My three book clubs: A month of humor, horror and history | Books

At book club • When it was done, there weren’t any characters to like, said one reader. But just because we didn’t like the people in the book, it didn’t mean we didn’t enjoy the ride. “I like a book that surprises me,” said a club member. And this one delivered. The “Silent Patient,” with its less-than-likable characters, provided just the right amount of creepiness for the month of Halloween, and warm apple cider with Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn supplied the sweetness for a socially distanced driveway visit.

‘The Dutch House’ by Ann Patchett

“The Dutch House” by Ann Patchett

My third book club picked a book that I discussed with another group in September. This book club enjoyed Patchett’s popular novel just as much — especially those who listened to Tom Hanks’ captivating narration on audio. One less book to read meant I had time for a few others. 

Bonus books

• “A man’s explosive cough on the bench behind me. Then another. Hack, hack … The mass of bodies leaned away.” The whole world is grinding to a halt, the public is urged to stay out of public places, refrain from shaking hands or chatting closely together. Welcome to 1918 Dublin.

A friend recommended “The Pull of the Stars” by Emma Donoghue (author of “Room”) a few months ago, but having just finished a book about a pandemic (“The End of October”), I held off at the time. A three-day slice of life centering on three women, most of the story takes place in a small room of a hospital where nurse Julia Power cares for those who are pregnant and in quarantine. Julia, in need of a runner, is joined by Bridie, an orphan with no medical training, and Dr. Lynn, a female doctor and rebel who is wanted by the police (read the author’s note for more about Dr. Kathleen Lynn, the real person on whom she is based). The hospital is overflowing, short-staffed and supplies are scarce. Sound familiar?

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