Welcome to the KPL Book Club Blogspot

Welcome to the internet home of the Kilbourn Public Library (KPL) Book Club. The KPL Book Club meets at the library once a month. A book is chosen for each month and then members of the book club meet the last Monday and Wednesday of every month for lively discussion and treats. While we can’t offer you treats via the internet, this KPL Reads blog was designed for those of you who would like to participate in the book club but don’t have time to join us at meetings. Each month KPL staff will post discussion topics and questions to get you “talking”. Join in the discussion by adding a post to the blog. Click on the word comments below the post you want to "talk" about and write your comment. Be sure to check back often to see feedback and comments.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Club is reading Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger for April.

New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961.  The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson's Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack.  It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president.  But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms.  Accident. Nature.  Suicide.  Murder.

Told from Frank's perspective forty years after that fateful summer, Ordinary Grace is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him.  It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.

Think about the characters of Ruth and Nathan Drum, the narrator's mother and father.  How would you describe them and, especially, their marriage?

What do you think of Emil Brandt and his sister?

How would you describe Gus?  What is the bond between Gus and Nathan based on?  What do you think was the event during the war that the two refer to obliquely as they sit together in the darkened church?

Why is Ruth so angry with Nathan after Ariel disappears?  How would you respond to such a horrific loss:  would you respond as Ruth does, in anger?  Or would you be more like Nathan?

How would you define grace?  What, specifically, does "ordinary grace" refer to in the story, and what is the larger religious significance of the term "ordinary grace"?

Why is the grace spoken by Jake so extraordinary...and how does it affect members of his family?

What do you think happened to Bobby Cole?  Why might the author have left that mystery unresolved?

Let us know what you think of Ordinary Grace.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group will be reading The Worst Thing I've Done by Ursula Hegi for the March selection.  In this novel set on the East End of Long Island, a woman embarks on a poignant voyage of self-discovery and comes to terms with the aftermath of one horrible choice that changes everything. 

Friends since childhood, Annie, Jake, and Mason had a special bond that transcended all other relationships.  When Annie's parents die in a car accident on her and Mason's wedding night, the three friends decide to raise Annie's infant sister, Opal, together.  Jealousy and possessiveness entwine with love and friendship, and Annie struggles to be both a sister and a mother to Opal.  And then, on one fateful night, the friends step over a line that has shocking consequences.

Beautifully written and brilliantly vivid, this truthful and engaging novel of friendship and premature death, love and suicide, and, ultimately, resilience and understanding will resonate long after each character tells his or her story.  

Discuss the title of the novel.  Who do you think is the "I" in The Worst Thing I've Done?  What is the worst thing that Annie has done in the novel?  Mason?  Jake?

Annie considers the lifelong dynamic of her friendship with Mason and Jake:  "one of us always looking on".  Do you think it's inevitable that one person will feel excluded in a triangle friendship?  Do you think Mason, Annie, and Jake could have prevented the tragic implosion of their friendship?  If so, how?

Annie plays a dual role in Opal's life, as both her sister and her mother.  When do Annie and Opal seem most like sisters?  When is Annie able to assume authority as Opal's mother?

The ups and downs of friendship, such as Lotte and Aunt Stormy's "sisters-by-choice", or the tension between Mason and Jake, is featured prominently throughout the novel.  Which bond is stronger in the novel: friendship or family?  Or are they strong and tenuous in different ways?

At the end of the novel, Jake tells Annie about the day he and Mason fought on the raft at summer camp, but does not reveal what he saw of Mason's suicide.  Do you think Jake will ever tell Annie the deeper secret, or will he always keep it to himself?  How will his decision affect their relationship in the future?

Let us know what you think about The Worst Thing I've Done.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher is the book selection for February for the Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group.  Set in London and Cornwall from World War II to present, The Shell Seekers tells the story of the Keeling family, and of the passions and heartbreak that have held them together for three generations.  The family centers around Penelope, and it is her love, courage, and sense of values that determine the course of all their lives.  Deftly shifting back and forth in time, each chapter centers on one of the principal players in the family's history. The unifying thread is an oil painting entitled "The Shell Seekers," done by Penelope's father.  It is this painting that symbolizes to Penelope the ties between the generations.  But it is the fate of this painting that just may tear the family apart.

How would you describe Penelope Keeling as a character?  What traits would you ascribe to her?

What makes Noel and Nancy so unlikable?  Does Pilcher develop them fully as emotionally complex characters or as shallow, one-dimensional characters?

What about Olivia?  Is she too good to be true?

How does the prospect of an inheritance affect family dynamics, both in this story and in life?  Is Pilcher's account of Penelope's family realistic?

Why does Penelope want to keep The Shell Seekers?  What does it mean to her?  Were you held in suspense wondering how Penelope would eventually dispense with the painting?  Were you satisfied with the outcome?

Let us know what you think of The Shell Seekers.
The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group read The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson for the January selection.  A reluctant centenarian much like Forrest Gump (if Gump were an explosives expert with a fondness for vodka) decides it's not too late to start over. 

After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop.  The only problem is that he is still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100.  A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn't interested.  So he decides to escape.  He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash, some unpleasant criminals, a friendly hot-dog stand operator, and an elephant.

Many readers have spoken about the humor and optimism of Allan Karlsson.  How do these characteristics weave through the novel?  What parts do you find particularly funny...and what makes them funny?

What do you consider justice for Allan Karlsson?

The One Hundred Year Old Man is a novel with the topic of aging at its core.  What are society's expectations of how the elderly should act?  Does society do a good job in terms of how we treat our older population?

Let us know what you think!

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is again reading a selection of holiday books for the December get together.  Each person is choosing any holiday book they would like to read and we will have a short discussion on the books.

We will also be watching the movie The Fault in Our Stars.  This movie is based on the book of the same name that we read for our November selection.

Anyone is welcome to join in this holiday book reading and movie night.  Stop by the library or bookmobile and pick a holiday book to read.  Or just come and watch the movie with us.  We will be meeting on Monday, December 15 at 6:00 p.m. and Wednesday, December 17 at 1:30 p.m.   Join us for book discussion, a movie and snacks.

How do you feel about movies with a book tie-in?  Would you rather read the book first or watch the movie?

Do you know of any movies made from a book that you thought were really well done or any that you thought were very poorly done?

What is your favorite holiday themed book?

Let us know what you think!
Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group has chosen The Fault in Our Stars by John Green for the November book selection.

The Fault in Our Stars is John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis.  But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group,  Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

How would you describe the two main characters, Hazel and Gus?  Do either of them conform, in behavior or thinking, to what we normally associate with young cancer patients? 

How do Hazel and Gus each relate to their cancer?

At one point, Hazel says, "Cancer books suck."  Is this a book about cancer?  Did you have trouble picking up the book to read it?  What were you expecting?  Were those expectations met...or did the book alter your ideas?

What do you think about Peter Van Houten, the fictional author of An Imperial Affliction This book's real author, John Green, has said that Van Houten is a "horrible, horrible person but I have an affection for him."  Why might Green have said that?  What do you think of Van Houten?

How did you experience this book?  Is it too sad, too tragic to contemplate?  Or did you find it in some way uplifting?

Let us know what you think of The Fault in Our Stars.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is reading We Are Water by Wally Lamb for the October selection.   We Are Water is an intricate and layered portrait of marriage, family, and the inexorable need for understanding and connection. 

In middle age, Annie Oh--wife, mother, and outsider artist--has shaken her family to its core.  After twenty-seven years of marriage and three children, Annie has fallen in love with Viveca, the wealthy, cultured, confident Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her professional success. 

Annie and Viveca plan to wed in the Oh family's hometown of Three Rivers, Connecticut, where gay marriage has recently been legalized.  But the impending wedding provokes some very mixed reactions and opens a Pandora's box of toxic secrets--dark and painful truths that have festered below the surface of the Ohs' lives.

With humor and breathtaking compassion, Wally Lamb brilliantly captures the essence of human experience in vivid and unforgettable characters struggling to find hope and redemption in the aftermath of trauma and loss.  (From the publisher.)

Family, tragedy, art, violence, secrets, love, and transformation are the themes at the heart of We Are Water.  By keeping things to ourselves and by sharing them inappropriately, are we doomed to keep repeating the mistakes of the past?  How are Anna's secrets both destructive and productive? 

What is the attraction between Anna and Viveca?  What does Viveca offer Anna that Orion cannot?  What are your impressions of Viveca?

What is the significance of the title, We Are Water?  How many meanings does it have?  How does it connect to the final scene in the book?

Let us know what you think of We Are Water.