Previous TBP Book Club Selections
These are the books we have read in past months. Visit each book's individual web page for more information about the book, the author, and related reading. Some of our book clubs are recorded and posted as MP3 Podcasts on our blog at: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/texastalkingbooks/?cat=20
August 2016 – The Revenant by Michael Punke
Missouri River tributaries, 1823. When a trapper is mauled by a grizzly, he is left behind with two volunteers who soon abandon him. Deserted, defenseless, and enraged, he vows to survive--and exact his revenge. Based on the real life of fur trapper Hugh Glass. Someviolence and some strong language. 2002.
July 2016 – The Rosie Project by Graeme C. Simsion
Socially stunted geneticist Don Tillman embarks on an endeavor he calls the Wife Project. As he quantifies the qualities of a perfect wife, he encounters Rosie, who seeks Don's help in identifying her real father. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 2013.
May 2016 - Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming
Recounts when Russia's last tsar, Nicholas II, inherited the throne in 1894, and how he was unprepared to do so. Details how the Romanov family lived a life of opulence as World War I raged outside their door and political unrest grew into the Russian Revolution. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2014.
March 2016 – All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
When Paris is invaded by the Nazis, Marie-Laure LeBlanc's father evacuates her to St. Malo to stay with her great-uncle. Blind since the age of six, Marie-Laure must learn the town by the scale model her father has left. Then, the Germans arrive. Violence and descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 2014.
January 2016 – Midnight Plan of the Repo Man by W. Bruce Cameron
Former college football star Ruddy McCann has become a repo man, bar bouncer, and car thief. One day Ruddy hears the voice of a dead realtor in his head demanding help in finding his murderers. But soon the voice begins demanding Ruddy clean up his act--and his apartment. Some strong language. 2014.
November 2015 - The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
September 2015 - Wild by Cheryl Strayed
July 2015 - Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
Seattle. Eighth-grader Bee's request for a family trip to Antarctica is the last straw for her mother Bernadette, who has become so socially inept that she hired a virtual assistant in India to handle her life. Just before the trip, Bernadette vanishes. Heartbroken Bee Investigates. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2012.
May 2015 - The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Steadman
Western Australia, 1926. On an island one hundred miles from the mainland, lighthouse keepers Isabel and Tom Sherbourne discover a boat carrying a dead man and a crying baby. The decisions they make that day come back to haunt them several years later. Bestseller. 2012.
March 2015 - Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Author of Seabiscuit (DB 51968) details the life of Louis Zamperini (b. 1917), an Olympic runner and World War II bombardier, who survived a plane crash and forty-seven days adrift at sea only to become a POW in Japan. Relates Louis's later religious awakening under Billy Graham's ministry. Violence. Bestseller. 2010.
January 2015 - The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Six months after retiring, Harold Fry receives a letter from former coworker Queenie Hennessy, who is dying of cancer. Intending to post a reply, Harold instead walks the length of England to personally deliver his note, leaving behind his wife Maureen. Along the way Harold ruminates on his life. Some strong language. 2012.
November 2014 - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
First published in 1925, this classic is set in the ebullient Jazz Age of the 1920s. Wealthy Jay Gatsby strives desperately to recapture his past and his lost love, Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby's hedonistic pursuit of the American dream leads him to a tragic fate.
September 2014 - Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
2045. Multibillionaire James Halliday dies, leaving his last will and testament online for the world to see. His massively multiplayer online game OASIS has a hidden feature--an Easter egg--and the person who finds the egg first wins Halliday's fortune. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2011.
July 2014 - The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
South Carolina, 1964. Fourteen-year-old Lily rescues her African American housekeeper--and substitute mother--Rosaleen, from the hospital. Rosaleen had been beaten for trying to register to vote. They flee to a safe place where Lily's battered late mother had also fled--a beekeeping operation run by three black sisters. Some strong language. 2002.
May 2014 - Let The Great World Spin by Collum McCann
New York City, 1974. Disparate residents--including Philippe Petit, who performs an illegal high-wire walk between the Twin Towers; the judge who hears Petit's case; and a grieving mother--encounter death, love, and salvation. Strong language, some violence, and some descriptions of sex. National Book Award. 2009.
March 2014 - The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
Ingenue Hadley Richardson falls in love with war hero Ernest Hemingway, eight years her junior, in 1920s Chicago. After marrying, the couple moves to Paris and becomes part of the literary crowd. Hadley raises their son as Hemingway begins an affair with Hadley's friend Pauline. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2011.
January 2014 - The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
A miracle drug may have given sixteen-year-old cancer patient Hazel a few more years, but she is still depressed. Then Hazel meets cute Augustus during a support-group meeting and her world shifts in unexpected and inspiring ways. Some strong language. For senior high and older readers. Commercial audiobook. 2012.
November 2013 - The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace
Early nineteenth-century Italy. Contessa Carolina tells her parents and fiance she is going blind, but they won't listen. Only local eccentric Turri believes her. He invents a machine—a typewriter—for her, and the two fall in love. Based on a true story. 2010.
September 2013 - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Sloot
Science journalist chronicles the life of African-American Henrietta Lacks, who in 1951 had cervical tissue removed and grown in culture—without her permission—producing the first continuously replicating human-cell samples for research. Discusses subsequent medical breakthroughs, including the polio vaccine and AIDS treatment. 2010.
July 2013 - The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
At the Circus of Dreams magicians Celia and Marco are pitted against each other in an epic magical battle. Their mentors plan for it to have only one survivor, not foreseeing that Celia and Marco will fall in love. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 2011.
May 2013 - The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Enzo, a mixed-breed dog, believes he will be reincarnated as a human. He stands by his master Denny Swift's side through Denny's race-car driving career, the birth of his daughter Zo, the death of his wife Eve, and a bitter custody battle with Eve's parents. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2008.
March 2013 - Outlaw Tales of Texas: "True Stories of the Lone Star State's Most Infamous Crooks, Culprits, and Cutthroats" by Charles L. Convis
The frontier towns of Texas were populated by some of the toughest and most dangerous characters in the West. Jim Miller went to church, left early to shoot his brother-in-law in the head, and returned before the service was over. 2008.
January 2013 - No End in Sight: My Life as a Blind Iditarod Racer by Rachael Scdoris and Jeff Steber
No End in Sight details Scdoris’ childhood experiences with her visual impairment and how she trained and developed the skills necessary to compete in the 1,000+ mile Iditarod race. At 16, she was the youngest athlete ever to finish a 500-mile race that helped qualify her for the big race. She details her struggle to convince Iditarod officials to allow her to compete and how, in 2005, she became the first legally blind person to do so. A recording, transcript, and associated bibliography can be found on the No End in Sight's book club web page linked below.
September 2012 - Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
Best-selling author Joshua Foer, joined us on September 4th as we discussed Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything. Foer, science journalist and 2006 U.S. Memory Championship winner, describes the year he spent working to improve his memory. He explores ancient philosophers' and medieval scholars' techniques such as the memory palace, an imagined spatial construction used to organize recollections. The book discusses savants and amnesiacs, and why memorization still matters. A recording, transcript, and associated bibliography can be found on the Moonwalking with Einstein's web page linked below.
July 2012 - Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Death narrates the tale of nine-year-old Liesel from 1939 to 1943 in Nazi Germany. Liesel copes with a foster family, air raids, her friend Rudy, and a hidden Jew, sustained by the books she steals. Some strong language. For senior high and older readers. 2006.
April 2012 - Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle (1962) – 50 Year Anniversary
When an atomic physicist disappears, his children begin a bizarre search. Led by three whimsical characters, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which, they manage their interplanetary journey by "wrinkling" to span space and time. Newberry Award 1963. Prequel to A Wind in the Door (RC 41596, BR 7884). For grades 5-8