CCC Book Club

Meeting Times

See below for scheduled meetings. Meetings start at 7pm. (Please visit the Calendar for up-to-date schedule changes.)

More Info

Kathy S. Smith: / (813) 416-8453

The CCC Book Club is friendly, informal and open to all. At club meetings, the group explores a wide variety of books and interests — fiction and non-fiction, male and female authors, selections old and new. The reading list is determined by a democratic process in which members of the club promote a book of their choosing for addition to the list.

Meetings & Book Selections for 2014

JANUARY 27: Angle of Repose

By: Wallace Stegner
Leader: Susan R.

Angle of Repose is a 1971 novel by Wallace Stegner about a wheelchair-using historian, Lyman Ward, who has lost connection with his son and living family and decides to write about his frontier-era grandparents. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1972. The novel is directly based on the letters of Mary Hallock Foote, later published as A Victorian Gentlewoman in the Far West. (Source:

FEBRUARY 24: Behind the Beautiful Forevers

By: Katherine Boo
Leader: Jean K.

Annawadi is a slum created on land belonging to the Mumbai Airport. It was settled initially by migrant workers who had come to work on the airport in 1991 and stayed behind. The workers reclaimed a piece of airport land that was marshy and otherwise unusable. It quickly grew into a sprawling, densely inhabited zone of makeshift shacks, filled primarily with recent migrants to Mumbai from all over India and Pakistan. Ethnically, it is a mixture of many different groups and languages. Boo got to know the people there during the course of three years and in this work writes about the daily stresses and problems that inhabitants must contend with, such as poverty, hunger, disease, dirt, ethnic strife, violence, the constant fear that the airport authority will bulldoze their homes since they are technically there illegally, corruption, fatigue, weather, and the interpersonal conflicts that are augmented by being forced to live in close quarters with many others. She focuses on people such as Sunil, a stunted orphan who is a garbage picker; Abdul, a second generation garbage picker; Fatima, an emotionally troubled woman with one leg who dreams of a different life; Manju, who is trying to become the first female resident of Annawadi to graduate from college, and her mother, Asha, who is trying to attain the role of “slumlord”, giving her access to power, money, and respect, but at the price of becoming part of the corruption around her. One of the central dramas around which the book centers is the self-immolation of Fatima, who then makes a false statement to the police that it was the fault of Abdul, his sister, and his father. (Source:

MARCH 24: The Swan Thieves

By: Elizabeth Kostova
Leader: Dorothy B.

Psychiatrist Andrew Marlow, devoted to his profession and the painting hobby he loves, has a solitary but ordered life. When renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient, Marlow finds that order destroyed. Desperate to understand the secret that torments the genius, he embarks on a journey that leads him into the lives of the women closest to Oliver and a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.

Kostova’s masterful new novel travels from American cities to the coast of Normandy, from the late 19th century to the late 20th, from young love to last love. THE SWAN THIEVES is a story of obsession, history’s losses, and the power of art to preserve human hope. (Source:

APRIL 28: Lost in Shangri-La

By: Mitchell Zuckoff
Leader: Ed C.

Lost in Shangri-La (2011) is a non-fiction book by American author Mitchell Zuckoff about a US military airplane called “The Gremlin Special”, which crashed on May 13, 1945 in New Guinea, and the subsequent rescue of the survivors. Because it involved a female WAC Corporal lost in the jungle with “savages”, the public became keenly interested in following the story.It was written about in the November 1945 issue of Reader’s Digest magazine, and many other press channels. In 2011 Zuckoff published a modern retelling based on interviews with surviving Americans, New Guineans, and other previously unpublished information. (Source:

MAY 19*: Defending Jacob

By: William Landay
Leader: Kathy S.
(*Please note revised date due to Memorial Day)

Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.

Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own—between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.

Award-winning author William Landay has written the consummate novel of an embattled family in crisis—a suspenseful, character-driven mystery that is also a spellbinding tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying speed at which our lives can spin out of control. (Source: Google Books)

JUNE 23: The Life of Pi

By: Yann Martel
Leader: Jean K.

Life of Pi is a Canadian fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel published in 2001. The protagonist, Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, an Indian boy from Pondicherry, explores issues of spirituality and practicality from an early age. He survives 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. (Source:

JULY 28: The Proud Tower

By: Barbara Tuchman
Leader: Nancy R.

During the fateful quarter century leading up to World War I, the climax of a century of rapid, unprecedented change, a privileged few enjoyed Olympian luxury as the underclass was “heaving in its pain, its power, and its hate.” In The Proud Tower, Barbara W. Tuchman brings the era to vivid life: the decline of the Edwardian aristocracy; the Anarchists of Europe and America; Germany and its self-depicted hero, Richard Strauss; Diaghilev’s Russian ballet and Stravinsky’s music; the Dreyfus Affair; the Peace Conferences in The Hague; and the enthusiasm and tragedy of Socialism, epitomized by the assassination of Jean Jaurès on the night the Great War began and an epoch came to a close. (Source:

AUGUST 25: Just Kids

By: Patti Smith
Leader: Susan R.

Just Kids is a memoir by Patti Smith, published on January 19, 2010. In the book, Smith documents her relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe. (Source:

SEPTEMBER 22: The Physician

By: Noah Gordon
Leader: Joe J.

In eleventh-century London, a child holds the hand of his dying mother and is terrified, aware something is taking her. Orphaned and given to an itinerant barber-surgeon, Rob Cole becomes a fast-talking swindler, peddling a worthless medicine. But as he matures, his strange gift—an acute sensitivity to impending death—never leaves him, and he yearns to become a healer.
Arab madrassas are the only authentic medical schools, and he makes his perilous way to Persia. Christians are barred from Muslim schools, but claiming he is a Jew, he studies under the world’s most renowned physician, Avicenna. How the woman who is his great love struggles against her only rival—medicine—makes a riveting modern classic.
The Physician is the first book in Noah Gordon’s Dr. Robert Cole trilogy, which continues with Shaman and concludes with Matters of Choice. (Source:

OCTOBER 27: The Good Earth

By: Pearl S. Buck
Leader: Nancy R.

The Good Earth is a novel by Pearl S. Buck published in 1931 and awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1932. The best-selling novel in the United States in both 1931 and 1932, it was an influential factor in Buck’s winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938. It is the first book in a trilogy that includes Sons (1932) and A House Divided (1935).

The novel, which dramatizes family life in a Chinese village before World War I, has been a steady favorite ever since. In 2004, the book was returned to the bestseller list when chosen by the television host Oprah Winfrey for Oprah’s Book Club.  The novel helped prepare Americans of the 1930s to consider Chinese as allies in the coming war with Japan. (Source:

NOVEMBER 24: Bel Canto

By: Ann Patchett
Leader: Kathy S.

Bel Canto is a 2001 novel by American author Ann Patchett, published by Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. It was awarded both the Orange Prize for Fiction and PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.It was placed on several top book lists, including Amazon’s Best Books of the Year (2001).

Based on the Lima Crisis,this book is about a group of terrorists who hold high executives and people of high political standing hostage. It explores how the terrorists and hostages cope with living in a house together for several months.Many of the characters form unbreakable bonds of friendship, while some fall in love. (Source: Wikipedia)