Michael Blanding’s
The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps
NONFICTION
March 15, 2017
7:30 to 8:45pm in the Lecture Hall

This book discussion group combines the enjoyment of reading a single title and the desire to share insights, observations, and feelings about that one book with others who have read it. So many novels create a need in some readers to share their reactions about the book with others, as well as an opportunity to personally grow from the discussions of related themes and common experiences.

The next gathering of Beebe Library’s book discussion group Books By the Lake will discuss Michael Blanding’s The Map Thief. Investigative journalist Blanding’s second book, The Map Thief, tells the story of Edward Forbes Smiley III, a successful and respected dealer of rare antiquarian maps, which he bought and sold to rich clients and other dealers. This modern-day crime tale is almost novelistic with its detailed flashbacks to the past and suspenseful ending. While the reader knows most of the outcome from the outset, Blanding’s well-researched tale of his subject’s emergence and slow climb to the top of this genteel yet cutthroat corner of the art world remains fascinating. Along the way, readers will gain a quick education on the curation of rare maps and the quirkiness and intrigue involved in their creation.

While reading, please consider: How does the writer keep the reader engaged in his narrative?

Book Discussions are planned for the third Wednesday of the month September through June (No July or August 2017 meeting). All adult patrons enthusiastic about reading and talking about what they have read are invited to attend as often as they can. The conversations are lively, intelligent, and insightful—come and join us!

Circulation has multiple copies of the title chosen for the next discussion right before each meeting. If you wish to join us for the next discussion, there are some copies of Everything I Never Told You at the Beebe Library, so reserve and pick up your copy as soon as possible.

If you have questions, please contact Leane Ellis at the Reference Desk (X6567) or leave a message on her voice mail at 246-6334, X6569. Email: ellis@noblenet.org

2016-2017 Discussion Titles were voted on by group members in May 2016.

  • October 19, 2016 Doug Most’s The Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry That Built America’s First Subway NONFICTION
  • Documents the late-19th-century story of the dramatic and sometimes deadly competition between New York and Boston to build the first American subway, describing the rivalry between two brother subway engineers and their famous supporters against a backdrop of period economics and politics. (2014)

  • November 16, 2016 Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project
  • Don Tillman, a brilliant geneticist, thinks that having women fill out a six-page, double-sided questionnaire before a date is logical and reasonable. Rosie Jarman, an impetuous barmaid, thinks Don should loosen up and learn to live a little. Follow the unlikely pair in this laugh-out-loud, feel-good story of unexpected joys, discovery and love. (2013) WAKEFIELD READS CHOICE FOR 2016. SCHEDULE CHANGED 10/04/16.

  • December 21, 2016 Erika Swyler’s The Book of Speculation
  • HOLIDAY POTLUCK
    Wonderful combination of magical realism, historical perspective, and intriguing characters in this story that bounces back and forth in time. A roller coaster of a read! This is the story of a librarian from a splintered family with a tragic past who is gifted a mysterious book that leads him to dive deep into his family’s history, all while his present life seems to be falling to pieces around him. If you loved Morgenstern’s The Night Circus or Kostova’s The Historian, this is a book for you (2015) One of Leane’s Top 10 of 2015. SCHEDULE CHANGED 10/18/16.

  • January 18, 2017 Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You
  • Bring your nominations for the April ballot to the January & February 2017 meetings.
    “A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family, and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another” (2014)

  • February 15, 2017 Lily King’s Euphoria
  • When renowned but controversial American anthropologist Nell Stone arrives in 1930s Papua New Guinea with her husband and colleague Fen, they find a willing guide and assistant in Andrew Bankson, an English linguist studying the isolated Kiona tribe while recovering from a failed suicide attempt. As the three collaborate on their research, Bankson’s growing obsession with Nell adds further strain to her marriage to Fen, who’s already threatened by his wife’s greater fame and professional reputation. Loosely based on the lives and careers of anthropologist Margaret Mead and her second and third husbands, Euphoria is an atmospheric and richly detailed glimpse of a bygone time and place. (2014)

  • March 15, 2017 Michael Blanding’s The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps NONFICTION
  • “The story of an infamous crime, a revered map dealer with an unsavory secret, and the ruthless subculture that consumed him. Once considered a respectable antiquarian map dealer, E. Forbes Smiley spent years doubling as a map thief -until he was finally arrested slipping maps out of books in the Yale University library. The Map Thief interweaves Smiley’s escapades with the stories of the explorers and mapmakers he knew better than anyone. Blanding has pieced together an unforgettable story of high-stakes crime.” (2014)

  • April 19, 2017 Stephen Kiernan’s The Hummingbird
  • BALLOT
    In this indelible story, a hospice nurse’s new patient is a dying historian whose manuscript plays a pivotal part in this tale as they deal with the end of his life and she with trying to ease her husband’s re-entry into civilian life after war. (2015) One of Leane’s Top 10 of 2015

  • May 17, 2017 Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove
  • NEW TITLES FOR 2017-2018 ANNOUNCED.
    This tale of curmudgeonly Ove is bittersweet but a small symphony on aging and family. Laugh out loud, as well as think about serious issues. A curmudgeon hides a terrible personal loss beneath a cranky and short-tempered exterior while clashing with new neighbors, a boisterous family whose chattiness and habits lead to unexpected friendship. (2014) One of Leane’s Top 10 of 2015. SCHEDULE CHANGED 10/18/16.

  • June 21, 2017 Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale
  • POTLUCK
    HISTORICAL FICTION. Reunited when the elder’s husband is sent to fight in World War II, French sisters Vianne and Isabelle find their bond as well as their respective beliefs tested by a world that changes in horrific ways. (2015)

Previous Discussions (1998 to 2016)