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, December 18, 2009

The book club selection for January is The Once and Future King by T.H. White. According to one review, The Once and Future King is children's fantasy as it should be, a delightful read for both kids and adults. T.H. White manages to mingle the humorous and the sad portions of the King Arthur story successfully, and he never talks down to his audience or tries to oversimplify the events. The result is a wonderfully entertaining book that never slows down, one that's both amusing and serious.

White covers the entire story of King Arthur's life. He captures the spirit of the times, making you feel like you're actually in England during the Middle Ages, watching the tournaments and quests and battles yourself. His descriptions are beautiful, his characters come alive and his handling of some of the classic scenes is unforgettable.

Arthur's first important realization is that people in his time think that "might is right." Is this belief confined to the Dark Ages, or do many people still think this way? Can you give any examples?

At one point, Arthur believes that might can be used in the cause of justice. Sir Kay objects that this is no different from "might is right." Do you agree with Sir Kay? Or are there times when people are justified in using might to enforce their ideas?

Merlyn says it is wrong to start a war, but it is all right to fight if the other side starts. He also says it is almost always possible to tell which side is starting a war. Do you agree it is only legitimate to fight if the other side starts the war? And is it always possible to tell which side is starting a war?

The Once and Future King has been called the world's greatest fantasy classic.
Let us know what you think!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

During December the members of the Kilbourn Public Library book club are reading a selection of holiday stories. Each member chose a different book and will tell other members about it at the December meeting. Do you have a favorite holiday book? Let us know what it is and why you like it. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The book club selection for November is The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. Since it was first published, The Things They Carried has become an unparalleled Vietnam testament, a classic work of American literature and a profound study of men at war that illuminates the capacity, and the limits, of the human heart and soul.

The Things They Carried is Tim O'Brien's beautiful, anguished collection of linked stories about Vietman. Mingling fact with fiction, telling and retelling events from different points of view, the book is as much about war as it is about the difference between truth and reality.

On the copyright page of the novel appears the following: "This is a work of fiction. Except for a few details regarding the author's own life, all the incidents, names, and characters are imaginary. " How does this statement affect your reading of the novel?

In the list of all the things the soldiers carried, what item was most surprising? Which item did you find most evocative of the war? Which items stay with you?

Does your opinion of O'Brien change throughout the course of the novel? How so? Let us know what you think.

Friday, October 2, 2009

This month the library book club is reading The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, a book Wikipedia calls "a psychological horror novel". It is October after all! This novel is written by Stephen King, the man known internationally for his contemporary horror fiction books and screenplays.

King has crafted a story about a young girl who gets lost in the woods where her only link to the outside world is her radio and her love of the Boston Red Sox. This book will hold you captivated until the end.

Was there a particulary striking scene in the book? Were the characters believable? If you have read other Stephen King books how do you think this one compares to some of his other books? Let us know what you think!

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Kilbourn Public Library book club selection for September is the non-fiction book The Woman Who Can't Forget by Jill Price. Jill has the first diagnosed case of a memory condition called "hyperthymestic syndrome"--the continuous, automatic, autobiographical recall of every day of her life since she was fourteen. Her memories are like scenes from home movies, constantly playing in her head, backward and forward, through the years; not only does she make no effort to call memories to mind, she cannot stop them.

The Woman Who Can't Forget is the beautifully written and moving story of Jill's quest to come to terms with her extraordinary memory, living with a condition that no one understood, including her, until the scientific team who studied her finally charted the extraordinary terrain of her abilities. Her fascinating journey speaks volumes about the delicate dance of remembering and forgetting in all of our lives and the many mysteries about how memories shape us.

Would we want to remember so much more of our lives if we could? Which memories do our minds privilege over others? Do we truly relive the times we remember most vividly, feeling emotions that coursed through us then? Why do we forget so much, and in what ways do the workings of memory tailor the reality of what's actually happened to us in our lives? Let us know what you think.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Kilbourn Public Library book club has chosen the perfect end of summer read for it's August selection. We will be reading Judy Blume's Summer Sisters. Blume, who is best known for her young adult novels, has written a story of two girls from very different backgrounds and the coming of age summer they share. Their story will play with your emotions and leave you wanting more. This book will take you back to your own childhood summers and will remind you of how strong the bond of friendship can be.

Summer Sisters unfolds over almost twenty summers in the lives of Vixen and Caitlin--from 1977 when they're twelve to 1995 when they celebrate their thirtieth birthdays. There's a love story at the center, and the story of a frienship more intense and longer lasting than many love affairs.

What is it about Vix that leads Caitlin to befriend her in the first place? What does Vix get from her friendship with Caitlin? What does Caitlin get from Vix? And what do each of them give? What do you see as the source of the lasting bond between Vix and Caitlin?

What drew you to each character? With which characters did you most sympathize? Why? Was the ending inevitable or tragic? How do you feel about the ambiguity of the ending? Let us know what you think!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Kilbourn Public Library book club selection for July is Anna Quindlen's Blessings. This novel begins late one evening when a baby is left at the estate of Lydia Blessing. The caretaker of the estate decides he wants to keep the child and Lydia agrees to help him. This is a powerful novel of love, redemption and personal change. In Blessings, readers are drawn into the world of Lydia Blessing as she deals with family demons and the skeletons in her own closet. Anna Quindlen has masterfully woven an unpredictable plot and created characters with amazing depth.

The Washington Post has said of Anna Quindlen's work, "Quindlen knows that all the things we ever will be can be found in some forgotten fragment of family." Family seems to be connected to many of the fundamental and important themes of the novel. How might this tribute be applied to Blessings? In a society and a world that is constantly changing, is there such a thing as a "normal" family? What makes the "family" of Blessings--Skip, Lydia, and Faith--either normal or unusual and what allows them to function as a family unit? Post a comment and let us know what you think.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

We are not keeping it a secret! Our book club selection for June is Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella. With the same wicked humor, bouyant charm and optimism that have made her Shopaholic novels beloved international bestsellers, Sophie Kinsella delivers a hilarious novel and an unforgettable character. Meet Emma Corrigan, a young woman with a huge heart, an irrepressible spirit, and a few little secrets!

After a run-of-the-mill business presentation runs amok, account executive Emma Corrigan finds herself on an unusually turbulent plane ride next to a handsome stranger. As she contemplates the business meeting she fears will end her career and the plane ride she fears will end her life, she aimlessly spews her deepest and darkest secrets to the man by her side. When the plane lands safely and Emma is adoringly welcomed by her long-time boyfriend Connor, she revels in the possibility that her bad luck has come to an end, but, unfortunately, her sense of relief is short-lived.

This is just a good old entertaining read! Did you laugh out loud? What did you like or dislike about the book? Let us know what you think.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I swear it's a good book! This month the library book club will be reading Testimony by Anita Shreve. According to the publisher this novel is a gripping emotional drama with the impact of a thriller. This novel takes place at a New England boarding school where a sex scandal is about to break. Even more shocking than the acts themselves is the fact that they were caught on videotape. Through the scandal we see the ways in which lives can be destroyed in one foolish moment and how our best intentions can lead to our worst transgressions.

The story of Testimony is told from many different perspectives. Why do think Anita Shreve chose this narrative style for the novel? Can you see any connection between this style and some of the novel's themes? Several characters comment that if the sexual incident at Avery had occurred at a local public school, it would have drawn little or no attention. Do you agree with this assessment? Is it fair that this elite institution be held to a different standard? What do you think will happen to the students in the future? How will they be affected by the incident and its aftermath? Let us know what you think!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Truck along with the book club! The book we have chosen for April is Truck, A Love Story by New Auburn, Wisconsin author Michael Perry. On the surface, Perry's tale of restoring his 1951 pickup truck is both hilarious and heartfelt as we encounter the quirky yet endearing folks of New Auburn, Wisconsin. This book delivers a truckload of humor, heart and ...gardening tips? Perry lovingly portrays the people and places of his daily life, paying homage to small town America and to love found unexpectedly and all it brings.

This memoir is filled with eccentric characters, keen observations, and humorous storytelling. What aspect of Perry's book appealed to you: the truck repair, the romance, the gardening? Did you like the structure of the three story threads? Perry likes to showcase the ways that small town people are not all cut from the same cloth. Who are some of the locals in this book that are most memorable to you? Some readers think a dictionary beside them is a must while reading Perry. Does his expansive vocabulary impress or infuriate? Or did you even notice it? Let us know what you think!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Library Book Club selection for March is Sail: a Novel by James Patterson. This book will captivate the reader from beginning to end. Since her husband died, Anne Dunne has struggled to bring her three children together for a family vacation, so she plans a summer sailing trip on her late husband’s sailboat. The Dunne family soon find themselves trapped in paradise and fighting for their lives. Lost at sea, injured and dysfunctional, the Dunne family’s struggles will pull most thriller readers through to the end in a single sitting or two.
This novel seeks to explore family dynamics in a thriller setting. Is the author able to create a family drama within the setting of the thriller genre? Did the book indeed keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end?
James Patterson is one America's bestselling authors and also one of the most prolific. If you have read other books by James Patterson do you feel he is able to keep his writing fresh?
Post a comment and let us know what you think.

Friday, January 30, 2009

You will LOVE the book club selection for February! In the Land of No Right Angles introduces the fiction of Daphne Beal. Beal is originally from Wisconsin.

Alex, a twenty-year-old American student, is spending the year in Nepal, backpacking and photographing. As a favor to Will--her American friend--she uses one of her Himalayan treks to seek out Maya, a young Nepali woman desperate to flee her traditional family to find work in Kathmandu. But helping Maya has unforeseen implications. Alex is soon embroiled in a strange triangle with Maya and Will, where the lines between friendship, love, and lust grow more tangled every day.

Over the course of the next eight years, Alex returns to Nepal: first to visit and to photograph, then in an attempt to help the troubled Maya. Moving between Kathmandu, New York, and the grim houses of prostitution along Falkland Road in Bombay, Alex begins to understand the pitfalls of trying to be both adventurer and savior in an unfamiliar world.

What specific themes did the author emphasize thoughout the novel? Do the characters seem real and believable? Did you like the book? Why or why not? Let us know what you think.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Club is starting out 2009 with a book that focuses on the Midwest. This book is author Wendy Bilen’s search into her family history. In Finding Josie, Bilen gives us an illuminating history of her Grandmother, first growing up in North Dakota and later as a farm wife on a dairy farm outside of LaCrosse, Wisconsin. According to the Wisconsin Historical Press this book is more than a memoir or family history but instead a dual story that “illuminates the surprising ways our lives intersect with our ancestors”.
In Chapter 1 the author tells us "I am not looking for my grandmother because she is lost, but because I am." What is the author really after in her search through her grandmother's past? In what ways do the author's life and our lives intersect with our ancestors?