Discussion Groups

The Library is home to a growing list of reading and discussion groups organized by members to address various interests. Groups usually meet in the twelfth story lecture hall. Because they are based on conversation and active participation, enrollment in groups may be limited. Reservations are required. Groups form throughout the year. Check back regularly for information on new groups.

2017 Mercantile Library discussion groups are supported by the Camden Foundation 

Contemporary Asian Literature

Discussion Series with Rich Lauf
Tuesdays 6 – 7:30 pm
September 12, 26, October 17, November 7
Series price $30 members/$40 non members
Individual sessions $10 members/$15 non members

To register: Call 513-621-0717 OR email reservations@mercantilelibrary.com

Asian authors are bringing the world a wealth of literary writing. In this series we will read four novels spanning Japan, Korea and China. Each one has great literary merit, raises provocative issues, and offers glimpses into the history and experiences of this vital region. Join us as we explore Asia through its current writers.

September 12 Haruki MurakamiColorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
A smash best-seller in Japan, this Bildungsroman sends its protagonist on a quest to find out why a tightly knit group of friends cut him off from all contact years earlier.
September 26 Han KangThe Vegetarian
The Vegetarian is a three part compact novella by Korean author Han Kang. The plot action stems from a Korean woman’s decision to become a vegetarian, but asks us bigger questions about human appetites. It won the Man Booker International Prize for Fiction.
October 17 Ha Jin – Nanjing Requiem
The Nanjing massacre is brought to life in its full horror and brutality in this novel that also shows us heroism and resistance in the midst of the horrors.
November 7 Mo Jan – Frog
This novel by Mo Jan, Winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature, addresses the one-child policy in China, its context and its horrific consequences through the life of Gugu, the first midwife in her town to practice modern medicine.

Rich Lauf is a long-time member of the Mercantile Library and serves on the Board of the Global Center of Greater Cincinnati and is a member of the Cincinnati chapter of the Foreign Policy Leadership Council.

OHIO: The Heart of it All

A Buckeye State discussion series, led by Brendon Cull
Thursdays noon to 1 pm

Series price $45 members/$55 non members
Individual sessions $10 members/$15 non members

To register: Call 513-621-0717 OR email reservations@mercantilelibrary.com

September 14: The Wright Brothers, by David McCullough
A biography of Daytonians Orville and Wilbur Wright, and their quest for flight.
October 5: Ohio Colossus: James Rhodes by Tom Diemer, et al
A biography of one of Ohio’s most influential elected officials.
October 26: Answering the Call by Judge Nate Jones
An autobiography of a civil rights legend, Judge Nathaniel Jones.
November 16: Reckless: My Life As a Pretender Chrissie Hynde
An autobiography of Akron’s rocker, the lead singer of the Pretenders.
December 7: Pete Rose: An American Dilemma Kostya Kennedy
A biography of the greatest hitter of all time, the controversial Pete Rose.


Brendon Cull is SVP and Chief Operating Officer at the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. A lifelong Ohioan, he lives in Clifton with his wife and two daughters.



First Wednesday Book Discussions

visit HERE

Reservations required: 513.621.0717 or email.



One of the Library’s longest-running discussion groups—the Canon Club—recently accomplished the laudable task of reading Shakespeare’s complete dramatic works. Joining each discussion are members of The Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.




The Walnut Street Poetry Society was founded in 2004 and is devoted to the reading and study of poetry. WSPS meets monthly (except July and August) at noon. Sessions are moderated by Dr. Norman Finkelstein, poet and professor of English at Xavier University, as well as group members.

WSPS 2017: Poetry and Politics 

The new season of WSPS begins January 2018 

Noon — 1:00 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month. The Society does not meet in July or August.

Sold as annual subscription only: $30 members/$40 nonmembers