We have another new reader this month — Ben from Omaha. Only three folks on Zoom and five in person. Super Bowl or beautiful weather?

Ben enjoys reading horror and graphic novels and science fiction. He had read Cycle of the Werewolf and Different Seasons by Stephen King, The Call of Cthulhu by H. P. Lovecraft, V for Vendetta by Alan Moore & David Lloyd, and Oathbringer (Stormlight Archive # 3) by Brandon Sanderson. All in the realm of horror or fantasy or both.

Beth joined us again. Inspired by some of the historical books we’ve discussed recently, she read Rebels at Sea: Privateering in the American Revolution by Eric Jay Dolin. Countries which did not have a large enough navy (or any navy) would authorize private ships to sail under their flag. The Invention of Yesterday: A 50,000-Year History of Human Culture, Conflict, and Connection by Tamim Ansary. How world history has been affected by the clashes between various cultures and their outlooks (inwardly focused v. outwardly focused), among other aspects. Sounds interesting.

Michael belongs to another book group that does a deep dive into the works of one author at a time. This month the author was Yasunari Kawabata. This Japanese author has won the Nobel Prize in Literature. They are reading Thousand Cranes, Snow Country, and The Master of Go. Another book Michael read was Jerusalem by Alan Moore. This is set in Northampton England and is a mixture of historical events and the supernatural.

Peggy read A Dangerous Business by Jane Smiley. A historical novel set in 1850s California with a mystery and a bit of the supernatural added. In Haven by Emma Donoghue, three 7th Century Irish monks set sail into the western ocean to find an island to form a new monastery on. Finally, The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett is a mystery trying to decipher a set of clues found in books written by Edith Twyford. Peggy also tried Slow Horses (Slough House #1) by Mick Herron, but she found it slow going.

David read several books this month. The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi is a collection of the teachings of St. Francis. Some list Ugolino Di Monte Santa Maria as the author, but other sources say the author is not known. Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee is a futuristic science fiction focusing on the combat sport of zero gravity boxing. The Dark Side of the Moon (Space Runners #2) by Jeramey Kraatz, is for younger readers (8-12 years old). Young people are on the moon and end up fighting aliens to save humanity. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith is set in Brooklyn in the very early years of the 1900s. A coming of age story of Francie Nolan as she grows up in the Williamsburg area. Very interesting for the historical details.

Coleen has only managed to complete one book this month. The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean is set in a small town near Sydney, Australia. In the current day, Tikka Malloy lives and works in Baltimore. She returns home to visit her family because her older sister has been diagnosed with cancer. While there, she tries to solve the mystery of her childhood friends from the neighborhood who ran away from home one night in 1992 and were never seen again. Or rather the two older sisters were never seen again, the youngest was found dead after a couple of weeks. Intriguing but ultimately disappointing since nothing gets resolved — either in the past or the current day.

Cynthia read another book by Peter Heller (has the same name as her son, but not related), The Dog Stars. Does not recommend it. She read River Road by one of her favorite authors, Jayne Ann Krentz. A contemporary romantic suspense novel that sounds interesting. A Death in Vienna by Dr. Frank Tallis is the basis for the mystery series on PBS, Vienna Blood. Set in the early 1900s in Vienna, it explores the beginnings of psychology and its use in solving crimes.

Brad read several books this month and liked them all! Fiction books include The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams, The Ghost Brigade (Old Man’s War #2) by John Scalzi, The Ink Black Heart (Cormoran Strike # 6) by Robert Galbraith, and Joe Country (Slough House #6) by Mick Herron. Rounding out his list are a couple of nonfiction books, Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII’s Most Highly Decorated Spy by Larry Loftis and Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer. He is currently reading Surrender, White People! Our Unconditional Terms for Peace by D. L. Hughley and Doug Moe.

Linda was not able to join us, but said she is reading The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson based on earlier reports by our group.

Stina was also unable to join us but shared a list of her books. Here are some of her titles: The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi, The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline (historical novel), The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji (mystery), The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie by Rachel Linden, New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson (a climate fiction novel), The Lost Baroness by Christina Grossman (Regency romance), and The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters (YA book about a teenage Edgar Allan Poe). Email me if you want the titles of her other books. I saw several books I’d like to read. I hope you see some tempting titles, too!

Come see us next month — either in person or on Zoom. Chat at 2:00 p.m., book talk at 2:30 p.m. until we get done. (If you need to leave early, we’ll let you go first!) Snacks are welcome but not required. Just you and your books!