Presented by Dr. J. Larry Allums

The Dallas Institute’s book groups have a long history and a long list of contemporary novels read since 1998 that is climbing steadily toward 200 titles. Some, of course, have been more memorable than others, some have made surprising impacts on us, and a small few are perhaps best forgotten. Throughout our many discussions over the years, we have learned much—about cultures and characters depicted by authors from around the world, and also about reading itself. During our sessions, we discover anew why we read and learn how to be better readers. True, reading is a solitary activity, but coming together in community is to participate in the joy of sharing ourselves in an atmosphere of civility and generosity. It’s a good place to be.

Trust Exercise, Susan Choi

April 14 (Breakfast), April 15 (Lunch)
The Memory Police, Yoko Ogawa

May 12 (Breakfast), May 20 (Lunch)
The Topeka School, Ben Lerner

Breakfast: Tuesdays, 7:15 – 8:45am
Lunch: Wednesdays, 12:00 – 1:30pm

General Admission
$225 per semester
$60 per session

$200 per semester
$51 per session

Educator Members
$90 per semester
$24 per session

*Includes book and breakfast/lunch




DR. J. LARRY ALLUMS is Executive Director of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. He earned his M.A. in Literature and his Ph.D. in Literature and Political Philosophy from the University of Dallas’ Institute of Philosophic Studies. He came to the Dallas Institute in 1998 from the University of Mobile, where he was Professor of English and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He has edited a volume of essays on epic poetry, The Epic Cosmos, and published articles on ancient Greek and Roman literature, Dante, and writers of the American Southern renascence, including William Faulkner, Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren, and Caroline Gordon. Under his leadership, the Dallas Institute continues to emphasize its commitment to urban issues and its longstanding work with pre-K through 12th grade elementary and secondary school teachers, principals, and superintendents.


Book Group Books


February Kazuo Ishiguro, When We Were Orphans

March Carlos Fuentes, The Years with Laura Diaz

April Mark Salzman, Lying Awake

May Helen DeWitt The Last Samurai

September Amy Tan, The Bonesetter’s Daughter

October Brad Kessler, Lick Creek

November Gao Xingjian, Soul Mountain

December Andre Dubus, House of Sand and Fog



February V. S. Naipaul, Half a Life

March Joyce Weatherford, Heart of the Beast

April Geraldine Brooks, Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague

May Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections

September Hari Kunzru, The Impressionist

October Ian McKuen, Atonement

November Bharath Mukherjee, Desirable Daughters

December Peter Carey, True History of the Kelly Gang



February Paulette Jiles, Enemy Women

March Yann Martel, Life of Pi

April Arnošt Lustig, Lovely Green Eyes

May Donna Tartt, The Little Friend

September Michael Pye, The Pieces from Berlin

October Monique Truong, The Book of Salt

November Jane Smiley, Good Faith

December Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner



February Edward P. Jones, The Known World

March J. M. Coetzee, Elizabeth Costello

April Mario Vargas Llosa, The Way to Paradise

May Antonio Munoz Molina, Sepharad

September Seth Kantner, Ordinary Wolves

October Anne Tyler, Amateur Marriage

November Karen Joy Fowler, The Jane Austen Book Club

December Nuruddin Farah, Links



February Russell Banks, The Darling

March Lily Tuck, News from Paraguay

April Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty

May Ha Jin, War Trash

September Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

October Orhan Pamuk, Snow

November Lorraine Adams, Harbor

December Salman Rushdie, Shalimar the Clown



February John Banville, The Sea

March E. L. Doctorow, The March

April Francine Prose, A Changed Man

May Zadie Smith, On Beauty

September Jay McInerney, The Good Life

October Jose Saramago, Seeing

November Zadie Smith, On Beauty, and E.M. Forster, Howard’s End

December Camilla Gibb, Sweetness in the Belly



February Richard Ford, The Lay of the Land

March Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss

April Cormac McCarthy, The Road

May Chimananda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun

September Don Delillo, Falling Man

October Marianne Wiggins, The Shadow Catcher

November Nathan Englander, The Ministry of Special Cases

December Andrea Barrett, The Air We Breathe



February Denis Johnson, Tree of Smoke

March Anne Enright, The Gathering

April Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist

May Annie Dillard, The Maytrees

September Rabih Alameddine, The Hakawati

October Joseph O’Neil, Netherland

November Riva Galchen, Atmospheric Disturbances

December Nam Le, The Boat 



February Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger

March Toni Morrison, A Mercy

April Christoph Hein, Settlement

May Hannah Tinti, The Good Thief

September Attica Locke, Black Water Rising

October Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Angel’s Game

November John Banville, The Infinities

December Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter



February J. M. G. Le Clezio, Desert

March Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood

April John Banville, The Infinities

May Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

September Peter Carey, Parrot and Olivier in America

October David Mitchell, Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

November Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

December Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse



February Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

March Emma Donoghue, Room

April Cynthia Ozick, Foreign Bodies

May Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Sons

September Tea Obreht, The Tiger’s Wife

October Stephen Harrigan, Remember Ben Clayton

November Ann Patchett, State of Wonder

December Eudora Welty, Delta Wedding



February Chad Harbach, The Art of Fielding

March Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones

April Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending

May William Faulkner, The Unvanquished

September Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies

October Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

November Herta Müller, The Hunger Angel

December Erich Maria Remarque,
All Quiet on the Western Front



February Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King

March Louise Erdrich, The Round House

April Barbara Kingsolver, Flight Behavior

May Graham Greene, The Quiet American

September Philipp Meyer, The Son

October Elizabeth Strout, The Burgess Boys

November Laleh Khadivi, The Walking

December Dave Eggers, The Circle



February Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being

March Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland

April Jim Crace, Harvest

May Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

September James McBride, The Good Lord Bird

October Anthony Marra, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

November Jennifer Clement, Prayers for the Stolen

December Henry James, The Ambassadors



February Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North

March Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki & His Years of Pilgrimage

April Colm Tóibín, Nora Webster

May William Faulkner, Go Down, Moses

September T.C. Boyle, The Harder They Come

October Kate Atkinson, A God in Ruins

November Yu Hua, The Seventh Day

December Michel Houllebecq, Submission



February Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies

March David Mitchell, Slade House

April Chigozie Obioma, The Fishermen

May Albert Camus, The Stranger, and Kamel Dauod, The Mersault Investigation

September Sunjeev Sahota, Year of the Runaways

October Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer

November Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing

December Adam Haslett, Imagine Me Gone


February Madeleine Thien, Do Not Say We Have Nothing

March Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad

April Chris Cleave, Everyone Brave is Forgiven

May Paulette Jiles, News of the World

September Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow

October Mohsin Hamid, Exit West

November Omar El Akkad, American War

December Shanthi Sekaran, Lucky Boy



February Orhan Pamuk, The Red-Haired Woman

March Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing

April Jennifer Egan, Manhattan Beach

May Ali Smith, Autumn

September Michael Ondaatje, Warlight

October Luis Urrea, The House of Broken Angels

November Kate Atkinson, Transcription

December Barbara Kingsolver, Unsheltered



February Tayari Jones, An American Marriage

March Keith Gessen, A Terrible Country

April Tommy Orange, There There

May Sarah Bird, Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen

September Richard Powers, The Overstory

October Sigrid Nunez, The Friend    

November Namwali Serpell, The Old Drift

December Esi Edugyan, Washington Black 


February Quichotte, Salman Rushdie

March 10 Trust Exercise, Susan Choi