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The LWVLA Book Club Welcomes All Interested Readers

LWVLA Book Club meets monthly-ish, and attending members select the books to be read. As with our other League activities, Book Club is currently meeting via Zoom because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To join us:

Check the calendar on our home page to find the next time we meet.
Click on the calendar entry for a description of the book and a link to registration for the meeting.
You will receive a confirmation email with a Zoom link to the Book Club meeting.

Below you will find a list of the books read over the past three years. Each book is linked to its entry on Goodreads, a website dedicated to helping individuals find and share books they love.

Empowering voters.   

Defending democracy

The League of       

2021 Book Club List

Currently reading for November 29:

Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality
Danielle Allen

Allen finds new meaning in Jefferson's understanding of equality, detailing the Declaration’s case that freedom rests on equality. The contradictions between ideals and reality in a document that perpetuated slavery are also brilliantly tackled by Allen, whose cogently written and beautifully designed book “is must-reading for all who care about the future as well as the origins of America’s democracy” (David M. Kennedy).

American Dirt

Jeanine Cummins

Lydia Quixano Perez runs a bookstore in Acapulco, living a relatively comfortable life with her son Luca and journalist husband. One day charming and erudite Javier browses at the store.  But Javier is the jefe of a gruesome local drug cartel, and when her husband's tell-all profile of Javier is published, Lydia and Luca find themselves making their way toward the United States to escape Javier's reach. But what exactly are they running to?

The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921
by Tim Madigan

On the morning of June 1, 1921, a white mob of thousands marched across the railroad tracks in Tulsa, Oklahoma and obliterated a black community then celebrated as one of America's most prosperous. 34 square blocks of Tulsa's Greenwood community, known then as the Negro Wall Street of America, were reduced to smoldering rubble.

Killers of the Flower Moon:  The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
by David Gann

In the 1920s, the oil-rich members of the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma began to be killed off one by one.  After an investigation was bungled by the newly-created and corrupt F.B.I., one agent led an undercover team to expose one of the most sinister conspiracies in American history.

The Night Watchman

by Louise Erdrich

Based on the extraordinary life of National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich's grandfather who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, D.C.

The Soul of a Woman
by Isabel Allende

What do women want? For Allende, who became a "feminist in kindergarten," it is to be safe, to be valued, to live in peace, to be connected, to have control over their bodies and lives, and to be loved.   

Culture Warlords: My Journey into the Dark Web of White Supremacy  
by Talia Lavin 

Talia Lavin is every skinhead's worst nightmare: a loud and unapologetic Jewish woman, acerbic, smart, and profoundly antiracist, with the investigative chops to expose the tactics and ideologies of online hatemongers. Lavin, a frequent target of extremist trolls, dove into a byzantine online culture of hate and learned the intricacies of how white supremacy proliferates online. 

The Politics Industry: How Political Innovations Can Break Partisan Gridlock and Save Our Democracy
by Katherine Gehl and Michael R. Porter

Gehl and Porter show how the political system functions just as every other competitive industry does, and how the duopoly has led to the devastating outcomes we see today.  Using this competition lens, they identify the most powerful lever for change -- a strategy comprised of a clear set of choices in two key areas: how our elections work and how we make our laws. 

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants
by Robin Wall Kimmerer

As a botanist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Kimmerer brings these two lenses together to show that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. 

Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps that Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics
by Tim Marshall

Shining a light on the unavoidable physical realities that shape the complex geo-political strategies of key parts of the globe, Prisoners of Geography is the critical guide to one of the major (and most often overlooked) determining factors in world history.  

I feel that the care of libraries
and the use of books,
and the knowledge of books,
is a tremendously vital thing,
and that we who deal with books
and who love books
have a great opportunity
to bring about something in this country
which is more vital here
than anywhere else,
because we have the chance
to make a democracy that will be
a real

- Eleanor Roosevelt

2020 Book Club List

Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World
by Fareed Zakaria
In the form of ten straightforward “lessons,” covering topics from globalization and threat-preparedness to inequality and technological advancement, Zakaria creates a structure for readers to begin thinking beyond the immediate impacts of COVID-19.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent 
by Isabel Wilkerson

The Pulitzer Prize–winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions.

by Bryan Stevenson

Winner of the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction • Winner of the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction • Winner of a Books for a Better Life Award • Finalist for the Los Angeles TimesBook Prize • Finalist for the Kirkus Reviews Prize • An American Library Association Notable Book

“Every bit as moving as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so . . . a searing indictment of American criminal justice and a stirring testament to the salvation that fighting for the vulnerable sometimes yields.”

From one of the world’s leading experts on unconscious racial bias come stories, science, and strategies to address one of the central controversies of our time

Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield
by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

"Much as she did in her bestselling 'The Dressmaker of Khair Khana,' Lemmon transports readers to a world they previously had no idea existed: a community of women called to fulfill the military's mission to "win hearts and minds" and bound together by danger, valor, and determination. 

by Jacqueline Battalora

" exploration of a moment in time when 'white people,' as a separate and distinct group of humanity, were invented through legislation and the enactment of laws."

"A gripping story of psychological defeat and resilience" (Bob Woodward, The Washington Post)

" intimate account of the fallout from the closing of a General Motors assembly plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, and a larger story of the hollowing of the American middle class."


2019 Book Club List

by Michael Lewis 

Lewis discusses the complexity of our federal government and lauds the highly professional, dedicated employees found throughout its various agencies. He also laments the inept management of many current appointees who know little and seem uninterested in learning about the mission of their agencies. 

The Senator Next Door: A Memoir from the Heartland
by Amy Klobuchar

The Senator Next Door, Sen. Klobuchar chronicles her remarkable heartland journey, from her immigrant grandparents to her middle-class suburban upbringing to her rise in American politics.Optimistic, plainspoken and often very funny, The Senator Next Door is a story about how the girl next door decided to enter the fray and make a difference.

by Lee McIntyre

In this volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Lee McIntyre traces the development of the post-truth phenomenon from science denial through the rise of "fake news," from our psychological blind spots to the public's retreat into "information silos....McIntyre argues that we can fight post-truth, and that the first step in fighting post-truth is to understand it."

Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America
by Nancy MacLean
  • Winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award
  • Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
  • Finalist for the National Book Award
  • The Nation's "Most Valuable Book"
For the Common Good: A History of Women's Roles in La Crosse County, 1920-1980
by our own Margaret Larson, LWVLA

Many of us have read parts of Margaret's book, or maybe all of it. Since this is the centennial year celebration, our book club group thought we should read it  again or for the first time.

The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World

by Melinda Gates

In this moving and compelling book, Melinda shares lessons she's learned from the inspiring people she's met during her work and travels around the world. 

Mrs. Ambassador: The Life and Politics of Eugenie Anderson 
by Mary Dupont

No history of US diplomacy and national and Minnesota politics is complete without understanding Ambassador Eugenie Anderson's considerable influence. This book shines a well-deserved light on this remarkable pioneer and her steadfast commitment to our democratic ideals. We can all learn a lot from Eugenie--and how she kept her place 'in the room where it happens' throughout her incredible career.

Educated: A Memoir
by Tara Westover
"#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University."                    
2018 Book Club List

World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech

Franklin Foer reveals the existential threat posed by big tech, and in his brilliant polemic gives us the toolkit to fight their pervasive influence. 

One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet
by  ,  

A call to action from three of Washington's premier political scholar-journalists, One Nation After Trump offers the definitive work on the threat posed by the Trump presidency and how to counter it.

The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote


The nail-biting climax of one of the greatest political victories in American history: the down and dirty campaign to get the last state to ratify the 19th amendment, granting women the right to vote.

Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race

Waking Up White is the book Irving wishes someone had handed her decades ago. By sharing her sometimes cringe-worthy struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, she offers a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance. 

Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion

The ten brilliant women who are the focus of Sharp came from different backgrounds and had vastly divergent political and artistic opinions. But they all made a significant contribution to the cultural and intellectual history of America and ultimately changed the course of the twentieth century, in spite of the men who often undervalued or dismissed their work.

The Death and Life of the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes—Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Superior—hold 20 percent of the world’s supply of surface fresh water and provide sustenance, work, and recreation for tens of millions of Americans. But they are under threat as never before, and their problems are spreading across the continent.

Sing, Unburied, Sing

In Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award–winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America.

Fascism: A Warning


A personal and urgent examination of Fascism in the twentieth century and how its legacy shapes today’s world, written by one of America’s most admired public servants, the first woman to serve as U.S. secretary of state.