Books + Brews

#GetLit with Books + Brews! This book club is for lit-lovers 21 and older who get thirsty from reading. Reading does not have to be a solitary experience, join us as we gather to discuss classics or contemporary picks and socially engage with literature and current events.

Meetings take place monthly on Wednesdays at 5:30 pm in the Dunaway Community Room. Books provided by the Library, brews provided by you! Please email jackie.welgos@pitkincounty.com for more information.

Audience

Past Selections

Trust by Hernan Diaz book cover of skyscraper in a glass dome.
 

An award-winning writer of absorbing, sophisticated fiction delivers a stylish and propulsive novel rooted in early 20th century New York, about wealth and talent, trust and intimacy, truth and perception. In glamorous 1920s New York City, two characters of sophisticated taste come together. One is a legendary Wall Street tycoon; the other, the brilliant daughter of penniless aristocrats. Steeped in affluence and grandeur, their marriage excites gossip and allows a continued ascent--all at a moment when the country is undergoing a great transformation. This is the story at the center of Harold Vanner's novel Bonds, which everyone in 1938 New York seems to have read. But it isn't the only version. Provocative, propulsive, and repeatedly surprising, Hernan Diaz's Trust puts the story of these characters into conversation with the "the truth"--and in tension with the life and perspective of an outsider immersed in the mystery of a competing account. The result is an overarching novel that becomes more exhilarating and profound with each new layer and revelation, engaging the reader in a treasure hunt for the truth that confronts the reality-warping gravitational pull of money, and how power often manipulates facts.

Book cover of the celebrants by Steven Rowley. Cover shows four friends on a seaside deck looking out to sea.
 

It's been a minute--or five years--since Jordan Vargas last saw his college friends, and twenty-eight years since their graduation when their adult lives officially began. Now Jordan, Jordy, Naomi, Craig, and Marielle find themselves at the brink of a new decade, with all the responsibilities of adulthood, yet no closer to having their lives figured out. Though not for a lack of trying. Over the years they've reunited in Big Sur to honor a decades-old pact to throw each other living "funerals," celebrations to remind themselves that life is worth living--that their lives mean something, to one another, if not to themselves. But this reunion is different. They're not gathered as they were to bolster Marielle as her marriage crumbled, to lift Naomi after her parents died, or to intervene when Craig pleaded guilty to art fraud. This time, Jordan is sitting on a secret that will upend their pact. A deeply honest tribute to the growing pains of selfhood and the people who keep us going, coupled with Steven Rowley's signature humor and heart, The Celebrants is a moving tale about the false invincibility of youth and the beautiful ways in which friendship helps us celebrate our lives, even amid the deepest challenges of living.

Go as a river book cover by shelley read featuring a peach.
 

Seventeen-year-old Victoria Nash runs the household on her family's peach farm in the small ranch town of Iola, Colorado--the sole surviving female in a family of troubled men. Wilson Moon is a young drifter with a mysterious past, displaced from his tribal land and determined to live as he chooses. Victoria encounters Wilson by chance on a street corner, a meeting that profoundly alters both of their young lives, unknowingly igniting as much passion as danger. When tragedy strikes, Victoria leaves the only life she has ever known. She flees into the surrounding mountains where she struggles to survive in the wilderness with no clear notion of what her future will bring. As the seasons change, she also charts the changes in herself, finding in the beautiful but harsh landscape the meaning and strength to move forward and rebuild all that she has lost, even as the Gunnison River threatens to submerge her homeland--its ranches, farms, and the beloved peach orchard that has been in her family for generations. Inspired by true events surrounding the destruction of the town of Iola in the 1960s, Go as a River is a story of deeply held love in the face of hardship and loss, but also of finding courage, resilience, friendship, and, finally, home--where least expected. This stunning debut explores what it means to lead your life as if it were a river--gathering and flowing, finding a way forward even when a river is dammed.

Book cover of the light pirate by Lily Brooks Dalton
 

From the author of Good Morning, Midnight comes a hopeful, sweeping story of survival and resilience spanning one extraordinary woman's lifetime as she navigates the uncertainty, brutality, and arresting beauty of a rapidly changing world. Florida as we know it is slipping away. As devastating weather patterns and rising sea levels wreak gradual havoc on the state's infrastructure, a powerful hurricane approaches a small town on the southeastern coast. Kirby Lowe, an electrical line worker for the local utility municipality, his pregnant wife, Frida, and their two sons, Flip and Lucas, prepare for the worst. When the boys go missing just before the hurricane hits, Kirby heads out into the high winds in search of his children. Left alone, Frida goes into premature labor and gives birth to an unusual child, Wanda, whom she names after the catastrophic storm that ushers her into a society closer to collapse than ever before. As Florida continues to unravel, Wanda grows. Moving from childhood to adulthood, adapting not only to the changing landscape, but also to the people who stayed behind in a place abandoned by civilization, Wanda loses family, gains community, and ultimately, seeks adventure, love, and purpose in a place remade by nature. Told in four parts-power, water, light, and time-The Light Pirate mirrors the rhythms of the elements and the sometimes quick, sometimes slow dissolution of the world as we know it. It is a meditation on the changes we would rather not see, the future we would rather not greet, and a call back to the beauty and violence of an untamable wilderness.

A gray background with a drawing of a person holding a basketball. Text reads the heaven and earth grocery story by James McBride.
 

In 1972, when workers in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, were digging the foundations for a new development, the last thing they expected to find was a skeleton at the bottom of a well. Who the skeleton was and how it got there were two of the long-held secrets kept by the residents of Chicken Hill, the dilapidated neighborhood where immigrant Jews and African Americans lived side by side and shared ambitions and sorrows. Chicken Hill was where Moshe and Chona Ludlow lived when Moshe integrated his theater and where Chona ran the Heaven & Earth Grocery Store. When the state came looking for a deaf boy to institutionalize him, it was Chona and Nate Timblin, the Black janitor at Moshe's theater and the unofficial leader of the Black community on Chicken Hill, who worked together to keep the boy safe. As these characters' stories overlap and deepen, it becomes clear how much the people who live on the margins of white, Christian America struggle and what they must do to survive. When the truth is finally revealed about what happened on Chicken Hill and the part the town's white establishment played in it, McBride shows us that even in dark times, it is love and community--heaven and earth--that sustain us.

cliff with haunted house on top and a red sky. text reads the only one left by riley sager
 

At seventeen, Lenora Hope hung her sister with a rope. Now reduced to a schoolyard chant, the Hope family murders shocked the Maine coast one bloody night in 1929. While most people assume seventeen-year-old Lenora was responsible, the police were never able to prove it. Other than her denial after the killings, she has never spoken publicly about that night, nor has she set foot outside Hope's End, the cliffside mansion where the massacre occurred. Stabbed her father with a knife, took her mother's happy life. It's now 1983, and home-health aide Kit McDeere arrives at a decaying Hope's End to care for Lenora after her previous nurse fled in the middle of the night. In her seventies and confined to a wheelchair, Lenora was rendered mute by a series of strokes and can only communicate with Kit by tapping out sentences on an old typewriter. One night, Lenora uses it to make a tantalizing offer--I want to tell you everything. "It wasn't me," Lenora said, but she's the only one not dead. As Kit helps Lenora write about the events leading to the Hope family massacre, it becomes clear there's more to the tale than people know. But when new details about her predecessor's departure come to light, Kit starts to suspect Lenora might not be telling the complete truth--and that the seemingly harmless woman in her care could be far more dangerous than she first thought.

Book cover of a painted field of daisies. Text reads tom lake by ann patchett.
 

In the spring of 2020, Lara's three daughters return to the family's orchard in Northern Michigan. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor with whom she shared both a stage and a romance years before at a theater company called Tom Lake. As Lara recalls the past, her daughters examine their own lives and relationship with their mother, and are forced to reconsider the world and everything they thought they knew. Tom Lake is a meditation on youthful love, married love, and the lives parents have led before their children were born. Both hopeful and elegiac, it explores what it means to be happy even when the world is falling apart. As in all of her novels, Ann Patchett combines compelling narrative artistry with piercing insights into family dynamics. The result is a rich and luminous story, told with profound intelligence and emotional acuity, that demonstrates once again why she is one of the most acclaimed literary talents working today.

A man walks next to a pool drinking a martini, followed by two small children and a dog.
 

Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP, for short), has always loved his niece, Maisie, and nephew, Grant. He loves spending time with them when they come out to Palm Springs for weeklong visits, When Maisie and Grant lose their mother and Patrick's brother has a health crisis of his own, Patrick finds himself suddenly taking on the role of primary guardian. Despite having a set of "Guncle Rules" Patrick has no idea what to expect. After years barely holding on after the loss of his great love, a somewhat-stalled acting career, and a lifestyle not-so-suited to a six- and a nine-year-old, Patrick's eyes are opened to a new sense of responsibility. Even being larger than life means you're unfailingly human. 

A small dog stands on top of a pink arrow. The arrow splits a green van in half.
 

From the National Book Award longlisted author of The Portable Veblen. Penny Rush has problems. Her marriage is over; she's quit her job. Her mother and stepfather went missing in the Australian outback five years ago; her mentally unbalanced father provokes her; her grandmother Dr. Pincer keeps experiments in the refrigerator and something worse in the woodshed. But Penny is a virtuoso at what's possible when all else fails".

 

The Haunting of Hajji Hotak Book Cover
 

A luminous meditation on sons and fathers, ghosts of war, and living history that moves between modern-day Afghanistan and the Afghan diaspora. In playing "Metal Gear Solid V," a young man's video game experience turns into a surreal exploration on his own father's memories of war and occupation. A college student in "Hungry Ricky Daddy" starves himself in protest of Israeli violence against Palestine. Set in Kabul, "Return to Sender" follows a doctor couple who must deal with the harsh realities of their decision to stay as the violence grows and their son disappears. And in the title story, "The Haunting of Hajji Hotak," we learn the story of a man codenamed Hajji, from the perspective of a government surveillance worker, who becomes entrenched in the immigrant family's life.