Book Discussion

In March, Book Discussion Members gathered to discuss TELL ME EVERYTHING by Erika Krouse

Join the Friends’ Book Discussion group for our thought-provoking selections and lively conversations.   New members are always welcome. We meet in the Library Meeting Room 4 times a year for about an hour. If you like to talk about characters, plots, connections to Westfield life and much more this a book club for you. 

 To be added to our Book Discussion list and receive information about meetings, including how to pick up copies of the books in a safe and secure manner, email  INFO@FWMLNJ.ORG.

Our 4th read of the 2023-2024 season is…



May 15, 2024 @ 2:00 PM


In the summer of 1974 a heatwave blankets Boston and Mary Pat Fennessy is trying to stay one step ahead of the bill collectors. Mary Pat has lived her entire life in the housing projects of “Southie,” the Irish American enclave that stubbornly adheres to old tradition and stands proudly apart.

One night Mary Pat’s teenage daughter Jules stays out late and doesn’t come home. That same evening, a young Black man is found dead, struck by a subway train under mysterious circumstances. The two events seem unconnected. But Mary Pat, propelled by a desperate search for her missing daughter, begins turning over stones best left untouched—asking questions that bother Marty Butler, chieftain of the Irish mob, and the men who work for him, men who don’t take kindly to any threat to their business.

Set against the hot, tumultuous months when the city’s desegregation of its public schools exploded in violence, Small Mercies is a superb thriller, a brutal depiction of criminality and power, and an unflinching portrait of the dark heart of American racism. It is a mesmerizing and wrenching work that only Dennis Lehane could write.

March 20, 2024 @ 2:00 PM


Yes, it was inspired by David Copperfield, but Kingsolver is not so much channeling him as writing her own compelling story about an Appalachian boy facing contemporary perils.

The New York Times: “An Appalachian David Copperfield. . . . Demon Copperhead reimagines Dickens’s story in a modern-day rural America contending with poverty and opioid addiction. . . . .Kingsolver and Dickens overlap: both of them exuberant writers of social novels with a strong political message and a concern for the lower classes. . . . Kingsolver’s novel sweeps you along just as powerfully as the original does.”


January 17, 2024 @ 2:00 PM


Our January book selection tells stories about a discarded painting in a junk pile, a skeleton in an attic, and the greatest racehorse in American history. Even if you think you’re not interested in racehorses, Geraldine Brooks weaves these elements together to create a thrilling and enlightening novel that considers racing and race, passion and art, and how history is recorded and remade.

October 18, 2023 @ 2:00 PM

1920s, Oklahoma. Oil is discovered under the Osage Indian Reservation. When the tribe becomes very, very wealthy, Osage begin to die under “suspicious” circumstances: execution style shootings, poisonings, and exploding houses. Local authorities get nowhere with the cases. Finally, J. Edger Hoover and the newly formed FBI are called in to solve the crimes.

“Disturbing and riveting…. Grann has proved himself a master of spinning delicious, many-layered mysteries that also happen to be true… It will sear your soul.” Dave Eggers, NY Times
Book Review.

Martin Scorsese’s film adaptation of the book stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, and Lily Gladstone and will be released October 20.




 May 17, 2023 @ 2:00 PM

Age of Innocence won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for fiction; Wharton was the first woman to be awarded the honor.

“It is one of the best novels of the twentieth century and … a permanent addition to literature.” –New York Times Book Review

In a nutshell: 1870s, NY.  The novel illuminates the thoughts and decisions of a prominent upper-class attorney who must grapple with his romantic entanglements and the unspoken, hypocritical mores of the very rich.

Martin Scorsese’s 1993 film adaptation is a lush illustration – and revision – of the book.  Take a look at the trailer, and notice the provocative questions it raises:  Which would you betray?  Your whole world or your heart?

March 15, 2023 @ 2:00 PM

“Part memoir and part literary true crime, Tell Me Everything is the mesmerizing story of a landmark sexual assault investigation and the female private investigator who helped crack it open.”

Erika Krouse begins her book this way:  “I became a private investigator because of my face.  It’s an ordinary-looking face, but if I asked “How are you?” sometimes people start crying.  “I’m getting a divorce,” they say.  “He ended our marriage by text.” … Or a man grips a packet of peas in the frozen food aisle and asks, “How do you cook these?  My wife died last month.” …. Young, old, women, men, nonbinary, gay straight, rich, poor, East West – everyone tells me things.”

“[A] beautifully written, disturbing and affecting memoir. This is literary nonfiction at a high level.”―New York Times Book Review


January 18, 2023 @ 2:00 PM

What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live? Dear Edward examines this question as we follow the experiences of a twelve-year-old boy who is the sole survivor of an airplane crash. Although the premise is stark, the book is full of hope and compassion.

“A haunting novel that’s a masterful study in suspense, grief and survival . . . Napolitano’s fearless
examination of what took place models a way forward for all of us. She takes care not to
sensationalize, presenting even the most harrowing scenes in graceful, understated prose, and
gives us a powerful book about living a meaningful life during the most difficult of times.”—The New
York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)

One of the best books of the year: The Washington Post and The Boston Globe,

October 12, 2022 @ 2:00 PM


In a nutshell:  It’s the 1960s.  Elizabeth Zott is a brilliant, unconventional woman who loves being a chemist during a time when women were expected to be housewives.  While the book’s jacket suggests we might be in for a romance, we find instead a rousing comic novel that is as unconventional and quirky as Elizabeth herself.

The New York Time Book Review: Lessons in Chemistry will make you wonder about all the real-life women born ahead of their time—women who were sidelined, ignored and worse because they weren’t as resourceful, determined and lucky as Elizabeth Zott. She’s a reminder of how far we’ve come, but also how far we still have to go.”


May 11, 2022 @ 2:00 PM


Set in Depression-era America, this novel brings to life the Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians, five women who deliver books to the most remote regions of the Appalachian Mountains.
The Washington Post: “The Giver of Stars is a celebration of love, but also of reading, of knowledge, of female friendship, of the beauty of our most rural corners, and our enduring American grit: the kind of true grit that can be found in the hills of Kentucky and on the pages of this inspiring book.”

Check back on the website closer to May 11 for more information about our discussion session.


March 9, 2022 at 2:00 PM

In her award winning historical novel, Maggie O’Farrell reimagines the plague years of the 1580s when a young Latin tutor, Will Shakespeare, meets and weds an extraordinary woman, Agnes. Very few facts are known about this part of Shakespeare’s life, but no matter: O’Farrell vividly portrays Agnes, their marriage, their young children, and especially Hamnet, the son who contracts a deadly fever.

The New York Times: “Hamnet is mesmerizing, seductive, impossible to put down—a magnificent leap forward from one of our most gifted novelists.”

The New Yorker: “An exceptional historical novel”

Winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction

January 12, 2022 at 2:00 PM via Zoom

In this “enchanting blockbuster,” we meet Nora Seed, a young woman with many gifts, few accomplishments and so many regrets that her life becomes unbearable. Then Nora discovers a library at the edge of the universe, a library that contains an infinite number of books. With the help of the librarian, Nora finds the story of her present life as well as stories about the lives she would have lived if she had made different decisions along the way.
Shortlisted for the 2021 British Book Awards “Fiction book of the year” and adapted for radio and broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2020.

October 13, 2021 at 2:00 PM in the Meeting Room at the Library

Texas, 1921. Elsa Wolcott, unattractive and a spinster at 25, meets and marries Rafe Martinelli, but finds that the hard work of her life is just beginning. This historical novel focuses on how Elsa meets the challenges of the Dust Bowl and migrant settlements in California.

The New York Times: “The Four Winds seems eerily prescient in 2021 . . . Its message is galvanizing and hopeful: We are a nation of scrappy survivors. We’ve been in dire straits before; we will be again. Hold your people close.”