2023 Adult Reading Challenge

Join our year-long reading challenge for adults! It’s flexible (we’ll give you ideas, but you read what you want within that month’s prompt) and fun (monthly prizes and a party at the end!)

Log your reading via Beanstack. (You can also get the free app and track on your phone.) You only have to read one book per month to participate and be eligible for a monthly prize from a local business. In December, we’ll host a party!

Look for suggested titles every month at every PPL location or on social media.

January: New to You

February: Celebrate Black History Month

March: Awards Season

April: Peoria Reads

May: Summer Reading

June: Pride @ PPL

July: Graphic Novels

August: Dog Days of Summer

September: Libraries in the Library

October: Killer Thrillers

November: Celebrate Native American Heritage Month

December: No book! Adult Reading Party!

The Atlantic Monthly Discussion Group

The Atlantic Monthly Discussion Group meets on the second Monday of the month at 11 a.m. (except in October when it is the third Monday.)

Just read the feature article (and any other articles that interest you) of the current issue of Atlantic Monthly in print or via Flipster or on the website https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/. Then join us on Zoom and engage in lively and intellectual discussion.

Email: Roberta Koscielski 

Bibliophiles Book Club

For more information, contact Nancy at 309-231-3263 or email nvarness1967@gmail.com

Meetings are held the first Tuesday of the month from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Lakeview Branch, 1137 W. Lake Ave. 

January 3The Miss Stone Affair by Teresa Carpenter

February 7The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir by Ruth Wariner

March 7The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson

April 4Deep Enough to Fish by George Tanner

May 2The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
A Challenged/Banned Book Selection for 2023 Peoria Reads!

June 6What Storm, What Thunder by Myrian J.A. Chancy

July 11 * — All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles

August 1The Hours by Michael Cunningham

September 5Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

October 3Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

November 7The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

December 5The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson

Biography & Non-Fiction Book Club

The Biography and Nonfiction Book Club meets the second Sunday of each month (unless re-scheduled because of holidays/weather). We meet at the North Branch of the Peoria Public Library, 3001 West Grand Parkway, from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m.  New members are always welcome!

For more information, please call Roberta Koscielski at 309-264-1966.

January 8The Family Roe: An American Story by Joshua Prager

Despite her famous pseudonym, “Jane Roe,” no one knows the truth about Norma McCorvey (1947–2017), whose unwanted pregnancy in 1969 opened a great fracture in American life. Prager spent hundreds of hours with Norma, discovered her personal papers―a previously unseen trove―and witnessed her final moments. The Family Roe presents her life in full. Propelled by the crosscurrents of sex and religion, gender and class, it is a life that tells the story of abortion in America.

February 12 – Leave Out the Tragic Parts: A Grandfather’s Search for a Boy Lost to Addiction by Dave Kindred

This extraordinary investigation of the death of the author’s grandson yields a powerful memoir of addiction, grief, and the stories we choose to tell our families and ourselves. Jared Kindred left his home and family at the age of eighteen, choosing to wander across America on freight train cars and live on the street.  Dave Kindred was born In Atlanta, Illinois and is a highly acclaimed sports writer. He was on a 60 Minutes segment highlighting his coverage of the Morton girls high school basketball team.

March 12The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan

This National Book Award–winning story, a tour de force of historical reportage, rescues an iconic chapter of American history—the Dust Bowl that terrorized the High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression—from the shadows.

April 16The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge by Matt Ridley

A fascinating, brilliant argument for evolution that definitively dispels a dangerous, widespread myth: that we can command and control our world. As compelling as it is controversial, authoritative as it is ambitious, Ridley’s stunning perspective will revolutionize the way we think about our world and how it works.

May 21An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us by Ed Yong

In An Immense World, Ed Yong coaxes us beyond the confines of our own senses to encounter beetles that are drawn to fires, turtles that can track the Earth’s magnetic fields, fish that fill rivers with electrical messages, and even humans who wield sonar like bats. Funny, rigorous, and suffused with the joy of discovery, An Immense World takes us on what Marcel Proust called “the only true voyage . . . not to visit strange lands, but to possess other eyes.”

June 11Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court: by Sandra Day O’Connor

“I called this book Out of Order because it reflects my goal, which is to share a different side of the Supreme Court. Most people know the Court only as it exists between bangs of the gavel, when the Court comes to order to hear arguments or give opinions. But the stories of the Court and the Justices that come from the ‘out of order’ moments add to the richness of the Court as both a branch of our government and a human institution.”—Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

July 9Bitch: On the Female of the Species by Lucy Cooke

Since Charles Darwin, evolutionary biologists have been convinced that the males of the animal kingdom are the interesting ones—dominating and promiscuous, while females are dull, passive, and devoted. In Bitch, Cooke tells a new story. Whether investigating same-sex female albatross couples that raise chicks, murderous mother meerkats, or the titanic battle of the sexes waged by ducks, Cooke shows us a new evolutionary biology, one where females can be as dynamic as any male.

August 13Spies, Lies, and Algorithms: The History and Future of American Intelligence by Amy Zegart

In Spies, Lies, and Algorithms, Amy Zegart separates fact from fiction as she offers an engaging and enlightening account of the past, present, and future of American espionage as it faces a revolution driven by digital technology.

September 10The Unsettling of Europe: How Migration Reshaped a Continent by Peter Gatrell

Gattrell places migration at the center of post-war European history, and the aspirations of migrants themselves at the center of the story of migration. This is an urgent history that will reshape our understanding of modern Europe.

October 8First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung

From a childhood survivor of the Camdodian genocide under the regime of Pol Pot, this is a riveting narrative of war crimes and desperate actions, the unnerving strength of a small girl and her family, and their triumph of spirit.

November 12Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King

Thurgood Marshall was on the verge of bringing Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court when he became embroiled in a case that threatened to change the course of the civil rights movement and cost him his life. In 1949, Florida’s orange industry was booming, and citrus barons got rich on the backs of cheap Jim Crow labor with the help of Sheriff Willis V. McCall, who ruled Lake County with murderous resolve. When a white 17-year-old girl cried rape, McCall pursued four young black men who dared envision a future for themselves beyond the groves. The Ku Klux Klan joined the hunt, hell-bent on lynching the men who came to be known as “the Groveland Boys.” Associates thought it was suicidal for Marshall to wade into the “Florida Terror,” but the young lawyer would not shrink from the fight despite continuous death threats against him.

December 10Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days that Changed the World by Chris Wallace

From Chris Wallace, the veteran journalist and anchor of Fox News Sunday, comes an electrifying behind-the-scenes account of the 116 days leading up to the American attack on Hiroshima. Told with vigor, intelligence, and humanity, Countdown 1945 is the definitive account of one of the most significant moments in history.

Book Fanatics Meet Up

Do you keep borrowing and buying more books than you could ever read? Will you discuss books with anyone who will listen? If so, this meet up is for you.

Each quarter, we will meet with other book lovers to talk about what we’ve recently read, what we have on our reading lists and whatever else book-related we want to discuss. Light refreshments provided, but feel free to bring a snack. Ages 18+

We meet quarterly on the first Tuesday at the Lakeview Branch of the Peoria Public Library, 1137 W. Lake Ave., at 6:30 p.m.  New members are always welcome!

Upcoming dates: Feb. 7, May 2, Aug. 1 and Nov. 7

For more information, please call 309-497-2200.

This book meet up was created for book fanatics to have a safe space to share their current and past loves with other book fanatics.

Therefore, we don’t have a set book for you to read every month. That said, we may start sharing some of our club’s favorites in this space so check back!

Bookmarked Book Club

Come join our revamped book club. We don’t assign a book each month. We encourage teens to read what they want, bring the book in, and tell us why they loved or hated the book. We enjoy learning about new fiction, nonfiction, comics, and especially manga!

This book club, geared to middle school and high school students, meets at Lincoln Branch at 4:30 p.m. on the last Friday of every month. Call (309) 497-2600 for more information.   

The rotating titles are just suggestions of books that we think you’ll enjoy. Read whatever you’d like and then come talk about it.

Jan. 27 @ 4:30 pm

Feb. 24 @ 4:30 pm

March 31 @ 4:30 pm

April 28 @ 4:30 pm

May 26 @ 4:30 pm

June 30 @ 4:30 p,

July 28 @ 4:30 pm

Aug. 25 @ 4:30 pm

Sept. 29 @ 4:30 pm

Oct. 27 @ 4:30 pm

Nov. 24 @ 4:30 pm

Dec. 29 @ 4:30 pm

Boos and Booze Book Club

NEW in 2023 — Join us for a horrifyingly good time at Industry Brewing Co. every third Wednesday of the month. Love of horror is a must, love of brews is not

Adults only.

New members welcome to join us at 6:30 p.m. at Industry Brewing Co., 8012 N. Hale Ave. Call (309) 497-2200 for more information.   

Jan. 18 – Ring Shout by P. Djeli Clark

Feb. 15In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

March 15 The Crossroads at Midnight by Abby Howard

April 19Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones

May 17Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw

June 21Rabbit in Red by Joe Chicanakas

July 19My Heart is A Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

Aug. 16Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes

Sept. 20The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean

Oct. 18We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (Will also watch the 2018 film adaptation)

November — No meeting

Dec. 6Piñata by Leopoldo Gout

Dark Fantasy Book Club

Join us at 4:30 p.m. every third Thursday of the month (unless otherwise noted *) in the Monroe Room, second floor, of Peoria Public Main Library, 107 NE Monroe. New members encouraged! 

Questions? Email programming@ppl.peoria.lib.il.us .   

Jan. 19 – Tithe by Holly Black

Feb. 16Sabriel by Garth Nix

March 16Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

April 20Blood of Elves (The Witcher #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski

May 18 – Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

June 15 – Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

July 20 – Bunny by Mona Awad

August 16The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Graphic Novel Club

Each month you’ll read a graphic novel of your choice within that month’s theme. Then we’ll meet up to discuss the books we read while we snack, socialize, and enjoy themed activities and crafts. For ages 9 to 13. 

Meet the third Wednesday of every month (unless otherwise noted *) from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at North Branch, 3001 W. Grand Pkwy.

Questions? Email programming@ppl.peoria.lib.il.us .   

Jan. 18 – Theme is Magic 

Feb. 15 – Theme is Mystery

March 15 – Theme is Animals 

April 17 – Theme is Adventure

May 15 – Theme is Humor

June 19 – Theme is Good vs. Evil

July 17 – Theme is Friends & Family

August 14 – Theme is Sports

Sept. 18 – Theme is Re-read a Favorite

Oct. 16 – Theme is Spooky Stories 

Nov. 13 –  Theme is Mythology 

Dec. 11 – Theme is Historical Fiction 

Historical Fiction Society

Join us on the first Wednesday of each month from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to discuss a historical fiction title and be transported back in time. We meet at Lakeview Branch, 1137 W. Lake Ave.

New members are always welcome. 

Questions? Email programming@ppl.peoria.lib.il.us .   

September 6 — The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer

October 4 — The Switchboard Soldiers by Jennifer Chiaverini

November 1 — The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

December 6 —  The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Intercontinental Readers

Intercontinental Readers meets once every three months at Main Library Lower Level 2, Conference Room to discuss books by American and Irish authors. We Skype with members in Clonmel, Ireland.

For more information, email Terry Tate at knttate@mchsi.com

March 22 — This Tender Land  by William Kent Krueger – 464 pages

The unforgettable story of four orphans who travel the Mississippi River on a life-changing odyssey during the Great Depression.
In the summer of 1932, on the banks of Minnesota’s Gilead River, Odie O’Banion is an orphan confined to the Lincoln Indian Training School, a pitiless place where his lively nature earns him the superintendent’s wrath. Forced to flee after committing a terrible crime, he and his brother, Albert, their best friend, Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own.
Over the course of one summer, these four orphans journey into the unknown and cross paths with others who are adrift, from struggling farmers and traveling faith healers to displaced families and lost souls of all kinds. With the feel of a modern classic, This Tender Land is an enthralling, big-hearted epic that shows how the magnificent American landscape connects us all, haunts our dreams, and makes us whole.

June 7 — Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan – 70 pages

“A hypnotic and electrifying Irish tale that transcends country, transcends time.” —Lily King, New York Times bestselling author of Writers & Lovers

Small Things Like These is award-winning author Claire Keegan’s landmark new novel, a tale of one man’s courage and a remarkable portrait of love and family

It is 1985 in a small Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal merchant and family man faces into his busiest season. Early one morning, while delivering an order to the local convent, Bill makes a discovery which forces him to confront both his past and the complicit silences of a town controlled by the church. Already an international bestseller, Small Things Like These is a deeply affecting story of hope, quiet heroism, and empathy from one of our most critically lauded and iconic writers.

Sept. 6 —   The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave – 320 pages

The instant #1 New York Times bestselling mystery and Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick that’s captivated more than two million readers about a woman searching for the truth about her husband’s disappearance…at any cost.

Before Owen Michaels disappears, he smuggles a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers—Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.
As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered, as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss, as a US marshal and federal agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.
Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they’re also building a new future—one neither of them could have anticipated.
With its breakneck pacing, dizzying plot twists, and evocative family drama, The Last Thing He Told Me is a riveting mystery, certain to shock you with its final, heartbreaking turn.

Nov. 1 —  Life Sentences by Billy O’Callaghan -200 pages

One Irish family’s fight for survival makes for an unforgettable tale of love, abandonment, hunger, and redemption.
At just sixteen, Nancy Martin leaves the small island of Cape Clear for the mainland, the only member of her family to survive the effects of the Great Famine. Finding work in a grand house on the edge of Cork City, she is irrepressibly drawn to the charismatic gardener Michael Egan, sparking a love affair and a devastating chain of events that continues to unfold over three generations.
Spanning more than a century, Billy O’Callaghan’s weaves together the journey of an Irish family determined against all odds to be free. In 1920, Nancy’s son Jer has lived through battles of his own as a soldier in the Great War. Now drunk in a jail cell, he struggles to piece together where he has come from, and who he wants to be. And in the early 1980s, Jer’s youngest child Nellie is nearing the end of her life in a council house just steps away from her childhood home; remembering the night when she and her family stole back something that was rightfully theirs, she imagines what lies ahead for those who will survive her.
This moving portrait of life in Ireland is set in the village where O’Callaghan’s family has lived for generations, and is partly based on stories told by his parents and grandparents. His writing is imbued with lived experience and hard-earned truths, creating a novel so rich in life and empathy it is impossible to let go of his characters. An ambitious and lyrical family saga, this novel confirms Billy O’Callaghan as one of the finest living Irish writers.

Mature Readers Book Club

The Mature Readers Book Club meets at Lakeview Branch, 1137 W. Lake Ave., at 2:15 p.m. on the last Wednesday of the month.

Please call us at (309) 370-0067 if you are interested in joining this book club.

January 25Radar Girls by Sara Ackerman

February 22Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben

March 29The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
A Challenged/Banned Book Selection for 2023 Peoria Reads!

April 26 — The Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan

May 31The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

June 28 Lowcountry Summer by Dorothea Benton Frank

July 26Better Luck Next Time by Julia Claiborne Johnson

August 30Missing Issac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

September 27Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

October 25Oh William! by Elizabeth Stout

November 29West with Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge

December 20Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri

Read On Book Club

This group focuses on fiction by Black authors. Lincoln Branch Manager Cynthia Smith leads the discussion, which meets the fourth Monday of every month from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.. For more information, including Zoom links, call 309-497-2601.
Due to COVID-19, this book club is meeting virtually.

January 23 —  Black Hamptons by Carl Weber and La Jill Hunt


February 23 — Sister Friends Forever by Kimberla Lawson Roby


March 27 — Passing by Nella Larsen


April 24 — Grown by Tiffany Jackson


May 22 — Never Tell by Stacey Abrams


June 26 — To Catch a Raven by Beverly Jenkins


July 24 — We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza


August 26 — The Coldest Secret Ever by N’Dia Rae


September 25 — The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson


October 23 — Public Enemy #1 by Kiki Swinson


 November and December – No meeting

Reese’s Book Club

Our club reads titles from Reese Witherspoon’s book club. Join us from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month (unless otherwise noted *) at Lakeview Branch, 1137 W. Lake Ave.

New members always welcome. Email programming@ppl.peoria.lib.il.us for more information or questions.

January 17 —  From Scratch by Tembi Locke


February 21 — Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton


March 21 — The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott


April 18 — The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi


May 15 — Fable by Adrienne Young


June 20 — The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward


July 18 — Outlawed by Anna North


August 15 — Lucky by Marissa Stapley


September 19 — True Biz by Sara Novic


October 17 — The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman


 November 21The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

December – No meeting

Science Fiction | Fantasy Book Club

This group typically meets on the second Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. in the Lakeview Room of the Peoria Public Library Lakeview Branch (1137 W. Lake Ave. 61614-5935).
This book club is meeting both in person and virtually. If you need a Zoom link, please reach out to Jamie Jones at 497-2110.

January 9Gideon the Ninth by Tamsin Muir

February 13The Candy House by Jennifer Egan

March 13The Book Eaters by Sanyi Dean

April 10World War Z by Max Brooks

May 8Black Water Sister by Zen Cho

June 12The Cabinet by Un-su Kim

July 10A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

August 14The First Sister by Linden Lewis

September 11The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky

October 9 (Different location: TBD) — Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold

November 13Upgrade by Blake Crouch

December 11Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

The Reading List

Join us for a book club based on the book The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams. Meets at 6:30 p.m. on the last Wednesday of every other month at Lakeview Branch, 1137 W. Lake Ave. See exact meeting dates in the calendar.

We will discuss Adams’ book as well as the book selected for that month. For more information, email programming@ppl.peoria.lib.il.us or call (309) 497-2143.

May 31 —  The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

July 26To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

September 27Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

November 29The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Sherlock Holmes Story Society

This group traditionally meets in the North Branch Seminar Room at 6:30 pm on the 4th Thursday of the month (except for November).

New members are always welcome, whether you’re a seasoned Sherlockian or a newcomer to the canon! Please call 309-497-2110 if you have any questions.

January 26 — “The Adventure of Gloria Scott” from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes


February 24 — “The Adventure of Musgrave Ritual” from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes


March 23 — A Study in Scarlet


April 27 — “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes


May 25 — “The Adventure of the Yellow Face” from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes


June 22 — “The Adventure of the Red Circle” from His Last Bow

July 27 — “The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet” from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes


August 24 — “The Adventure of the Resident Patient” from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes


September 28 — “The Adventure of the Reigate Squire” from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes


October 26 — “The Adventure of the Second Stain” from The Return of Sherlock Holmes

November 30 — “The Adventure of the Naval Treaty” from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes


December 28 — “The Adventure of the Crooked Man” from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes