Book Club

Senior Planet Book Club: Vote For Our Next Book!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our discussion both in the comments section of SPC and the articles on the website and at our meeting over Zoom about The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times by Michelle Obama.

Now, it is time to select our next reading!

Each Tuesday, we’ll post a thread here on seniorplanet.org inviting you to comment on each section of the book. Then, during our final week of reading, we’ll host a group discussion over Zoom.

But first! We’ve put together a shortlist of engaging books suggested by our participants, Supporters, and staff. Now it’s up to you to pick which one we’ll read together next! Read on for details about each book, then take the poll at the end and tell us: What should the Senior Planet Book Club read next?

We’ll announce the result of the poll next Tuesday!

Have any feedback on book club? Tell us what you think in the comments below, join “The Book Club” Group on Senior Planet Community, or email supporters@seniorplanet.org!

The Books:

The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb

Ray McMillian loves playing the violin more than anything, and nothing will stop him from pursuing his dream of becoming a professional musician. Not his mother, who thinks he should get a real job, not the fact that he can’t afford a high-caliber violin, not the racism inherent in the classical music world. And when he makes the startling discovery that his great-grandfather’s fiddle is actually a priceless Stradivarius, his star begins to rise. Then with the international Tchaikovsky Competition—the Olympics of classical music—fast approaching, his prized family heirloom is stolen. Ray is determined to get it back. But now his family and the descendants of the man who once enslaved Ray’s great-grandfather are each claiming that the violin belongs to them. With the odds stacked against him and the pressure mounting, will Ray ever see his beloved violin again?” – GoodReads.com

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

The remarkable, little-known story of Belle da Costa Greene, J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian—who became one of the most powerful women in New York despite the dangerous secret she kept in order to make her dreams come true, from New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict and acclaimed author Victoria Christopher Murray. In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. P. Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture on the New York society scene and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps build a world-class collection. But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and a well-known advocate for equality. Belle’s complexion isn’t dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white—her complexion is dark because she is African American. The Personal Librarian tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths to which she must go—for the protection of her family and her legacy—to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives.” – GoodReads.com

“We can’t choose what we inherit. But can we choose who we become?
In present-day California, Eleanor Bennett’s death leaves behind a puzzling inheritance for her two children, Byron and Benny: a black cake, made from a family recipe with a long history, and a voice recording. In her message, Eleanor shares a tumultuous story about a headstrong young swimmer who escapes her island home under suspicion of murder. The heartbreaking tale Eleanor unfolds, the secrets she still holds back, and the mystery of a long-lost child challenge everything the siblings thought they knew about their lineage and themselves. Can Byron and Benny reclaim their once-close relationship, piece together Eleanor’s true history, and fulfill her final request to “share the black cake when the time is right”? Will their mother’s revelations bring them back together or leave them feeling more lost than ever? Charmaine Wilkerson’s debut novel is a story of how the inheritance of betrayals, secrets, memories, and even names can shape relationships and history. Deeply evocative and beautifully written, Black Cake is an extraordinary journey through the life of a family changed forever by the choices of its matriarch.” – GoodReads.com

“When a young red-haired woman is found brutally murdered in downtown Chicago, one detail stands out: the red lipstick encircling her wrists and ankles. Detective Harriet Foster is on the case, even though she’s still grieving the sudden death of her partner. As a Black woman in a male-dominated department, Foster anticipates a rocky road ahead acclimating to a new team—and building trust with her new partner isn’t coming easily. After another victim turns up with the same lipstick markings, Foster suspects she’s looking for a serial killer. Through a tip from a psychiatrist, Foster learns about Bodie Morgan: a troubled man with a twisted past and a penchant for pretty young redheads with the bluest eyes. As Foster wades into Morgan’s sinister history, the killer continues their gruesome assault on Chicago’s streets. In her desperate race to catch the murderer before they strike again, Foster will have to confront the darkest of secrets—including her own.” – GoodReads.com

Take the poll!

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What book should the Senior Planet Book Club read next?

Photo by Paul Schafer on Unsplash

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