Monday, April 16, 2007

Book discussion groups have taken on a life of their own, yet sadly, I get the impression that many people fail to connect libraries with book discussions. Surely we were holding book discussions long before Oprah came on the scene - which isn't to say that she hasn't contributed greatly to getting Americans on the path to reading for pleasure and socializing.
The librarians I work with have been actively planning our book discussion line up for next "season." Here in Southwest Florida we find that we lose more than half of our clientele during the summer months so, because we live and die by our statistics, we only host book discussions from September through April. This gives us the chance to create a splashy brochure each spring which is then mailed to our northern friends in June. They have all summer to read up on the fall lineup.
The trouble with this, as you can imagine, is choosing the books to discuss. As soon as I commit to "my" books I know darn well I'm going to see another great novel or timely non-fiction book that calls to me. A publicity deadline is calling though, so here's my selection for our 2007-2008 disucssion season:

The Time of Our Singing by Richard Powers. This title was recommended twice by one of my faithful attendees. It's a mammoth, historical, multi-generational saga that spans most of the 20th century and examines the polarizing effect of the civil rights movement and its aftermath on the three children of an idealistic inter-racial couple.

The Attack by Yasmina Khadra pointedly asks the question, "how well do we really know the people we love?" Khadra, whose book The Swallows of Kabul, we discussed last year, searches the hearts of Dr. Amin Jaafari and his wife, who believe that they have assimilated as Arabs in an Israeli neightborhood, until an unthinkable act of violence ruptures the very fabric of their tenuous relationship.

Returning to Earth by Jim Harrison is a spare novel that addresses the notion of death as a natural progression, a return to the earth. Donald, part Chippewa, settled in Michigan's Upper Peninsula where he quietly raised his family and nurtured his love of the natural world. Now dying of Lou Gehrig's disease, he begins dictating to his wife Cynthia the never-before- told tales of three generations.

I've read that people quickly lose interest in blogs if the writer goes on and on so I think I'll leave you with this for now and continue with the rest of the titles another day. Anyway, it's almost time for me to log on to Florida's Askalibrarian website and take my share of reference questions this morning. This project is a whole other story - good for another day - one of the many projects I've taken on this year to stave off becoming obsolete in a techie world!

1 comment:

Beccap said...

Thanks for the reading suggestions Aunt Sally. Can't wait to keep up with your blog! Much love - Becca