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The Stranger in the Woods

By MIchael Finkel

Join us to discuss popular nonfiction titles.

Documents the true story of a man who endured a hardscrabble, isolated existence in a tent in the Maine woods for 27 years, never speaking with others and surviving by stealing supplies from nearby cabins. This portrait illuminates the survival means he developed and the reasons behind his solitary life.

Book cover for Stranger in the Woods
Date of the Meeting

Theme: Explore Black History

Join us one Saturday each month as we explore several titles from our nonfiction collection. No reading required - come to the meeting with suggestions on the topic or simply listen and collect titles to add to your "to read" list!

Sign up for our email newsletter! tinyurl.com/IRnewsletter

10:30 am in the Fitzgerald Room

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Haven

By Emma Donoghue

In this beautiful story of adventure and survival from the New York Times bestselling author of Room, three men vow to leave the world behind them as they set out in a small boat for an island their leader has seen in a dream, with only faith to guide them.

In seventh-century Ireland, a scholar and priest called Artt has a dream telling him to leave the sinful world behind. Taking two monks—young Trian and old Cormac—he rows down the river Shannon in search of an isolated spot on which to found a monastery. Drifting out into the Atlantic, the three men find an impossibly steep, bare island inhabited by tens of thousands of birds, and claim it for God. In such a place, what will survival mean?

Haven - Book Jacket
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Trailed: One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders

By Kathryn Miles
A riveting deep dive into the unsolved murder of two free-spirited young women in the wilderness, a journalist's obsession, and a new theory of who might have done it
Trailed: One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders - Book Jacket
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Lessons in Chemistry

By Bonnie Garmus

Set in 1960s California, this blockbuster debut is the hilarious, idiosyncratic and uplifting story of a female scientist whose career is constantly derailed by the idea that a woman's place is in the home, only to find herself starring as the host of America's most beloved TV cooking show. 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 1960s and despite the fact that she is a scientist, her peers are very unscientific when it comes to equality. The only good thing to happen to her on the road to professional fulfillment is a run-in with her super-star colleague Calvin Evans (well, she stole his beakers.) The only man who ever treated her-and her ideas-as equal, Calvin is already a legend and Nobel nominee. He's also awkward, kind and tenacious. Theirs is true chemistry. But as events are never as predictable as chemical reactions, three years later Elizabeth Zott is an unwed, single mother (did we mention it's the early 60s??) and the star of America's most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth's singular approach to cooking ('take one pint of H2O and add a pinch of sodium chloride') and independent example are proving revolutionary. Because Elizabeth isn't just teaching women how to cook, she's teaching them how 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 it's protagonist.

Lessons in Chemistry - Book Jacket
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Facing the Mountain

By Daniel James Brown

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat, a gripping World War II saga of patriotism and courage: the special Japanese-American Army unit that overcame brutal odds in Europe; their families, incarcerated in camps back home; and a young man who refused to surrender his constitutional rights, even if it meant imprisonment. They came from across the continent and Hawaii. Their parents taught them to embrace both their Japanese heritage and the ways of their American homeland. They faced bigotry, yet they believed in their bright futures as American citizens. But within days of Pearl Harbor, the FBI was ransacking their houses and locking up their fathers. Within months many would themselves be living in internment camps. Facing the Mountain is an unforgettable chronicle of war-time America and the battlefields of Europe. Based on Daniel James Brown's extensive interviews with the families of the protagonists as well as deep archival research, it portrays the kaleidoscopic journey of four Japanese-American families and their sons, who volunteered for 442nd Regimental Combat Team and were deployed to France, Germany, and Italy, where they were asked to do the near impossible. But this is more than a war story. Brown also tells the story of these soldiers' parents, immigrants who were forced to shutter the businesses, surrender their homes, and submit to life in concentration camps on U.S. soil. Woven throughout is the chronicle of a brave young man, one of a cadre of patriotic resisters who stood up against their government in defense of their own rights.

Facing the Mountain - Book Jacket
Date of the Meeting

All About Animals

Join us one Saturday each month as we explore several titles from our nonfiction collection. No reading required - come to the meeting with suggestions on the topic or simply listen and collect titles to add to your "to read" list!

Sign up for our email newsletter! tinyurl.com/IRnewsletter

10:30 am in the Fitzgerald Room

Insatiable Readers logo
Date of the Meeting

The Magnolia Place

By Fiona Davis

Fiona Davis, New York Times best-selling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue, returns with a tantalizing novel about the secrets, betrayal, and murder within one of New York City's most impressive Gilded Age mansions.

Eight months since losing her mother in the Spanish flu outbreak of 1919, 21-year-old Lillian Carter's life has completely fallen apart. For the past six years, under the moniker Angelica, Lillian was one of the most sought-after artists' models in New York City, with statues based on her figure gracing landmarks from the Plaza Hotel to the Brooklyn Bridge. But with her mother gone, a grieving Lillian is rudderless and desperate - the work has dried up and a looming scandal has left her entirely without a safe haven. So when she stumbles upon an employment opportunity at the Frick mansion - a building that, ironically, bears her own visage - Lillian jumps at the chance. But the longer she works as a private secretary to the imperious and demanding Helen Frick, the daughter and heiress of industrialist and art patron Henry Clay Frick, the more deeply her life gets intertwined with that of the family - pulling her into a tangled web of romantic trysts, stolen jewels, and family drama that runs so deep, the stakes just may be life or death.

Nearly 50 years later, mod English model Veronica Weber has her own chance to make her career - and with it, earn the money she needs to support her family back home - within the walls of the former Frick residence, now converted into one of New York City's most impressive museums. But when she - along with a charming intern/budding art curator named Joshua - is dismissed from the Vogue shoot taking place at the Frick Collection, she chances upon a series of hidden messages in the museum: messages that will lead her and Joshua on a hunt that could not only solve Veronica's financial woes, but could finally reveal the truth behind a decades-old murder in the infamous Frick family.

The Magnolia Place - Book Jacket
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Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism

By Amanda Montell

The author of the widely praised Wordslut analyzes the social science of cult influence: how cultish groups from Jonestown and Scientology to SoulCycle and social media gurus use language as the ultimate form of power.

What makes “cults” so intriguing and frightening? What makes them powerful? The reason why so many of us binge Manson documentaries by the dozen and fall down rabbit holes researching suburban moms gone QAnon is because we’re looking for a satisfying explanation for what causes people to join - and more importantly, stay in - extreme groups. We secretly want to know: could it happen to me? Amanda Montell’s argument is that, on some level, it already has....

Our culture tends to provide pretty flimsy answers to questions of cult influence, mostly having to do with vague talk of “brainwashing”. But the true answer has nothing to do with freaky mind-control wizardry or Kool-Aid. In Cultish, Montell argues that the key to manufacturing intense ideology, community, and us/them attitudes all comes down to language. In both positive ways and shadowy ones, cultish language is something we hear - and are influenced by - every single day.

Through juicy storytelling and cutting original research, Montell exposes the verbal elements that make a wide spectrum of communities “cultish”, revealing how they affect followers of groups as notorious as Heaven’s Gate, but also how they pervade our modern start-ups, Peloton leaderboards, and Instagram feeds. Incisive and darkly funny, this enrapturing take on the curious social science of power and belief will make you hear the fanatical language of “cultish” everywhere.

Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism - Book Jacket
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The Maid

By Nita Prose

A charmingly eccentric hotel maid discovers a guest murdered in his bed, turning her once orderly world upside down--and inspiring a motley crew of unexpected allies to band together to solve the mystery--in this utterly original debut. Molly Dunn is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and interprets people literally. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by. Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has had to navigate life's complexities all by herself. No matter--she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection. But Molly's orderly life is turned on its head the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself very dead in his bed. Before she knows what's happening, Molly's odd demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect and she finds herself in a web of subtext and nuance she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, a medley of friends she didn't realize she had refuses to let her be charged with murder--but will they be able to discover the real killer before it's too late? A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different--and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.

The Maid - Book Jacket