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.

Monday, November 2, 2020

The book selection for November for the Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is Queen Bee by Dorothea Benton Frank.

Beekeeper Holly McNee Jensen quietly lives in a world of her own on Sullivan's Island, tending her hives and working at the local island library.  Holly calls her mother The Queen Bee because she's a demanding hulk of a woman.  Her mother, a devoted hypochondriac, might be unaware that she's quite ill but that doesn't stop her from tormenting Holly.  Holly's escape is to submerge herself in the lives of the two young boys next door and their widowed father, Archie.

Queen Bee is a classic Lowcountry Tale--warm, wise and hilarious, it roars with humanity and a dropperful of whodunit added for good measure by an unseen hand.  In her twentieth novel, Dorothea Benton Frank brings us back to her beloved island with an unforgettable story where the Lowcountry magic of the natural world collides with the beat of the human heart.

What is it about bees and their ways that is so appealing to Holly?

To what (or whom) does the title refer?  Who is the "Queen Bee" in your life?

What is at the heart of Charlie and Leslie's marital strife?  Do they both try their best to make it work?

Is Archie a good father?  Why does Holly have such a natural maternal way with Tyler and Hunter?

In your opinion, did Archie really love Sharon, or was he just lonely and needed a wife?  Did he have genuine feelings for Holly?

Were you surprised that Suzanne (aka Buster) and Momma got together?  Which character in Queen Bee do you think changed the most?

Have you ever been to the Lowcountry in South Carolina?  If not, has reading Queen Bee made you curious about this beautiful part of the country?

Let us know what you thought of Queen Bee!



Thursday, October 8, 2020

The October book selection for the Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is Parkland by Dave Cullen.  Parkland is this year's Go Big Read book selection. Go Big Read started 11 years ago and has grown to be one of the largest college common reading programs.  It has united UW-Madison and local communities in reading and discussing timely topics, all with a goal of gaining a better understanding of each other and the issues.  Taking on the different voices and perspectives of the March for Our Lives Movement's key participants, Parkland is an in-depth examination of a pivotal moment in American culture.  Cullen guides us into the hearts of the Douglas students as they cope with the common concerns of students everywhere.  As a celebration of the passion exhibited by these astonishing students, who channeled their anger into a movement, this book explores hope after tragedy and is an inspiring call to action.

The Kilbourn Public Library is partnering with UW-Madison and the Madison Public Library to bring you online book discussions about this year's Go Big Read book, Parkland, by Dave Cullen.  These discussions will be happening on Wednesday, October 21 at 7 pm, Thursday, October 29 at 1 pm,  Tuesday, November 10 at 7 pm, and Wednesday, November 18 at 1 pm.  We will have the link to sign up for book discussions available on the Kilbourn Public Library website.


Who do you think is the intended audience of Parkland, and why? 

How do you think the book would be different if it had been written by the students themselves, rather than a third party?

Throughout the book, Cullen explores the different ways that Parkland students responded to the trauma they experienced.  How did their responses vary?  

Cullen also discusses the "weird hierarchy of victimhood " (92) among both students and parents.  Why do you think this happens?

Though Parkland focuses primarily on the activism of students, Cullen also draws attention to adult activism targeted towards gun safety.  How do the adult approaches to activism in the book differ from the way that the Parkland students approach activism?  How did the parents support their children's activism? 

The students of Parkland used social media extensively to spread their message, from the first time Cameron used #neveragain (42) through regularly posting tweets that drew millions of impressions(176).  What made their use of social media so successful, and what were the drawbacks?

Let us know what you think of Parkland by David Cullen.



Monday, August 24, 2020

The September book selection for the Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle. At one point or another, we've all been asked to name five people, living or dead, with whom we'd like to have dinner. How do we choose the people we do? And what if that dinner was to actually happen? These are questions Rebecca Serle contends with in her utterly captivating novel.

When Sabrina arrives at her 30th birthday dinner she finds at the table not just her best friend, but also three significant people from her past, and well, Audrey Hepburn. As the appetizers are served, wine poured, and dinner table conversation begins, it becomes clear that there's a reason these six people have been gathered together. Delicious but never indulgent, sweet with just the right amount of bitter, The Dinner List is a romance for our times. Bon Appetit. (From the publisher.)

Who is on your own dinner list? And why?

What do you make of Sabrina and Tobias's relationship, or attempt at one? Why can't they seem to make each other happy?

What do we learn of Sabrina's difficult connection with her father?

What does Professor Conrad add to the party?

Same for Audrey Hepburn? What role does she play? How does she connect the different chapters in Sabrina's life?

One of the themes of The Dinner List is the way in which a tiny incident, one particular decision, which at first seems incidental, can end up having a large impact on our lives. How do you see this play out in The Dinner List--especially in Sabrina's life?

In what ways does the dinner party end up changing Sabrina, her perspective and her relationships, especially with Tobias and her father?

(Questions by LitLovers.)

Let us know what you think of The Dinner List!

Monday, July 27, 2020

    The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group book selection for August is All We Ever Wanted  by Emily Giffin.  In this thought-provoking novel a woman is forced to choose between her family and her most deeply held values.

Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville's elite.  Her husband's tech business is booming, and her adored son, Finch, is bound for Princeton. 

Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs.  His adored daughter, Lyla, attends Nashville's most prestigious private high school on a scholarship.  But amid the wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn't always fit in.

Then one devastating photo changes everything.

Finch snaps a picture of Lyla passed out at a party, adds a provocative caption, and sends it to a few friends.  The photo spreads like wildfire, and before long an already divided community is buzzing with scandal and assigning blame. 

In the middle of it all, Nina finds herself relating more to Tom's reaction than to her own husband's--and facing an impossible choice.  (From the publisher.)

Think about the title, All We Ever Wanted.  How do you think it relates to the overall story?  How does it apply to each of the characters in the book?

Both Nina and Kirk have different ideas about what the "right path" is for Finch.  How do you think each parent justifies their actions?

Tom is furious about the transgression against his daughter, and believes she deserves justice.  How do Tom's responsibilities as a parent come into conflict with the ethics of respecting Lyla's wishes?

As the book progresses, Nina finds herself siding with Tom's values rather than her husband's.  Do you feel that Nina is betraying her family by aligning with Tom?  Is she betraying herself if she does not stick to her beliefs?  Whom does she owe her loyalty to more?

In chapter eleven, Melanie tells Nina that it's a mother's responsibility to stand by her child "no matter what."  Do you agree with this assertion?

Why do you think Lyla is so willing to trust and even begin dating Finch?  As you were reading, did you believe Finch's claim that Polly stole his phone and took the picture of Lyla?  If so, was there a point at which you began to doubt Finch?

This book poses the question of what lengths one should go to in order to protect one's family versus preserve one's values.  What would you have done in Nina's position?  In Tom's?

In the epilogue, Lyla tells Finch that Nina "saved" them both.  What do you think she means?  Do you think this is an accurate statement?
(Questions issued by the publishers.)

Let us know what you think of All We Ever Wanted.

Monday, June 29, 2020

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is reading Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde for the July selection.  Pay It Forward is a wondrous and moving story about Trevor McKinney, a twelve-year-old boy in a small California town who accepts the challenge that his teacher gives his class, a chance to earn extra credit by coming up with a plan to change the world for the better--and to put that plan into action. 

The plan that Trevor comes up with is so simple--and so naive--that when others learn of it they are dismissive.  What is his idea? Trevor chooses three people for whom he will do a favor, and then when those people thank him and ask how they might pay him back, he will tell them that instead of paying him back they should each pay it forward by choosing three people for whom they can do favors, and in turn telling those people to pay it forward.  It's nothing less than a human chain letter of kindness and good will.  But will it work?

In the end, Pay It Forward is the story of seemingly ordinary people made extraordinary by the simple faith of a child. (From the publisher.)

When Trevor first presents his Pay-It-Forward plan many dismiss it.  Why?  Would you have dismissed Pay-It-Forward?

Eventually, Pay-It-Forward begins to work, creating a chain reaction and becoming a Movement.  Why does the concept take hold?  What is it about the plan that inspires people?

The story is told through various point-of-view devices:  first-and third-person narrators, book excerpts, interview transcripts, journal entries, and central character shifts.  Do Hyde's narrative techniques work?  Do they enhance the story or make it confusing?  Why might she have chosen to structure the novel in the way she did?

What about the book's ending?  Sad, yes, but satisfying?  Does Trevor become a martyr?  Would you have preferred a different ending?

Do you personally follow the Pay-It-Forward philosophy?  Does this book inspire you--make you more aware of what you, individually, or all of us, collectively, could do --to improve the world?

Is this a religious book?

Let us know what you think of Pay It Forward.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Our June book selection for the Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney.  The Nest is a warm, funny and acutely perceptive debut novel abour four adult siblings and the fate of the shared inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives.

Every family has its problems.  But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional.  Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. 

Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of Leo's accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives.

This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down.  In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.  (From the publisher.)

Just how dysfunctional is the Plumb family...and why?  Why do the siblings allow Leo to have such power over them? 

Melody, Beatrice, Jack and Leo all have behaved somewhat (or very) irresponsibly.  Is there one of them with whom you sympathize more than the others?  Or are they all caught up in a sense of their own entitlement?

How would you live your life if you knew you were to receive a fair amount of money down the line?

How did you feel about the novel's end, regarding Leo's fate?  Did the epilogue satisfy enough of your desire for a "happy ending," or was it more melancholy than expected?

Do you feel that the bond of family trumps all including behavior?  Do you think it's possible to rebuild trust once it has been broken?  Why or why not?  And are there some bonds that can become stronger than those of family?

Let us know what you think of The Nest!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

The March book selection for the Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is Furious Hours:  Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep.  A true-crime book that delves into a dramatic murder trial in 1970s  Alabama, Furious Hours goes in depth into the trial, the key participants, and Harper Lee, the writer who spent years of her life after her success with To Kill a Mockingbird attempting to write her own true-crime book about the sensational trial. 

Casey Cep brings this story to life, from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South. At the same time, she offers a deeply moving portrait of one of the country’s most beloved writers and her struggle with fame, success, and the mystery of artistic creativity.

How did you experience the book? Were you engaged immediately, or did it take you a while to
"get into it"?

How did you like the writing style of the author?

Did you like the way the book was structured?  Why or why not?

What specific passages or sections of the book were most memorable for you?

Let us know how you liked Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee.