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, December 5, 2011

This month the Kilbourn Public Library Book Club is doing something special. Each member will be choosing from a selection of holiday books that are available at the library. We will read the book that we choose and tell others about it at the December meeting.

You can join in the fun! Read any holiday book you would like and let us know what you think about it. You can come to the library and pick up a holiday book here or read one you already have.

Share your thoughts about the book you read!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Club is reading The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian for its November selection. The Double Bind is a story of a young woman working at a homeless shelter who becomes fascinated with photographs taken by one of her clients, photos that suggest he might be tied to her own past in mysterious ways.

Chris Bohjalian's novel is plotted like a mystery but written like the best literary fiction. The Double Bind is a page-turner that is sensitive and beautifully written.

Is it clear to you what parts of the story were Laurel's fabrications? Does it matter which parts were?

Had you ever read The Great Gatsby? Why do you think it figured so prominently in Laurel's mind? In Chris Bohjalian's mind?

Let us know what you think of The Double Bind.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

For October, the Library Book Club has chosen an American classic that fits perfectly into the season. The Haunting of Hill House is a 1959 novel by Shirley Jackson. Finalist for the National Book Award and considered one of the best literary ghost stories published during the twentieth century, it has been made into two feature films and a play.

Jackson's novel relies on terror rather than horror to elicit the reader's emotions, utilizing complex relationships between the mysterious events in the house and the characters' psyches.

Read The Haunting of Hill House and decide WHO was in control--Eleanor or Hill House? Long after you have finished the book, Eleanor and Hill House will haunt your mind and soul.

Let us know what you think!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Club is exploring the books of John Grisham for the August meeting. Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, The Appeal, The Associate, and The Confession) and all of them have become international bestsellers.

Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas).

The Innocent Man (October 2006) marked his first foray into non-fiction , and Ford County (November 2009) was his first short story collection.

Choose a John Grisham book and let us know what you think!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Club is reading Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler for its August selection. Noah's Compass is Anne Tyler's 18th novel. Set as usual in her native Baltimore, the novel concerns a fifth-grade, private-school teacher named Liam Pennywell.

Liam has been "downsized" from his employment at the age of 60 and subsequently suffers a traumatic injury that causes him to lose a bit of his memory. His life had seemed pretty empty before he left the job he disliked and now it seems even emptier.

Through some combinaion of initiative, fate and chance, Liam discovers in his search for his missing memory just how much he has repressed, and he finds himself open---to love and to hurt---at an age when he thought he'd left such emotions behind. "It's as if I've never been entirely present in my own life," he says.

When Anne Tyler was just starting to write Noah's Compass, a journalist asked her what it was about. She replied, "I'd like to write about a man who feels he has nothing more to expect from his life; but it's anybody's guess what the real subject will turn out to be in the end." Did that turn out to be the real subject of the book?

What does religion represent in the novel?

Do you think Liam is happy at the end of the book?

Let us know what you think!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The book club selection for July is Lying Awake by Mark Salzman. Sister John of the Cross is a middle-aged nun cloistered in a Carmelite monastery in contemporary Los Angeles. She has languished for years in a spiritual drought until she suddenly received God's grace in the form of intense mystical visions. The only downside is they are accompanied by excruciating headaches that cause her to black out.

The nuns follow a way of life established for centuries. In what ways, if any, are they allowed to express their individuality?

What specific roles do these women play in creating the reality of the religious life: the novice Sister Miriam, Mother Mary Joseph, the former prioress, and Sister Teresa, Sister John's novice mistress? What qualities does Sister John share with each of them?

How does the language and style of Lying Awake differ from most contemporary writing? In what ways do the words of nuns' prayers and Sister John's own poetry enhance the narrative? What details of daily life in the monasterey help to establish the themes Salzman is exploring?

Let us know what you think!
The Kilbourn Public Library Book Club chose The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot for June. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a fascinating and moving story of medicine and family. Henrietta Lacks was a mother of five in Baltimore, a poor African American migrant from the tobacco farms of Virginia, who died from a cruelly aggressive cancer at the age of 30 in 1951. A sample of her cancerous tissue turns out to provide human cells that could survive--even thrive--in the lab. Known as HeLa cells, their stunning potency gave scientists a building block for countless breakthroughs, beginning with the cure for polio.

Rebecca Skloot's book also gives us the rest of the story, the part that could have easily remained hidden had she not spent ten years unearthing it: Who was Henrietta Lacks? How did she die? Did her family know that she'd become, in some sense, immortal, and how did that affect them?

Due to her patience with the Lacks family, Skloot was able to write this book. What do you think about her ability to persist in this project?

When HeLa cells started to be sold, do you think Dr. Gey should have stepped in to assure that Henrietta Lacks' family was compensated in some way? Do you think they should be compensated at all?
The library book club read The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield in May. The Thirteenth Tale is a rich story about secrets, ghosts, winter, books and family.
This book is reminiscent of classic British novels, like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.

Margaret Lea works in her father's book store and is haunted by a loss in her past. One night Margaret is summoned to the home of the most famous author in England's house to record her autobiography. Vida Winter, the author, tells a layered tale, with stories within stories, keeping Margaret (and readers) curious.

Books play an important role in The Thirteenth Tale. What is your relationship to books? Do you agree with Miss Winter that stories can reveal truth better than simply stating it?

Miss Winter asks Margaret if she would like to hear a ghost story. Who are the ghosts in the story? In what ways are different characters haunted?

Let us know what you think of The Thirteenth Tale.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Club is reading When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead for its April selection. When You Reach Me is a young adult novel that will delight adults and youth alike.

This remarkable novel holds a fantastic puzzle at its heart. By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it's safe to go, and they know who to avoid. Like the crazy guy on the corner.

But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a kid on the street for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda's mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then a mysterious note arrives, scrawled on a tiny slip of paper. The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows things no one should know. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she's too late.

Were you confused by the way the book skips back and forth between past tense and present tense? Do the different time frames ultimately make sense?

How are the chapter titles related to the $20,000 Pyramid game show...and how do those titles fit into the plot?

Were you satisfied with the way all the mysteries came together in the end?

Let us know if you liked When You Reach Me.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Club selection for March is The Girls From Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow. The Girls From Ames is the story of a group of ordinary women who built an extraordinary friendship.

Meet the Ames Girls: eleven childhood friends who formed a special bond growing up in Ames, Iowa. As young women, they moved to eight different states, yet managed to maintain an enduring friendship that would carry them through college and careers, marriage and motherhood, dating and divorce, a child's illness and the mysterious death of one member of their group.

Capturing their remarkable story, The Girls From Ames is a testament to the deep bonds of women as they experience life's joys and challenges--and the power of friendship to triumph over heartbreak and unexpected tragedy.

Did the story of a particular Ames girl resonate more with you than the others? If so, which one and why?

"Bottom line: Women talk. Men do things together" (p. 102). How does this statement bear out in your own experience? Do you have any close friends of the opposite sex? In what ways, if any, are those friendships different than those with people of the same sex?

If you are a woman, is The Girls From Ames a book you would recomment to a man? If you are a man, what drew you to read this book? In what ways is this book a story that transcends gender?

Let us know what you think!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Club has picked Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews for their February book. This was Andrews' first dark suspense novel in a bestselling series about a family haunted by a remorseless, demonic history. From the first sunny images of the family to the final curse, this tale of passion and peril is sure to hold you spellbound.

Why do you suppose the author chose to begin her story with the birth of the twins? What does this exciting time in the Dollanganger family say about them?

Let us know what you think of Flowers in the Attic: the compelling story of a family's betrayal and heartbreak, love and revenge.