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.

Friday, April 26, 2019

The May book selection for the Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. 

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision:  he will  move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America's last true frontier.

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska--a place of incomparable beauty and danger.  The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature. 

Alaska is definitely a character in this novel.  The author clearly wants you to understand both the grandeur and the danger that are present every day in the Last Frontier.  How did the landscape create and shape this story?  Is this a story that could have taken place anywhere?  Or was the solitude of Alaska part of the fabric of the novel?

What aspects of the Alaska/homesteader lifestyle would you find the most challenging in the wild?  How would you handle the isolation, the interdependence among neighbors, the climate?  Would you have what it takes to survive?

The Great Alone is set in the turbulent world of America in the 1970's.  Why do you think the author chose this time period?  How did the world at that time, with the political unrest and kidnappings and plane hijackings, factor into the plot? 

Ernt was a POW for several years.  Do you believe, as Cora tells Leni, that he was "changed" when he came home?  Did the war and PTSD "make" Ernt violent, or do you believe he was violent before?

Why do you think Cora stayed with Ernt all those years?  Was it love?  Fear?  In general, why do you think women stay with abusive men?

Would you say Leni is a survivor?  Is Cora?

In many ways, The Great Alone, is a mother-daughter love story, but one with a broken spine.  How did Cora let Leni down in life?  How did she save her?  Do you think Cora was a good mother?

How did the building of Ernt's wall affect you as a reader?  As he was building it, what did you think was going to happen?

At the end of the story, Leni ends up back in Alaska--do you think there's an ultimate place where people belong?  How would you know if you got there?

Let us know what you think of The Great Alone!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The April book selection for the Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is The Sun Does Shine:  How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton. 

Anthony Ray Hinton was poor and black when he was convicted of two murders he hadn't committed.  For the next three decades he was trapped in solitary confinement in a tiny cell on death row, having to watch as--one by one--his fellow prisoners were taken past him to the execution room.  Eventually his case was taken up by the award-winning lawyer, Bryan Stevenson, who managed to have him exonerated, though it took 15 years for this to happen. 

How did Hinton cope with the mental and emotional torture of his situation, and emerge full of compassion and forgiveness?  The Sun Does Shine throws light not only on his remarkable personality but also on social deprivation and miscarriages of justice.  Ultimately, though, it's a triumphant story of the resilience of the human spirit.

Before being wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death, Anthony Ray Hinton was in trouble with the law for stealing a car.  Does this in any way make you less sympathetic to his plight?

Think about the friendship of Ray and Lester.  Can you imagine a friend who would visit you every visiting day for 30 years?  What does their relationship teach us about friendship?

Do you think the death penalty system is broken?  How would you like to see it changed?

The State of Alabama has not apologized or compensated Ray Hinton for his wrongful imprisonment.  Do you think he should be paid?  Some say he shouldn't be paid because he was never proven innocent.  What do you say to this argument?

Ray and Bryan Stevenson, his lawyer, both say that nobody is defined by the worst thing they have ever done.  Do you agree?  Does this help you have more compassion for those incarcerated or on death row?

What was the turning point for Ray in how he would survive in prison?  What does this teach you?

Does The Sun Does Shine make you feel angry or hopeful?

Let us know what you think!
The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group read Boar Island by Nevada Barr for the March book selection.  In Boar Island Nevada Barr brings National Park Ranger Anna Pigeon to the wild beauty of Acadia National Park. 

Anna Pigeon has had to deal with all manner of crimes and misdemeanors, but cyber-bullying and stalking is a new one.  The target is Elizabeth, the adopted teenage daughter of her friend Heath Jarrod.  Elizabeth is driven to despair by the disgusting rumors spreading online and bullying texts.  Until, one day, Heath finds her daughter Elizabeth in the midst of an unsuccessful suicide attempt.  And then she calls in the cavalry--her aunt Gwen and her friend Anna Pigeon.

While they try to deal with the fragile state of affairs--and find the person behind the harassment--the three adults decide the best thing to do is to remove Elizabeth from the situation.  Since Anna is about to start her new post as Acting Chief Ranger at Acadia National Park in Maine, the three will join her and stay at a house on the cliff of a small island near the park, Boar Island.

Let us know what you think of Boar Island.