New Providence Memorial Library's Online Reading Group discussion

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message 1: by New Providence (last edited Jun 28, 2018 10:30AM) (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
My book group once discussed the Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman and it was an oddly perfect discussion: everyone talked, people read their favorite passages aloud and we did some close reading. We didn't even get off topic. This was a little unusual for the group. Even though the Ice Queen is about a reference librarian from New Jersey, it wasn't one of my favorite reads, but I loved the discussion.
The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman
Sometimes I chalk it up to the fact that a library science student was observing the group for a research paper, and the group put on a great performance. Or maybe it's because The Ice Queen has a lot of discussable topics: lightning strike survivors, magical realism, death and coming back from the dead, secrets and wishes, and a lot of imagery and symbolism.

What is the most memorable discussion you’ve had about a book, either with a book group or another person? Why? What would your dream book group be like?

If you comment by the evening of Sunday, July 1, you will be entered in the drawing on Monday, July 2, for a gift certificate donated by Chopt, one of NPML's Adult Summer Reading Sponsors.


message 2: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn | 143 comments Just looked it up in my journal and I read "The Ice Queen" also for a book group back in 2009. My first thought was that it was dark and gloomy but I still liked it.

Wow - your question is difficult to answer because there have been many book club discussions that I have enjoyed.
"The Sense of an Ending" by Julian Barnes made for a good discussion but the strange thing is that right now I've no clue what the book was about other than the way history is remembered. Hmmm...yet I noted it was a really good discussion.

One book that I definitely remember and really liked that led to a very good discussion is "The Night Circus". It was also fun because some of us dressed up in Red and Black, the colors of the circus.

The dream book group? Hmmm... just off the top of my head: everyone talking about the book and not drifting off topic. Not everyone liking the book - because this makes for interesting discussions IMHO. Different points of view. Of course, differing opinions in a polite manner, which is what I've come across most times.

looking forward to reading what others think.


message 3: by Judy (new)

Judy | 28 comments I was lucky to have been invited to a one time book discussion that also included the author of the book. The title is Finding Hollis and the author is Pauline Williams. She weaves parts of her own life and where she lived into the lives of the characters. Fascinating to hear the how's and why's of writing this novel.


message 4: by Sangeeta (last edited Jun 27, 2018 12:45PM) (new)

Sangeeta | 156 comments one of the best book group discussions was right here at the NP Library about a year and a half ago. it was the first evening non-fiction discussion that Lisa Florio started. the book was "Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates . there were about 10 people (just the right size) and a stimulating but sensitive discussion which was difficult since all (most) the participants were white /non-african-american women and there was one african american man (!) i wondered what the author would think (lol) of this group. because the topic was so charged, it could have been a heated and uncomfortable, but Lisa moderated well and came prepared. everyone had opinions and varying insights , but were thoughtful and it was a positive and stimulating session . i spoke to the man afterwards and he came away feeling the same.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

(summary: In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward."
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i also once went to a book discussion where the author was present (adoption related, can't remember book or author) and it was fun...except (!) that the book was just mediocre ;-)

my ideal group would be about 8-12 people, non-fiction about a current relevant topic or a good historical fiction with well developed characters and plot


message 5: by Sangeeta (new)

Sangeeta | 156 comments on another note, i went to a discussion at a nearby town library a few years back and a couple of people came who hated the book and complained about it non-stop .

i want to hear differing viewpoints, good and bad opinions of the book and why, but they were relentless and dominated the mtg :-( and the moderator didn't / couldn't stop them.


message 6: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn | 143 comments Sangeeta - I've never had the negative and unpleasant experience you've had complaining non-stop. I have had experience with people going off topic when I was leading a couples book group and it was so difficult to get them back on track. Finally, I gave up.
I also like to hear differing viewpoints - makes for better discussion IMHO.

I was part of a discussion at a library one time when we skyped with the author after the discussion. "When the Falls Stood Still" I think is the name of the book. Luckily, we all pretty much liked the book and had a nice discussion with the author.


message 7: by Sangeeta (new)

Sangeeta | 156 comments luckily that was just once.


message 8: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
Judy wrote: "I was lucky to have been invited to a one time book discussion that also included the author of the book. The title is Finding Hollis and the author is Pauline Williams. She weaves parts of her own..."

Judy, your name was drawn from the box today as the winner of the first drawing of NPML's 2018 adult summer reading! Your prize is a $10 gift certificate to Chopt. I've sent you an email. Congratulations!


message 9: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn | 143 comments Congratulations Judy!


message 10: by Sangeeta (new)

Sangeeta | 156 comments congrats Judy :-D


message 11: by Judy (new)

Judy | 28 comments Thank you Marilyn and Sangeeta! I'm looking forward to trying Chopt. It is so nice that they support our NP community.


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