AAUW Book Group

2019-2020 AAUW Book Group Meetings

September 23, 2019

** Note: We will be reading two books written by the authors who will be speaking at the Loveland branch’s Conversations with Authors on Saturday October 5, 2019.

Her Kind of Case: A Lee Isaacs, Esq. Novel (Mystery) by Jeanne Winer

Her Kind of Case is a legal drama that centers on Lee Isaacs, a female defense attorney on the cusp of turning 60, who, out of curiosity, determination, and desire for a big, even impossible, professional challenge, chooses to take on a tough murder case in which a largely uncooperative young man is accused of helping kill a gay gang member. This beautifully written novel, which earned a starred review from Kirkus, is built around not only a gradually resolving mystery, but by fully fleshed-out characters, particularly the strong-willed and sharp-witted Lee. It is a breath of fresh air to see someone of Lee’s standing achieve career and personal success as an older single woman who grieves the recent loss of her husband, but continues her daily routine of law and karate, fighting tooth and nail to prove her client not guilty. (Note: The author, Jeanne Winer, is herself a longtime defense attorney in Boulder, Colorado, and a black-belt karate expert.)

Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption (Non-fiction) by Susan Devan Harness 

In Bitterroot Susan Devan Harness traces her journey to understand the complexities and struggles of being an American Indian child adopted by a white couple and living in the rural American West. When Harness was fifteen years old, she questioned her adoptive father about her “real” parents. He replied that they had died in a car accident not long after she was born—except they hadn’t, as Harness would learn in a conversation with a social worker a few years later.

October 5, 2019 (We will not meet this month as we plan to attend the Loveland branch’s Conversations with Authors.)

November 18, 2019

The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World (Non-fiction) by Melinda Gates 

A debut from Forbes’ third most powerful woman in the world, Melinda Gates, a timely and necessary call to action for women’s empowerment.
For the last twenty years, Melinda Gates has been on a mission. Her goal, as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been to find solutions for people with the most urgent needs, wherever they live. Throughout this journey, one thing has become increasingly clear to her: If you want to lift a society up, invest in women.
In this candid and inspiring book, Gates traces her awakening to the link between women’s empowerment and the health of societies. She shows some of the tremendous opportunities that exist right now to “turbo-charge” change. And she provides simple and effective ways each one of us can make a difference.

December 16, 2019

Fifty Things That Aren’t My Fault (Humor) by Cathy Guisewite

From the iconic creator of the “Cathy” comic strip comes a collection of funny, warm, and wise essays in the style of Nora Ephron and Erma Bombeck, centered around the particular challenge of caring for aging parents and growing children, all while trying not to lose oneself in the process. As the creator of the “Cathy” comic strip, Cathy Guisewite found her way into the hearts of readers over 40 years ago, and has been there ever since. Her deeply funny and relatable look at the life of a frazzled career woman became a cultural touchstone for women everywhere, and now, in her debut essay collection, Guisewite returns with her signature self-deprecating wit and warmth, this time taking a look at her own life. The autobiographical essays that make up Fifty Things That Aren’t My Fault offer a disarming, hilarious, and wise look at the lives of “the sandwich generation,” which Guisewite calls “the panini generation.” In this collection, Guisewite turns her uniquely wry and funny gaze to her own day-to-day life, with topics ranging from the mundane–teaching her parents to use TiVo, organizing four decades of photos, attempting to meditate–to the more profound–her struggle to find a purpose post-retirement, helping her parents downsize their lives, and her personal definitions of feminism. Humorous, warm, and poignant, Fifty Things That Aren’t My Fault is ideal reading for mothers, daughters, and everyone who is caught somewhere in between, and on the threshold of “What Happens Next.””– Provided by publisher.

January 13, 2020

Where the Crawdads Sing (Fiction) by Delia Owens 

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

February 10, 2020

Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America’s Most Powerful Mobster (Biography) by Stephen L. Carter

The bestselling author delves into his past and discovers the inspiring story of his grandmother’s extraordinary life.
She was black and a woman and a prosecutor, a graduate of Smith College and the granddaughter of slaves, as dazzlingly unlikely a combination as one could imagine in New York of the 1930s ― and without the strategy she devised, Lucky Luciano, the most powerful Mafia boss in history, would never have been convicted. When special prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey selected twenty lawyers to help him clean up the city’s underworld, she was the only member of his team who was not a white male.

Eunice Hunton Carter, Stephen Carter’s grandmother, was raised in a world of stultifying expectations about race and gender, yet by the 1940s, her professional and political successes had made her one of the most famous black women in America. But her triumphs were shadowed by prejudice and tragedy. Greatly complicating her rise was her difficult relationship with her younger brother, Alphaeus, an avowed Communist who ― together with his friend Dashiell Hammett ― would go to prison during the McCarthy era. Yet she remained unbowed.

March 9, 2020

Women Rowing North: Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing as We Age (Non-fiction)  by Mary Pipher

A timely examination of the cultural and developmental issues women face as they age. Drawing on her own experience as daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, caregiver, clinical psychologist, and cultural anthropologist, she explores ways women can cultivate resilient responses to the challenges they face. “If we can keep our wits about us, think clearly, and manage our emotions skillfully,” Pipher writes, “we will experience a joyous time of our lives. If we have planned carefully and packed properly, if we have good maps and guides, the journey can be transcendent.”

April 20, 2020

The Nowhere Child (Mystery) by Christian White

Kimberly Leamy is a photography teacher in Melbourne, Australia. Twenty-six years earlier, Sammy Went, a two-year old girl vanished from her home in Manson, Kentucky. An American accountant who contacts Kim is convinced she was that child, kidnapped just after her birthday. She cannot believe the woman who raised her, a loving social worker who died of cancer four years ago, crossed international lines to steal a toddler. On April 3rd, 1990, Jack and Molly Went’s daughter Sammy disappeared from the inside their Kentucky home. Already estranged since the girl’s birth, the couple drifted further apart as time passed. Jack did his best to raise and protect his other daughter and son while Molly found solace in her faith. The Church of the Light Within, a Pentecostal fundamentalist group who handle poisonous snakes as part of their worship, provided that faith. Without Sammy, the Wents eventually fell apart. Now, with proof that she and Sammy are in fact the same person, Kim travels to America to reunite with a family she never knew she had. And to solve the mystery of her abduction—a mystery that will take her deep into the dark heart of religious fanaticism where she must fight for her life against those determined to save her soul.

May 18, 2020

A Piece of the World (Historical Fiction) by Christina Baker Kline 

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the smash bestseller Orphan Train, a stunning and atmospheric novel of friendship, passion, and art, inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s mysterious and iconic painting Christina’s World.
“Later he told me that he’d been afraid to show me the painting. He thought I wouldn’t like the way he portrayed me: dragging myself across the field, fingers clutching dirt, my legs twisted behind. The arid moonscape of wheatgrass and timothy. That dilapidated house in the distance, looming up like a secret that won’t stay hidden.” 
To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century.

June 8, 2020

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood (Autobiography) by Trevor Noah

The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime New York Times bestseller about one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

July 13, 2020

The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West (History) by David McCullough

Pulitzer Prize–winning historian David McCullough rediscovers an important and dramatic chapter in the American story—the settling of the Northwest Territory by dauntless pioneers who overcame incredible hardships to build a community based on ideals that would come to define our country.
As part of the Treaty of Paris, in which Great Britain recognized the new United States of America, Britain ceded the land that comprised the immense Northwest Territory, a wilderness empire northwest of the Ohio River containing the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. A Massachusetts minister named Manasseh Cutler was instrumental in opening this vast territory to veterans of the Revolutionary War and their families for settlement. Included in the Northwest Ordinance were three remarkable conditions: freedom of religion, free universal education, and most importantly, the prohibition of slavery. In 1788 the first band of pioneers set out from New England for the Northwest Territory under the leadership of Revolutionary War veteran General Rufus Putnam. They settled in what is now Marietta on the banks of the Ohio River.

August 10, 2020

Sisters: The Lives of America’s Suffragists (History) by Jean H. Baker

They forever changed America: Lucy Stone, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frances Willard, Alice Paul. At their revolution’s start in the 1840s, a woman’s right to speak in public was questioned. By its conclusion in 1920, the victory in woman’s suffrage had also encompassed the most fundamental rights of citizenship: the right to control wages, hold property, to contract, to sue, to testify in court. Their struggle was confrontational (women were the first to picket the White House for a political cause) and violent (women were arrested, jailed, and force-fed in prisons). And like every revolutionary before them, their struggle was personal.