Glen Ellyn Public Library Book Discussion
GEPL book discussions are held in the Shakespeare Room. Copies of book discussion titles are available near the 2nd Floor Information Desk. Reserve your spot.
Winter Book Discussions
Fields Where They Lay (A Junior Bender Mystery) by Timothy Hallinan
Thursday, December 14 | 7–8 pm
It’s the week before Christmas in Tinsel Town, and the Edgerton Mall isn’t exactly full of holiday cheer, despite its two Santas. The mall is a fossil of an industry in decline; many of its stores are closed, and to make matters worse, there is a rampant shoplifting problem.
Enter burglar Junior Bender, the unwilling fixer for the City of Angels’ various underworld bosses. The murderous Russian gangster who owns the mall makes Junior look into the shoplifting problem for him. But Junior’s surveillance operation doesn’t go well: within two days, two people are dead…
It’s obvious that shoplifting is the least of the mall’s problems.
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Thursday, January 11 | 7–8 pm
Something is out there…
Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.
Engulfed in darkness, surrounded by sounds both familiar and frightening, Malorie embarks on a harrowing odyssey — a trip that takes her into an unseen world and back into the past, to the companions who once saved her. Under the guidance of the stalwart Tom, a motely group of strangers banded together against the unseen terror, creating order from the chaos. But when supplies ran low, they were forced to venture outside — and confront the ultimate question: in a world gone mad, who can really be trusted?
American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse
Thursday, February 8 | 7–8 pm | The Lounge
The arsons started on a cold November midnight and didn’t stop for months. Night after night, the people of Accomack County waited to see which building would burn down next, regarding each other at first with compassion, and later suspicion. Vigilante groups sprang up, patrolling the rural Virginia coast with cameras and camouflage. Volunteer firefighters slept at their stations. The arsonist seemed to target abandoned buildings, but local police were stretched too thin to surveil them all. Accomack was desolate — there were hundreds of abandoned buildings. And by the dozen they were burning.
The culprit, and the path that led to these crimes, is a story of twenty-first century America. Washington Post reporter Monica Hesse first drove down to the reeling county to cover a hearing for Charlie Smith, a struggling mechanic who upon his capture had promptly pleaded guilty to sixty-seven counts of arson. But as Charlie’s confession unspooled, it got deeper and weirder. He wasn’t lighting fires alone; his crimes were galvanized by a surprising love story. Over a year of investigating, Hesse uncovered the motives of Charlie and his accomplice, girlfriend Tonya Bundick, a woman of steel-like strength and an inscrutable past. Theirs was a love built on impossibly tight budgets and simple pleasures. They were each other’s inspiration and escape…until they weren’t.
Though it’s hard to believe today, one hundred years ago Accomack was the richest rural county in the nation. Slowly it’s been drained of its industry — agriculture — as well as its wealth and population. In an already remote region, limited employment options offer little in the way of opportunity. A mesmerizing and crucial panorama with nationwide implications, American Fire asks what happens when a community gets left behind. Hesse brings to life the Eastern Shore and its inhabitants, battling a punishing economy and increasingly terrified by a string of fires they could not explain. The result evokes the soul of rural America — a land half gutted before the fires even began.