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.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

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?

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