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Nebraska Heritage Book Club – Archive

The Nebraska Heritage Book Club
Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors
Bennett Martin Public Library (3rd floor)

136 S. 14th St.
441-8516 (Heritage Room phone #)

The Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors at Bennett Martin Public Library is pleased to be the new official meeting spot for The Nebraska Heritage Book Club (formerly The Nebraska History Book Club) as of 2019!

For several years, this group met at the Nebraska History Museum (15th & “P”). This group was formed to discuss books about Nebraska history, highlighting the books on the Nebraska150books.org booklist. Everyone is welcome. Feel free to bring lunch. Come when you can!

This group has now relocated their monthly meetings to the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors, on the 3rd floor of the downtown library. The group meets on the 4th Friday of every month, from Noon to 1:00 p.m., for the discussion of books by Nebraska authors or with a Nebraska history theme. A specific novel, story collection or non-fiction title is selected in advance for discussion during each meeting.


Friday, April 23 2021 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

This month’s meeting was held online via Zoom meeting software.

The title for discussion at the April meeting is Jane Kleeb’s Harvest the Vote: How Democrats Can Win Again in Rural America.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“The Democratic Party has lost an entire generation of rural voters. By focusing the majority of their message and resources on urban and coastal voters, Democrats have sacrificed entire regions of the country where there is more common ground and shared values than what appears on the surface.

In Harvest the Vote, Jane Kleeb, chair of Nebraska’s Democratic Party and founder of Bold Nebraska, brings us a lively and sweeping argument for why the Democrats shouldn’t turn away from rural America. As a party leader and longtime activist, Kleeb speaks from experience. She’s been fighting the national party for more resources and building a grassroots movement to flex the power of a voting bloc that has long been ignored and forgotten.

Kleeb persuasively argues that the hottest issues of the day can be solved hand in hand with rural people. On climate change, Kleeb shows that the vast spaces of rural America can be used to enact clean energy innovations. And issues of eminent domain and corporate overreach will galvanize unlikely alliances of family farmers, ranchers, small business owners, progressives, and tribal leaders, much as they did when she helped fight the Keystone XL pipeline. The hot-button issues of guns and abortion that the Republican Party uses to wedge voters against one another can be bridged by putting a megaphone next to issues critical to rural communities.

Written with a fiery voice and commonsense solutions, Harvest the Vote is both a call to action and a much-needed balm for a highly divided nation”


Friday, March 26 2021 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

This month’s meeting was held online via Zoom meeting software.

The title for discussion at the March meeting is Douglas Wellman and Mark Musick’s Boxes: The Secret Life of Howard Hughes.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“Eva McLelland was good at keeping secrets, and she had a big one. Sworn to secrecy for thirty-one years until the death of her husband, Eva was at last able to come forward and share a story that turns twentieth century history on its head and fills in puzzling blanks in the mysterious life of the tycoon Howard Hughes. How could Hughes appear to witnesses as an emaciated, long finger-nailed, mental incompetent, yet fly a jet aircraft four months later? How could a doctor describe him as looking like a “prisoner of war,” when at the same time investment bankers, politicians, and diplomats who met him said he was articulate and well-groomed? The answer is a perfect example of the brilliance of the elusive billionaire. He simply found a mentally incompetent man to impersonate him, drawing the attention of the Internal Revenue Service and an army of lawyers who pursued him, while he conducted his business in peace from Panama with his new wife, Eva McLelland. Sound fantastic? It is. However, after seven years of research and verification, Eva’s story produces the final pieces in the mysterious puzzle that was Howard Hughes.”


Friday, February 26 2021 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

This month’s meeting was held online via Zoom meeting software.

The title for discussion at the February meeting is Lee Child’s Worth Dying For. Discussion will be lead by Roger Lempke.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“There’s deadly trouble in the corn country of Nebraska . . . and Jack Reacher walks right into it. First he falls foul of the Duncans, a local clan that has terrified an entire county into submission. But it’s the unsolved case of a missing child, already decades-old, that Reacher can’t let go.

The Duncans want Reacher gone–and it’s not just past secrets they’re trying to hide. They’re awaiting a secret shipment that’s already late–and they have the kind of customers no one can afford to annoy. For as dangerous as the Duncans are, they’re just the bottom of a criminal food chain stretching halfway around the world.

For Reacher, it would have made much more sense to keep on going, to put some distance between himself and the hard-core trouble that’s bearing down on him.

For Reacher, that was also impossible.

Worth Dying For is the kind of explosive thriller only Lee Child could write and only Jack Reacher could survive–a heart-racing page-turner no suspense fan will want to miss.”


Friday, January 22 2021 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

This month’s meeting was held online via Zoom meeting software.

The title for discussion at the January meeting is Dorcas Cavett’s My First 81 Years.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“The author recounts her life as a classroom teacher, a mathematical instructor for educational television, a wife, and a stepmother.”


Friday, November 20, 2020 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

This month’s meeting was held online via Zoom meeting software.

The title for discussion at the November meeting is Margaret Dolezal’s Christmas Tales and Poems.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“Filled with sweet nostalgia, these stories and poems of Christmases speak to our longing for the gentle joys of friends, family and simple pleasures”

Friday, October 23 2020 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

This month’s meeting was held online via Zoom meeting software.

The title for discussion at the October meeting is Dirk Chatelain’s 24th & Glory:The Intersection of Civil Rights and Omaha’s Greatest Generation of Athletes.

Special Note: Author Dirk Chatelain will attend and participate in this month’s discussion on Zoom!

Here’s the description from our catalog:

” In 1968, Bob Gibson was in the middle of one of the most dominant pitching performances in World Series history, but he wasn’t the only North Omahan on the sports page.That first week of October, one native son led the NFL in rushing. Another averaged 22 points per game in the NBA. One was about to begin a 17,000-point pro basketball career. Another was about to break football’s most stubborn racial barrier. One — a future Heisman Trophy winner — broke Friday night records.They all came from the same parks and gyms. The same schools and coaches.They rose out of segregation — higher and higher — as racial tensions in North Omaha boiled hotter and hotter.”24th & Glory: The intersection of civil rights and Omaha’s greatest generation of athletes” from award-winning World-Herald staff writer Dirk Chatelain tells the story behind one incredible neighborhood that produced so many world-class athletes.”

Interested participants are invited to watch Dirk Chatelain’s Ames Reading Series presentation on YouTube if they want before the book club.

Friday, September 25 2020 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The title for discussion at the September meeting is Lou Leviticus’ Tales From the Milestone: My Life Before and During 1940-1945.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“Wajikra’s story details his life before the WWII and the last days he was with his parents, how he survived on his own, and his treatment on the farm where he hid for a while. He details aspects of “underground” activities and lets others tell their stories. The last chapter is a rather horrifying story of a raid on a farm and the defensive actions he and others had to take.”

[MEETING NOT HELD, DUE TO CORONAVIRUS SAFETY MEASURES.]

Friday, August 28, 2020 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The title for discussion at the August meeting is Bradford Morrow’s Prague Sonata.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

” Pages of a weathered original sonata manuscript – the gift of a Czech immigrant living in Queens – come into the hands of Meta Taverner, a young musicologist whose concert piano career was cut short by an injury. The gift comes with the request that Meta find the manuscript’s true owner – a Prague friend the old woman has not heard from since the Second World War forced them apart – and to make the three-part sonata whole again. Leaving New York behind for the land of Dvorak and Kafka, Meta sets out on an unforgettable search to locate the remaining movements of the sonata and uncover a story that has influenced the course of many lives, even as it becomes clear that she isn’t the only one seeking the music’s secrets.”

[MEETING NOT HELD, DUE TO CORONAVIRUS SAFETY MEASURES.]
 

Friday, July 24, 2020 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The title for discussion at the July meeting is Ron Hansen’s Hitler’s Niece.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“In September 1931, a 23-year-old woman was found dead in the Munich flat owned by Adolf Hitler, an unfinished letter on her desk and his handgun on the floor beside her. She was Geli Raubal, the daughter of Hitler’s widowed half-sister, and, as Hitler later melodramatically claimed, the only woman he ever loved.

Although he had known of Geli since her birth, he was aloof from his Austrian family during his first years as head of the struggling Nazi Party. But in 1927, six years before he became chancellor, Hitler invited his half-sister to become housekeeper of his alpine home in Obersalzberg and to bring along her daughter, offering to pay for Geli’s medical studies at the university in Munich. Seeing his niece on a daily basis, he soon fell jealously in love, for Geli was, as Hitler’s friends later said, “an enchantress,” pretty, fun-loving, witty, flirtatious, and able, as no one else was, to put her strange, high-strung uncle at ease.

In a carefully researched historical novel that is haunting, unflinching, shocking, profound, and as compulsively readable as a psychological thriller, Ron Hansen presents Adolf Hitler as he has never before been seen in fiction, but as his intimates must have seen him. And through the eyes of a favorite niece who has been all but lost to history, we see the frightening rise in prestige and political power of a vain, vulgar, sinister man who thrived on hate and cruelty and would stop at nothing to keep the horror of his inner life hidden from the world.

Hitler’s Niece is a masterpiece, a luminous, suspenseful, beautifully crafted novel, full of passion, events, and insight, that reinforces Ron Hansen’s growing reputation as one of our foremost writers of fiction.”

[MEETING NOT HELD, DUE TO CORONAVIRUS SAFETY MEASURES.]

Friday, June 26, 2020 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The title for discussion at the June meeting is John Ferak’s Bloody Lies: Scandal in Heartland.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“The remote farming community of Murdock, Nebraska, seemed to be the least likely setting for one of the heartland’s most ruthless and bloody double murders in decades. In fact, the little town had gone more than a century without a single homicide. But on the night of Easter 2006, Wayne and Sharmon Stock were brutally murdered in their home. The murders garnered sensational frontpage headlines and drew immediate statewide attention. Practically everybody around Murdock was filled with fear, panic, and outrage. Who killed Wayne and Sharmon Stock? What was the motive? The Stocks were the essence of Nebraska’s all-American farm family, self-made, God-fearing, and of high moral character. Barely a week into this double murder investigation, two arrests brought a sense of relief to the victims’ family and to local residents. The case appeared to fall neatly into place when a tiny speck of murder victim Wayne Stock’s blood appeared in the alleged getaway car.

Then, an obscure clue left at the crime scene took the investigation down a totally different path, stretching into Iowa, Louisiana, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin. By the time this investigation was over, the charges against the original suspects were dismissed and two new individuals emerged from the shadows. Author John Ferak covered the Stock murders from the very beginning, including all of the trial proceedings. When the criminal prosecution finally ended in 2007, he remained puzzled by one nagging question: Why was the blood of victim Wayne Stock in a car that was ultimately proven to have no connection to the murders?

Over the next few years, the astonishing “bloody lies” were revealed, culminating in a law enforcement scandal that turned the case on its head and destroyed the career of Nebraska’s celebrated CSI director, David Kofoed.”

[MEETING NOT HELD, DUE TO CORONAVIRUS SAFETY MEASURES.]

Friday, May 22, 2020 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The title for discussion at the May meeting is Donald Stratton’s All the Gallant Men: An American Sailor’s First-Hand Account of Pearl Harbor.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“At 8:06 a.m. on December 7, 1941, Seaman First Class Donald Stratton was consumed by an inferno. A million pounds of explosives had detonated beneath his battle station aboard the USS Arizona, barely fifteen minutes into Japan’s surprise attack on American forces at Pearl Harbor. Near death and burned across two thirds of his body, Don, a nineteen-year-old Nebraskan who had been steeled by the Great Depression and Dust Bowl, summoned the will to haul himself hand over hand across a rope tethered to a neighboring vessel. Forty-five feet below, the harbor’s flaming, oil-slick water boiled with enemy bullets; all around him the world tore itself apart.

In this extraordinary never-before-told eyewitness account of the Pearl Harbor attack–the only memoir ever written by a survivor of the USS Arizona–ninety-four-year-old veteran Donald Stratton finally shares his unforgettable personal tale of bravery and survival on December 7, 1941, his harrowing recovery, and his inspiring determination to return to the fight.

Don and four other sailors made it safely across the same line that morning, a small miracle on a day that claimed the lives of 1,177 of their Arizona shipmates–approximately half the American fatalaties at Pearl Harbor. Sent to military hospitals for a year, Don refused doctors’ advice to amputate his limbs and battled to relearn how to walk. The U.S. Navy gave him a medical discharge, believing he would never again be fit for service, but Don had unfinished business. In June 1944, he sailed back into the teeth of the Pacific War on a destroyer, destined for combat in the crucial battles of Leyte Gulf, Luzon, and Okinawa, thus earning the distinction of having been present for the opening shots and the final major battle of America’s Second World War.

As the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack approaches, Don, a great-grandfather of five and one of five living survivors of the Arizona, offers an unprecedentedly intimate reflection on the tragedy that drew America into the greatest armed conflict in history. All the Gallant Men is a book for the ages, one of the most remarkable–and remarkably inspiring–memoirs of any kind to appear in recent years.”

[MEETING NOT HELD, DUE TO CORONAVIRUS SAFETY MEASURES.]

Friday, April 24, 2020 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The title for discussion at the April meeting is Laura Love’s You Ain’t Got No Easter Clothes.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“Laura Love has an uncanny knack for getting an audience to listen. Today she is beloved by fans around the world for her funk-folksy music. But Love’s life wasn’t always so good. Growing up in racially troubled Nebraska, Love survived a miserable childhood, shuffling among a mentally unstable mother, foster homes, and orphanages. Despite the odds, Love survived, thanks ultimately to her enormous will. You Ain’t Got No Easter Clothes is Love’s wrenching, shocking, yet hopeful story of the survival of a deeply rooted, but broadly cultured woman.”

[MEETING NOT HELD, DUE TO CORONAVIRUS SAFETY MEASURES.]

Friday, March 27, 2020 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The title for discussion at the March meeting is Jonis Agee’s Bones of Paradise.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“The award-winning author of The River Wife returns with a multigenerational family saga set in the unforgiving Nebraska Sand Hills in the years following the massacre at Wounded Knee–an ambitious tale of history, vengeance, race, guilt, betrayal, family, and belonging, filled with a vivid cast of characters shaped by violence, love, and a desperate loyalty to the land.

Ten years after the Seventh Cavalry massacred more than two hundred Lakota men, women, and children at Wounded Knee, J.B. Bennett, a white rancher, and Star, a young Native American woman, are murdered in a remote meadow on J.B.’s land. The deaths bring together the scattered members of the Bennett family: J.B.’s cunning and hard father, Drum; his estranged wife, Dulcinea; and his teenage sons, Cullen and Hayward. As the mystery of these twin deaths unfolds, the history of the dysfunctional Bennetts and their damning secrets is revealed, exposing the conflicted heart of a nation caught between past and future.

At the center of The Bones of Paradise are two remarkable women. Dulcinea, returned after bitter years of self-exile, yearns for redemption and the courage to mend her broken family and reclaim the land that is rightfully hers. Rose, scarred by the terrible slaughters that have decimated and dislocated her people, struggles to accept the death of her sister, Star, and refuses to rest until she is avenged.

A kaleidoscopic portrait of misfits, schemers, chancers, and dreamers, Jonis Agee’s bold novel is a panorama of America at the dawn of a new century. A beautiful evocation of this magnificent, blood-soaked land–its sweeping prairies, seas of golden grass, and sandy hills, all at the mercy of two unpredictable and terrifying forces, weather and lawlessness–and the durable men and women who dared to tame it. Intimate and epic, The Bones of Paradise is a remarkable achievement: a mystery, a tragedy, a romance, and an unflagging exploration of the beauty and brutality, tenderness and cruelty that defined the settling of the American West.”

[MEETING NOT HELD, DUE TO CORONAVIRUS SAFETY MEASURES.]

Friday, February 28, 2020 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The title for discussion at the January meeting is Mari Sandoz’s Capital City.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“First published in the dark days immediately before World War II, Capital City is Mari Sandoz’s angriest and most political novel. Like many important American novels of the 1930s — John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, Jack Conroy’s The Disinherited, Robert Cantwell’s Land of PlentyCapital City depicts the troubles of working people trapped in the Great Depression. A unique portrayal of how the Depression affected the Great Plains, it examines the forces that bitterly contended for wealth and power. Sandoz researched the daily life and behind-the-scenes operations of several state capitals in the thirties before synthesizing them in this novel, which is part allegory, part indictment, part warning. Famous for her passionate writing, Sandoz imbued Capital City with the full measure of her outrage.”

Friday, January 24, 2020 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The title for discussion at the January meeting is Christine Harris’ The Gypsy in My Soul.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“Poland, 1943-Heinrich Himmler orders the mass deportation of Gypsies to concentration camps. Sasha Karmazin, a Gypsy woman living in Warsaw, Poland, is torn from her family by the Gestapo and must leave behind her Polish husband, Henryk, and her two teenage sons, Karl and Dimitri. After being transported to Auschwitz, Europe’s largest Nazi concentration camp, Sasha is forced to work as an interpreter for the Nazis. Her survival depends on her wits, and she will do anything to stay alive.

Nebraska, 1976-Beth Karmazin, a beautiful, bronze-skinned young woman and daughter of Karl Karmazin, is all too aware of her Gypsy heritage. But when she learns that her grandmother Sasha, presumed to be dead, is accused of having taken a Nazi lover and collaborating with the Nazi’s while at Auschwitz, Beth is determined to prove her grandmother’s innocence.

Beth’s commitment takes her on a three-year quest deep into Communist-controlled Eastern Europe at the height of the Cold War, a journey that changes not only her life, but also the course of history.

Seamlessly moving from the turbulent 1940s to the 1980s, The Gypsy in My Soul. creates a riveting portrait of one woman’s devotion to family-and to uncovering the truth.”

Journey into Christmas - cover

Friday, November 15, 2019 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

This month’s meeting was moved forward by a week from the 22nd to the 15th!

The title for discussion at the November meeting will be Journey into Christmas by Bess Streeter Aldrich.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

The true meaning of Christmas emerges in these stories about reunited families, good fellowship, and restored faith. This is not to say that all is sugar candy. The mother in the title story faces a lonely Christmas in an empty house–but then something quite ordinary but miraculous happens. In “The Drum Goes Dead,” a small-town bank cashier, a solid citizen and sterling friend, is dispirited by hard times until he discovers, through his own resources, that it is indeed a wonderful life.

Here are nine other holiday stories, by turns dramatic, humorous, and inspirational. The closing piece recalls the author’s childhood in Iowa.

[Reminder: There is no meeting in December 2019.]

Friday, October 25, 2019 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The author for discussion at the October meeting is Terese Svoboda, however no specific titles have been selected. Participants can read any of Terese Svoboda’s work, up to and including her latest, Great American Desert.

The author, Terese Svoboda, will be joining the group for this discussion.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

Water, its use and abuse, trickles through Great American Desert, a story collection by Terese Svoboda that spans the misadventures of the prehistoric Clovis people to the wanderings of a forlorn couple around a pink pyramid in a sci-fi prairie. In “Dutch Joe,” the eponymous hero sees the future from the bottom of a well in the Sandhills, while a woman tries to drag her sister back from insanity in “Dirty Thirties.” In “Bomb Jockey,” a local Romeo disposes of leaky bombs at South Dakota’s army depot, while a family quarrels in “Ogallala Aquifer” as a thousand trucks dump chemical waste from a munitions depot next to their land. Bugs and drugs are devoured in “Alfalfa,” a disc jockey talks her way out of a knifing in “Sally Rides,” and an updated Pied Piper begs parents to reconsider in “The Mountain.” The consequences of the land’s mistreatment is epitomized in the final story by a discovery inside a pink pyramid.

In her arresting and inimitable style, Svoboda’s delicate handling of the complex dynamics of family and self seeps into every sentence of these first-rate short stories about what we do to the world around us–and what it can do to us.

Zoo Nebraska - cover

Friday, September 27, 2019 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

Zoo Nebraska: The Dismantling of an American Dream, by Carson Vaughan, is the featured title.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

A resonant true story of small-town politics and community perseverance and of decent people and questionable choices, Zoo Nebraska is a timely requiem for a rural America in the throes of extinction.

Royal, Nebraska, population eighty-one–where the church, high school, and post office each stand abandoned, monuments to a Great Plains town that never flourished. But for nearly twenty years, they had a zoo, seven acres that rose from local peculiarity to key tourist attraction to devastating tragedy. And it all began with one man’s outsize vision.

When Dick Haskin’s plans to assist primatologist Dian Fossey in Rwanda were cut short by her murder, Dick’s devotion to primates didn’t die with her. He returned to his hometown with Reuben, an adolescent chimp, in the bed of a pickup truck and transformed a trailer home into the Midwest Primate Center. As the tourist trade multiplied, so did the inhabitants of what would become Zoo Nebraska, the unlikeliest boon to Royal’s economy in generations and, eventually, the source of a power struggle that would lead to the tragic implosion of Dick Haskin’s dream.

Friday, August 23, 2019 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The title for discussion at the August meeting is Mary K. Stillwell’s The Life and Poetry of Ted Kooser.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“Like a flash of lightning it came to him— the unathletic high school student Ted Kooser saw a future as a famous poet that promised everything: glory, immortality, a bohemian lifestyle (no more doing dishes, no more cleaning his room), and, particularly important to the lonely teenager, girls! Unlike most kids with a sudden ambition, Kooser, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and thirteenth poet laureate of the United States, made good on his dream. But glory was a long time coming, and along the way Kooser lived the life that has made his poetry what it is, as deeply grounded in family, work, and the natural world as it is attuned to the nuances of language.

Just as so much of Kooser’ s own writing weaves geography, history, and family stories into its measures, so does this first critical biography consider the poet’ s work and life together: his upbringing in Iowa, his studies in Nebraska with poet Karl Shapiro as mentor, his career in insurance, his family life, his bout with cancer, and, always, his poetry. Combining a fine appreciation of Kooser’ s work and life, this book finally provides a fuller and more complex picture of a writer who, perhaps more than any other, has brought the Great Plains and the Midwest, lived large and small, into the poetry of our day.”

Friday, July 26, 2019 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The title for discussion at the July meeting is Theodore Wheeler’s Kings of Broken Things.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“With characters depicted in precise detail and wide panorama–a kept-woman’s parlor, a contentious interracial baseball game on the Fourth of July, and the tragic true events of the Omaha Race Riot of 1919 — Kings of Broken Things reveals the folly of human nature in an era of astonishing ambition.

During the waning days of World War I, three lost souls find themselves adrift in Omaha, Nebraska, at a time of unprecedented nationalism, xenophobia, and political corruption. Adolescent European refugee Karel Miihlstein’s life is transformed after neighborhood boys discover his prodigious natural talent for baseball. Jake Strauss, a young man with a violent past and desperate for a second chance, is drawn into a criminal underworld. Evie Chambers, a kept woman, is trying to make ends meet and looking every which way to escape her cheerless existence.

As wounded soldiers return from the front and black migrant workers move north in search of economic opportunity, the immigrant wards of Omaha become a tinderbox of racial resentment stoked by unscrupulous politicians. Punctuated by an unspeakable act of mob violence, the fates of Karel, Jake, and Evie will become inexorably entangled with the schemes of a ruthless political boss whose will to power knows no bounds.

Written in the tradition of Don DeLillo and Colum McCann, with a great debt to Ralph Ellison, Theodore Wheeler’s debut novel Kings of Broken Things is a panoramic view of a city on the brink of implosion during the course of this summer of strife.”

Theodore Wheeler, the author of Kings of Broken Things, will be joining the group for this month’s discussion.

Friday, June 28, 2019 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The titles for discussion at the June meeting are the picture books of Bruce Arant, including Simpson’s Sheep Won’t Go To Sleep!

Here’s the description of that specific title, from our catalog:

“Farmer Simpson works all day. He plants his corn, and beans, and hay. His feet get tired, his nose gets red. At night, he likes to go to bed. But Simpson’s sheep have other plans–and sleep is not one of them! They think of every excuse to stay awake. They need a drink. They want a snack. They have to “go!” They like to yack. Will poor Simpson ever find a way to lull his sheep to sleep? Illustrated with soft pastel drawings that are both silly and soothing–Simpson’s Sheep Won’t Go to Sleep! is a story for every parent who has put a child to bed–and every child who has creatively resisted.”

Friday, May 24, 2019 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The title for discussion at the February meeting is Ted Genoways’ This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm. This title is the selection for One Book One Nebraska for 2019.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“The family farm lies at the heart of our national identity, and yet its future is in peril. Rick Hammond grew up on a farm, and for forty years he has raised cattle and crops on his wife’s fifth-generation homestead in Nebraska, in hopes of passing it on to their four children. But as the handoff nears, their small family farm — and their entire way of life — are under siege. Beyond the threat posed by rising corporate ownership of land and livestock, the Hammonds are confronted by encroaching pipelines, groundwater depletion, climate change, and shifting trade policies. Add GMOs, pesticides, and fossil fuel pollution to their list of troubles and the question is: can the family farm survive in America?”

Friday, April 26, 2019 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The title for discussion at the February meeting is Stephanie Grace Whitson’s Karyn’s Memory Box.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“Prairie life challenges newlywed Karyn Ritter, but she finds beauty in the wilderness while learning that love can come from unexpected places.”

Friday, March 22, 2019 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The featured title for March is Bess Streeter Aldrich’s The Rim of the Prairie.

A special treat is in store for March 22. The group indicated that we would like to take a field trip to Elmwood, NE, the home of Mrs. Aldrich. If you are interested in attending, contact the Heritage Room at 402-441-8516.

We will start at the museum (124 West D Street), which is in the back half of the Elmwood Library at 1:30. That part of our tour will take about 30 minutes. Then we will drive about 4 blocks to the Aldrich House, 204 East F Street. That will take about 45-60 minutes. The exhibit in March is vintage sheet music, music boxes, and vintage musical instruments. There is a $5.00 charge.

You will appreciate the book even more when you visit Elmwood.

If you would like to carpool, we will meet in the Kohl’s parking lot (just north of 84th & O Streets) at 12:45.

Here’s the description from the back cover of the book:

“A western story set in a small town in Nebraska on ‘the rim of the prairie.’ The characters include a gay, tantalizing heroine made more attractive by a hint of mystery, a steadfast hero, and two delightful pioneers.”

Friday, February 22, 2019 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The title for discussion at the February meeting is Gabe Parks’ Nebraska Trivia.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“Nebraska Trivia is the who, what, when, where, and how book of the great state of Nebraska. Filled with interesting questions and answers about well-known and not so well-known facts of this colorful, historic state, Nebraska Trivia will provide hours of entertainment and education. Designed for use in a wide variety of settings―home, office, school, parties―it focuses on the history, culture, people, and places of the fascinating Cornhusker State. Nebraska Trivia is readily adaptable for use with trivia format games.”

Friday, February 23, 2018 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The title for discussion at the February 2018 meeting is Jeff Kurrus’ Have You Seen Mary?.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“‘. . . and the sky blackened with dark, gray bodies. In the blurry confusion, John lost Mary.’ So begins Have You Seen Mary?, Jeff Kurrus’s fictional account of one sandhill crane’s faithful search during spring migration for his lost mate. Set on Nebraska’s Platte River, this tenderly woven story of love is also a stirring introduction to these majestic birds, replete with Michael Forsberg’s radiant color photographs. This book will appeal to all ages, for it both entertains and educates readers about sandhill cranes.”

Friday, November 17, 2017 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The title for discussion at the November 2017 meeting is Mari Sandoz’s The Christmas of the Phonograph Record.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“Charmingly, Mari Sandoz tells of a long-ago Christmas in western Nebraska when her father’s house was filled with good music. Old Jules had ordered an Edison phonograph and boxes of cylinder records from the East, paying for them with an inheritance and ignoring debts, to the chagrin of his long-suffering wife. But the entire family soon entered into the holiday spirit as neighbors arrived to feast and dance and enjoy musical selections ranging from Lucia di Lammermoor to Casey at the Telephone. Even old enmities dissolved under the spell, for, as Old Jules said, “The music is for everybody.”

A classic in the tradition of Dylan Thomas’s Child’s Christmas in Wales and Truman Capote’s Christmas Memory, this story by the famous author of Old Jules was first published posthumously in December 1966.”

Friday, October 27, 2017 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The title for discussion at the October 2017 meeting is Frances G. Reinehr’s Bloody Mary, Gentle Woman.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“Mary Ann Partington (1889-1979) became a legend when blood was shed for independence on her lonely farmstead. A retired school teacher and avid church-worker, she suffered not gladly the intrusions on her person and property by a generation of teenagers bent on riling her. Their rite of passage cost her dearly.

Spurred on by the enthusiasm of her fifth grade glasses who were enchanted by the legend, author Reinehr search for the person behind the legend. In Bloody Mary, Gentle Woman, she explores the contradictions embodied in that title.”

Friday, September 29, 2017 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The title for discussion at the September 2017 meeting is Jonis Agee’s The Bones of Paradise.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“The award-winning author of The River Wife returns with a multigenerational family saga set in the unforgiving Nebraska Sand Hills in the years following the massacre at Wounded Knee–an ambitious tale of history, vengeance, race, guilt, betrayal, family, and belonging, filled with a vivid cast of characters shaped by violence, love, and a desperate loyalty to the land.

Ten years after the Seventh Cavalry massacred more than two hundred Lakota men, women, and children at Wounded Knee, J.B. Bennett, a white rancher, and Star, a young Native American woman, are murdered in a remote meadow on J.B.’s land. The deaths bring together the scattered members of the Bennett family: J.B.’s cunning and hard father, Drum; his estranged wife, Dulcinea; and his teenage sons, Cullen and Hayward. As the mystery of these twin deaths unfolds, the history of the dysfunctional Bennetts and their damning secrets is revealed, exposing the conflicted heart of a nation caught between past and future.

At the center of The Bones of Paradise are two remarkable women. Dulcinea, returned after bitter years of self-exile, yearns for redemption and the courage to mend her broken family and reclaim the land that is rightfully hers. Rose, scarred by the terrible slaughters that have decimated and dislocated her people, struggles to accept the death of her sister, Star, and refuses to rest until she is avenged.

A kaleidoscopic portrait of misfits, schemers, chancers, and dreamers, Jonis Agee’s bold novel is a panorama of America at the dawn of a new century. A beautiful evocation of this magnificent, blood-soaked land–its sweeping prairies, seas of golden grass, and sandy hills, all at the mercy of two unpredictable and terrifying forces, weather and lawlessness–and the durable men and women who dared to tame it. Intimate and epic, The Bones of Paradise is a remarkable achievement: a mystery, a tragedy, a romance, and an unflagging exploration of the beauty and brutality, tenderness and cruelty that defined the settling of the American West.”

Friday, May 26, 2017 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The title for discussion at the May 2017 meeting is Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits-smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love-and just how hard it pulled you under.”

Friday, April 21, 2017 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The title for discussion at the April 2017 meeting is Dennis Vossberg’s Hector’s Bliss: Black Homesteaders at Goose Lake, Nebraska.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“This novel traces the struggles of the Hector Dixon Family from his early days as a slave in Virginia, and his wife’s harrowing escape to the North as a young girl. The story continues through their burial in the lost Negro Cemetery by peaceful Goose Lake.”

Friday, March 24, 2017 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The title for discussion at the March 2017 meeting is Diane Bartles’ Sharpie: The Life of Evelyn Sharp – Nebraska’s Aviatrix.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

“The life story of a woman who simply loved to fly, Sharpie is a biography of an early Nebraska barn-storming pilot who became one of the first women to ferry U.S. Army Air Force fighters during World War II. She gave her life for her country — a war heroine.”

Friday, February 25, 2017 — Noon-1:00 p.m.

The title for discussion at the February 2017 meeting is John G. Neihardt’s Black Elk Speaks.

Here’s the description from our catalog:

Black Elk Speaks, the story of the Oglala Lakota visionary and healer Nicholas Black Elk (1863–1950) and his people during momentous twilight years of the nineteenth century, offers readers much more than a precious glimpse of a vanished time. Black Elk’s searing visions of the unity of humanity and Earth, conveyed by John G. Neihardt, have made this book a classic that crosses multiple genres. Whether appreciated as the poignant tale of a Lakota life, as a history of a Native nation, or as an enduring spiritual testament, Black Elk Speaks is unforgettable.

Black Elk met the distinguished poet, writer, and critic John G. Neihardt in 1930 on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and asked Neihardt to share his story with the world. Neihardt understood and conveyed Black Elk’s experiences in this powerful and inspirational message for all humankind.”