Book Groups

The South Portland Public Library offers a number of regular book groups, offering a broad selection of options for differing tastes in reading.  Please see the events calendar for the latest reading selections as well as any potential changes of meeting dates.

Morning Book Group

The Main Library’s Morning Book Group is a friendly gathering of people who enjoy reading and talking about books.  Over the years the group has read a various selection of fiction and non-fiction.  These have included The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larrson, and Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption  by Laura Hillenbrand.  The group is facilitated by library staff and the titles are recommended by the participants.  This is an informal group and newcomers are always welcome.

The Main Library Morning Book Group meets on the third Tuesday of the month, at 10:30, in the Kaler Room, Main Library


Evening Book Group

The Main Library’s Evening Book Group is quite adventurous.  We read an eclectic assortment of fiction and non-fiction.  Recent selections include Ann Patchett’s novel,State of Wonder (We gave it a mixed review- ambitious authorial reach but it didn’t quite hold together for us as a story), Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains (Our discussion was wide-ranging and thoughtful), and Glen Duncan’s The Last Werewolf (We’re not big fans of misogyny and gore, even when it is written with eloquent, literary verve).  Although the group is facilitated by library staff, the titles are selected by participants.

The Main Library Evening Book Group meets on the second Thursday of the month, at 6:30, in the Kaler Room, Main Library


The Betsy Ross House Book Group

The Betsy Ross House Book Group is a perfect fit if you’re a passionate reader who enjoys discussing books that are part of the mainstream cultural current.  Recent titles include The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Girl in the Blue Beret by Bobbie Ann Mason, Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht.  Just because the critics like it, doesn’t mean that BRH readers will!  Independent of mind, we decide for ourselves if the buzz on a book is merited.  Discussions are spirited and full of good humor.  Although this group meets in the Betsy Ross House Library, members of the community are welcome and encouraged to join us at any time.

The Betsy Ross House Book Group meets on the first Thursday of the Month, at 1:30, at the Betsy Ross House in South Portland.


Branch Book Group

The Branch Book Group offers a convenient evening gathering for book lovers on the western side of the city.  This group is a volunteer led and sustained group, that reads a wide range of books, fiction and nonfiction, from classics to more contemporary works.  Past books for this group include, Truman by David McCullough, Shanghai Girls by Lisa See and The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian.  The group is facilitated by volunteer participants and the titles are chosen by the group.  Newcomers are always welcome.

The Branch Book Group meets on the first Monday of the Month, at 6:00, at the Branch Library, 155 Wescott Road.

Life 101 Book Club

If you like books about improving the quality of your life, establishing good habits, and living more creatively and happily, our latest book club is for you! In the course of one year, we will read, discuss and test-drive advice on tidying up, reducing stress, exercising more effectively, thinking smarter, and eating better, among other topics. Each month we will discuss the quality of the advice, the author’s authority on the topic, the practicality of the advice suggested, the success (or not) of any of the tips we try, and whether or not we think the book–and our new habits–will endure.

This group is perfect for light-hearted, open-minded, curious readers with a sense of humor and a willingness to try new things.

Life 101 will meet every 4th Tuesday of the month at 10:30 a.m. in the gallery space at the Main Library.

2017 Reading List:

January: Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans

February: The Happiness Pursuit: Finding a Quest that Will Bring Purpose to Your Life by Chris Guillebeau

March (Postponed to April 4 due to staff training): A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age by Daniel Levitin

April: The Art of Grace: On Moving Well Through Lifeby Sarah L. Kaufman

May: The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs: Use Outdoor Clues to Find Your Way, Predict the Weather, Locate Water, Track Animals and Other Forgotten Skills by Tristan Gooley

June: This is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody Warnick

July: Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think about Art, Pleasure, Beauty and Truth by A. O. Scott

August: Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnilova

September: MAKER MONTH – Choose the project of your choice, preferably something new to you, though we’re flexible – brew kombucha, knit a tea cozy, sew a quilt, build a website, try a cuisine or a cooking technique you’ve never explored, write a short story or poem, perform a card trick, make preserves, plumb your bathroom, rewire a lamp – and come tell us about it.  We’ll share resources – the titles of books, websites or videos that were helpful in achieving your success.  Funny “fails” are always welcome, too – sometimes the best instruction comes from trial and error!  Bring pictures, or bring the project, if it’s portable, and let’s encourage each other as makers.

October: You Learn by Living by Eleanor Roosevelt

November: If Our Bodies Could Talk: A Guide to Operating and Maintaining the Human Body by James Hamblin, M.D.

For more information, call 767-7660.