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Book Groups

Lincoln City Libraries offers several Book Talk and Book Discussion Groups for adult readers. All of the groups listed below are free and open to the public. Simply drop in at one of our gatherings, or call the branch location where the meeting is taking place if you have additional questions.

Bennett Martin Public Library
136 S. 14th St. (4th Floor Auditorium)
Third Thursday of every month, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Everyone likes being read to, so why should kids have all the fun? With Adult Story Time sessions, we invite you to join us for an evening of live readings (from short stories, essays, novel fragments, poetry, play scenes, song lyrics, etc.), music with a Nebraska connection, and take-away adult coloring sheets, crafts, and reading lists.

Book Clubs and organizations now have the ability to check out the current year’s One Book One Lincoln finalists, in a special format. For each title, the Book Club in a Bag will contain 10 copies of that book as well as some starter discussion questions. Book Club in a Bag selections will be able to be checked out for 8 weeks but with no renewals. You can find out what titles are available in the Book Club in a Bag program by searching in the library catalog under Title: Book Club in a Bag. New titles will be added to this service on an annual basis.

Bethany Branch
1810 North Cotner Blvd.
Friday mornings, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
402-441-8550

Bethany BookTalks welcomes everyone for a morning of good books. Since 2001, speakers have presented a group of books, sometimes with a theme and sometimes not. These informal presentations allow for good conversation as well. The Bethany BookTalk group meets most Friday mornings, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Approximately 15-20 regular attendees.

Bethany BookChats are informal discussions about what the participants have been reading recently. 

Date Program Description
Fridays, June 7 through August 30, 2024 BookChat: Book lovers are invited to come together and share information about what they have been reading recently. All are welcome! 
September 6, 2024
To be announced
September 13, 2024
To be announced
September 27, 2024
To be announced

The B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Books) Clubs are designed for people who like to gather with fellow book-lovers to discuss whatever they’ve been reading and enjoying lately, without the pressure of assigned reading. Each meeting is “themed,” so participants can select a title that matches the monthly theme.

Bennett Martin Public Library
136 S. 14th St.
4th Floor Auditorium
Third Wednesday of every month (except as noted), 6:30-7:30 p.m.
402-441-8530

Date Theme
July 17, 2024 Reading Prompt: A Book With a Cold Setting for a Warm Month
August 21, 2024 Reading Prompt: A Book You Hid From Your Parents

Walt Branch Library
6701 S. 14th St.
Third Thursday of every month, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
402-441-4460

Date Program Description
July 18, 2024 Reading Prompt: A Book With a Cold Setting for a Warm Month
August 15, 2024 Reading Prompt: A Book You Hid From Your Parents

 

Gere Branch
2400 South 56th Street
First Tuesday each month, 2:00-3:00 p.m.
402-441-8560

Everyone is welcome at Gere’s BookTalks book discussion group! On the first Tuesday of each month this Summer, a staff member will do a 15-minute presentation of a book. Each person attending will then have the opportunity to talk about a book they recently read or a favorite book from the past. Come prepared to write down any of the books that interest you. There’s no need to sign up in advance — we’re casual, friendly and always happy to see a new face, so join us, on the following Tuesday afternoons from 2:00-3:00 p.m., and broaden your reading horizons. Approximately 5-10 regular attendees.

Gere's BookTalks will switch to the second Tuesday of the month starting in September.

Date Program Description
August 6, 2024 TBA
September 10, 2024 TBA
October 8, 2024 TBA
November 12, 2024 TBA

Bennett Martin Public Library
136 S. 14th St.
4th Floor Auditorium
Last Thursday of every month, January through October, 6:30-7:45 p.m.
402-441-8530

A specific mystery novel (or author) is selected in advance for discussion during each meeting, although general discussion about mystery fiction may follow the discussion of the selected title. Since our theme is “Death and Desserts,” (i.e., the murderer got their “just desserts”), any and all participants are encouraged to bring a dessert (cookies, cake, pie, tarts, brownies, bars, cream puffs, etc.) to share with the other group members. (Decaf Coffee and juice will be provided.)

Date Program Description
July 25, 2024

In July, the Just Desserts group will be reading and discussing a 2023 mystery that showed up on many “Best of” lists for the year, and is set during the heat of summer at a luxurious vacation destination — Bad Summer People by Emma Rosenblum.

Here’s the plot description from the jacket blurb:

Emma Rosenblum’s Bad Summer People is a whip-smart, propulsive debut about infidelity, backstabbing, and murderous intrigue, set against an exclusive summer haven on Fire Island. None of them would claim to be a particularly good person. But who among them is actually capable of murder?

Jen Weinstein and Lauren Parker rule the town of Salcombe, Fire Island every summer. They hold sway on the beach and the tennis court, and are adept at manipulating people to get what they want. Their husbands, Sam and Jason, have summered together on the island since childhood, despite lifelong grudges and numerous secrets. Their one single friend, Rachel Woolf, is looking to meet her match, whether he’s the tennis pro-or someone else’s husband. But even with plenty to gossip about, this season starts out as quietly as any other. Until a body is discovered, face down, off the side of the boardwalk. Stylish, subversive, and darkly comedic, this is a story of what’s lurking under the surface of picture-perfect lives in a place where everyone has something to hide.

Emma Rosenblum online: Website | Facebook | Twitter/X | Instagram | FantasticFiction

Thursday, August 29, 2024

In August, the Just Desserts group will be reading and discussing a 2023 mystery from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys. Crook Manifesto is actually the second book in Whitehead’s Ray Carney series, following Harlem Shuffle (2021).

Here’s the plot description of Crook Manifesto from the jacket blurb:

It's 1971. Trash piles up on the streets, crime is at an all-time high, the city is careening towards bankruptcy, and a shooting war has broken out between the NYPD and the Black Liberation Army. Amidst this collective nervous breakdown furniture store owner and ex-fence Ray Carney tries to keep his head down and his business thriving. His days moving stolen goods around the city are over. It s strictly the straight-and-narrow for him until he needs Jackson 5 tickets for his daughter May and he decides to hit up his old police contact Munson, fixer extraordinaire. But Munson has his own favors to ask of Carney and staying out of the game gets a lot more complicated and deadly.

1973. The counter-culture has created a new generation, the old ways are being overthrown, but there is one constant, Pepper, Carney’s endearingly violent partner in crime. It’s getting harder to put together a reliable crew for hijackings, heists, and assorted felonies, so Pepper takes on a side gig doing security on a Blaxploitation shoot in Harlem. He finds himself in a freaky world of Hollywood stars, up-and-coming comedians, and celebrity drug dealers, in addition to the usual cast of hustlers, mobsters, and hit men. These adversaries underestimate the seasoned crook to their regret.

1976. Harlem is burning, block by block, while the whole country is gearing up for Bicentennial celebrations. Carney is trying to come up with a July 4th ad he can live with. (“Two Hundred Years of Getting Away with It!”), while his wife Elizabeth is campaigning for her childhood friend, the former assistant D.A and rising politician Alexander Oakes. When a fire severely injures one of Carney s tenants, he enlists Pepper to look into who may be behind it. Our crooked duo have to battle their way through a crumbling metropolis run by the shady, the violent, and the utterly corrupted.

Crook Manifesto is a darkly funny tale of a city under siege, but also a sneakily searching portrait of the meaning of family.

Colson Whitehead online: Website | FantasticFiction

Thursday, September 26, 2024

In September, the Just Desserts group will finally be reading and discussing a title from a very popular author that we, somehow, haven’t used for group discussion before — Karin Slaughter. Her 11th entry in the Will Trent series (which has been adapted to a popular TV series on ABC) was After That Night.

Here’s the plot description of After That Night. from the jacket blurb:

After that night, nothing was ever the same again…

Fifteen years ago, Sara Linton’s life changed forever when a celebratory night out ended in a violent attack that tore her world apart. Since then, Sara has remade her life. A successful doctor, engaged to a man she loves, she has finally managed to leave the past behind her.

Until one evening, on call in the ER, everything changes. Sara battles to save a broken young woman who’s been brutally attacked. But as the investigation progresses, led by GBI Special Agent Will Trent, it becomes clear that Dani Cooper’s assault is uncannily linked to Sara’s.

And it seems the past isn’t going to stay buried forever…

Karin Slaughter online: Website | Facebook | Twitter/X | Instagram | FantasticFiction

October 24, 2024 (one week early, to avoid Halloween)

As we have traditionally done, for several years, our October meeting will be our once-a-year opportunity to look back at a classic mystery/suspense/thriller writer or series. In October 2024, the Just Desserts group will read and discuss Donald Westlake’s series of novels featuring the one-name character Parker, which were written under Westlake’s pseudonym of Richard Stark. Westlake wrote dozens of novels, under his own name and multiple pseudonyms, both stand-alone and series-based, from the mid-1950s until his death in 2008. In most literary circles, Westlake is perhaps best known and celebrated for his 14 books in the humorous Dortmunder series (and, in fact, the Just Desserts group used one of the Dortmunder novels for a group discussion previously). However, as Richard Stark, his 24 volumes featuring Parker easily exceed the shorter-lived Dortmunder series. In fact, the novels written as by Richard Stark, were actually more successful than those written under his own name or any of his many other pseudonyms.

Parker is a professional robber, specializing in large-scale, high-profit targets. As Wikipedia describes the series: “A ruthless career criminal, Parker has almost no traditional redeeming qualities, aside from efficiency and professionalism. Parker is callous, meticulous, and perfectly willing to commit murder. He does, however, live by one ethical principle: he will not double-cross another professional criminal with whom he is working, unless they try to double-cross him. Should that happen, Parker will unhesitatingly undertake to exact a thorough and brutal revenge.” The Parker character has been adapted to the big screen eight times, though only one time when his actual name was used: Anna Karina as Paula Nelson in Made in U.S.A., partly based on The Jugger (1966 in France but not released in the U.S. until 2009); Lee Marvin as Walker in Point Blank, based on The Hunter (1967); Michel Constantin as Georges in Pillaged, based on The Score (French-language film in 1967); Jim Brown as McClain in The Split (1968); Robert Duvall as Earl Macklin in The Outfit (1973); Peter Coyote as Stone in Slayground (1983), Mel Gibson as Porter in Payback, also based on The Hunter (1999); and most recently Jason Statham as Parker in Parker (2013).

The 24 Parker novels by Richard Stark are:

Anyone wishing to participate in our October 2024 Just Desserts discussion should read ANY one or more of the 24 Parker novels listed above. The libraries have all 24 titles, but have limited numbers of copies of each Parker book, and some only in eBook format. They are also commonly available in digital formats and in the new and used book market. Each participant will be given a chance, “round robin”-style, to talk about whichever title(s) they selected and read. After this first “Round Robin” about the Parker novels, we’ll hold our traditional monthly “Round Robin”, in which everyone can describe whatever else they’ve been reading lately.

For plot descriptions of each of his books or collections, visit the Richard Stark page on FantasticFiction.com. More information is available on the detailed Wikipedia page for the Parker series.

 

(formerly The Nebraska History Book Club)
Hosted by the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors

Bennett Martin Public Library
136 S. 14th St.
4th floor Conference Room
4th Friday of most months (check our events calendar for exceptions), noon-1:00 p.m.
402-441-8516 or heritage@lincoln.ne.gov

The group for the discussion of books by Nebraska authors or with a Nebraska history theme. A specific novel, story collection or non-fiction title is selected in advance for discussion during each meeting.

Date Program Description
Friday, July 26, 2024 The Home Place by Wright Morris
Friday, August 23, 2024 The Lost Boys of Omaha by Joe Sexton
Friday, September 27, 2024 Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson
Friday, October 25, 2024 Autobiography of Malcom X with Alex Haley
Friday, November 22, 2024 Fortune Cookie Christmas by Jeanne Kern (discussion to be led by the author)

 

Eiseley Branch
1530 Superior Street
2nd Tuesday of every month, 6:30-7:45 p.m.
402-441-4250

Do you love true crime and local mysteries? Join us for all things criminal the second Tuesday of every month to discuss current crime obsessions and indulge your darker reading interests. There will not be assigned reading for this program. Instead, Library staff will regale you with tales of murder, thievery and other “true crimes” on an assigned topic, and attendees will be invited to share what they have enjoyed in that reading genre.

Date Topic
August 13, 2024 Sports Crimes
September 10, 2024 One Book One Lincoln Meets Once Upon a Crime

 

Eiseley Branch
1530 Superior Street
4th Thursday of the month, 6:00-7:00 p.m.
402-441-4250

Can't get enough true crime podcasts and documentaries? Join us to deep dive True Crime in books! We'll explore topics such as crimes of the past, restorative justice, and more. Bring your favorite stories to share and get ready to discuss all things criminal.

Date Topic
July 25, 2024 Restorative Justice

 

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