December Book Groups

Start Date

Join us for these upcoming book discussions at Wilmette Public Library. 


River of the Gods by Candice Millard Thursday, December 8th, 7:00pm

Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke were sent by the Royal Geographical Society to claim the prize for England. Burton spoke twenty-nine languages, and was a decorated soldier. He was also mercurial, subtle, and an iconoclastic atheist. Speke was a young aristocrat and Army officer determined to make his mark, passionate about hunting, Burton’s opposite in temperament and beliefs. From the start the two men clashed. They would endure tremendous hardships, illness, and constant setbacks. Two years in, deep in the African interior, Burton became too sick to press on, but Speke did, and claimed he found the source in a great lake that he christened Lake Victoria. When they returned to England, Speke rushed to take credit, disparaging Burton. Burton disputed his claim, and Speke launched another expedition to Africa to prove it. The two became venomous enemies, with the public siding with the more charismatic Burton, to Speke’s great envy. The day before they were to publicly debate,Speke shot himself.

Yet there was a third man on both expeditions, his name obscured by imperial annals, whose exploits were even more extraordinary. This was Sidi Mubarak Bombay, who was enslaved and shipped from his home village in East Africa to India. When the man who purchased him died, he made his way into the local Sultan’s army, and eventually traveled back to Africa, where he used his resourcefulness, linguistic prowess and raw courage to forge a living as a guide. Without Bombay and men like him, who led, carried, and protected the expedition, neither Englishman would have come close to the headwaters of the Nile, or perhaps even survived. (Provided by the publisher)

Copies of the book can be found here. Ebook and eaudiobook copies are available through Digital Library of Illinois or the Libby app. 

In-person discussion. No registration required.



The Road

The Road by Cormac McCarthy Tuesday, December 13th, 10:30am

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other. The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, "each the other's world entire," are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. (Provided by the publisher)

Print copies of the book are available here. Ebook and eaudiobook copies are available through Digital Library of Illinois or the Libby app.

In-person discussion. No registration required.



The Hunting Party

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley Wednesday, December 28th, 7:00pm

During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves. The trip begins innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps, just as a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world. Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead. . . and another of them did it. (Provided by the publisher)

Place a hold on a copy of the book. Ebook and downloadable audiobook copies are available through Digital Library of Illinois or the Libby app. 

Ebook and downloadable audiobook copies are available through Hoopla or the Hoopla app. 

In-person discussion. No registration required.




Thursday, December 1st, 7:00pm

Bring a book you've recently adored and present it to the group. A librarian will share a list of great 2022 titles just in time for holiday shopping.

This is a virtual discussion. Registration will close two hours before the program begins and registrants will receive a link to join shortly thereafter.