2017 Selections

October 7
The Witchcraft of Salem Village by Shirley Jackson (1963). Describes the social and religious conditions surrounding the Salem witch hunts, the extensive trials and executions, and the aftermath of the hysteria. Written for a younger audience, but appropriate for all ages. 146 pp  OR Any other book regarding the Salem Witch Trials.
Nebraska Stories by Ron Hansen. The resonant diction and razor-sharp storytelling of Hansen's earlier books echo through Nebraska. These 11 gemlike tales range from the blue heart of the blizzard of 1888 to the sweltering jungles of war. OR The Nebraska Dispatches by Christopher Cartmill. When playwright Christopher Cartmill returned to his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, to write a play about Chief Standing Bear, he unknowingly began a complicated adventure. As he followed the story of the Ponca chief who fought so hard to return from a reservation in Oklahoma to his homeland in northern Nebraska, Cartmill stumbled into the politics of identity, contested notions of homeland, and his own past.

November 4
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (2016). A posthumous memoir, encompassing the gravity and wisdom of an ancient Greek tragedy. . . delivered in austere, beautiful prose…insightful reflections on mortality that are especially poignant coming from a trained physician who was also an aspiring writer. . . . 256 pp OR Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande  (2014). Dr. Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: How medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending. 304 pp
Nuclear Nebraska: The Remarkable Story of Little County That Couldn't Be Bought by Susan Cragin. In 1989, the federal government, five state governments and two multinational corporations approached Boyd County, Nebraska with what looked like a wonderful deal: In exchange for permission to build a low-level nuclear waste dump on an abandoned farm, they would pay the county $3 million per year for the next 40 years. For that much money, they thought, wouldn't this poor community agree to just about anything?

December 2 Single Selection
Journey into Christmas by Bess Streeter Aldrich. The true meaning of Christmas emerges in these stories about reunited families, good fellowship, and restored faith. This is not to say that all is sugar candy. The mother in the title story faces a lonely Christmas in an empty house; but then something quite ordinary but miraculous happens. In "The Drum Goes Dead," a small-town bank cashier, a solid citizen and sterling friend, is dispirited by hard times until he discovers that it is indeed a wonderful life. In the closing piece, "I Remember," the author recalls her own childhood in Iowa. 266pp

 

2018 Selections

January 6
Books we gave/got/wished we got for Christmas

February 3
Reader’s choice—discussion of favorite books, plays, etc. which have been converted to film—movie, TV, miniseries, etc., discussion focusing on the books. 

 

Other interesting Nebraska possibilities (in addition to those on the NE150 list):

Sharpie: The Life Story of Evelyn Sharp--Nebraska's Aviatrix by Diane Ruth Armour Bartels. In the throes of the Great Depression , amidst the red dust and grasshoppers borne by a wind from the Oklahoma Panhandle, a young girl named Evelyn Sharp grew up in the north central region of the Nebraska Sandhills. It was there she assimilated the values of perseverance and commitment, and acquired a sense of adventure which would clearly define her character.

Moving Out: A Nebraska Woman's Life (Women in the West) by Polly Spence. The autobiography of Polly Spence (1914–98) and an intimate portrait of small-town life in the mid–twentieth century. The descendant of Irish settlers, Polly spent her first fifteen years in Franklin, a village with conservative religious values in south-central Nebraska. Although Polly's relationship with her mother was tense, she loved and admired her newspaperman father, from whom she inherited her love of learning and the English language. In 1927 her family moved to Crawford, a tough but relatively tolerant cow town in northwestern Nebraska. Polly vividly contrasts the cultural differences between Franklin's conservatism and Crawford's more liberal attitudes. 

Selections are subject to change. To suggest a title as an alternative to one listed, please contact Susanne or Carol. We welcome suggestions!

Readers' Suggested Books

Our readers have recommended the following books. Please send your suggestions to the webmaster for inclusion here, and check back soon for updates.

 

Books for the Mind

Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, nad War by Nathaniel Philbrick, this electrifying history of the Pilgrims a fifty-five-year epic, at once tragic and heroic, that still resonates with us today.

An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 (Newbery Honor Book) by Jim Murphy. 1793, Philadelphia: relates the yellow fever epidemic to the major events of the day. Drawing on first-hand accounts, Murphy spotlights the heroic role of Philadelphia's free blacks in combating the disease, and the Constitutional crisis that President Washington faced when he was forced to leave the city--and all his papers--while escaping the deadly contagion.

King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa by Adam Hochschild, haunting account of a megalomaniac of monstrous proportions, and of the first great human rights movement of the twentieth century, in which everyone from Mark Twain to the Archbishop of Canterbury participated.

Alone in the Universe: Why our Planet is Unique by John Gribbin, explores what makes our planet unique and why life elsewhere in the universe is so improbable.

George Washingtson's Secret Six: The Spy Ring that Saved the American Revolution by Brian Kilmeade, historically accurate narrative about the six-person spy ring in NYC and Long Island.

The Man Who Loved only Numbers by Paul Hoffman, this masterful biography of Paul Erdos is both a vivid portrait of an eccentric genius and a layman's guide to some of this century's most startling mathematical discoveries.

Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine by Edzard Ernst and Simon Singh, examines popular treatments including acupuncture and herbal medicines for their benefits and potential dangers.

Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer, reveals the power, danger, and beauty of parasites.

On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson by William Stouder

Darwin’s Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution by Rebecca Stott

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean

Fur, Fortunes, and Empire by Eric Jay Dolin: the story of how the fur trade influenced events in American history, including Nebraska

The Prize: Daniel Yergin earned a Pulitzer Prize for his thorough research on oil and the politics, history and technology that surround it.

The Five Ages of the Universe: the history of the universe starting with the Big Bang and twisting and turning through until forever

The Upside of Irrationality: In this intriguing work of "behavioral economics," Dan Ariely engages general audiences by analyzing why humanity as a whole tends to self-sabotage.

Marching with the First Nebraska, A Civil War Diary by August Scherneckau

Massacre Along the Medicine Road by Ronald Becher, details the 1864 Cheyenne/Sioux war against white settlers in Nebraska Territory

DNA USA: A Genetic Portrait of America by Bryan Sikes explores the genetic history, genealogy, and anthropology of Americans

The Coming Jobs War by Jim Clifton

Lords of the Harvest: Bioech, Big Money, and the Future of Food by Daniel Charles, a refreshingly even-handed journalistic history [up to 2002] of geneticlalhy modified foods: "a story of idealism and conflicting dreams about the shape of a better world."


Books Available with Kits

The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian
16 copies
Amazon.com
BKMT Reading Guide
Book Reviews
Discussion Questions

 

The Elegance of the Hedgehog
by Muriel Barbery
19 copies
Interview with the Author
Reading Guide Questions
Reading Guide with Discussion Questions
Time Magazine Article about the Author

 

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
14 copies / 1 book on cassette
Big Read Book Club Guide
National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction
Oprah's Book Club Information
Reading Group Guide

 

At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
12 copies
#1 in the Mitford Series
Author biography and interview
Author interview about the end of the series
Discussion Questions

 

Books for the Heart

Empire of the Summer Moon by S. C. Gwynne, historical account of the forty-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West. Centers on Quanah Parker, the Quahada Comanches' last and greatest chief.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, interweaving the lives of multifaceted characters during WWII, the author illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer prize winner.

Second Suns: Two Doctors and their Amazing Quest to Restore Sight and Save Lives by David Oliver Relin, gifted ophthalmologists dedicate their lives to restoring sight to some of the world’s most isolated, impoverished people through the Himalayan Cataract Project.

The untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine by Hector Tobar or
33 Men: Inside the Miraculous Survival and Dramatic Rescue of the Chilean Miners by Jonathan Franklin. Harrowing account of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground for fourteen weeks in the fall of 2010.

Wolf Willow by Wallace Stegner, unusual portrait of boyhood amid pioneering life in Sasketchewan 1914-1920.

Fall on Your Knees by Anne Marie MacDonald an internationally acclaimed multigenerational saga that chronicles the lives of four unforgettable sisters.

The News Sorority by Sheilla Weller, "irrresistible gossip and personal examination" of Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, and Christiane Amanpour in cutthroatjournalism.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, portrait of an abrasive junior high school math teacher, plus recurring characters in Crosby, Maine. Won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2009.

Bee Keeper's Apprentice by Laura King. Sherlock Holmes mees a young woman who becomes his apprentice and eventually wife.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel by Rachel Joyce, a passive observer of his own life decides to walk 600 miles across England to save an old friend. One Book, One Lincoln selection for this year; the library has both regular and large print editions.

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham, biography

A Dispotition To Be Rich: How a Small Town Preacher’s Son Ruined an American President, Brought on a Wall Street Crash, and Made Himself the Best-Hated Man in the US by Geoffrey C. Ward

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan, novel about espionage

The Round House by Louis Erdrich, novel exploring justice with an Ojibwe Indian protagonist

Canada by Richard Ford, novel about innocence lost and reconciled

Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, philosophical novel

Back Street by Fannie Hurst, star-crossed lovers reunite after one has wed another

I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron, takes a hilarious look at the past, the present, and the future

Light on Snow by Anita Shreves, a novel about love and its consequences

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister, students at a cooking school seek recipes for something beyond the kitchen

Touches the Sky by James C. Schaap - Seen through the eyes of Jan and his wife, Dalitha, a clash of cultures, lifestyle, and ways to know God and practice faith

Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington, autobiography

The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma, four Nigerian brothers encounter a madman.

Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain

The Alchemist by Paoli Coelho


Uncategorized Omaha Book Clubs Reading List

Killing Kennedy by  Bill OReilly – the end of Camelot
The Warmth of Other Suns , the story of Americas Great Migration - by Isabel Wilkerson – Pulitzer Prize winner the epic story of black citizens who fled the south
The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin – a novel – historic fiction of a solitary orchardist who provides helter to 2 runaway teen girls in the untamed West
The Lizard Cage by Karen Connelly – a novel set in Burma about a man who was in solitary confinement for 7 years.
One True Thing by Anna Quindlen – a novel about a mother, a daughter, and a choice
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom – a novel set on a tobacco plantation, an Irish orphan
Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum – a novel about life in Germany during WW II
The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalain – a novel set in 1915, a nurse in Syria
The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin – a novel based on the lives of Charles Lindberg and Anne Morrow
The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland – historic fiction – life of a modern female artist
Six Years by Harlan Coben – love story of waiting for love of life
Mudhound by Hillary Jordon – set in 1946 – families return from war
The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillippa Gregory – Henry VIII / Mary and Ann Boleyn
Appetite for America by Stephen Fried – story of the founding father of America's service industry
Orphan Master’s Son  by Adam Johnson – a novel set in No. Korea prison – Pulitzer Prize
Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Shoemaker’s Wife by Adiana Trigian – historical fiction set in Italian alps, multigenerational
The Swerve (How the world became modern) by Stephen Greenblatt – history of civilization and culture
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown – 3 sisters go home to eccentric parents
Lost in Shangri-La by Michell Zuckoff – true story of  survival om WWII
Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Slides 1 – the greatest rescue of WW II
This Bright River – by Patrick Sommerville – a novel of a fractured family who goes home to Wisc.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – a novel of “ordinary” English lives – he walks 600 miles to visit a friend in hospice.