Post by Megan and Anne, Information Services Staff
We may be biased, but book clubs are fabulous! In this series, we’ll tell you why book clubs are wonderful, share some local clubs and provide you with ideas for hosting your own.
Last month we showed you some great options to get started in the book club world. We shared information about book clubs happening at Kitchener Public Library, the local community and internationally. This month we’re setting you up to start your own club!
Making it Fabulous
What makes a book club fabulous? An intriguing book, deep discussion and fantastic setting. Like other social events, there are a few things to think about when you’re starting a book club. It is probably best to decide first who you would like to be in the club, and then figure out the other details.
- How often will you meet? Monthly? Quarterly? Annually?
- When will you meet? Pick a date and time!
- Where will you meet? Virtually, in a public space or in someone’s home?
- Will the meetings have a theme, or involve food or alcohol?
- What are the participants’ interests? Do they want to read something light, dramatic, non-fiction, short or long?
- How are folks reading? In-print, online, by audiobook etc.?
- Where will you get copies of the book? For free (at the library) or at a store?
- Have some members already read the book?
If you’re ready to try hosting your own book club, we’ve got you covered with book club sets you can borrow from the library. Each set contains 8 copies of a book, as well as a discussion guide. They can be borrowed for 6 weeks, with up to 2 renewals allowed (as long as no one else has a hold on the set).
Each of the recommendations below starts with a KPL book club set and provides other related items to watch, listen or read from the library’s collection. We’ll be back next month with suggestions for Science Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, and more!
Graphic Memoir: Maus by Art Spiegelman
Maus is the first (and only) Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic memoir. If you’ve never read a graphic novel, this memoir is a great starting place as the visual form conveys another level of emotion to the reader. In Maus, the author records family conversation and memories as Jewish survivors of WWII. Follow your reading with more stories based on true accounts from the Holocaust and revolution survivors.
- Read | Maus by Art Spiegelman | KPL Book Club Set
- Read | The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi | Graphic Novel
- Watch | Big Sonia | KPL DVD
- Watch | A Bag of Marbles | KPL DVD
- Listen | The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris | Download Library eAudiobook
Short Stories: How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa
How To Pronounce Knife was the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner from Canadian poet and author, Souvankham Thammavongsa. The book is a collection of short stories that focus on characters “struggling to find their bearings in unfamiliar territory, or shuttling between idioms, cultures, and values.” Our related picks also show vignettes of the condition that is being human.
- Read | How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa | Book Club Set
- Read | Moccasin Square Gardens by Richard Van Camp | eBook
- Watch | Certain Women directed by Kelly Reichardt | DVD
- Watch | The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards directed by Jeremy David White | DVD
- Listen | Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq | E-Audiobook
Fiction: The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb
The Beauty of Humanity Movement is a novel that weaves three stories in contemporary Vietnam, with a theme of generational conflict. Pho, the national Vietnamese dish is at the heart of the story between a Pho-stall owner, a tour guide and an art curator in Hanoi Vietnam. Camilla Gibb is an award-winning Canadian author and she teaches aspiring writers at the University of Guelph, Humber School for Writers and the University of Toronto. Our other selections highlight Vietnamese life and culture and food in Vietnam and beyond.
- Read | The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb | Book Club Set
- Read | A Different Pond by Bao Phi | Read Along Picture Book
- Watch | The Scent of Green Papaya directed by Tran Anh Hung | DVD
- Listen | A Ph̉ơ Love Story by Loan Le | E-Audiobook
- Try | Ăn: to Eat by Helen An | Vietnamese Cookbook
Non-Fiction: How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
The New York Times called How to be An Antiracist “The most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind.” Author Ibram X. Kendi has quite a number of books on this topic (for all ages) and recently won the MacArthur Genius grant for his work. The book combines ethics, law, history and science and is recommended for folks who want to go beyond being aware of racism. As a teaser, you could watch Kendi’s TED Talk. The suggestions below all have a theme of tackling racism.
- Read | How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi | Book Club Set
- Read | The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole | Non-Fiction Book
- Watch | Just Mercy directed by Destin Daniel Cretton | DVD
- Watch | The Best of Enemies directed by Robin Bissel | DVD
- Listen | Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho | Audiobook CD
More Book Clubs
Need more ideas about getting started? Check out this blog from Edmonton Public Library.
Looking for more suggestions of what to watch / listen / read next? Fill out a DiscoveREAD form and let us pick for you!