SWE-Detroit PD Book Club

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Detroit Section Professional Development (PD) Book Club was started in April of 1996. We meet on the 3rd Sunday of every month (except December), at 4:00pm, at Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor (in the Westgate Shopping Center, 2513 Jackson Ave, just east of exit 172 on I-94). Nicola's gives book club members a 15% discount on the book club book, and 10% off any other books bought at the same time.

The group reads one book a month alternating between a nonfiction book and a work of fiction by a woman author. The books are chosen two months in advance by a consensus or vote of the members attending the meeting. One member volunteers to write a review of one of the books for the Detroit Direction (the SWE-Detroit newsletter). When available, reviews are posted on the web page.

There are currently about a dozen members in the group. We welcome new members, just come join us at our meeting at Nicola's. Although the book club is sponsored by SWE, book club members do not need to be members of SWE, women, or engineers (they don't even need to read the books!)

Below are some of our members as we celebrated our Fourteenth Anniversary!

Here is a list of the books we have read or are planning to read month by month, with a link to the reviews where available. On our potential books page, you can see a list of books we are considering for future months. Books that are reviewed are rated from one to five stars, with five stars indicating that "nobody should go through life without reading this book."


April 20, 2013
The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance, by Edmund de Waal. Our 17th anniversary, and our last meeting!

March 17, 2013
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins Meeting Cancelled

February 17, 2013
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander. In conjunction with Ann Arbor-Ypsi Reads

January 20, 2013
The Heretic's Daughter, by Kathleen Kent

November 18, 2012
To the End of the Earth: Our Epic Journey to the North Pole and the Legend of Peary and Henson, by Tom Avery

October 21, 2012
Please Look After Mom, by Kyung-Sook Shin ***1/2 or ****

September 16, 2012
Turn Right at Machu Pichu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time, by Mark Adams

August 19, 2012
And Only to Deceive, by Tasha Alexander

July 15, 2012
Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West, by Dorothy Wickenden

June 17, 2012
The Buddha in the Attic, by Julie Otsuka ****1/2

May 20, 2012
You are Not a Gadget, by Jaron Lanier

Apr. 15, 2012
The Three Weissmans of Westport: A Novel, by Cathleen Schine ***

Mar. 18, 2012
Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Austistic Savant by Daniel Trammet
In conjunction with Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads

Feb. 19, 2012
The Submission, by Amy Waldman ****1/2

Jan. 29, 2012
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot

Dec. 4, 2011
The Day the Falls Stood Still, by Cathy Marie Buchanan ***1/2

Oct. 23, 2011
Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China, by Leslie T. Chang ***

Sept. 25, 2011
The Silver Pigs: A Marcus Didius Falco Mystery, by Lindsey Davis ***1/2

Aug 28, 2011
Ladies of Liberty, by Cokie Roberts ****

July 24, 2011
The Help, by Kathryn Stockett ****1/2

June 26, 2011
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home, by Rhoda Janzen ***1/2

May 22, 2011
Ape House, by Sara Gruen

April 24, 2011
The Boy who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope, by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer ****

March 27, 2011
Slipknot: A Jane Bunker Mystery, by Linda Greenlaw

February 27, 2011
Life is So Good, by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman ****1/2
In conjunction with Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads

January 23, 2011
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See

December 12, 2010
The Pattern in the Carpet: A Personal History With Jigsaws, by Margaret Drabble

October 24, 2010
The Ritual Bath, by Faye Kellerman

September 26, 2010
Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before, by Tony Horwitz

August 22, 2010
Haunted Ground, by Erin Hart

July 25, 2010
The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition, by Michael H. Shuman ***

June 27, 2010
Patriot Hearts: A Novel of the Founding Mothers, by Barbara Hambly

May 23, 2010
The Archimedes Codex: How a Medieval Prayer Book Is Revealing the True Genius of Antiquity's Greatest Scientist, by Reviel Netz and William Noel

April 25, 2010
Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story, by Leonie Swann
Our 14th anniversary!

March 28, 2010
The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas, by Jerry Dennis
In conjunction with Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads

February 28, 2010
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows ****1/2

January 24, 2010
Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog, by John Grogan ***1/2

December 6, 2009
The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver

October 25, 2009
The Man Who Made Vermeers: Unvarnishing the Legend of Master Forger Han van Meegeren, by Jonathan Lopez ****

September 27, 2009
The Inheritance of Loss, by Kiran Desai

August 30, 2009
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace --- One School at a Time, by Greg Mortenson

July 26, 2009
People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks ****1/2

June 28, 2009
The Last Place on Earth, by Roland Huntford

May 31, 2009
Silent in the Grave, by Deanna Raybourn

April 26, 2009
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl, by Timothy Egan

March 22, 2009
Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

February 22, 2009
The Places In Between, by Rory Stewart

January 25, 2009
Ghostwalk, by Rebecca Stott **

November 23, 2008
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell *1/2

October 26, 2008
Love Marriage, by V.V. Ganeshananthan ****

September 28, 2008
Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, by Dava Sobel

August 24, 2008
Middlemarch, by George Eliot ****

July 27, 2008
In Code: A Mathematical Journey, by Sarah Flannery and David Flannery ***1/2

June 22, 2008
A Clean Slate, by Laura Caldwell

June 1, 2008
Arc of Justice, by Kevin Boyle

April 27, 2008
Ines of My Soul, by Isabel Allende

March 23, 2008
Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science, by Atul Gawande ****1/2

February 24, 2008
My Sister's Keeper, by Jodi Picoult ****

January 27, 2008
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan

December 2, 2007
Those Who Save Us, by Jenna Blum

October 28, 2007
Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Woman of DNA, by Anne Maddox

September 23, 2007
Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen ****1/2

August 26, 2007
Eleanor of Aquitaine, by Alison Weir

July 22, 2007
The Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis

June 24, 2007
Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII, by John Cornwell

May 27, 2007
The True Story of Hansel and Gretel, by Louise Murphy ****

April 29, 2007
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, by Jared Diamond
Our 11th anniversary!

March 25, 2007
The Beekeeper's Apprentice, by Laurie R. King

February 25, 2007
Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World, by Tracy Kidder
In conjunction with Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads

January 28, 2007
On Beauty, by Zadie Smith

December 3, 2006
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, by Jack Weatherford

October 22, 2006
The Twentieth Wife, by Indu Sundaresan ***

September 24, 2006
Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, by Ruth Reichl ***1/2

August 27, 2006
In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Garcia Alvarez

July 23, 2006
The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History, by John M. Barry

June 26, 2006
Crocodile on the Sandbank, by Elizabeth Peters

May 21, 2006
The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd, by Richard Zacks

April 23, 2006
A Thread of Grace, by Mary Doria Russel
Our 10th anniversary!

March 26, 2006
The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time, by Jonathan Weiner ****1/2
In conjunction with Ann Arbor Reads

February 26, 2006
I Am Madame X, by Gioia Diliberto

January 22, 2006
Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell: Adventurer, Advisor to Kings, Ally of Lawrence of Arabia, by Janet Wallach ****

December 4, 2005
The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin

October 23, 2005
We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese, by Elizabeth Norman

September 25, 2005
The Jane Austen Book Club, by Karen Joy Fowler

August 28, 2005
Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer, by Lynne Cox

July 24, 2005
Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett

June 19, 2005
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, by Jon Krakauer *****

May 22, 2005
The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri ***1/2

April 24, 2005
A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League, by Ron Suskind ***** / ****1/2

March 20, 2005
Vintage Munro, by Alice Munro

February 27, 2005
The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain, by Maria Rosa Menocal
Note: This book was a finalist for the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Reads.

January 23, 2005
The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi, by Jacqueline Park

December 5, 2004
No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs, by Naomi Klein ***1/2 (or **?)

October 24, 2004
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

September 26, 2004
Ice Bound: A Doctor's Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole, by Jeri Nielsen ***1/2

August 22, 2004
The Other Boleyn Girl, by Philippa Gregory

July 25, 2004
Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There, by David Brooks

June 27, 2004
The Comfort Woman, by Nora Okja Keller

May 23, 2004
Why Good Girls Don't Get Ahead but Gutsy Girls Do, by Kate White

April 25, 2004
Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys
Our 8th anniversary! We will at Zanzibar Restaurant for dinner at 6pm.

March 28, 2004
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations about Race, by Beverly Daniel Tatum
In conjunction with Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Reads

February 22, 2004
Their Eyes were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston

January 25, 2004
The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World, by Michael Pollan ****1/2

November 23, 2003
The Eagle Catcher, by Margaret Coel ***1/2

October 26, 2003
Seabiscuit: An American Legend, by Laura Hittenbrand ****1/2

September 28, 2003
Confessions of a Shopaholic, by Sophie Kinsella.

August 24, 2003
Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, by Jerry Mander

July 27, 2003
Nectar in a Sieve, by Kamala Markandaya ****1/2

June 22, 2003
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, by Eric Schlosser *****

May 18, 2003
Big Stone Gap, by Adriana Trigiani ** (or ****?)

April 27, 2003
The Lexus and the Olive Tree, by Thomas Freidman

March 30, 2003
Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen, by Alix Kates Shulman

February 23, 2003
Abraham Lincoln's DNA, by Phillip Reilly (in conjunction with Ann Arbor Reads)

January 26, 2003
We Were the Mulvaneys, by Joyce Carol Oates **** 1/2

November 2002
The Way We Never Were, by Stephanie Coontz

October 2002
The Mixquiahula Letters, by Ana Castillo ***

September 2002
Foreign Correspondence, by Geraldine Brooks

August 2002
So Big, by Edna Ferber ****

July 2002
Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich ****1/2

June 2002
Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind, by Ann B Ross **** 1/2

May 19, 2002
Spooked: Espionage in Corporate America, by Adam L. Penenberg and Marc Barry

April 28, 2002
None to Accompany Me, by Nadine Gordimer

March 24, 2002
Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences,
by Edward Tenner

February 24, 2002
Cat on the Edge, by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

January 27, 2002
Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians, by Noam Chomsky

December 2, 2001
Crows Over a Wheatfield, by Paula Sharp ****

October 28, 2001
Galileo's Daughter, by Dava Sobel

September 23, 2001
Music and Silence, by Rose Tremain ****

August 26, 2001
Blue Highways: A Journey into America, by William Least Heat-Moon ***

July 22, 2001
Behind the Scenes at the Museum, by Kate Atkinson

June 24, 2001
The Serpent and the Rainbow, by Ward Davis

May 20, 2001
Stones from the River, by Ursula Hegi

April 22, 2001
We Are Our Mothers' Daughters, by Cokie Roberts

March 25, 2001
Tara Road, by Maeve Binchy

February 25, 2001
La Salle: Explorer of the North American Frontier, by Anka Muhlstein

January 21, 2001
Ahab's Wife, by Sena Jeter Naslund ****

November 19, 2000
Serendipity: Accidental Discoveries in Science, by Royston M. Roberts ** 1/2

October 29, 2000
The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende

September 24, 2000
Trespassing: My Sojourn in the Halls of Privilege, by Gwendolyn Parker *****

August 27, 2000
The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant *****

July 23, 2000
Failure is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words, by Lynn Sherr ****

June 25, 2000
Bridget Jones's Diary, by Helen Fielding **** 1/2

May 21, 2000
Difficult Conversations : How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen, Roger Fisher ****1/2

April 16, 2000
Chocolat, by Joanne Harris

March 26, 2000
Angela's Ashes, by Frank McCourt **** 1/2

February 27, 2000
The Gift of Fear, by Gavin De Becker
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowlings

January 23, 2000
The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff at Work, by Richard Carlson ***1/2

December 5, 1999
The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, by Leonard Shlain ****
Tracks, by Louise Erdrich

October 24, 1999
Wait Till Next Year, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Zenzele: A Letter for my Daughter, by J. Nozipo Mraire

September 26, 1999
Walking Out on the Boys, by Frances K. Conley
Winona's Web: A Novel of Discovery, by Priscilla Cogan

August 22, 1999
Tracks: A Woman's Solo Trek Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback, by Robyn Davidson
Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson

July 25, 1999
The Wealthy Barber, by David Chilton
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, by Julia Alvarez

June 27, 1999
24 Years of Housework... And the Place is Still a Mess, by Pat Schroeder **** 1/2
A Patchwork Planet, by Anne Tyler

May 23, 1999
Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt, by Harvey Mackay
Prince and the Pilgrim, by Mary Stewart

April 25, 1999
Pythagorus' Trousers: God, Physics and the Gender Wars, by Margaret Wertheim
Blanche on the Lam, by Barbara Neeley

March 28, 1999
The Female Advantage: Women's Ways of Leadership, by Sally Helgesen
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

February 21, 1999
Witness for the Defense, by Elizabeth Loftus
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells

January 24, 1999
How Men Think: The Seven Essential Rules for Making It in a Man's World, by Adrienne Mendell
Mother Earth, Father Sky, by Sue Harrison

November 22, 1998
A Midwife's Tale, by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich *** 1/2
God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy

October 25, 1998
Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, by James Loewen
Murder in the House, by Margaret Truman

September 27, 1998
The Ditchdigger's Daughters, by Yvonne Thornton **** 1/2
Rebecca, by Daphne DuMaurier

August 30, 1998
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster, by Jon Krakauer ****
The Shipping News, by E. Annie Proulx

July 26, 1998
Personal History, by Katharine Graham
The Beans of Egypt, Maine, by Carolyn Chute

June 28, 1998
Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with t he Mass Media, by Susan J. Douglas ***
The Servant's Tale (A Medieval Mystery), by Margaret Frazer

May 31, 1998
True North, by Jill Ker Conway
The Love Letter, by Cathleen Schine

April 26, 1998
What Do You Care What Other People Think, by Richard Feynman
The Stone Diaries, by Carol Shields

March 22, 1998
Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman
I Was Amelia Earhart, by Jane Mendelsohn

February 22, 1998
Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and their Journey, by Isabel Fonseca
On the Pulse of Morning, by Maya Angelou

January 25, 1998
The Futures of Women: Scenarios for the 21st Century, by Pamela McCorduck and Nancy Ramsey ***
Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood ****

November 23, 1997
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

October 26, 1997
It Takes A Village And Other Lessons Children Teach Us, by Hillary Rodham Clinton ***
Servant of the Bones, by Anne Rice

September 28, 1997
Einstein's Wife, by Andrea Gabor ****1/2
Gone to Soldiers, by Marge Piercy *****

August 24, 1997
Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia, by Jean P. Sasson ****
The Frequency of Souls, by Mary Kay Zuravleff

July 27, 1997
How Could You Do That? : The Abdication of Character, Courage, and Conscience, by Dr. Laura Schlessinger ***1/2
The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver

June 22, 1997
The Cuckoo's Egg, by Clifford Stoll ****
The Kitchen God's Wife, by Amy Tan

May 18, 1997
How To Work A Room, by Susan Roane
Oaths and Miracles, by Nancy Kress

April 27, 1997
Diamond in the Buff, a Jill Smith Mystery, by Susan Dunlap
They Used to Call Me Snow White... But I Drifted: Women's Strategic Use of Humor, by Regina Barreca ***

March 23, 1997
The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
Motherhood Reconceived: Feminism and the Legacy of the 60's, by Lauri Ummansky.

February 23, 1997
How to Lead Work Teams, by Fran Rees.
Sleeping at the Starlite Motel, by Bailey White.

January 26, 1997
Downsize This!, by Michael Moore *****
The Deep End of the Ocean, by Jacquelyn Mitchard

December 1996
no meeting

November 24, 1996
Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, by Mary Bray Pipher ****
Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, by Fannie Flagg.

October 27, 1996
Juggling : the Unexpected Advantages of Balancing Career and Home for Women and their Families, by Faye Crosby *****
The Price of a Child, by Lorene Cary *****

September 29, 1996
The Pursuit of WOW, by Tom Peters ***1/2
Hard Laughter, by Anne Lamott

August 25, 1996
They Don't Get It, Do They? : Communication in the Workplace--Closing the Gap between Women and Men, by Kathleen Kelley Reardon ****
Object Lessons, by Anna Quindlen

July 28, 1996
Failing at Fairness : How American Schools Cheat Girls, by Myra Sadker and David Sadker ****1/2
Objects in Mirror are Closer than they Appear, by Katharine Weber

June 23, 1996
To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Engineering Design, by Henry Petroski
Angels and Insects, by A. S. Byatt

May 19, 1996
The Dilbert Principle, by Scott Adams
Moo, by Jane Smiley

4/12/13 dmt