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Cherrydale Branch Library

Serving North Arlington since 1922


(For other library programs for adults, click here.)

Evening Book Discussion Group for Adults

This page was last updated January 8, 2018.

SPECIAL NOTICE: All Arlington County Library children's and adults' programs have been cancelled for the rest of Monday, January 8, owing to inclement weather. The discussion of Our Man in Charleston will take place on Tuesday, January 16, at 7:30 pm.

Meets monthly on a Monday at 7:30 pm. New participants are always welcome, even if you read the book some time ago. Send an e-mail to group member Suzanne Embree ( ) for more information. Special “discussion-group” copies of each upcoming book are available for checkout a month ahead of time at the discussion of the preceding book. You can also check out a discussion copy at the Cherrydale Library front desk starting the first Tuesday after the discussion of the previous book. Please phone the library (703-228-6330) first to make sure a copy is available and to sign up for a discussion.


Our Man in Charleston Tuesday, January 16, 7:30 pm: Our Man in Charleston: Britain's Secret Agent in the Civil War South, by Christopher Dickey.

New York Times Bestseller . . . New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice . . . Amazon reader rating: 4.4 stars (out of 5) . . . hdbk published 2015 . . . 327 pp. of text.

Highly recommended to our group by a member whose friend read the book.

"Between the Confederacy and recognition by Great Britain stood one unlikely Englishman who hated the slave trade. His actions helped determine the fate of a nation." --Book Description,

"Dickey tells the story of this unsung hero with dash, clarity and a feel for fine detail. . . . Our Man in Charleston blows the dust off this forgotten chapter in history and, remarkably, turns it into a thriller." --Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"**Starred Review**: Dickey's comprehension of the mindset of the area, coupled with the enlightening missives from Bunch, provides a rich background to understanding the time period. . . . A great book explaining the workings of what Dickey calls an erratic, cobbled-together coalition of ferociously independent states." --Kirkus Reviews

"Dickey tells Bunch’s story with aplomb and a good deal of fine wit. On one level, Dickey has written a spicy historical beach read, chock-full of memorable characters and intrigue. But into this page-turning entertainment, Dickey has smuggled a thoughtful examination of the geopolitical issues of the day . . . splendid." --Boston Globe


Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie Monday, February 12, 7:30 pm: Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley

Winner of multiple awards . . . Amazon reader rating: 4.3 stars (out of 5) . . . published in 2009 . . . 370 pp of text.

Book Group Recommendations and Description: Title nominated by another Arlington Library book group. Recommended to our group by a man who said: "This is a murder mystery set in an English village in 1950. The chief sleuth is a plucky and precocious 11-year-old girl, bereft of a mother, despised by and despising her two older sisters, and largely ignored by her preoccupied father. Her genius and passion is chemistry. She uses her knowledge to solve the crime, to the amazement of the local police. I rarely read murder mysteries, but I found this one delightful and thoroughly engrossing, owing to the 11-year-old main character."

Media reviewers have noted strong appeal to a wide range of readers. School Library Journal wrote a review for high school/adult readers saying: "Mystery fans, Anglophiles, and science buffs will delight in this book and may come away with a slightly altered view of what is possible for a headstrong girl to achieve."

"Critics almost universally praised the novel upon its publication, primarily citing the compelling character portrayal of the 11-year-old lead detective." --Wikipedia

"Only those who dislike precocious young heroines with extraordinary vocabulary and audacious courage can fail to like this amazingly entertaining book. Expect more from the talented Bradley." --**Starred Review**, Book List, American Library Assoc.

"Brilliant, irresistible and incorrigible, Flavia has a long future ahead of her. Bradley’s mystery debut is a standout chock full of intellectual asides." --Kirkus Reviews



Monday, March 12, 7:30 pm: Homegoing: A Novel, by Yaa Gyasi

Amazon reader rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5) . . . published 2016 . . . 300 pp. of text.

National bestseller . . . a New York Times Notable Book . . . a Washington Post Notable Book . . . named one of the best books of the year by NPR, Time,, Harper’s Bazaar, and the San Francisco Chronicle

A couple who had read the book and recommended it to our group said, "The book follows several generations, beginning with two half-sisters in Africa. One stays in Africa and the other is sold into slavery in the US. Each chapter focuses on one person. The genealogy table in the front makes it easy to see on whom each chapter is focused. The chapters alternate between the family in Africa and the family in the US. The book covers several generations and gives the reader a very compressed historical picture." They added, "We both thought it was well-written and thought-provoking." A third person also read it and felt it would be an important book to discuss.


Monday, April 16, 7:30 pm: A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles.

No May Mtg.

June (2-month book-- to be given out in April): The Last Days of Night: A Novel, by Graham Moore.

July: Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shatterly.

August: Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankel.

No September Mtg.

October: (2-month book--to be given out in August): Behold the Dreamers: A Novel, by Imbolo Mbue.

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