Library Moments: April 2013 Online Book Club

Sherrill Sherwood, Collection Development/Marketing:  Hello, I’m Sherrill Sherwood from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.

HCPL Book Club

In November of 2012 the Haliburton County Public Library launched an online book club using the Goodreads platform.   This book club operates a little differently than the traditional “meet once a month” book clubs.  This one is available for discussion 24/7.  Every month there is a theme and the choice of four books to read.  The theme is accompanied by discussion questions and the opportunity to talk about books in general.  April’s choices all had a line of poetry as their title in celebration of National Poetry month.   To start, Amanda Wilk will talk about the book of her choice and then Catherine Coles will chat about her selection.

The Fault in Our StarsAmanda Wilk, Public Services Librarian: For this month I re-read The Fault in Our Stars. As I have mentioned before, The Fault in Our Stars was my favourite book of 2012, and simply one of my all-time favourite novels. It is a book about Hazel, a young adult diagnosed with terminal thyroid cancer. When Hazel meets Augustus Waters at a cancer support group, her life takes an unexpected turn, and she finds herself re-examining everything she thought she knew about life, loss, and love.

Everyone has said so much about The Fault in Our Stars that I am starting to feel a little clichéd talking about how much I love it. It’s been raved about by numerous critics, has been placed on many Top Ten Books of 2012 lists, received a number of book awards, and has an average rating of 4.53 (out of 5) stars on Goodreads based on over 200,000 ratings. So many, many people think it is good.

Rather than rhapsodize over The Fault in Our Stars’ greatness once more, I am just going to say that although it is a sad book (I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much while reading a book in my life), it isn’t a depressing read. I found the tone to be hopeful, and ultimately it is much more a story about life than disease or inevitable death.

Also, though it is labeled as a young adult novel, it is certainly not relevant to young people alone. It is very well written, and includes themes and subject matter relevant to readers of all ages.

Catherine Coles, Branch Services Librarian: My poetic title book of choice this month was Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck’s classic Of Mice and Mennovella. The title is taken from Robert Burn’s poem To A Mouse which reads: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley.” For those not up on their Scottish dialect this means “the best laid schemes of mice and men / Often go awry”….and so they do in this book.

It is the story of the bond between two migrant workers in California. George acts as a father figure to Lennie, who is a big, developmentally delayed guy who means well but is not always the gentle giant he should be.

Of Mice and Men is a novel that I think most people have read at some point. Personally, I haven’t read any Steinbeck prior to this and although I knew the basis of the story through pop culture references, I didn’t expect the shocking ending. For those who think that classic literature always involves big, long, dense slogs, try Of Mice and Men. It is a quick, simple read with a great, universal story.

Sherrill Sherwood, Collection Development/Marketing:  At first I declined Catherine’s suggestion to join this book club since it just isn’t my “cup of tea”. I want to read what I want, when I want, and not necessarily talk about it afterwards. I am glad Catherine convinced me to join though, because it is as though I am able to be a member of a book club and sit on the sidelines just listening, except I don’t need to leave home and can pick the day and time I attend. I have enjoyed their discussions and also have heavily reaped the benefits of Goodreads. If you rate twenty books on the Goodreads site, they will populate a recommendations tab based on the books you have rated so it is an amazing readers’ advisory tool. This book club has given HCPL an opportunity to offer something online that is always accessible and also highlight some hidden gems that make up our collection.  You can join any time, simply go to www.haliburtonlibrary.ca click on Book Club Resources, where there is a direct link to the library’s online Book Club. Thanks for listening to Library Moments here on 100.9 Canoe FM.

* Originally aired on 100.9 Canoe FM from April 22nd-28th

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