How are you doing with your reading goals for 2020? I’ve asked many friends this question and received differing answers. For some, the coronavirus pandemic has given them the opportunity to slow down, sit down, and read a book. Equally, others feel so hopelessly behind on their reading goals that they’re just going to wait and try anew in 2021.
Not surprisingly, our overall circulation checkouts at the library are down about 25% compared to where they were in September 2019. However, digital downloads (eBooks, audiobooks, and more) have increased by more than 15%, and digital magazines are up almost 80% compared to last year.
No matter how you read, if you’re looking for something new in a casual setting, we recommend giving a Delaware County District Library virtual book club a try. Since most of these are conducted via Zoom, registration is required in order to get everyone the proper login credentials and links. However, reading the book is as “optional” as you’d like it to be. Want to just get a feel for the group’s discussion style? Go ahead and register, just so you have the link when it’s time to meet.
The variety of our virtual book clubs is quite fascinating. For example, this Monday at 1 p.m. we have a meeting of “Around the World in Books & Bites.” In a non-COVID world, this book club read stories from cultures and then met over lunch at a local restaurant that served cuisine from that part of the world. With the book club meeting virtually now, we still read from around the world, but you’ll grab carry out from a recommended restaurant instead. This meeting, the group celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month and discusses “Like Water for Chocolate.” They recommend pairing with your favorite Mexican takeout.
If October has you in the mood for a spooky read, we’d recommend heading to the Tuesday, Oct.27 book club, which meets at 6 p.m., to discuss “The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson. Register now, only three seats remain for this one!
Even middle school students are into the book club world with their own special group meeting monthly online. The next club takes place on Monday, Nov. 2, at 3 p.m. to discuss the books in the running for the Buckeye Book Award for grades 6-8. Nominees include Kazu Kibuishi’s “Supernova (Amulet #8),” Kelly Yang’s “Front Desk,” Alan Gratz’s “Grenade,” Kenneth Oppel’s “Inkling,” and “Guts” by Raina Telgemeier.
Adding in the Virtual Book Chat, Young at Heart, and Homeschool book clubs and you’ve got more than enough options for your various reading tastes. Give each one a try or just stick with one. There’s no wrong way to book club.
In case you’re unsure which one to try, maybe the selected book could help you decide. Here are the upcoming titles and their synopses.
• “Like Water For Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel. Despite the fact that she has fallen in love with a young man, Tita, the youngest of three daughters born to a tyrannical rancher, must obey tradition and remain single and at home to care for her mother.
• “The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson. When four seekers arrive at a notorious old mansion, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena, but Hill House is gathering its powers and will soon choose one of them to make its own.
• “No Rest for the Dead” by Sandra Brown, Jeff Abbott. A serial novel featuring contributions by twenty-five masters of suspense follows detective Jon Nunn as he re-opens a ten-year-old case to discover if the wrong person was convicted and put to death for the murder of art curator Christopher Thomas. Other authors include David Baldacci, Lisa Scottoline, Jeffrey Deaver and more.
• “Kitchens of the Great Midwest” by J. Ryan Stradel. Raised with a sophisticated palate by her single father, Eva Thorvald learns the culturally rich stories behind a series of Midwestern dishes while becoming the star chef at a legendary restaurant.
• “Chasing Vermeer” by Blue Balliett. When seemingly unrelated and strange events start to happen and a precious Vermeer painting disappears, eleven-year-olds Petra and Calder combine their talents to solve an international art scandal.