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Top Shelf Reads

“Top Shelf Reads” is a drop-in book discussion group especially for young professionals (20’s-30’s age set). Join us after work each month for drinks and a bite to eat offsite at a local micro-brewpub and restaurant, and discuss edgy and offbeat reads. Our informal discussions last one hour, but participants are welcome to stay and hang out. This group meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 7pm.

TSR meets offsite at Latitude 42, located at 7842 Portage Rd on second Mondays at 7pm.

No registration required. Questions? Call the Adult Information Desk at 329-4542, ext 600 or email us

Top Shelf Reads – 2014 Winter/Spring Season

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Monday, January 13th @ 7pm

At once audacious, dazzling, pretentious and infuriating, Mitchell’s third novel weaves history, science, suspense, humor and pathos through six separate but loosely related narratives. Like Mitchell’s previous works, Ghostwritten and number9dream (which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize), this latest foray relies on a kaleidoscopic plot structure that showcases the author’s stylistic virtuosity. Each of the narratives is set in a different time and place, each is written in a different prose style, each is broken off mid-action and brought to conclusion in the second half of the book.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Monday, February 10th @ 7pm

Bending the world to your will isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. When Quentin manages to find Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy and pass its baffling entrance exam, he finally feels at home somewhere. Back in the real world, Quentin and fellow students were misfits, obsessed with a famous children’s series called Fillory (Narnia, very lightly disguised). Brakebills teaches them how to tap into the universe’s flow of energy to cast spells; they’re ready to graduate and…then what? Without direction, Quentin indulges in aimless post-grad drinking and partying. The discovery that Fillory actually exists offers Quentin a chance to redeem himself and find purpose, but Fillory turns out to be an even more dangerous, anarchic place than the books suggested. The bottom line has nothing to do with magic at all as Quentin realizes: “There’s no getting away from yourself.”

Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter
Monday, March 10th @ 7pm

Reading Together Selection! Drawing on her ranch roots and determined even in the face of bodily danger, Carpenter’s urban farm ambitions begin with a squatter’s vegetable garden in one of the worst parts of the Bay Area and evolve into further adventures in bee and poultry keeping, rabbitry, a month-long plan to eat from her own garden, and pig husbandry. As a food writer, Carpenter chronicles the animals’ slaughter with grace and sensitivity, their cooking and consumption with a gastronome’s passion, and elegantly folds in urban farming history. This juxtaposition of the farming life with inner-city grit elevates this book to the realm of the magical.

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
Monday, April 14th @ 7pm

In a quiet suburb of Detroit, the five Lisbon sisters—beautiful, eccentric, and obsessively watched by the neighborhood boys—commit suicide one by one over the course of a single year. As the boys observe them from afar, transfixed, they piece together the mystery of the family’s fatal melancholy, in this hypnotic and unforgettable novel of adolescent love, disquiet, and death. The Virgin Suicides is a modern classic, a lyrical and timeless tale of sex and suicide that transforms and mythologizes suburban middle-American life.

Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
Monday, May 12th @ 7pm

No one knows us quite the same way as the men and women who sit beside us in department meetings and crowd the office refrigerator with their labeled yogurts. Every office is a family of sorts, and the ad agency Joshua Ferris brilliantly depicts is family at its strangest and best, coping with a business downturn in the time-honored way: through gossip, pranks, and increasingly frequent coffee breaks. With a demon’s eye for the details that make life worth noticing, this is a true and funny story about survival in life’s strangest environment—the one we pretend is normal five days a week.

PREVIOUS SEASON – Fall 2013

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

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