Daytime & Evening Book Group


The Book Group meets on the fourth Monday of the month with time and place as shown in the Directory and on this website.  Please watch for emails and the “Upcoming Events” section of this website’s Home page for the most current information.


September 25, 2023 – Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nutt – Walden Pavilion at 4:00 pm

When Wayne and Kelly Maines adopted identical twin boys, they thought their lives were complete.  But by the time Jonas and Wyatt were toddlers, confusion over Wyatt’s insistence that he was female began to tear the family apart.  In the years that followed, the Maineses came to question their long-held views on gender and identity, to accept Wyatt’s transition to Nicole, and to undergo a wrenching transformation of their own, the effects of which would reverberate through their entire community.  Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Amy Ellis Nutt spent almost four years reporting this story and tells it with unflinching honesty, intimacy, and empathy.  In her hands, Becoming Nicole is more than an account of a courageous girl and her extraordinary family.  It’s a powerful portrait of a slowly but surely changing nation, and one that will inspire all of us to see the world with a little more humanity and understanding.


October 23, 2023 – The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce – Porter County Community Foundation at 4:00 pm

Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning a letter arrives, addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl, from a woman he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. But before Harold mails off a quick reply, a chance encounter convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. In his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold Fry embarks on an urgent quest. Determined to walk six hundred miles to the hospice, Harold believes that as long as he walks, Queenie will live. A novel of charm, humor, and profound insight into the thoughts and feelings we all bury deep within our hearts, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry introduces Rachel Joyce as a wise—and utterly irresistible—storyteller.


November 15, 2023 – The Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd – Porter County Community Foundation at 5:30 pm (Sister-To-Sister Night with High Schoolers)

The year is 1739. Eliza Lucas is sixteen years old when her father leaves her in charge of their family’s three plantations in rural South Carolina and then proceeds to bleed the estates dry in pursuit of his military ambitions. Tensions with the British, and with the Spanish in Florida, just a short way down the coast, are rising, and slaves are starting to become restless. Her mother wants nothing more than for their South Carolina endeavor to fail so they can go back to England. Soon her family is in danger of losing everything.
Upon hearing how much the French pay for indigo dye, Eliza believes it’s the key to their salvation. But everyone tells her it’s impossible, and no one will share the secret to making it. Thwarted at nearly every turn, even by her own family, Eliza finds that her only allies are an aging horticulturalist, an older and married gentleman lawyer, and a slave with whom she strikes a dangerous deal: teach her the intricate thousand-year-old secret process of making indigo dye and in return — against the laws of the day — she will teach the slaves to read. So begins an incredible story of love, dangerous and hidden friendships, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.
Based on historical documents, including Eliza’s letters, this is a historical fiction account of how a teenage girl produced indigo dye, which became one of the largest exports out of South Carolina, an export that laid the foundation for the incredible wealth of several Southern families who still live on today. Although largely overlooked by historians, the accomplishments of Eliza Lucas influenced the course of US history. When she passed away in 1793, President George Washington served as a pallbearer at her funeral.


January 22, 2024 – Foster by Claire Keegan – Location and Time TBA

It is a hot summer in rural Ireland. A child is taken by her father to live with relatives on a farm, not knowing when or if she will be brought home again. In the Kinsellas’ house, she finds an affection and warmth she has not known and slowly, in their care, begins to blossom. But there is something unspoken in this new household–where everything is so well tended to–and this summer must soon come to an end. 

    Winner of the prestigious Davy Byrnes Award and abridged for the New Yorker, this internationally acclaimed, bestselling classic is now published for the first time and available in its original form in the US. A story of astonishing emotional depth, Foster showcases Claire Keegan’s great talent and secures her reputation as one of our most important storytellers. “A small book with a miraculously outsized impact”–NPR  “A master class in child narration.”–New York Times 


February 26, 2024 – Seventy Times Seven: A True Story of Murder and Mercy by Alix Mor – Location and Time TBA

In 1985, in Gary, Indiana, Paula Cooper, a 15-year-old black girl murdered Ruth Pelke, a white Bible teacher during a home invasion. Paula was sentenced to death as a minor. Alex recounts all of the background, facts and stories that took place during the next 35 years.

One of Ruth’s grandsons Bill Pelke forgives Paula and crusades to save her life. In 1993, he formed the group Journey of Hope and also became involved with the organization Murder Victim Families for Reconciliation. Not everyone in Bill’s extended family, including his father, Ruth’s son, agree with Bill about forgiving a murderer. But one of his cousins Judi Wehye (also one of Ruth’s grandchildren) gets involved in supporting his crusade in Indiana, taking on the Indiana Supreme Court. The book addresses many of the conflicting issues between racial prejudice, justice and forgiveness and describes the actions in Indiana, the United States, and across the world to promote a change in juvenile sentencing and the death penalty. It also chronicles the life and changes in Paula as she becomes an adult and is subsequently released from prison. The deep religious background of Ruth and her extended family, including Bill is explained. And it tells the personal story that developed between Paula and Bill, and his ongoing advocacy for others until his sudden death in 2020.


March 25, 2024 – The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See – Location and Time TBA

Set on the Korean island of Jeju, The Island of Sea Women follows Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls from very different backgrounds, as they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective. Over many decades—through the Japanese colonialism of the 1930s and 1940s, World War II, the Korean War, and the era of cellphones and wet suits for the women divers—Mi-ja and Young-sook develop the closest of bonds. Nevertheless, their differences are impossible to ignore: Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, forever marking her, and Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers. After hundreds of dives and years of friendship, forces outside their control will push their relationship to the breaking point.
This beautiful, thoughtful novel illuminates a unique and unforgettable culture, one where the women are in charge, engaging in dangerous physical work, and the men take care of the children. A classic Lisa See story—one of women’s friendships and the larger forces that shape them—The Island of Sea Women introduces readers to the fierce female divers of Jeju Island and the dramatic history that shaped their lives.


April 22, 2024 – Shipping News by Annie Proulx – Location and Time TBA

When Quoyle’s two-timing wife meets her just deserts, he retreats with his two daughters to his ancestral home on the starkly beautiful Newfoundland coast, where a rich cast of local characters and family members all play a part in Quoyle’s struggle to reclaim his life. As Quoyle confronts his private demons–and the unpredictable forces of nature and society–he begins to see the possibility of love without pain or misery. A vigorous, darkly comic, and at times magical portrait of the contemporary North American family, The Shipping News shows why Annie Proulx is recognized as one of the most gifted and original writers in America today.


May 27, 2024 – A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan’s Plot to Take Over America by Timothy Egan – Location and Time TBA

Pulitzer and National Book award winning author, Timothy Egan, who recounts the rise of the 1920’s Ku Klux Klan in the midwest and particularly Indiana, Valparaiso, and the Klan’s near purchase of what is now Valparaiso University in 1923, exactly 100 years ago.  Egan tells the story of the KKK’s dominant growth in Indiana, led by a cunning con man who espoused hatred of Blacks, Jews, Catholics, immigrants, and the Indiana woman who brought him and the movement down.  The text is rich with facts.


June 24, 2024 – Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelly Van Pelt – Home of Renee Caprile at 4:00 pm

A charming, witty, compulsively readable exploration of friendship, reckoning and hope, tracing a widow’s unlikely connections with a giant Pacific octopus. After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift at a local aquarium, mopping floors, and tidying up. Her eighteen-year-old son mysteriously vanished 30 years ago. She forms a relationship with Marcellus, a curmudgeon octopus living at the aquarium who helps solve the mystery


July 22, 2024 – Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus – Location and Time TBA

Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results. 
But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo. 
Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.


August 26, 2024 – Horse by Geraldine Brooks – Location and Time TBA

Based on the remarkable true story of the record-breaking thoroughbred Lexington, Horse is a novel

 of art and science, love and obsession, and our unfinished reckoning with racism.

Kentucky, 1850. An enslaved groom named Jarret and a bay foal forge a bond of understanding that will carry the horse to record-setting victories across the South. When the nation erupts in civil war, an itinerant young artist who has made his name on paintings of the racehorse takes up arms for the Union. On a perilous night, he reunites with the stallion and his groom, very far from the glamor of any racetrack. 

New York City, 1954. Martha Jackson, a gallery owner celebrated for taking risks on edgy contemporary painters, becomes obsessed with a nineteenth-century equestrian oil painting of mysterious provenance. 

Washington, DC, 2019. Jess, a Smithsonian scientist from Australia, and Theo, a Nigerian American art historian, find themselves unexpectedly connected through their shared interest in the horse—one studying the stallion’s bones for clues to his power and endurance, the other uncovering the lost history of the unsung Black horsemen who were critical to his racing success.