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Let's READ English: An ESL Book Club

If English is not your native language and you like to read, join us on the second Friday of every month. You will read one book each month and then meet to discuss the story, improve your vocabulary and practice your English reading and conversational skills. And have FUN! Please request a copy of the book each month in the Catalog or contact us to get a copy from your Library. Registration is required.

2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Large Print Room, First Floor of the Main Library in Oakland.

Upcoming Discussions:

January 8, 2016
Art Spiegelman
Maus I: A Survivor's Tale
Art Spiegelman's graphic novel tells the story of how his father lived through the Holocaust.

February 12, 2016
John Howard Griffin
Black Like Me
A white man undergoes treatment to appear black, and is treated very differently afterward.

March 11, 2016
Orson Scott Card
Ender’s Game
A gifted child is recruited into a military academy to prepare for war against an alien race.


Previous Discussions:

December 14, 2012
Susan Beth Pfeffer
Life as We Knew It
Miranda is a typical teenage girl with typical teenage problems -- her stepmother, school, boys -- but when a meteor bumps the moon out of its orbit, her world is literally changed forever. Told in diary form, we follow Miranda's struggle to survive in this new world, and watch her learn to cherish the love of her family and friends.

January 11, 2013
Janine Driver, with Mariska van Aalst
You Say More Than You Think: The 7-day Plan for Using the New Body Language to Get What You Want
Learning to communicate in English can be a challenge. But there is more to communication than just vocabulary. Learn how you can use body language to read situations, project power and confidence and get what you want.

February 8, 2013
Emma Donoghue
Jack and his mother have been kidnapped, and their lives are controlled by a man who forces them to live in a small shed. Luckily, they manage to escape but their new lives back in the real world aren't what they expected.

March 8, 2013
Jay Allison and Dan Gediman, editors
This I Believe II: More Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women
This book of fascinating stories by various authors explores a wide range of beliefs that will make you think about what you believe and why.

April 12, 2013
Lois Lowry
The Giver
Jonas lives in a world where life seems perfect. The Elders decide how many children are allowed to be born (one boy/one girl per family). Each person is assigned a role in the community. Jonas is happy to live in a place where life seems easy, until he meets the Receiver of Memory. When he learns how things used to be, he begins to question everything.

May 10, 2013
Marjane Satrapi
This book tells the story of a young Iranian girl who lives through the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The story is a graphic non-fiction book, which means that it is filled with illustrations, which enhance the storytelling. The girl and her parents much find a new way to live in a culture that has been turned upside down.

June 14, 2013
Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird
An American classic, this is the story of a young girl who watches her beloved attorney father defend Tom Robinson, an African American wrongly accused of a terrible crime. This is a beautiful story of childhood, friendship, the power of hatred, and the power of love.

July 12, 2013
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The Little Prince
A pilot is stranded in the desert where he meets a Little Prince, fallen to earth from a faraway land. They become friends and speak of many things.

August 9, 2013
George Orwell
Animal Farm
Here is the story of a world governed by animals -- do the animals do a better job than humans? What happens when power falls into the wrong hands -- or paws?

September 13, 2013
Diana Wynne Jones
Howl's Moving Castle
Sophie is a young woman with a boring life working at a hat shopping dreaming of adventures. Her wish comes true when a terrible witch places a spell on her that makes her an old woman. This fairy tale is funny and full of interesting characters.

October 11, 2013
Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games
Follow the exciting adventures of teenager Katniss Everdeen as she tries to protect herself and her family from danger in District 12. She is chosen to participate in the Hunger Games, a fight to the death. Will she survive?

November 8, 2013
John Steinbeck
The Pearl
Kino is a poor pearl diver in Mexico. One day he finds "the pearl of the world," a large, valuable pearl that he believes will solve all his problems. A beautiful story of family love, joy, greed, and wisdom.

December 13, 2013
Stephen Chbosky
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Fifteen-year-old Charlie begins his high school career with no friends, no confidence, and a dark family secret. But he soon meets some fellow students who offer him friendship and fun.

January 10, 2014
Karl Pillemer
30 Lessons for Living
Lessons on how to live a happy life and how to appreciate the small things in everyday life -- shared by senior citizens.

February 14, 2014
Augusta Scattergood
Glory Be
The story of young Glory Hemphill, set in the American South during the Civil Rights era of the 1960s.

March 14, 2014
Neil Gaiman
Ocean at the End of the Lane
A man remembers a dark and magical event that happened in his childhood. This amazing story of mystery and survival, of memory and magic, makes the impossible all too real.

April 11, 2014
Steve Martin
The Pleasure of My Company
This is a story about a man who almost never leaves his house because of his fears. Through one act of courage, he starts to open his door, and he begins to find love, and life, in the most surprising places.

May 9, 2014
Nujood Ali
I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced
“I’m a simple village girl who has always obeyed the orders of my father and brothers. Since forever, I have learned to say yes to everything. Today I have decided to say no.”

June 13, 2014
Tim O'Brien
The Things They Carried
The Things They Carried tells not only of the things a group of American soldiers carried into battle, but also of the things they carried inside, and the nightmares they carried home.
This book is the 2014 Big Read selection.
July 11, 2014
Naoki Higashida
The Reason I Jump
An autistic child explains his odd behaviors and helps readers understand how autistic people feel.

August 8, 2014
Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman
This is a play about Willy, an aging salesman who pursues the American dream and forces his dream upon his sons.

September 12, 2014
Kaye Gibbons
Ellen Foster
Having suffered abuse and sadness for most of her life, a young child searches for a better life.

October 10, 2014
Sherman Alexie
Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
A poor young boy growing up on an American Indian reservation decides to attend an all-white school and change his destiny.

November 14, 2014
Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451
This novel is set in a future society, where books are banned because they may contain ideas that are considered dangerous.

December 12, 2014
Truman Capote
A Christmas Memory
This is a short story about a poor family during the Great Depression.

January 9, 2015
Sandra Cisneros
The House on Mango Street
A series of short stories covering a year in the life of a young woman in Chicago.

February 13, 2015
Lorraine Hansberry
A Raisin in the Sun
An impoverished family has a choice: be torn apart by a large inheritance check, or learn to band together in a harsh and racist environment.

March 13, 2015
Ernest Hemingway
The Old Man and the Sea
A short story about an old fisherman who battles a massive fish.

April 10, 2015
Mitch Albom
The Five People You Meet in Heaven
A reflection on life and the afterlife, as shown by the characters “Eddie” meets after his unexpected death.

May 8, 2015
Randy Pausch
The Last Lecture
The bestselling book by a local professor who gave advice about how to overcome obstacles and achieve your dreams.

June 12, 2015
Sonali Deraniyagala
The Wave
Written by a survivor of the Sri Lanka tsunami of 2004, this short book describes the author’s recovery from the trauma of being the only one of her family to live.

July 10, 2015
Neil Gaiman
In order to win a beautiful girl’s heart, Tristan agrees to venture outside of his tiny village to an outside world where anything can happen.

August 14, 2015
Yann Martel
Life of Pi
Left alone after a shipwreck, a young boy has a deep spiritual experience.

September 11, 2015
Christopher Paul Curtis
The Watsons Go to Birmingham
A 10-year-old boy visits his grandma with his family, venturing into the heart of the Civil Rights movement.

October 9, 2015
Stephen King
Graveyard Shift, a short story in Night Shift
A team of mill workers take a dangerous trip to the basement to deal with a serious rat problem.

November 13, 2015
Veronica Roth
Set in Chicago in the far future, this book tells the story of four friends trying to survive.

December 11, 2015
Dave Isay, editor
Ties That Bind: Stories of Love and Gratitude from the First Ten Years of StoryCorps
The true stories of people who find love and support in unlikely friendships and create family in the most surprising of circumstances.