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.

Monday, June 29, 2020

The Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is reading Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde for the July selection.  Pay It Forward is a wondrous and moving story about Trevor McKinney, a twelve-year-old boy in a small California town who accepts the challenge that his teacher gives his class, a chance to earn extra credit by coming up with a plan to change the world for the better--and to put that plan into action. 

The plan that Trevor comes up with is so simple--and so naive--that when others learn of it they are dismissive.  What is his idea? Trevor chooses three people for whom he will do a favor, and then when those people thank him and ask how they might pay him back, he will tell them that instead of paying him back they should each pay it forward by choosing three people for whom they can do favors, and in turn telling those people to pay it forward.  It's nothing less than a human chain letter of kindness and good will.  But will it work?

In the end, Pay It Forward is the story of seemingly ordinary people made extraordinary by the simple faith of a child. (From the publisher.)

When Trevor first presents his Pay-It-Forward plan many dismiss it.  Why?  Would you have dismissed Pay-It-Forward?

Eventually, Pay-It-Forward begins to work, creating a chain reaction and becoming a Movement.  Why does the concept take hold?  What is it about the plan that inspires people?

The story is told through various point-of-view devices:  first-and third-person narrators, book excerpts, interview transcripts, journal entries, and central character shifts.  Do Hyde's narrative techniques work?  Do they enhance the story or make it confusing?  Why might she have chosen to structure the novel in the way she did?

What about the book's ending?  Sad, yes, but satisfying?  Does Trevor become a martyr?  Would you have preferred a different ending?

Do you personally follow the Pay-It-Forward philosophy?  Does this book inspire you--make you more aware of what you, individually, or all of us, collectively, could do --to improve the world?

Is this a religious book?

Let us know what you think of Pay It Forward.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Our June book selection for the Kilbourn Public Library Book Discussion Group is The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney.  The Nest is a warm, funny and acutely perceptive debut novel abour four adult siblings and the fate of the shared inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives.

Every family has its problems.  But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional.  Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. 

Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of Leo's accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives.

This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down.  In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.  (From the publisher.)

Just how dysfunctional is the Plumb family...and why?  Why do the siblings allow Leo to have such power over them? 

Melody, Beatrice, Jack and Leo all have behaved somewhat (or very) irresponsibly.  Is there one of them with whom you sympathize more than the others?  Or are they all caught up in a sense of their own entitlement?

How would you live your life if you knew you were to receive a fair amount of money down the line?

How did you feel about the novel's end, regarding Leo's fate?  Did the epilogue satisfy enough of your desire for a "happy ending," or was it more melancholy than expected?

Do you feel that the bond of family trumps all including behavior?  Do you think it's possible to rebuild trust once it has been broken?  Why or why not?  And are there some bonds that can become stronger than those of family?

Let us know what you think of The Nest!