Martha Merrell’s hosts a variety of book clubs and is pleased to offer the following services free-of-charge to area clubs. We can:
- Provide a meeting space for clubs
- Provide a selection of books for your club to choose from
- Special order club selections
- Provide a 15% discount on club selections
- Facilitate discussions
- No-charge consulting on new books and current trends
- Share what other clubs are reading
We invite you to stop by our location at 231 West Main Street in the Avalon Square Building.
Discover what we have to offer!
Contact us to set up your club meeting at the store on a regular monthly basis. If you are interested in using our space on a more occasional basis, feel free to schedule a time with us as well. (New surroundings can be just what your book club needs to invigorate itself.) We will gladly accommodate your group’s needs including light refreshments, lunch or dinner.
UPCOMING MARTHA MERRELL'S BOOK CLUBS
Monday Morning Group meets at 10:30 AM
1/13 Reader’s Choice of Non-Book Club Title
2/10 Varina by Charles Frazier
“With limited marriage prospects, teenage Varina Howell agrees to wed the much-older widower Jefferson Davis, with whom she expects the secure life of a Mississippi landowner. Davis instead pursues a career in politics and is eventually appointed president of the Confederacy, placing Varina at the white-hot center of one of the darkest moments in American history-culpable regardless of her intentions. The Confederacy falling, her marriage in tatters, and the country divided, Varina and her children escape Richmond, Virginia, and travel south on their own as fugitives with “bounties on their heads, an entire nation in pursuit.” Intimate in its detailed observations of one woman’s tragic life, Varina is a novel of an American war and its aftermath. Ultimately, the book is a portrait of a woman who comes to realize that complicity carries consequences.”
Wednesday Evening Group meets at 5:45 PM
1/8 Reader’s Choice of Non-Book Club Title
2/5 The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
“Ernt Allbright comes home from the Vietnam War a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes the impulsive decision to move his wife and daughter north where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier. Cora will do anything for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown. Thirteen-year-old Leni, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, has little choice but to go along, daring to hope this new land promises her family a better future.
In a wild, remote corner of Alaska, the Allbrights find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the newcomers’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources. As winter approaches and darkness descends, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow and blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own.”
Avalon Book Group meets at 2 PM (at Avalon Square)
1/6 Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
“Fans of Barbara Kingsolver will love this stunning debut novel from a New York Times bestselling nature writer, about an unforgettable young woman determined to make her way in the wilds of North Carolina and the two men that will break her isolation open. For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. She’s barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. In late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark. Kya is not what they think she is. Although abandoned at age ten, she has managed to survive on her own in the marsh that she calls home. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life lessons from the land, learning from the false signals of fireflies the real way of this world. While she could have lived in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world–until the unthinkable happens. The author juxtaposes an exquisite ode to the natural world against a heartbreaking coming of age story and a surprising murder investigation. Thought-provoking, wise, and deeply moving, Owens’s novel reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were and are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets of nature.”
2/3 Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
“Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen by the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far; if there was still a way home.”
3/2 The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Richardson
“The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything–everything except books, that is. Thanks to President Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome has its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter. Cussy’s not only a book woman, however. She’s the last of her kind, with skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy’s family or the Library Project; a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble. If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she’s going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler.
Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere–even back home. “
No Tears, No Fears Book Group meets on Thursday at 1:30 PM
1/16 Watching You by Lisa Jewell
“Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighborhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. However, it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret and everyone is watching you.
As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all–including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie–a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5–excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father. One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, but she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate. Jenna’s mother–whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years–is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.
Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam.
No one is who they seem–and everyone is hiding something. Who has been murdered–and who would have wanted one of their neighbors dead?”
2/20 The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy Reichert
“In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancé until the morning she discovers him in the buff–with an intern. Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service–he unleashes his worst.
The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows while Al is celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee. She’s game as long as they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love. However, when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?”
3/19 The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton
“In the depths of a 19th-century winter, a little girl is abandoned on the streets of Victorian London. She grows up to become first a thief, then an artist’s muse, and a lover. In the summer of 1862, shortly after her eighteenth birthday, she travels with a group of artists to a beautiful house on a bend of the Upper Thames. Tensions simmer and one hot afternoon a gunshot rings out. A woman is killed and another disappears. However, the truth of what happened slips through the cracks of time. Not until over a century later, when another young woman is drawn to Birchwood Manor, are its secrets finally revealed.
Told by multiple voices across time, this is a novel about art and passion as well as forgiveness and loss. It illustrates that sometimes the way forward is through the past.
4/23 The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
“Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends that come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective that is led by Young-sook’s mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility but also danger. Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook’s differences are impossible to ignore. Their story is set over many decades, beginning with Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by World War II, the Korean War and its aftermath, and culminating in the era of cell phones and wet suits for the women divers. Throughout this time, the residents of Jeju find themselves caught between warring empires. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator and will forever be marked by this association. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position of leading the divers in their village. Little do the two friends know that after surviving hundreds of dives and developing the closest of bonds, forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point. This novel illuminates a world turned upside down: one where the women are in charge and engaged in dangerous physical work, while the men take care of the children.”