The Mile Square City Readers Book Club Half-Year Review

19 Oct

In addition to the Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club, which my colleague Aimee Harris created and facilitates, the Hoboken Public Library has the Mile Square City Readers. This book club, led by me and Rosary, reads mostly new releases and bestselling fiction, plus the occasional classic.

On March 19, 2015 the Mile Square City Readers had its first meeting. At that time, the name of the group was The Hoboken Public Library New Book Club. In September we reached our six month anniversary and decided the “New” label was, well, old. Our amazing members suggested names and voted on Mile Square City Readers.

Here is a review of the titles we have read so far this year.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins


The first book we read is The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. The girl is Rachel, who finds herself involved with the disappearance of a woman whose house she passes while riding the commuter train to London. The main question of the story is: Can the reader trust Rachel as a narrator? The group enjoyed this book, and it was a great title for starting off the book club.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


In April we read Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird ahead of the release of the prequel Go Set a Watchman. I joked that the book club was going “back to school”, as this title appears on many schools’ reading lists. Nearly all members of the group have read this book before, and are fond of the legendary characters Scout and Atticus Finch that Lee created.

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin


We experimented with a nonfiction title in May. Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin (also known for The Happiness Project) is about how we create habits, good and bad. An interesting discussion came from this book, including theories on how astrological signs can factor into our habits. However, the group wanted to return to fiction so the nonfiction experiment has been shelved.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr was our June pick. We decided to read this after the announcement that it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2015. The Pulitzer website describes the book as “…an imaginative and intricate novel…” The group loved this book and thought it was a beautifully written work of fiction.

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume


In July we read Judy Blume’s In the Unlikely Event, which is based on three plane crashes that happened in Elizabeth, New Jersey in the early 1950s, and how residents were impacted. There are many characters in this book, which the group expressed some difficulty keeping track of, but they enjoyed the story overall, particularly the accurate details included by Blume.

Go Set a Watchmen by Harper Lee


Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, our August pick, was the most controversial book in the Mile Square City Reader’s Book Club (albeit short) history. There was intense discussion about how Atticus Finch’s character was so drastically different in To Kill a Mockingbird, and how involved Harper Lee was in this work. The group consensus was that this book was better left unpublished.

The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza


The September meeting brought the group’s first author visit: The Knockoff co-author Jo Piazza participated in our discussion over Skype chat! We had a lot of fun talking about the real-life people the characters in The Knockoff are based on (there is an Eve out in the world, yikes!), and how women of a certain age can relate to feeling irrelevant in the workplace when technology changes daily and younger people enter every day.

Looking ahead, we are reading A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay. Please join us at our next meeting on Thursday October 29 at 7:30 PM.

Oct 2015 banner

Titles for each month are announced ahead of time, and we offer copies of the book plus, depending on availability, eBooks available through eLibraryNJ and/or the library’s Technology Lending program.

To keep up with the Mile Square City Readers, send an email to reference AT hoboken DOT bccls DOT org to be added to the mailing list.

-Written by Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian and Mile Square City Readers Book Club co-founder

3 Responses to “The Mile Square City Readers Book Club Half-Year Review”


  1. HPL Staff Gives Thanks | Hoboken Library Staff Picks - November 25, 2015

    […] year I am thankful to have founded, with Rosary, the Mile Square City Readers book club. We have a wonderful, opinionated group that brings fresh perspectives and interesting insights to […]

  2. My Six Favorite Books of 2015 | Hoboken Library Staff Picks - December 30, 2015

    […] you may have gathered from this list so far, I prefer reading nonfiction. But the Mile Square City Readers Book Club that I co-run at the library compels me to read more fiction than I would choose on my own. I liked […]

  3. The Mile Square City Readers Book Club Half-Year Review, Part 2 | Hoboken Library Staff Picks - April 1, 2016

    […] is roundup of the books we’ve read in the past six months. Click here to read about what we read in the club’s first six months. If you would like to keep up […]

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