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.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is reading Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures by Emma Straub for the January selection.  This is the enchanting story of a Midwestern girl who escapes a family tragedy and is remade as a movie star during Hollywood's golden age.  Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures is also a story of family, ambition, and sacrifice.  This is a story about the power of illusion and the possibility of escape, about the expectations placed upon us by others and the identities we create for ourselves. 

How is Elsa's relationship with Gordon different from Laura's relationship with Irving, and how does Elsa/Laura's shifting identity affect her two marriages?

How do Laura's friendships contribute to her happiness?

What does Laura sacrifice for success?  Does her ambition affect her personal happiness?

Let us know what you think!

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is again reading a selection of holiday books for the December get together.  Each person is choosing any holiday book they would like to read and we will have a short discussion on the books. 

We will also be watching the movie The Silver Linings Playbook.  This 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 16 at 6:00 pm and Wednesday, December 18 at 1:00 pm.  Join us for book discussion, a movie and snacks.

How do you feel about movies with a book tie-in?  Would you rather read the book first or watch the movie?

Do you know of any movies made from a book that you thought were really well done or any that you thought very poorly done?

What is your favorite holiday themed book?

Let us know what you think!
Happy Holidays!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

We will be reading The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick for the November selection of the Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group. 

The Silver Linings Playbook is the riotous and poignant story of how one man regains his memory and comes to terms with the magnitude of his wife's betrayal.

During the years he spends in neural health facility, Pat Peoples formulates a theory about silver linings: he believes his life is a movie produced by God.  His mission is to become physically fit and emotionally supportive, and his happy ending will be the return of his estranged wife Nikki.

In this brilliantly written debut novel, Matthew Quick takes us inside Pat's mind, deftly showing us the world from his distorted yet endearing perspective.  The result is a touching and funny story that helps us look at both depression and love in a wonderfully refreshing way.

How does the book redefine happy endings?  What makes Pat so determined to believe that every cloud has a silver lining?

How does Cliff use the Eagles' playbook to teach Pat about the real world?  How do the Eagles bring unity to Pat's family?

Think about the book's closing scene.  How has The Silver Linings Playbook inspired you in your life?

Let us know what you think.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is reading A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris for its October selection.  A Touch of Dead is a collection of short stories about Sookie Stackhouse.  Author Charlaine Harris says that some of these short stories are totally light-hearted and some are more serious, but they all shine a light on a little facet of Sookie's life and times that haven't been recorded in the books.

Charlaine Harris is a New York times bestselling author who has been writing for over twenty years.  Harris created The Sookie Stackhouse urban fantasy series about a telepathic waitress who works in a bar in the fictional Northern Louisiana town of Bon Temps.  The first of these, Dead Until Dark, won the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Mystery in 2001.  Each book follows Sookie as she tries to solve mysteries involving vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures.  The Sookie Stackhouse series proved to be so popular that the HBO show True Blood is based upon these books.

A Touch of Dead includes five short stories about Sookie Stackhouse.  In the order in which they occur in Sookie's life the stories are:

"Fairy Dust" is about the fairy triplets Claude, Claudine, and Claudette.  Following the murder of Claudette, Claude and Claudine seek Sookie's help in determining the guilty party.

In "Dracula Night," Eric invites Sookie to Fangtasia for the celebration of Dracula's birthday, an annual event that makes Eric almost over the top with anticipation, since Dracula is his hero.

The news of her Cousin Hadley's death reaches Sookie in "One Word Answer."  She's informed of Hadley's demise by the half-demon lawyer Mr. Cataliades, who has a loathsome driver and an unexpected passenger in his limo.

"Lucky" is a light-hearted story set in Bon Temps.  Witch Amelia Broadway and Sookie are on the hunt to find out who's sabotaging the town's insurance agents.

On Christmas Eve, Sookie receives a very unexpected visitor in "Gift Wrap."  She's been alone and feeling a little sorry for herself, when a wounded werewolf supplies her with a satisfying gift. 

Let us know what you think of A Touch of Dead.

Have you read other Sookie Stackhouse books?

If so, what do you like about this series?

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is reading Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante for its September selection.  Alice LaPlante is an award-winning writer of both fiction and nonfiction. She teaches creative writing at Stanford University.  Her debut novel Turn of Mind became a New York Times, NPR, and American Independent Booksellers Association bestseller within a month of release. 

Dr. Jennifer White is sixty-four-years-old, suffering from Alzheimer's and a person of interest in the death of her best friend, Amanda.  Her days are filled with a reality that blurs and fades and sometimes is intensely real.  The police suspect Dr. White is involved in Amanda's murder.  She's an orthopedic surgeon and four of Amanda's fingers have been removed with surgical precision.  But is someone with advanced dementia capable of committing a skillful murder without being detected?

The story is told through Dr. White's eyes.  It's eerie to be inside the head of someone whose reality changes from day to day.  We meet her children, her caregiver, and through the visions she experiences, her husband, parents and Amanda herself.  As the disease progresses, we are drawn more and more into the complex, disturbing world inhabited by Dr. White.

Did you find Alice LaPlante's protrayal of the mind of a woman with Alzheimer's disease credible?  Why?  Did this book give you a greater understanding of Alzheimer's disease?

How would you describe the character of Jennifer White?  How does she change--and how does she remain the same--as her Alzheimer's disease gets worse?

What did you think of Dr. White's husband James?  How did your impression of James change as the story progressed? 

Dr. White says she was "a reluctant mother."  Did her children care about her?

What was your impression of Amanda O'Toole?  As the story progressed what did you learn about her?  Why do you think that Amanda and Dr. White had such a close relationship?

Let us know what you think of this haunting novel.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern for its August selection.  The Night Circus is Morgenstern's debut novel that was published in September 2011.  Associated Press calls this novel "Magical.  Enchanting.  Spellbinding.  Mesmerizing."

The circus arrives without warning.  No announcements precede it.  It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.  Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements.  It is called Le Cirque des Reves, and it is only open at night.  

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors.  Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing.  Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance. 

The Night Circus is not written in a linear timeline.  Did you find the structure of the book disorienting? 

The novel frequently changes narrative perspective.  How does this transition shape your reading of the novel and your connection to the characters and the circus?  Why do you think the author chose to tell the story from varied perspectives?

Between the chapters that tell  the story of The Night Circus are descriptions of the circus itself, written as if you are visiting it right now.  What do these chapters add to the story?

Why are Frederick Thiessen and the reveurs important to the story?  Why do you think some people were so entranced by the circus that they devoted themselves to following it around?

What did you think of Marco and Celia's relationship?  Why did they fall in love?

Let us know what you think of The Night Circus.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is reading That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo for July.  Russo gives us the story of a marriage, and of all the other ties that bind, from parents and in-laws to children and the promises of youth.

Griffin has been tooling around for nearly a year with his father's ashes in the trunk of his car, but his mother is very much alive and not shy about calling him on his cell phone.  She does so as he drives down to Cape Cod, where he and his wife, Joy, will celebrate the marriage of their daughter Laura's best friend.  For Griffin this is akin to driving into the past, since he took his childhood summer vacations here, his parents' respite from the hated Midwest.  And the Cape is where he and Joy honeymooned, in the course of which they drafted the Great Truro Accord, a plan for their lives together that's now thirty years old and has largely come true.  But be careful what you pray for--especially if you manage to achieve it.  

That Old Cape Magic is a novel of deep introspection and every family feeling imaginable, with Jack Griffin, a middle-aged man confronting his parents and their failed marriage, his own troubled one, his daughter's new life, and finally, what it was he thought he wanted and what in fact he has. 

What does Jack Griffin want?

In reference to his parents' ongoing but fruitless search for a Cape Cod beach house, Griffin muses,  "Perhaps...just looking was sufficient in and of itself" (page 9).  Is looking enough?  Which characters prove or disprove this point of view?

Why is Griffin so apprehensive of commitment?  What is he afraid of losing?

Is Griffin afraid of being happy?  Is being happy the same as "settling"?

Why does it take so long for Griffin to dispose of his parents' remains?

How does Griffin's relationship with his parents lead to the dissolution of his marriage to Joy?

Let us know what you think of That Old Cape Magic.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is reading Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen for June.  Funny, wise and uplifting, Whistling in the Dark is the story of two tough and endearing little girls...and of a time not so long ago, when life was not as innocent as it appeared. 

Sally O'Malley made a promise to her daddy before he died.   She swore she'd look after her sister, Troo.  Keep her safe.  But like her Granny always said--actions speak louder than words.  Sally would have to agree with her.  Because during the summer of 1959, the girl's mother is hospitalized, their stepfather has abandoned them for a six pack, and their big sister, Nell, who was left strict instructions to take care of the girls, is too busy making out with her boyfriend to notice that her charges are on the loose.  And so is a murderer and a molester.

Highly imaginative Sally is pretty sure of two things.  Who the killer is.  And that she's next on his list.  If nobody will believe her, she has no choice but to protect herself and Troo as best she can, relying on her own courage and the kindness of her neighbors.

Sally and Troo experienced a deep sense of abandonment after the death of their Daddy.  They manifested that sense of loss differently.  How do you think the loss of a parent at any early stage of a child's life affects their emotional growth?

After her husband's death, Mother decided the only way to put food on the table was to marry Hall, a man she had little or no feelings for.  What would you do if you found yourself in her position?

Fear is the main theme of the book.  Fear of our feelings.  Fear of what other people think.  Fear of the unknown.  What are you afraid of?

Let us know what you think of Whistling in the Dark.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion is reading Calling Invisible Women by Jeanne Ray for the May book selection.  A mom in her early fifties, Clover knows she no longer turns heads the way she used to, and she's only really missed when dinner isn't on the table on time.  Then Clover wakes up one morning to discover she's invisible--truly invisible.  She panics, but when her husband and son sit down to dinner, nothing is amiss.  Even though she's been with her husband, Arthur, since college, her condition goes unnoticed. 

Her friend Gilda immediately observes that Clover is invisible, which relieves Clover immensely--she's not losing her mind after all!--but she is crushed by the realization that neither her husband nor her children ever truly look at her.  She was invisible even before she knew she was invisible.

What do you think of Clover's life early on in the book?   Is it one with which you can identify?

When Clover realizes she is invisible, she is frightened.  How might you feel if you became invisible and your family didn't notice?  Or do you think they would?

Her best friend Gilda notices immediately that Clover is invisible.  What does this say to you regarding family vs. friends? 

What do you feel was the most important lesson Clover's invisiblilty taught the rest of the characters?

Let us know what you think about this witty and thought-provoking novel.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion is reading The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli for April.  In this superb novel, American photojournalist Helen Adams is drawn to the turmoil of the Vietnam War, which cost her brother his life.  While her lens soon makes her as famous as her pictures, Helen survives by taking cues from the jungle-savvy colleagues, who are her paramours.  But she must learn for herself the real trick of her trade:  how to find truth amid the fog of war. 

Tatjana Soli paints a searing portrait of an American woman's struggle and triumph in Vietnam, a stirrring canvas contrasting the wrenching horror of war and the treacherous narcotic of obsession with the redemptive power of love.  Readers will be transfixed by this stunning novel of passion, duty and ambition among the ruins of war. 

The novel begins with the fall of Saigon, and then moves back in time twelve years to the beginning of the war.  How do you think this structure contributed to your experience of the novel?  Did this glimpse of Helen in 1975 influence how you related to her character at earlier points in her life?  Did knowing the outcome affect your judgement of her actions and the action of those around her?

Throughout the novel, Helen finds herself in love, and loved by , two very different men.  How would you  characterize each of her relationships?  Did you prefer Helen in one relationship over the other?   What are each relationship's strengths and weaknesses?   Which man do you ultimately believe is Helen's great love?

What do you think the future holds for Helen at the end of the novel?  For Linh?

Let us know what you think of The Lotus Eaters.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion has chosen the book Room by Emma Donoghue for the March selection.

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the world...It's where he was born, it's where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn.  At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it's the prison where she has been held for seven years.  Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space.  But with Jack's curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.

Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating--a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child.

Why do you think the author chose to tell the story of Room through Jack and not through an omniscient, third-person narrator?

Which elements of Jack's developmental delays and/or his integration issues surprised you most?

Did you find yourself wanting to know more about Old Nick?  If so, why do you think this is?

Let us know what you think of Room.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Our February book selection is Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua.  At once provocative and laugh-out-loud funny, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother ignited a global parenting debate with its story of one mother's journey in strict parenting.  Amy Chua argues that Western parenting tries to respect and nurture children's individuality, while Chinese parents typically believe that arming children with skills, strong work habits and inner confidence prepares them best for the future.

Achingly honest and profoundly challenging, this book is one of the most talked about books of our times. Pick up a copy of this book at the library and let us know what you think.

What is your overall reaction to Battle Hymn of the Mother Tiger?  Are you appalled or impressed, in agreement, disagreement...or something else?

Is this a parenting manual?  Are Western parents too soft on, or too permissive toward, their children?  Does Amy Chua offer an alternative parenting model?

Do you agree or disagree with Chua's criticisms of various aspects of Western culture---Facebook and junk food being two examples?

What do you predict for Chua's daughters?  Do you think they will raise their childen with the same strict standards their mother applied to them?