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.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The book selection for June is Buy the Little Ones a Dolly written by Wisconsin Dells' very own Rose Bingham.

 In a small, close-knit Wisconsin community, a mother goes into town and never returns. It's 1952 and Rose, at 15, is the oldest of seven children, the youngest of whom is only 3. As hard as Rose and her father tried to keep things together on the home front, with the help of kind relatives and sympathetic neighbors, in 1954, the children were ultimately placed in an orphanage, and later split up into five different foster families. "Buy the little ones a dolly" were some of the last words Rose received from her mother in a Christmas letter, sent without a return address. Rose made it her lifelong mission to maintain contact among the siblings. Rose intimately escorts the reader on her journey through trials, tribulations, joy, and love. The mystery surrounding her mother's disappearance comes to light 59 years later. 

Let us know what you think of Rose's  inspirational memoir of her childhood. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

The May book selection for the Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.  Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human--a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we'll go to claim the lives we dream of. (From the publisher.)

This book explores the nature of identity.  Who is the real Jason?  Is there a real Jason--could a case be made that he is not the Jason with a wife and son who narrates the story?  Out of all the versions of Jason, what makes him...him?

What would your alternate universes look like?  What dreams, in your own life, did you choose not to pursue which, if the events in Dark Matter happened to you, would return as alternate universes?  Ever wish that were possible?  How different a person might you be had you chosen one of those different paths?

In what way is Jason like the Box, the mysterious cube-ish chamber?

There are various universes that Jason inhabits.  Which do you find most disturbing or frightening? 

During his search for "home" what does Jason come to learn about himself, flaws and all?  What does he come to value? 

(Questions by LitLovers.)

Let us know what you think  of  Dark Matter.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The book selection for the Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group for April is Idaho by Emily Ruskovich.

 Ann and Wade have carved out a life for themselves from a rugged landscape in northern Idaho, where they are bound together by more than love. With her husband’s memory fading, Ann attempts to piece together the truth of what happened to Wade’s first wife, Jenny, and to their daughters. In a story written in exquisite prose and told from multiple perspectives—including Ann, Wade, and Jenny, now in prison—we gradually learn of the mysterious and shocking act that fractured Wade and Jenny's lives, of the love and compassion that brought Ann and Wade together, and of the memories that reverberate through the lives of every character in Idaho.

In a wild emotional and physical landscape, Wade’s past becomes the center of Ann’s imagination, as Ann becomes determined to understand the family she never knew—and to take responsibility for them, reassembling their lives, and her own.

Though at the novel's center is an act of shocking violence, this is also a story about many different kinds of love.  What are these various forms of love?  What role does love play in this novel, and how does love contribute to the feeling you are left with in the end?

When Wade's memory begins to fail, Ann endures humiliation and physical pain because of his actions, which, to someone outside of the relationship, would look like domestic abuse.  In what ways does she cope with these episodes?  How does Ann interpret these acts of violence, and what does this say about her as a character?  Did you feel nervous and uncomfortable about the fine line she is walking between her love and her safety?

What are other examples of sacrifice in this novel?

Female friendship and sisterhood are major themes.  Think about the various relationships between the female characters.  Is female friendship the saving grace of this story?

How do you interpret the act of violence that is at the heart of this story?  Do you feel that Ann's interpretation is correct?  Why do you think the author chose to tell only as much as she did?  Why did she decide not to provide an absolute answer?

Do you sympathize with Jenny, in spite of what she's done?  Why or why not?  If you had to choose only one moment in the story that characterized Jenny, would it be her act of violence, or something else?  How do yo think she understands herself?

Are you surprised by the end of Ann's story?  Jenny's?  Why or why not?

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The March book selection for the Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi.  When Breath Becomes Air is a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question--What makes a life worth living?

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade's worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.  One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. 

When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both. (From the publisher)

How would you describe Dr. Paul Kalanithi?  What kind of a person was he?

One of the ironies of Kalanithi's life is that he postponed learning how to live in order to learn how to be a doctor.  But once he knew he had lung cancer, he had to learn how to die.  What are the ways in which he learned to live...and learned to face his death?  Would you be as brave and thoughtful as Kalanithi was? 

Once Kalanithi and his wife learned that he had terminal cancer, why did they decide to have a child?  Even Kalanithi wonders if having a child wouldn't make it harder to die.  What would you do?

How would you (or will you) go about dying?  How do you think of death--as something distant, something frightening or horrible, as part of the normal spectrum of life, as a closing of this chapter of your life and the opening of another?  What comes to mind when you think of your own demise?

Do you  find When Breath Becomes Air enlightening, insightful, spiritual, maudlin?  Would you describe it as an important book or merely interesting?

(Questions by LitLovers)

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

    The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is reading Everyone Brave is Forgiven  by Chris Cleave for the February book selection. 
    It's 1939, and the world is at war.  Within an hour of hostilities being declared in Britain, Mary, a headstrong young socialite, volunteers to serve.  She is assigned to teach children who have been rejected by the countryside to which they were evacuated.  It is in this role that Mary meets Tom, an education administrator in her school district.
    Their professional relationship quickly becomes personal.  But when Mary meets Alistair, Tom's best friend who has enlisted, the three are drawn into a love triangle that they must navigate while trying to survive an escalating war.
    Everyone Brave is Forgiven is a stunning examination of what it means to love, lose and remain courageous.
    Both Mary and Alistair sign up to be part of the war effort almost immediately after war is declared. What are their motivations for doing so?  How does each of them serve?  Why is Mary surprised by her assignment?
    When Mary first begins spending time with Tom, she describes him as "Thoughtful.  Interesting. Compassionate." (p. 41)  What did you think of him?  Are the two well suited for each other?  Why, or why not?
    In a letter, Mary writes, "I was brought up to believe that everyone brave is forgiven, but in wartime courage is cheap and clemency out of season." (p. 245)  Why do you think Chris Cleave chose to take the title of his novel from this line?  Does your interpretation of the title change when you read it in the full context of the quote?  In what ways?
    Early in the novel, while Mary is with Tom, she is "thinking how much she was enjoying the war." (p. 86)  Why might Mary enjoy the war?  What new freedoms are afforded to her in wartime?
    After seeing the effects of one of the air raids, Mary "knew, now, why her father had not spoken of the last war, nor Alistair of this.  It was hardly fair on the living." (p. 268)  What does Mary see that leads her to have this insight?  What effect does not speaking of his experiences in war have on Alistair?
    Let us know what you think of Everyone Brave is Forgiven.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is reading Miller's Valley by Anna Quindlen for the January 2018 book selection.  For generations the Millers have lived in Miller's Valley.  Mimi Miller tells about her life with intimacy and honesty.  As Mimi eavesdrops on her parents and quietly observes the people around her, she discovers more and more about the toxicity of family secrets, the dangers of gossip, the flaws of marriage, the inequalities of friendship and the risks of passion, loyalty, and love.  Home, as Mimi begins to realize, can be "a place where it's just as easy to feel lost as it is to feel content."

Miller's Valley is a masterly study of family, memory, loss, and, ultimately, discovery, of finding true identity and a new vision of home.  As Mimi says, "No one ever leaves the town where they grew up, even if they go."  Miller's Valley reminds us that the place where you grew up can disappear, and the people in it too, but all will live on in your heart forever.  (From the publisher.)

How would you describe Mimi as the book opens, and how does she change over the course of the novel?  What does she come to learn, as she matures, about place and home?

Why is Mimi so tied to the valley? Is her reluctance merely a childish fear to move beyond a familiar world?  Or is it something else?

The book asks an important question about how closely our identities are tied to our origins, both place and family.  Do we change when we adapt to new experiences and when we lose what we treasure?  Do we ever really leave the past behind us?

Let us know what you think!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

It's December already!  This is the month to read a Holiday Book.  Stop in the library and check out a holiday book you have never read or an old favorite. The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group wishes you Happy Holidays!