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, January 27, 2016

For February the Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is reading The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman. 

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day's journey from the coast.  To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. 

Years later, after two miscarriages and one still birth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby's cries on the wind.  A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.  Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately.  But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast.  Against Tom's judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy.  When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world.  Their choice has devastated one of them.

M. L. Stedman's mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel's decision to keep this "gift from God."  And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another's tragic loss.

Why do you think the author selected the title, The Light Between Oceans, for this novel?

Think about the impact of living in seclusion on both Tom and Isabel.  Why do you think each of them is drawn to Janus Rock?  Do you think, in the moments when we are unobserved, we are different people?

Tom believes that rules are vital, that they are what keep a man from becoming a savage.  Do you agree with him?

Which characters won your sympathy and why?  Did this change over the course of the novel?  Did your notion of what was best or right shift in the course of your reading?

What did you think of the conclusion of the novel?  What emotions did you feel at the story's end?  Did it turn out as you expected?  Were you satisfied?

Let us know what you think of The Light Between Oceans.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The January book selection for the Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby. 

Nick Hornby mines the hearts and psyches of four lost souls who connect just when they’ve reached the end of the line.

In four distinct and riveting first-person voices, Hornby tells a story of four individuals confronting the limits of choice, circumstance, and their own mortality. This is a tale of connections made and missed, punishing regrets, and the grace of second chances.

Each character's voice attempts to offer insight into the meaning of life and death.  Does any one character do this better than the others?  Are older people necessarily smarter than younger people when it comes to the philosophy of living?

Are the characters likeable?  Is it important that we like them in order to enjoy and/or understand the story?  Which character did you like or at least empathize with the most?  The least? Why?

What does this story teach us about what defines friends and family?  Do the characters become friends?

Let us know what you think of A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby.
For December the Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is again reading a selection of Holiday Books.  Each person will pick a Holiday Book they would like to read and we will have a short discussion on the books.

We will also be watching the movie Rebecca based on the book by the same name that we read for our October book selection.

Let us know if you have a favorite old or new Holiday Book that you enjoyed.
The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group read the Go Big Read Book Selection Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson for the November book.

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

Just Mercy begins with information about Bryan Stevenson growing up poor in a racially segregated community in Delaware.  He remembers his grandmother telling him,  "You can't understand most of the important things from a distance, Bryan.  You have to get close".  How does Stevenson get close to the incarcerated people he is helping?  How does getting close to Walter McMillian affect Stevenson's life?  Can you be an effective criminal lawyer without getting close?

As a result of his extensive work with low income and incarcerated people, Stevenson concludes that "the opposite of poverty is not wealth:  the opposite of poverty is justice".  What does this statement mean?  What examples in the book inform Stevenson's position on poverty and justice?  What is justice?  What does "Just Mercy" mean?

Many United States citizens will find this book painful to read, demoralizing and even shameful.  What kind(s) of emotional state(s) did the book bring up in you?  Is this a book about combating racism?  What do you think this book is about?