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More than just the book

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Have you ever finished reading a great book and wished that you could sit down and talk about it with a group of people? If so, the West Kildonan Library Book Club is worth investigating.

The Book Club began in September 2000, and has been popular ever since. Meetings are held downstairs at the library the third Tuesday of the month at 7:15 p.m. One member of the group facilitates the meeting. Author information and background, a synopsis of the book, and book reviews are shared.

Then the magic begins, as members discuss themes, ask questions, share insights and recall memories that the book has triggered.

I attended the April 16 meeting of the club. On this particular Tuesday evening, the chosen novel was We Need to Talk about Kevin, by Lionel Shriver. This novel is disturbing.

Without revealing too much plot, the novel deals with some heavy issues — high school shootings, the expectations of motherhood, and the question of nature versus nurture.

This evening the discussion was lively. The eight members present agreed that the novel was dark, but riveting. We talked about the pressures on mothers to raise good kids. We questioned how kids turn bad, and whether bad kids can be rehabilitated. People shared personal stories of working with difficult children.

There were different interpretations of the characters, their motives, and their relationships. We discussed the language of the novel which is difficult, but clever. We also shared tea, snacks, and friendly conversation. At 8:25, as the loudspeaker announced the closing of the library, we headed upstairs to check out the book choice for May.

I asked members why they joined the book club, and what they liked about it. According to Beth, "a true love of books and reading is the underlying theme." She also appreciates the social aspect.

"We get to know each other as well as the books".

Michelle feels that "the conversations about the reading material are very stimulating and eye-opening."

Janice appreciates "how accepting everyone is of other people’s views."

Ann admits that the book club encourages her to read outside of her usual scope. She also likes the "spin off" conversations that develop about other matters related to the book.

Members, with help from staff, choose the book list every year at the September meeting. The book list includes both fiction and non-fiction books, as well as classic works and newer bestsellers. In June, a pot luck dinner, and movie night will follow the discussion.

To register for the book club, please contact the library at 204-986-4386.

Joanne O’Leary is a community correspondent for Riverbend.

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