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The inaugural First Friday Book Chat was a rousing success, in that everyone who attended — including our Librarians — came away with a long list of reader recommended books.

The First Friday Book Chat is a book club without an agenda, without an assigned book. It’s a chance each month to gather with other book lovers to talk about what you’re reading, what books you’re loving or hating, the books you want to talk through or the books you can’t wait to share with someone else.

The February First Friday Book Chat will be at noon February 4. You can show up in person on the 12th Story — no reservation needed! — or, if you’d like to Zoom in, email Book Advisor Hillary Copsey for the link: hillary@mercantilelibrary.com

Until then, here the books readers recommended at the January session.


  • Wintering, Katherine May


  • Colorization: One Hundred Years of Black Films in a White World, Wil Haygood
  • The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, David Graeber & David Wengrow
  • This Is The Story of A Happy Marriage, Ann Patchett — excellent essays; her YouTube series, The Laydown Diaries, also is wonderful.)
  • The Library Book, Susan Orlean (or any of her nonfiction!)
  • Leave The Gun, Take The Cannoli, Mark Seal — about the making of The Godfather


  • Call Us What We Carry, Amanda Gorman


  • The Cairo Trilogy, Naguib Mahfouz
  • Reincarnations Blues, Michael Poore
  • The Lincoln Highway, Amor Towles
  • Oh! William, Elizabeth Strout (Also: My Name Is Lucy Barton, Anything Is Possible)
  • The Bookshop on The Corner, Jenny Colgan (light! joyful! about a business like the Cincy Book Bus)
  • Passing, Nella Larsen (great read with The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Movie adaptation available on Netflix)
  • The Uncommon Reader, Alan Bennett — “a very happy little book”
  • Deacon King Kong, James McBride — February First Wednesday selection
  • Malibu Rising, Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982, Cho Nam-ju


  • The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency, Jordan Strafford
  • October, October, Katya Balen


  • The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Alexander McCall Smith (the new one is great!; also recommend Smith’s other series: Sunday Philosopher’s Club)
  • Louise Penny — all of them!
  • And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie
  • The Thursday Murder Club, Richard Osman
  • Flavia De Luce mysteries, Alan Bradley (start with The Sweetness at The Bottom of The Pie)

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