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Book Clubs

St. Catharines Public Library In-House Book Clubs

The St. Catharines Public Library has six adult book clubs. The Central Library has four (4) book clubs and members meet once a month in the Kiwanis Trust Room of the Central Library to discuss the selected monthly title. The Dr. Huq Family Branch has one (1) book club and members meet once a month at the Dr. Huq Family Branch. The Merritt Branch has one (1) book club and the members meet once a month at the Merritt Branch.
For more information, call 905-688-6103, ext. 227.

Adult Online Nonfiction Book Club

Visit our online catalogue or our digital media collection to reserve your copy today!


Hillbilly Elegy cover artHillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
By: J.D. VanceCheck Out In Our CatalogueA powerful memoir about growing up in a poor town that offers a broader look at the struggles of America’s white working class. Vance, a graduate of Yale Law School, appears to embody the American dream. But, his family seems unable to overcome the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, and poverty that Vance argues is characteristic of the Appalachia region. A timely book that simultaneously sympathizes with and critiques the culture of America’s white working class – a segment of society that feels invisible to the rest of the United States.


Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness Cover ArtThis is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live
By: Melody WarnickCheck Out In Our CatalogueAfter moving six times, Melody Warnick was tired of wondering if she'd finally found the right town for her family. Instead she decided to ask the question, how does the place we live become the place we want to stay? Diving into the research of place attachment, this book is about how to make your community your home, wherever it is.


When Breath Becomes Air Cover ArtWhen Breath Becomes Air
By: Paul KalanithiCheck Out In Our CatalogueAt only thirty-six years of age, neurosurgical resident Paul Kalanathi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, and found himself suddenly transformed from doctor to patient. As a husband and expectant father, Kalanathi discovered he had to stop planning for the future and focus on being fully present in the short time he had left. Completed posthumously, this poignant memoir confronts such difficult questions such as: what makes a life worth living in the face of death? What happens when your visions for the future evaporate? What does it mean to bring new life into the world as your own is fading away? When Breath Becomes Air is thought-provoking, heartbreaking, and life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing our own mortality.


Where Am I Now? Cover ArtWhere Am I Now?
By: Mara WilsonCheck Out In Our CatalogueMara Wilson has always felt a little young and a little out of place: as the only child on a film set full of adults, the first daughter in a house full of boys, the sole clinically depressed member of the cheerleading squad, a valley girl in New York and a neurotic in California, and one of the few former child actors who has never been in jail or rehab. This book tells the story of one young woman’s journey from accidental fame to relative (but happy) obscurity. But they also illuminate a universal struggle: learning to accept yourself, and figuring out who you are and where you belong.


Precious Cargo cover artPrecious Cargo: My Year Driving the Kids on School Bus 3077
By: Craig DavidsonCheck Out In Our CatalogueCraig Davidson, author of Cataract City, chronicles a year in his life when he operated a school bus for a group of handicapped children in suburban Calgary. He shows us how his evolving relationship with the kids on that bus, slowly but surely, changed his life. Davidson’s interactions with the students are funny and heartwarming. There are also frustrating and upsetting moments when Davidson bears witness to their isolation, mistreatment, and bullying. This is a moving and important story about how we see and treat people with special needs in our society.


The Unmade Bed cover artThe Unmade Bed
By: Stephen MarcheCheck Out In Our CatalogueStephen Marche is a new father and tenure track professor living in Brooklyn, when his wife is offered her dream job--the only catch? It’s in Toronto. The decision to abandon his career in pursuit of hers sheds a new light on gender roles in their own marriage and, ultimately, the world around them. Both a memoir and a cultural critique, The Unmade Bed examines the modern-day contradictions that prevent women from obtaining power and confuse ideas of masculinity.

Visit our online catalogue or our digital media collection to reserve your copy today!


The Marshmallow Test cover artAlone against the north: An Expedition Into the Unknown
By: Adam ShoaltsCheck Out In Our CatalogueThe age of exploration is not over. When Adam Shoalts ventured into the largest unexplored wilderness on the planet, he hoped to set foot where no one had ever gone before. What he discovered surprised even him. Shoalts was no stranger to the wilderness. He had hacked his way through jungles and swamp, had stared down polar bears and climbed mountains. But one spot on the map called out to him irresistibly: the Hudson Bay Lowlands, a trackless expanse of muskeg and lonely rivers, caribou and wolf—an Amazon of the north, parts of which to this day remain unexplored.


Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness Cover ArtBrain on Fire: My Month of Madness
By: Susannah CahalanCheck Out In Our CatalogueOne day, Susannah Cahalan woke up in a strange hospital room, strapped to her bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. Her medical records—from a month-long hospital stay of which she had no memory—showed psychosis, violence, and dangerous instability. Yet, only weeks earlier she had been a healthy, ambitious twenty-four-year-old, six months into her first serious relationship and a sparkling career as a cub reporter.Susannah's astonishing memoir chronicles the swift path of her illness and the lucky, last-minute intervention led by one of the few doctors capable of saving her life. As weeks ticked by and Susannah moved inexplicably from violence to catatonia, $1 million worth of blood tests and brain scans revealed nothing.


A House in the Sky Cover ArtA House in the Sky
By: Amanda LindhoutCheck Out In Our CatalogueAs a child, Amanda Lindhout escaped a violent household by paging through issues of National Geographic and imagining herself visiting its exotic locales. At the age of nineteen, working as a cocktail waitress, she began saving her tips so she could travel the globe. Aspiring to understand the world and live a significant life, she backpacked through Latin America, Laos, Bangladesh, and India, and emboldened by each adventure, went on to Sudan, Syria, and Pakistan. In war-ridden Afghanistan and Iraq she carved out a fledgling career as a television reporter. And then, in August 2008, she traveled to Somalia—“the most dangerous place on earth.”


Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania Cover ArtDead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
By: Erik LarsonCheck Out In Our CatalogueOn May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era's great transatlantic "Greyhounds"--the fastest liner then in service--and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack.


Find Me Unafraid cover artFind Me Unafraid: Love, Loss, and Hope in an African Slum
By: Kennedy Odede and Jessica PosnerCheck Out In Our CatalogueKennedy Odede grew up in Kibera, a Kenyan Slum without running water, roads, sewage system or access to healthcare or education. Inspired by Martin Luther King’s speeches, he started Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) to bring hope to his fellow citizens. Jessica Posner, a student from Wesleyan University, went abroad to work with SHOFCO and moved into the Kibera Slum. Together they have worked to empower the women and girls in their community and fought to overcome poverty and hopelessness in their community.


So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed cover artSo You’ve Been Publicly Shamed
By: Jon RonsonCheck Out In Our CatalogueJon Ronson has travelled the world exploring how and why the historical practice of public shaming has re-emerged in the online era. The shamed are people like us—perhaps they’ve made a bad joke on social media or a mistake at work. Once the transgression is revealed, collective outrage abounds and the next thing they know, they’re being torn apart by an angry mob, jeered at, demonized, or even fired from their job. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is a powerful, hilarious, and deeply honest book about modern life, the escalating war on human flaws and the very scary part we all play in it.


Year of Yes cover artYear of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person
By: Shonda RhimesCheck Out In Our CatalogueShonda Rhimes is the talented television creator and producer of Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder. As an introvert and busy mother of three, Rhimes would often decline requests for media appearances, parties, and speaking engagements. After her sister chastises her for never saying yes to anything, Rhimes decides to embrace her fears and say yes to everything that scares her for one full year. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person describes how saying yes dramatically changed Rhimes' life, and how it could change yours, too.


The Genius of Birds cover artThe Genius of Birds
By: Jennifer AckermanCheck Out In Our CatalogueJennifer Ackerman explores the recently uncovered brilliance of birds and takes you on her travels around the world to the cutting-edge frontiers of research about our feathered friends. From the Clark’s nutcracker, which can remember where it hid 30,000 seeds many months later, to the mockingbird, a species that can store up to 2,000 different songs in a brain a thousand times smaller than ours, the intelligence of birds is shifting our views of what it means to have a “bird brain.” Ackerman weaves personal narratives with fascinating science, delivering an extraordinary story that will give you a new appreciation for the exceptional talents of birds.


Look at You Now: My Journey from Shame to Strength cover artLook at You Now: My Journey from Shame to Strength
By: Liz PryorCheck Out In Our CatalogueIn 1979, Liz Pryor is a privileged 17-year-old high school student living in a wealthy Chicago suburb. When she finds herself pregnant halfway through senior year, her parents are determined to keep the news a secret from everyone. Her mother drops her off at what Liz thinks is a Catholic home for unwed mothers, but soon learns is a locked, government-run facility for delinquent and impoverished pregnant teens. In this moving and inspiring coming-of-age memoir, Pryor describes the lessons she learned and the bonds she developed during the six months she was locked away.


Open Heart, Open Mind cover artOpen Heart, Open Mind
By: Clara Hughes
Check Out In Our CatalogueA powerful and inspirational memoir from one of Canada’s most decorated and celebrated Olympians. Clara Hughes has earned medals in both the Summer and Winter Games. She proudly carried the flag for Canada during the opening ceremony of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Amidst her athletic triumphs, Hughes struggled with physical pain, emotional setbacks, and severe depression. She describes her many challenges and her journey to become a humanitarian and mental health advocate. Her honest and open story is bound to touch the hearts of readers.


Tribe cover artTribe: On Homecoming and Belonging
By: Sebastian JungerCheck Out In Our CatalogueWhy do people remember times of suffering with fondness? Why do veterans miss the war, and natural disasters make people feel better about themselves? The answer, according to Sebastian Junger, is community. We all have within us ancient tribal human behaviors including loyalty, inter-reliance and cooperation that make us feel good. In this eye-opening look at who we are, Junger argues that modern society does not meet these needs, but community-wide hardship does.


Walking to Camelot cover artWalking to Camelot: a pilgrimage though the heart of rural England
By: John A. CherringtonCheck Out In Our CatalogueWith nothing but backpacks and sticks, John Cherrington and Karl Yzerman walk the historic Macmillion Way through the fields and woods of the British countryside. Along the way, the unlikely duo experiences many adventures, including a serious crime scene, a bull attack, several ghosts, a brothel, and the English themselves. The historical merges with the magic of the footpath, with Cherrington making astute, often humorous observations on the social, cultural, and culinary mores of the English, all from a very North American perspective.

 Join the conversation! The St. Catharines Public Library is now hosting our online nonfiction book club through Goodreads! This book club facilitates discussion about popular memoirs, biographies, narrative nonfiction, true stories and non-fiction bestsellers. One new title will be featured each month, but past discussions are also accessible. Check it out here!
Interested? Sign up online today and contribute your thoughts and opinions to the discussion! The book club does not take place in real time, so you can participate whenever it is convenient for you.How do I sign up?

  1. Create a Goodreads account
    • Visit and create an account. Fill in your name, an email address and a password under the Create a Free Account in the upper right-hand corner.
    • The next page gives you the option to connect your Goodreads account to social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Follow the instructions if you wish to do so. If not, click skip this step and proceed to the next page.
    • The next page allows you to select your favorite genres. Click Continue. Goodreads uses this information to "make better book recommendations and customize your browsing experience".
    • Click Continue to move to the "Rate Books that You've Read" page.
    • Book recommendations from the selected genres will be displayed. You can:
      • ignore these suggestions
      • indicate that you Want to Read some of them
      • rate the books you have already read.
      • You can complete this process at any time or even opt out of doing it altogether by click on “I’m finished rating” on the top right hand side of the page.
  2. Join our Online Book Club
    • Find Explore in the Goodreads website header. Click on the arrow next to Explore and select Groups from the drop-down list. Do a search for SCPL Online Nonfiction Book Club. Select it, and on the next page, click on Join Group.
    • The next screen prompts you to select group discussion e-mail settings. **Goodreads is designed to send you an email every time someone posts to the group. To avoid this, select the 3rd option, which reads “Notification Only”** Make your selection, and click on Join Group.
    • You are now a member the SCPL Online Nonfiction Book Club!

Logging In To log in to view the activity and contribute to the book club discussion, sign in to your Goodreads account with your email address and password. Find Explore in the Goodreads website header. Click on the arrow next to Explore and select Groups from the drop-down list. Under My Groups, select SCPL Online Nonfiction Book Club.Download the App!

  1. Goodreads also has an app available to iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini and Android users. Simply download the app from Google Play or iTunes and sign in with the same email and password that you used on the Goodreads website.
  2. Once on the app, select the menu from the bottom right corner and select Groups in order to find the listing for the SCPL Online Nonfiction Book Club. You can read through the discussions and have your say wherever you happen to be!

If you have any questions please feel free to call the Adult Information Services department at 905-688-6103, ext. 211, visit the Central Library or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for registration assistance.

Community Book Club Collections

The St. Catharines Public Library will lend out book club sets to any community book club that has registered at the Children’s and Community Services Department at the Central Library. For a list of current titles available, please see the attached list. For more information, call 905-688-6103, ext.227.

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