Our longest running book group brings together readers who enjoy discussing and sharing insights about a single title each month. Facilitated conversations are lively, intelligent, and insightful. The titles are mostly fiction, with one nonfiction choice included each year. The group chooses titles for the coming year by ballot in the spring. Book discussions are held on the third Wednesday of the month, September through June (no July or August meetings), and all adult patrons enthusiastic about reading and talking about books are invited to join us as often as they can. Before each meeting, you can pick up your copy for the next month’s discussion at the Circulation Desk. If you have questions, please contact Karen Stern at stern@noblenet.org.


Next Meeting: September 16, 2020, 7:00 pm (virtually with an emailed link from the coordinator)
To Discuss: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant–and that her lover is married–she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home, and to reject her son’s powerful father, sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations.
Lee’s story of love, sacrifice, ambition, and loyalty is set in the bustling street markets, the halls of Japan’s finest universities, and the pachinko parlors of the criminal underworld. Her complex and passionate characters survive and thrive against the indifferent arc of history.

Min Jin Lee (from the author’s website, minjinlee.com) was born in Seoul, South Korea and immigrated to Queens, New York with her family in 1976 when she was seven years old. Lee is a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science and was inducted into the Bronx Science Hall of Fame. At Yale College, she majored in History and was awarded the Henry Wright Prize for Nonfiction and the James Ashmun Veech Prize for Fiction. She attended law school at Georgetown University and worked as a lawyer for several years in New York prior to writing full time.

From 2007 to 2011, Lee lived in Tokyo where she researched and wrote Pachinko. As of the fall of 2019, she will be based in New York City, where she will be working on American Hagwon, the third diaspora novel of “The Koreans” trilogy and Name Recognition, a work of non-fiction. From 2019-2022, she will be a Writer-in-Residence at Amherst College. She serves as a trustee of PEN America, as a director of the Authors Guild and on the National Advisory Board of the Immigration Initiative at Harvard. Pachinko was a 2017 National Book Award Finalist and on many best-of lists for the year and decade. For more about Lee’s many awards and accolades try the About tab on Lee’s website.

To Think About While You Read: Consider the ways that racial and cultural identity are explored in this book. What is a “good Korean” or a “good Japanese,” and how does Lee bring those perceptions and standards to the reader’s attention? Do these ideas and standards change as the book progresses?

Web Articles for Further Reading:

Book Review: Pachinko by Jen Embree, apala.org February 15, 2019.

July’s Book Club Pick: ‘Pachinko,’ by Min Jin Lee by Krys Lee, nytimes.com, February 2, 2017.

What Writers Can Take Away from the Bible by Joe Fassler theatlantic.com, December 20, 2017.

minjinlee.com – for more about the author and her other work, visit her website.


2020-21 SCHEDULE (No Meetings in July and August)
2020-2021 discussion titles were voted on by group members in May 2020. Click each title for more information from our catalog.
September 16     Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
October  21        Circe by Madeleine Miller
November 18     The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti
December 16      Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia
January 20          Lanny by Max Porter
February 17        A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win WWII by Sonia Purnell
March 17            Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
April 21              Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
May 19               House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
June 16              Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

Previous Discussions (1998 to 2020)