The latest on PEC Library book clubs

Picton Branch of the Prince Edward County Public Library. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette Staff)

Writer bell hooks, in an interview with Maya Angelou, said that “for most people, what is so painful about reading is that you read something and you don’t have anybody to share it with. In part what a book club opens up is that people can read a book and then have someone else to talk about it with. Then they see that a book can lead to the pleasure of conversation, that the solitary act of reading can actually be a part of the path to communion and community.”

As we anticipate welcoming small groups back to meeting in the library this fall, we wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about some book club reads.

Jenn Kingma, interlibrary loan librarian, works with 25 clubs to provide their books each month and in doing so, has her finger on the pulse of what groups are reading.

Where the Crawdads Sing, by retired wildlife biologist Delia Owens, has been a hit since it’s release as readers follow the story of Kya, a woman growing up isolated and wild but yearning to explore connection with others. The book spent 32 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List!

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson is discussion-sparking read. Companion to Life After Life, A God in Ruins tells the story of Teddy Todd – would-be poet, heroic pilot, husband, father and grandfather. Like Life After Life, the book changes perspective and time period throughout to draw connecting lines through events in Teddy’s life. Gillian Flynn describes this book as “one of the best novels I’ve read this century.”

Many groups look to award-winners to select their books, and it’s no surprise that 2019 Booker Prize winner Girl Woman Other by Bernadine Evaristo has been a popular title. Written as a mix of poetry and prose described by the author as “fusion fiction”, the book tells the story of twelve interconnected characters who are mostly Black and British.

If you’re looking for award-winners, you would be hard-pressed to find many titles that have been as successful as Five Little Indians by Michelle Good. It won the Governor General’s Literary Award, Amazon Canada’s First Novel Award, and longlisted for the First Nations Communities Read award just to name a few. Following the stories of 5 people who have been taken from their families and sent to a church-run residential school, as they come to terms with their past and, ultimately, find a way forward.

We hosted Michelle Good in conversation with Lenny Epstein through the sponsorship of the County of Prince Edward, and you can find the recording at peclibrary.org/youtube. If you are interested in starting a club, the library can help. Each member of your club will need a library card, and if you provide Jenn with a list of your selections for the year the books will arrive as if by magic (though really through Interlibrary Loan) with time for you to read before your meeting.

For information or if you have any questions, contact Jenn by email jkingma@peclibrary.org or (613) 393-3400.

-Liz Zylstra