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.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Club is reading A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick for January.  USA Today calls this book "A killer debut novel...Suspenseful and erotic...(A) chillingly engrossing plot...Good to the riveting end."

He placed a notice in a Chicago paper, an advertisement for "a reliable wife."  She responded, saying that she was "a simple, honest woman."  She was, of course, anything but honest, and the only simple thing about her was her single-minded determination to marry this man and then kill him, slowly and carefully, leaving her a wealthy widow, able to take care of the one she truly loved.

What Catherine Land did not realize was that the enigmatic and lonely Ralph Truitt had a plan of his own. And what neither anticipated was that they would fall so completely in love. 

Filled with unforgettable characters, and shimmering with color and atmosphere, A Reliable Wife is an enthralling tale of love and madness, of longing and murder.

The novel's setting and strong sense of place seem to echo its mood and themes.  What role does the wintry Wisconsin landscape play?

Catherine imagines herself as an actress playing a series of roles, the one of Ralph's wife being the starring role of a lifetime.  Where in the novel might you see a glimpse of the real Catherine Land?  Do you feel that you ever get to know this woman, or is she always hidden behing a facade?

Did you have sympathy for any of the characters?  Did this change as time went on?

Let us know what you think!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

This month the Kilbourn Public Library is doing something special for the December book club get together. We will be choosing from a selection of holiday books to read. Members will read their chosen book and we will have a short discussion on the titles we read.

We will also be watching the movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. The movie is based on the book of the same name that we read for our November selection.

Anyone is welcome to join in this holiday book reading and movie night. Stop by the library or bookmobile and pick a holiday book to read. Or just come and watch the movie with us. We will be meeting on Monday, December 17 at 6:00 p.m. and Wednesday, December 19 at 1:30 p.m. Join us for book discussion, a movie and snacks.

What is your experience with movies with book tie-in? Would you rather read the book first or watch the movie? 
Do you have know of any movies made from a book that you thought were really well done or any that you thought were very poorly done?

What is your favorite holiday themed book?

Let us know what you think!
Happy Holidays.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Club has chosen Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer for its November book selection.  Boston Globe calls this book--"Energetic, inventive, and ambitious...an uplifting myth born of the sorrows of 9/11."

Nine-year-old Oskar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York.  His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11.  This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts on an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey.

Oskar is an unusually precious child.  Do you find him sympathetic or annoying?  Or both?

Were there any passages or scenes that you remember well or particularly liked?

Do you find the illustrations, scribblings, over-written texts, etc. a meaningful, integral part of the work?  Or do you find them distracting and gimmicky?  Why are they there?

Let us know what you think.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Club will be reading Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James for its October selection.  This book is a rare meeting of literary genius:  P.D. James, long among the most admired mystery writers of our time, draws the characters of Jane Austen's beloved novel Pride and Prejudice into a tale of murder and emotional mayhem.

It is 1803, six years since Elizabeth and Darcy embarked on their life together at Pemberley, Darcy's magnificent estate.  Their peaceful, orderly world seems almost unassailable.  Elizabeth has found her footing as the chatelaine of the great house. They have two fine sons, Fitzwilliam and Charles.  Elizabeth's sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live nearby;  her father visits often;  there is optimistic talk about the prospects of marriage for Darcy's sister Georgiana.  And preparations are under way for their  much-anticipated annual autumn ball.

Then, on the eve of the ball, the patrician idyll is shattered.  A coach careens up the drive carrying Lydia, Elizabeth's disgraced sister, who with her husband, the very dubious Wickham, has been banned from Pemberley.  She stumbles out of the carriage, hysterical, shrieking that Wickham has been murdered.  With shocking suddenness, Pemberley is plunged into a frightening mystery. 

Inspired by a lifelong passion for Austen, P.D. James masterfully re-creates the world of Pride and Prejudice, electrifying it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly crafted crime story as only she can write.

Good crime writers like P.D. James embed clues early on in their stories. What seemingly inconsequential clues are dropped that later turn out to be decisive in solving the mystery.  How cleverly does James bury her clues?

Mystery writers also like to throw in red-herrings.  Are there any false clues in Death Comes to Pemberley that fooled you, leading you to expect a different outcome?

Is Death Comes to Pemberley a good mystery?  Is it a good sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice?

Let us know what you think!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

During September the library book club members are reading biographies of their choice.  Why read biographies?  Biographies are a good way to:  discover fascinating people;  rediscover people we think we know well;  reassess infamous characters;  get the story behind legendary characters;  learn history through the life of an individual;  experience adventure from the safety of one's armchair; enjoy a good book.

So grab a biography and let us know all about it!

What made you want to read the book you chose?

Did you learn anything new about this person or did anything in the book change your opinion about him/her?

What is the subject's most admirable quality?  Is this someone you would want to know or have known?

What did you find to be the most interesting or surprising events in this book?

If this person impacted history, what may have been different without his or her presence?

What did you learn about the time period in which the book is set that you did not previously know?

Were you glad you read this book?  Would you recommend it to a friend?

Monday, July 30, 2012

August's library book club selection is written by Wisconsin author Sara Rath.  Rath's debut novel, Star Lake Saloon and Housekeeping Cottages tells the story of Hannah Swann, a Wisconsin poetry professor who suddenly inherits a rustic lakeside resort in the north woods run by her Uncle Hal.

Follow Hannah as she reluctantly adjusts to this life-changing experience.  Readers will enjoy how Rath has thrown a bit of everything into this novel--mystery, family drama, love story and comedy--and will certainly like getting to know Hannah as she fights big business, hot flashes and her own resistance to this wild and lovely place.

At the beginning of the novel, Hannah may not be an exemplary figure but she has traits that many of us share.  Are the results of her reinvention truer to her heart than the life and identity she leaves behind in Madison?

One of the themes the author returns to again and again in the book is the inevitability of change--in the environment and in people's lives, and the disparity between Hannah's past and present selves.  On page 107, Hannah tells herself "Predictability can be reassuring."  Do you agree or disagree with this?  Would you be willing to risk a big change in your own life, even if it caused disruption or readjustment for the rest of your family?

Let us know what you think of Star Lake Saloon and Housekeeping Cottages.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Club is reading Jimmy Buffett books for July.  Although Jimmy Buffett is best known for his music, he is also a best selling author.  He has written both fiction and non-fiction.  Jimmy Buffett  is one of only eight authors in the history of The New York Times Best Seller lists to reach No. 1 on both the fiction and the non-fiction lists.

Stop in the library and pick up a Jimmy Buffett book.   Then let us know what you think.

Friday, June 1, 2012

For June the Kilbourn Public Library Book Club will be reading The Death of the Phoenix, the first volume in Ernest Meeder's Spirit of the Shark trilogy. 

In the East Indies during and after the Japanese occupation of the islands, a five-year-old boy named Kees journeys through the brutal world of the occupation and escapes into a new and civilized world.  When that new world proves to be as broken as the one he had fled, Kees grows discouraged.  With the help of some unexpected people, he learns to see the world from the perspectives of different cultures and religions. 

Join the discussion on this interesting book.  
Let us know what you think of  The Death of the Phoenix.

Monday, May 7, 2012

In May the library book club is reading Cecelia Ahern's There's No Place Like Here, the story of Sandy Shortt, a missing persons investigator who is also a little obsessive compulsive.  This imaginative novel encourages the reader to step outside of traditional plot lines and enter a world made up of missing people and possessions that have come together from all over the globe to start fresh.

One online reviewer says of this book, "There's No Place Like Here is unlike any book I have ever read.  Author Cecilia Ahern is a master storyteller, pulling readers in and not letting them go until they reach the conculsion of this amazing tale of yearning, loss and hope."

Let us know what you think of There's No Place Like Here.

Did you enjoy the book?  Why?  Why not?

What about the plot?  Did it pull you in?

How realistictic was the characterization?  Would you want to meet any of the characters?  Did you like them?  Hate them?

Did the book end the way you expected?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The book we have chosen for April's book read is When Madeline Was Young. Jane Hamilton, award-winning author of The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World brings us this rich and loving novel about a nontraditional family in the aftermath of a terrible accident.

When Aaron Maciver's beautiful young wife, Madeline, suffers a head injury in a bicycle crash she is left with the mental capacities of a six-year-old. In the years that follow, Aaron and his second wife care for Madeline with deep tenderness and devotion as they raise two children of their own.

We have extra copies of the book available at the library and on the bookmobile. Pick up a copy of this extraordinary book. Then let us know what you think.

What do you think about the author's choice of narrator? Does Timothy (Mac) provide us with an objective perspective of the family as a whole? How would you describe the narrator's tone as he guides us through his unusual family history?

This book emphasizes physical beauty as the key to being captivating. Is Madeline empowered by looks that match conventional definitions of beauty, or does her beauty make her a victim? What might her fate have been had she look more like Julia (without the girdle!)?

What are the conflicts and intensities that drive the diverse cast of characters in this novel?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Club has chosen Kate Atkinson's novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum for our March reading. Winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year in 1995, this dazzling debut novel is a deeply moving story of family heartbreak and happiness.

Ruby Lennox begins narrating her life at the moment of conception, and from there takes us on a whirlwind tour of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of an English girl determined to learn about her famly and its secrets.

We have extra copies of the book available at the library. Pick up a copy and join us in reading this page turner. Then let us know what you think.

Although this novel is very much about a specific time and place, it has been embraced by audiences in twelve countries, in as many languages. What gives Behind the Scenes at the Museum such universal appeal?

What does Behind the Scenes at the Museum say about women's roles and opportunities in the family and in the world at large? What do the four generations of women in Ruby's family have in common?

This book generated controversy in England when a critic called it "anti-family." How would you defend the book against this charge? What other novels, now considered classics, might have had to face this sort of accusation?

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Club is reading The Girls of Murder City by Douglas Perry for its February selection. The Girls of Murder City is the untold true story of the murders that inspired the iconic musical Chicago.

With a thrilling, fast-paced narrative, award-winning journalist Douglas Perry vividly captures the sensationalized circus atmosphere that gave rise to the concept of the celebrity criminal and gave Chicago its most famous story.

The Girls of Murder City recounts two scandalous, sex-fueled murder cases and how an intrepid "girl reporter" named Maureen Watkins turned the beautiful, media-savvy suspects "Stylish Belva' and "Beautiful Beulah" into the talk of the town. It is a crackling tale that presents the freewheeling spirit of the Jazz Age and its sober repercussions.

Howard Blum, author of the New York times bestseller American Lightning says "Crime doesn't pay for the girls of Murder City, but it sure pays off for Douglas Perry's readers. This is a consistently page-turning, highly entertaining, and very intriguing story."

Let us know what you think.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Kilbourn Public Library is starting out the year with The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski.

This stunning debut novel immerses readers in a living , breathing world that is both fantastic and utterly believable. David Wroblewski is a master storyteller, and his breathtaking scenes create a riveting family saga, a brilliant exploration of the limits of language, and a compulsively readable modern classic.

Copies of the book are available at the library. Pick up a copy and join the discussion.

Claude is a mysterious presence in this story. What does he want and when did he start wanting it?

How does Almondine's way of seeing the world differ from the human characters in this story?

Haunting is a prominent motif in The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. How many ghosts, both literal and figurative, are in this story? In what ways are the ghosts alike? Who is haunted, and by whom?

Do Edgar's own dog-training techniques and methods change over the course of the story? If so, how?

Let us know what you think of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.