May Book Groups

Start Date

Classics & Contemporary Book Discussion: The House of Doors by Tan Twan Eng

Tuesday, May 14, 10:30-11:30am, Adults, Auditorium

The year is 1921. Lesley Hamlyn and her husband, Robert, a lawyer and war veteran, are living at Cassowary House on the Straits Settlement of Penang. When “Willie” Somerset Maugham, a famed writer and old friend of Robert's, arrives for an extended visit with his secretary Gerald, the pair threatens a rift that could alter more lives than one.

Maugham, one of the great novelists of his day, is beleaguered: Having long hidden his homosexuality, his unhappy and expensive marriage of convenience becomes unbearable after he loses his savings-and the freedom to travel with Gerald. His career deflating, his health failing, Maugham arrives at Cassowary House in desperate need of a subject for his next book. Lesley, too, is enduring a marriage more duplicitous than it first appears. Maugham suspects an affair, and, learning of Lesley's past connection to the Chinese revolutionary, Dr. Sun Yat Sen, decides to probe deeper. But as their friendship grows and Lesley confides in him about life in the Straits, Maugham discovers a far more surprising tale than he imagined, one that involves not only war and scandal but the trial of an Englishwoman charged with murder. It is, to Maugham, a story worthy of fiction.

A mesmerizingly beautiful novel based on real events, The House of Doors traces the fault lines of race, gender, sexuality, and power under empire, and dives deep into the complicated nature of love and friendship in its shadow. (From the publisher)

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

For those who would like to purchase a copy of The House of Doors, please support our local independent bookstore, The Book Stall at 811 Elm Street in Winnetka.


Walking Book Club Discussion for Older Adults: The Swimmers: A Novel by Julie Otsuka

Thursday, May 23, 10-11am, Adults, Auditorium

The swimmers are unknown to one another except through their private routines (slow lane, medium lane, fast lane) and the solace each takes in their morning or afternoon laps. But when a crack appears at the bottom of the pool, they are cast out into an unforgiving world without comfort or relief.
One of these swimmers is Alice, who is slowly losing her memory. For Alice, the pool was a final stand against the darkness of her encroaching dementia. Without the fellowship of other swimmers and the routine of her daily laps she is plunged into dislocation and chaos, swept into memories of her childhood and the Japanese American incarceration camp in which she spent the war. Alice’s estranged daughter, reentering her mother’s life too late, witnesses her stark and devastating decline. (From the publisher)

Join senior services librarian Jill McKeown and your fellow community members to discuss The Swimmers by Julia Otsuka as we take a leisurely, 45-minute walk around Wilmette.

We will meet at the flagpole in front of the library. Open to all though registration is required.

Reserve a copy of the book for pick-up at the library, or borrow an ebook or downloadable audiobook copies through Libby. 

Rain date reschedule for Thursday, May 30; registrants will be notified directly. 

For those who would like to purchase a copy of The Swimmers, please support our local independent bookstore, The Book Stall at 811 Elm Street in Winnetka.