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Novel Conversations

Share the enjoyment of good books in an informal and relaxed atmosphere. First Thursday of every month.



Groupe d'âge

Adultes 50-plus

Novel Conversations Booklist, 2019-2020 by hickoryfarm

This is the 2019-20 book list for Novel Conversations, the Beaverbrook library English book group. As usual, we are reading a wide variety of both fiction and non-fiction. Members of our group suggested books about which they felt some passion, either for the subject matter, the location, personal cultural connections or the immediacy of the plot and characters in their selected books. Our reading will take us to many different locations, societies and challenges in the past two centuries. This year many of us will experience our first graphic novel and we have the opportunity to consider Yuval Harari's fascinating reflection on human progress over the past 70,000 years. Books are listed in the order in which they will be read. We meet in the library at 1:30 pm on the first Thursday of the month, from September to June. Everyone is welcome, whether you want to come for one particular book or become a regular participant in the group. We offer a lively discussion, good company, refreshing tea and maybe even some goodies.

  • Image: The Underground Railroad
    Sept 5th, 2019 Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Cora's journey encapsulates the struggle for emancipation and civil rights and against Jim Crow and segregation, all of which are symbolized by the societies of the various states in which her train stops. Carol Anne to lead.
  • Image: The Best We Could Do

    The Best We Could Do

    An Illustrated Memoir
    By Bui, Thi
    Oct 3rd, 2019 An illustrated memoir that explores the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family's escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced in building new lives. Deb to lead.
  • Image: All Quiet on the Western Front
    Nov 7th, 2019 The classic anti-war novel about a soldier's life in WW1. Written from the point of view of a young German soldier, it gives a different view of WWI narratives. Petra to lead.
  • Image: Rebecca


    By Du Maurier, Daphne
    Dec 5th, 2019 An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, Rebecca is the haunting story of a young girl consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity. Barbara to lead.
  • Image: Under the Greenwood Tree

    Under the Greenwood Tree

    By Hardy, Thomas
    Jan 2nd, 2020 Under the Greenwood Tree (1872) was the second of Hardy's novels to be published. It is a gentle, humorous novel, which accurately depicts the life of an early Victorian rural community. Reading this novel is like peering out of a window and seeing a world gone by. As this is a short read, we may complement it with some of Hardy's poems. Note that there is only one audio book of this in the library, but it is easily available free online. Mary Anne to lead.
  • Image: The Library Book
    Feb 6th, 2020 Non-fiction. A journalist reviews the story of the Los Angeles public library fire in 1986 and uses this as a starting point for reflections on the role of libraries and librarians in the development of a community. Margaret to lead.
  • Image: The Golden Son

    The Golden Son

    A Novel
    By Gowda, Shilpi Somaya
    March 5th, 2020. Anil is the cherished son of a large family in rural India. As the eldest boy, he is expected to inherit the role of leader of his clan and arbiter of its disputes, dispensing wisdom and good advice. Leena is his closest companion, a fiercely brave girl who loves nothing more than the wild terrain they inhabit and her close-knit family. Shama to lead.
  • Image: I'll Keep You Safe
    April 2nd, 2020 A thriller that alternates between the glamorous fashion world of Paris and the rugged beauty of the Isle of Harris in the Scottish Hebrides. Joe to lead
  • Image: Sapiens


    A Brief History of Humankind
    By Harari, Yuval N.
    May 7th, 2020 A lively, groundbreaking history of humankind. 100,000 years ago, at least six species of human inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo Sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Mary E. to lead.
  • Image: A Gentleman in Moscow
    June 4th, 2020 In 1922 Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal and sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Nancy to lead.