Wednesdays at noon. September 6, October 4, November 1, December 6.

This popular and long-running lunchtime series features different moderators and books, often titles of current and popular interest.

Open to Mercantile members and their guests only
Box lunches ($10) are available by advance payment
Reservations required: 513-621-0717 or

September 6: The Summer Before the War, by Helen Simonson THIS DISCUSSION IS FULL

Discussion Leader: Marianna Bettman

“’A tight-knit Sussex seaside town is ruptured by the onset of the First World War, in the second novel from the author of the bestselling Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand‘” –  Sunday Times, Summer Reading

Marianna Bettman is a professor of law at The University of Cincinnati, avid reader, and frequent discussion leader at The Mercantile Library. 

October 4: Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic, by Sam Quinones

Discussion Leader: John Faherty

With a great reporter’s narrative skill and the storytelling ability of a novelist, acclaimed journalist Sam Quinones weaves together two classic tales of capitalism run amok whose unintentional collision has been catastrophic. The unfettered prescribing of pain medications during the 1990s reached its peak in Purdue Pharma’s campaign to market OxyContin, its new, expensive–extremely addictive–miracle painkiller. Meanwhile, a massive influx of black tar heroin–cheap, potent, and originating from one small county on Mexico’s west coast, independent of any drug cartel–assaulted small town and mid-sized cities across the country, driven by a brilliant, almost unbeatable marketing and distribution system. Together these phenomena continue to lay waste to communities from Tennessee to Oregon, Indiana to New Mexico.


John Faherty is the Executive Director of The Mercantile Library. 


November 1: The Nix by Nathan Hill

Discussion Leader: Justin Masterson

The debut novel by The Mercantile Library’s 2017 Modern Novel Lecturer, “The Nix is a mother-son psychodrama with ghosts and politics, but it’s also a tragicomedy about anger and sanctimony in America.…Nathan Hill is a maestro.”
—John Irving

Justin Masterson is a marketer, a bourbon drinker, a parent, a bass player in a karaoke band, a husband, an NPR fanatic, a book lover, a diabetes advocate, and a terrible pinball player. He is in love with The Mercantile Library, and generally in over his head.

December 6: The House of Rumour by Jake Arnott

Discussion Leader: Kamal Southall

Larry Zagorski, a science fiction writer turned U.S. fighter pilot, searches for connections between what seem like disparate events while conspiracy theories begin to suggest the possibility of a single force behind them in this novel that mixes real-life figures with fictional characters as it moves briskly from WWII spy intrigue (featuring Ian Fleming) and occultism to the West Coast pulp science-fiction set and the 1980s U.K. new wave music scene.

Kamal Southall is a Cincinnati area IT professional, he enjoys old books, late-night coffeehouses, and travel.

2017 Mercantile Library Discussion groups are sponsored by The Camden Foundation