever since.

After Lauren moved away, Susanne Astley assumed Lauren's role. Our numbers grew. With each additional member comes another perspicacious viewpoint on literature and life.

We grew so much we moved to a dual format in 2009. Now every month readers choose one of two suggested selections to discuss.



Special thanks to Susanne for providing this complete archive.




September 7th and 21st, 2002
Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

October 5th
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

November 2nd
Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

December 7th
Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

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Girl in Hyacinth blue by Susan Vreeland

February 1st
Rim of the Prairie by Bess Streeter Aldrich

March 1st
Ghost in the Little House by William Holtz

April 5th
The Practical Heart  by Allan Gurganus

May 3rd
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

June 7th
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

July 12th
Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose

August 2nd
The Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

September 6th
Once Upon a Town:  The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen by Bob Greene

October 4th
Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose

November 1st
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

December 6th
The Passion of Artemesia by Susan Vreeland

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January 3rd
A Time to Die:  The Kursk Disaster by Robert Moore

February 7th
Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow

March 6th
Local Girls by Alice Hoffman

April 3rd
One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

May 1st
Seabiscuit:  An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand

June 5th
Having our Say:  The Delaney Sisters’ First 100 Years by Sarah Louise Delaney and Annie Elizabeth Delaney

July 10th
The Flyers:  In Search of Wilbur and Orville Wright by Noah Adams

August 7th
Will Rodgers:  His Life and Times by Richard Ketchum

September 4th
Silas Marner by George Eliot

October 2nd
A Lantern in her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich and field trip to Bess Streeter Aldrich House

November 6th
Haunted Mesa by Louis L'Amour

December 4th
The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code by Richard Abanes

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Gentian Hill by Elizabeth Goudge

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

Triangle:  The Fire that Changed America by David Von Drehle

Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Dearest Friend:  A Life of Abigail Adams by Lynne Withey

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Trace by Patricia Cornwell

5th November
Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert Massie

3rd December
Hiroshima by John Hershey

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7th January 2006
The Children’s Blizzard by David Larkin

4th February
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi and/or Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia by Carmen bin Ladin

4th March
The Number One Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

1st April
The Devil in the White City:  Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

6th May
The Curious Incident of a Dog at Night-time by Mark Haddon
meeting at the Garfield Park bandstand

3rd June
Chronicles:  Volume One by Bob Dylan

8th July
Holes by Louis Sachar

5th August
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

2nd September (Labor Day Weekend)
Adolescent/Children’s—pick one to read and tell the group about, or just come listen

7th October
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

4th November  
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

2nd December  
Saturday by Ian McEwan

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6th January
Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior by Temple Grandin  and Catherine Johnson

3rd February
The Floor of the Sky by Pamela Carter Joern (author is Leania’s sister-in-law)

3rd March
 The Terrorist by John Updike

7th April
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

5th May
I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron

2nd June
The Greenlanders by Jane Smiley (get started early)

7th July
Pick a biography to discuss with the group, or just come to listen

4th August
My Mortal Enemy by Willa Cather

1st  September
The Source by James Michener

6th October
The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

3rd November
Choose a Classic to discuss with the group, or just come to listen

1st December
Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books by Maureen Corrigan
This meeting will be held at Susanne’s house—call 296-5600 for directions; feel free to bring a Christmas memory, story, or item

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5th January
Any books we gave or received for Christmas

2nd February
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

1st March
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

4th April
84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

3rd May
The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls

7th June
Reader's Choice, any book by Cyndy Salzmann

1st August
Reader's Choice, any biography or autobiography of a woman

6th September
The Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini or
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

4th October
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

1st November
Reader's Choice, any book by Alex Kava

6th December
Uncommon Carriers by John McPhee

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3rd January
Books given or received for Christmas

7th February
Reader's Choice, any book by Mari Sandoz

7th March
Better by Atul Gawande

4th April
Reader's Choice, short stories by Saki

2nd May
All The King's Men by Robert Penn Warren

6th June
The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

11th July
In the Land of White Death by Valerian Albanov

ist August
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

5th September
The Oregon Trail by Francis Parkman

3rd October
The Bridge of San Luis Rey or Our Town by Thornton Wilder

7th November
Into the Wild by John Krakauer or Holocaust Theme, readers' choice

5th December
Christmas anecdotes, short stories, memories

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2nd January
Books given / received for Christmas

6th February
The Little Ice Age by Brian Fagan or The Innocent Man by John Grisham

6th March
The Help by Kathryn Stockett or The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

3rd April
The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy or Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder

1st May
Personal Reflections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain or The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

5th June
Conquests and Cultures by Thomas Sowell or reader's choice by Daphne du Maurier

11th July
Will by G. Gordon Liddy or The Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow

7th August
The Summer of 1787 by David O. Stewart or The Lost City of Z by David Grann

4th September
The Moonflower Vine by Jetta Carleton or Sins of the Father by Ronald Kessler

2nd October
The Great Mortality by John Kelly or Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

6th November
Frozen in Time by Nikki Nichols or The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

4th December
Etymology for Wordbrains Like Me by Norm Bomer

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8th January
Books given / received for Christmas

5th February
Lucy's Legacy by Donald Johansson or Omaha Gold by Lawson McDowell

5th March
Water by Alice Outwater or Dear Enemy by Jean Webster

2nd April
The Department of Mad Scientists by Michael Belfiore or The Home Place by Wright Morris

7th May
The Code Book by Simon Singh or Blackbird by Jennifer Lauck

4th June
Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

9th July
Interpreter of Maladies or Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri or The Time it Never Rained by Elmer Kelton

6th August
Red Star Rogue by Kenneth Sewell and Clint Richmond or Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

3rd September
Rashōmon and Other Stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa or I Am a Man by Joe Starita

1st October
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot or Empire Falls by Richard Russo

5th November
Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville / Tocqueville's Discovery of America by Leo Damrosch or Catch Me if You Can by Stan Redding and Frank W. Abagnale

3rd December
Who the Hell is Pansy O'Hara? by Jenny Bond and Chris Sheedy

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7th January
Books we gave or received for Christmas

3rd March
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving/ The Long Exile by Melanie McGrath

7th April
Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks/ The Story of the Titanic by Jack Winocour

5th May
Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel/ In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

2nd June
Local Wonders or Lights on a Ground of Darkness by Ted Kooser/ Clever Maids by Valerie Paradiz

7th July
The Lobotomist by Jack El-Hai/ Southern Storm by Noah Andre Trudeau

4th August
Wild Nebraska Towns by Wayne C. Lee/ Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

1st September
The Devil and the Disappearing Sea by Rob Ferguson/ The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

6th October
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson/ Nothing Daunted by Dorothy Wickenden

3rd November
The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee/ The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

1st December
A Cup of Tea by Amy Ephron



5th January
Books we gave or received for Christmas

2nd February
The Man Without a Face by Masha Gessen/ Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

2nd March
Special presentation of the history of the Plattsmouth Public Library given by Pat Meisinger

6th April
Napoleon's Buttons by Jay Burreson and Penny Lee Couteur/Still Alice by Lisa Genova

4th May
SADDLE UP! Untold Stories about Vietnam from an Army Infantryman by Charles Gorman

1st June
Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track by Richard P. Feynman/O Pioneers by Willa Cather

6th July
Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters by Matt Ridley/A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America and the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

3rd August
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan/The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman

5th October
TheNamesake by Jhumpa Lahiri/Life of Pi by Yann Martel

1st November
That Used to be Us by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum/President's Club by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy

7th December
Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust by Michael Hingson and Susy Flory

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4th January
Books given or received for Christmas

1st February
Truman by David McCullough/Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

1st March
Collapse by Jared Diamond/The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

5th April
Bell Labs and the Great Age of Invention by Jon Gertner/Hector’s Bliss: Black Homesteaders at Good Lake, NE by Dennis Vossberg or The Slaves’ War by Andrew Ward

3rd May
Food Fray: Inside the Controversy over Genetically Modified Food by Lisa H. Weasel/Call the Midwife, A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth

7th June
Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson/Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly

5th July
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb/Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

2nd August
Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks / Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

13th September
Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol / Wish You Well by David Baldacci

4th October
The Invisible Gorilla by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons / The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

1st November
Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard / The Reader by Bernard Schlink

6th December
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Fubin

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3rd January
Books given or received for Christmas

7th February
Short stories by Flannery O'Connor: Everything That Rises Must Converge or A Good Man is Hard to Find or The Complete Stories / The Girl from Botany Bay by Carrolly Erickson.

7th March
Reader's Choice, biography

4th April
Kon Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl / Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

2nd May
Reader's Choice, any biography of Dorothea Lange / The Great Bridge or The Johnstown Flood, by David McCullough

6th June
Collected works of Katharine Anne Porter / Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverin

11th July
The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene / Watership Down by Richard Adams

1st August
Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded by Simon Winchester / Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink

5th September
daVinci biography, any author / The Swan Gondola by Tinothy Schaffert

3rd October
Lincoln and His Generals, by T. Larry Williams / Fall on Your Knees by Anne Marie MacDonald

7th November
A Never Event, by Evelyn V. McKnight and Travis T. Bennington

5th December
The Moth, edited by Catherine Burns

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2nd January
Books given or received for Christmas

6th February
The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary or The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester / We Band of Angels by Elizabeth Norman

5th March
The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution by Richard Dawkins/The Rhythm Boys of Omaha Central by Steve Marantz

2nd April
The Innovators by Walter Isaacson / Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

May 7
Just an Ordinary Day by Shirley Jackson / Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

June 4
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson / The Meaning of Names by Karen Gettert Shoemaker

July 2
Any Classic by any author, reader's choice

August 6
Hildegard von Bingen, any book by or about / A Man called Ove by Fredrik Backman

September 3
Columbine by Dave Cullen / The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin

October 1
The Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond / The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

November 5
Brague Winter by Maedleine Albright / One True Thing by Anna Quindlen

December 3
Strangers Drowning by Larissa MacFarquhar

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2 January
Books given or received for Christmas

3 February
Edith Wharton
books by, about or relating to Edith Wharton / Old Jules by Mari Sandoz

4 March
A River Runs Through It by Norman MacLean / Any book by Roger Welsch

1 April
The Death of Ivan Ilyich
by Leo Tolstoy / Abandoned Prayers by Greg Olsen

6 May
Marmee & Louisa  by Eve LaPlante OR The Life of Charlotte Bronte by Elizabeth Gaskell / Silent Creed by Alex Kava OR Evil Harvest by Rod Colvin

3 June
Tudors: The History of England from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I
by Peter Ackroyd  / Plainsong by Kent Haruf

1 July
The Story of America: Essays on Origins
by Jill Lepore / Nebraska Folklore by Louise Pound

5 August
A Broken Hallelujah
by Liel Leibovitz /Cather Novels & Stories 1905-1918 by Willa Cather

2 September
by Karen Armstrong /The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck

October 7
The Witchcraft of Salem Village by Shirley Jackson (1963) OR Any other book regarding the Salem Witch Trials / Nebraska Stories by Ron Hansen OR The Nebraska Dispatches by Christopher Cartmill

November 4
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande  OR When Breath Becomes Air  by Paul Kalanithi / Nuclear Nebraska by Susan Cragin

December 2
Journey Into Christmas  byBess Streeter Aldrich OR Black Elk Speaks  by John G. Neihardt

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January 6
Books given or received for Christmas

February 3
Reader's Choice, any book made into a movie

March 3
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World by Andrea Wulf / A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

April 7
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford / The Handmaid's Tale Margaret Atwood

May 5
Book of Ages — Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore / Miramont's Ghost by Elizabeth Hall

June 2
Brother Cadfael Chronicles (any of 20) by Ellis Peters / Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

July 7
Stories of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov / Deep Down Dark by Hector Tobar

August 4
The Fellowship: Literary Lives of the Inklings by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski / An American Memoryby Eric Larsen

September 1
Reader's Choice, any banned book

October 6
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow / I Know why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Tesla: Man Out of Time by Margaret Cheney / Reader's Choice, any book about the Tennessee Childrens Home Society Scandal such as Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

December 1
A Christmas Memory, One Christmas, and The Thanksgiving Visitor by Truman Capote

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January 5
Books given or received for Christmas

February 2
Reading to Reels, any book made into a film

March 2
A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe / A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

April 6      
Anything by or about Oscar Wilde / Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

4 May
1913: In Search of the World before the Great War by Charles Emmerson / Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

1 June
Readers Choice—writing/literature that influenced the culture/world/society / The Face of a Naked Lady: An Omaha Family Mystery by Michael Rips

1 July
Essays of E. B. White by Elwyn Brooks White / The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

August 3
Swann’s Way: In Search of Lost Time (Remembrance of Things Past, Volume One) by Marcel Proust / I Am Charlotte Simmons: A Novel by Tom Wolfe

September 7
Readers’ Choice Any diarist, historic or fictional / Pillars of the Earthby Ken Follet   

October 5
In Search of Mary Shelley by Fiona Sampson / Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

November 2
Reader's Choice—short story collection (may be one we have already featured) / Dear Life Stories by Alice Munro

December 7, Single Selection
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

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Books given or received for Christmas

The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa / Lilli de Jong by Janet Benton

March 7
Books for Living: Some Thoughts on Reading, Reflecting, and Embracing Life by  Will Schwalbe / The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of our Timeby Keith Houston / The Library Book by Susan Orlean

April 4
Upcoming Books Review + readers'roundtable: most vivid reading experiences

May 2
KWAIDAN (“WEIRD TALES”). Originally published in 1904 by Lafcadio Hearn aka Koizumi Yakumo / UNCOMMON TYPE by Tom Hanks  

June 6

July 11
VITA NUOVO by Dante Alighieri / THE AMERICAN SPIRIT by David McCullough

August 1
BONJOUR TRISTESSE by Francoise Sagan  / THE KITCHEN HOUSE by Kathleen Grissom

September 5
THE STRANGER by Albert Camu  / MANHATTAN BEACH by Jennifer Egan

October 3

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April 3
HAM, EGGS, CORNCAKE by Erastus F. Beadle / DIMESTORE by Lee Smith / LAST HOPE ISLAND by Len Olson / THE NIGHT OF CHRISTMAS EVE by Nikolai Gogol

May 1 
KIM by Rudyard Kipling / THE GIVER OF STARS by Jojo Moye / A SHORT HISTORY OF THE WORLD by Christopher Lascelles /

June 5
THE FACE OF WAR by Martha Gellhorn / LAST HOPE ISLAND by Len Olson / Hunger by Knut Hamsun / News Sorority by Sheila Weller

Reader's Choice, Surprise Read by Any author

Reader's Choice, Any Nebraska-related Book by Any Author

Civil War Stories by Ambrose Bierce / Uncle Tm's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

The Quiet Center / Dracula by Bram Stoker

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros / East of Eden by John Steinbeck

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. Famous short story with the author's characteristic twist ending.

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January 8
Books we gave, got, wished we'd gotten for Christmas

February 5
Journal of a Trapper by Osborn Russell / Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

March 5
The Big Burn by Timothy Egan / The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson

April 2
Girl by Edna O'Brien / My Sister's Keeperby Jodi Picoult

May 7
The Land of Big Numbers by Te-Ping Chen / O. Henry Short Stories

June 4
Readers' Choice

July 2
The Future is History by Masha Gessen / Great Influenza by John Barry

August 5 
The Last Man WHo Knew Everuthing by David N Schwartz / Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith / Lions of 5th Avenuue by Fiona Davis

October 1 
The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall  by Christopher Hibbert / Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

November 5
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers / Lord of the Flies by William Golding

December 3
The Dead by James Joyce

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Books we gave, got, or wished we got for Christmas

Readers’ Choice

Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips

The Believing Brain by Michael Shermer

Becoming Dutchess Goldblatt by Anonymous

Breaking Night by Liz Murray

Molly Brown, Unraveling the Myth
by Kristen Iversen

Moving Out: A Nebraska Woman’s Life by Polly Spence

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Life With Louie by Mia Rotella and another reprise of The Thirteenth Gift by Joanne Huist Smith

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Books we gave, got, or wished we got for Christmas

First Ladies, by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown or Prisoners, Lovers, and Spies, by Kristie Macrakis

Still Life, by Louise Penny

What the Dog Saw, by Malcolm Gladwell

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