Oliver Wolcott Library
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About OWL

Non-Fiction Book Discussion Group


When:  Second Thursday of each month from 2:00 - 3:15 p.m. New members welcome! Come to one or all meetings. Books are available at the front desk.
Where:  The Jamie Gagarin Community Room & Gallery
Facilitated by: Patricia Moore
[email protected]

2019  Selections




January 9, 2020

Elsewhere: A Memoir

Richard Russo


This memoir is a hilarious, moving, and always surprising account of Russo’s life, his parents, and the upstate New York town they all struggled variously to escape. Redemption is always the prize in a Russo story. Nowhere do we see that more clearly than in this brave book in which a writer spins deprivation into advantage, suffering into wisdom, and a broken mother into a muse. Moderated by Valerie


February 13

Hunger:  A Memoir of (my) Body

Roxane Gay


Describing her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Gay understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. She explores her past – including the act of violence that was a turning point in her young life – and her journey to save herself.  She explores what it means to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious food, and a smaller and safer body in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes. Moderated by Jocelyn


March 12

Lab Girl

Hope Jahren


A powerful memoir . . . Jahren is a remarkable scientist who turns out to be a remarkable writer as well. Think Stephen Jay Gould or Oliver Sacks. But Hope Jahren is a woman in science, who speaks plainly to just how rugged that can be. And to the incredible machinery of life around us. Moderated by Diane


April 9

An American Sickness:  How Health Care Became
Big Business and How You Can Take It Back

Elizabeth Rosenthal


Perhaps no institution has unraveled more quickly and more completely than American medicine. Breaking down this monolithic business into the individual industries—the hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, and drug manufacturers—of our healthcare system, Rosenthal exposes the recent evolution of American medicine. How did healthcare, the caring endeavor, become healthcare, the highly profitable industry? The system is in tatters, but we can fight back.  Moderated by Christine


May 14

The Soul of America: The Battle for our Better Angels

Jon Meacham


Our current climate of partisan fury is not new, and Meacham shows us how what Abraham Lincoln called the “better angels of our nature” have repeatedly won the day. Meacham brings vividly to life turning points in American history. While the American story has not always — or even often — been heroic, we are sustained by a belief in progress even in the gloomiest of times.  Moderated by Denise


June 11

2020-21 Book Selection, and

Heart Berries:  A Memoir

Terese Marie Mailhot


How does a woman raised on a reservation in Canada forge a life story in the face of a culture hell bent on keeping her quiet and calm? This fierce and poetic memoir grips you from the start and never lets go. Each page, paragraph and sentence is more gut-wrenching than the one before it. It is shot through with funny, angry, beautiful, brutal truths. An illuminating account of grief, abuse and the complex nature of the Native experience, it is raw and achingly beautiful. Moderated by Kathy


July 9


Tara Westover


Born to survivalists in Idaho, Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that no one ensured the children received an education, and no one intervened when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara tried a new life. Her quest for knowledge took her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Moderated by Marie

List as of June 14, 2019


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