The Mercy and CNR Online Alumni Book Club

The Office of Advancement at Mercy graciously thanks Dr. Harris Stratyner '77, H.D. '05, former trustee (2011-2016) and Dr. Lynn Stratyner for their generous donation of the Online Alumni Book Club. 


How It Works
The book club will connect through a private online forum where people can discuss the current book and network with each other. The group will spend two months on each book, so you'll have plenty of time to read. You can sign up and learn more here.

Why should you join?
There are three main reasons we hope you'll be excited to participate in our book club:

  1. Connect with fellow alumni
  2. Be a part of a lifelong learning community, and
  3. Reading is good for you! 

The book club is managed by PBC Guru which manages professional book clubs for companies and alumni associations and will be moderating the group to help make this program a great experience for all participants. Please email them at with any questions or visit their website. 

Members of this Book Club recommend the following books:


Notes on a Silencing, A Memoir by Lacy Crawford. A survivor’s story… Beautifully written and insightful, this is the gut-wrenching true story of a teenage girl assaulted not only by the teenage boys who brutally raped her but by an elite institution that silenced her and countless other young women.

Lady in Red: An Intimate Portrait of Nancy Reagan by Sheila Tate. Interesting portrayal and behind-the-scenes account of former First Lady, Nancy Reagan compiled by Sheila Tate, who served as her press secretary.

The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict. Written in first-person diary format, this historic novel tells the fascinating story of Hollywood legend, Hedy Lamarr. Well known for her beauty and acting talent, Hedy also had a brilliant mind. Most remarkably Hedy along with George Antheil co-invented a frequency- hopping spread spectrum communication for torpedo guidance.

The Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd. A fictionalized account of another real person, Eliza Lucas. Set in the period from 1739 to 1744 and based on historical records, this novel recounts how 16-year-old Eliza, left in charge of her father’s 3 plantations in rural South Carolina, brought the indigo crop and dye process to South Carolina.

The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson. Although not the best-written book, this historical novel is worth recommending as it tells the fascinating and little-known history of the Pack Horse Librarian Program during the Depression and the Blue People of Kentucky.

Seneca Falls Inheritance by Miriam Grace Monfredo. The first in a series of six historic novels set in Seneca Falls, NY in the mid-1800s and featuring Glynis Tryon, a smart female lead character, a librarian/ amateur detective. Although at heart a detective story, using the historical backdrop of the Women’s Right Convention, and combining the fictional leads with historical figures, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, makes this a gem of a book.

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep. An incredibly well-written and well-researched book. Ms.  Cep tells the true crime story of Rev. Willie Maxwell in Alabama: a story which Harper Lee herself doggedly investigated and researched in an effort to produce her own In Cold Blood, but never did. In so doing Cep provides a unique glimpse into Lee’s world.

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline. In this historical novel, Ms. Kline presents the story of Christina Olson, the inspiration of Andrew Wyeth’s painting, Christina’s World. This is a beautifully written story of friendship, family, love, disappointment, and survival.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell. In her incredible debut novel. Ms. Russell makes no excuses for anyone’s behavior, she leaves it up to the reader. What I found so wonderful about this book is Vanessa’s journey in dealing with the damage that the subtle bullying of a pedophile can have on a conflicted, insecure teenager.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy.  For the artist that dwells in each of us…If you just have a few moments and want to renew your spirit, get a copy of this beautiful book.  It is a collection of simple reflections on life, loneliness, fear, and friendship with thoughtful and touching illustrations. You can open any page at any time to find food for thought whether you are "eight or eighty".

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.  Brought me back to my tiny 7th-grade school library where I discovered Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca. I thought my insight was brilliant until I saw a similar comparison on the back cover!  I couldn’t put either book down for the twists and turns of family secrets and forbidden spaces.  Another deep dive into hidden strengths and complex personalities.  I was engrossed and you will be too.  A great first novel, it’s also a BBC movie available online. 

The Skylark’s Secret by Fiona Valpy. Looking for a romance?  If you are hooked on WWII stories and love descriptions of the Scottish countryside, try this story of an independent mother and then her daughter who each found their own paths to happiness.  Details of the war effort, the entrenched British class system, and village life in the Highlands offer pleasant entertainment while we still stay at home.