Have you ever participated in a book club? If not, your idea of one may be a bit more old-fashioned. Perhaps it includes a group of academics sitting in a dimly lit room, sipping tea, and discussing the finer attributes of a particular literary genius of the times.
However, a modern book club is anything from the stuffy description offered above – and the Delaware County District Library offers a wide variety of options to attend. From location to reading taste, between now and the end of the month, readers have their choice of five different book clubs.
Next week, on Wednesday, May 18, at 12:30 p.m. is a mid-month (and special mid-day!) meeting of our Books & Brews Book Club. Meeting at the Olentangy River Brewing Company, this special group will discuss Sarah Vowell’s “Assassination Vacation” as a precursor to Ms. Vowell’s visit on Friday, May 20. Alcoholic brews will be on tap, as well as the tea and coffee brewed on-site by the aptly-named Roosevelt Coffee Roasters.
If you prefer some snacks or even a full meal with your book club, you’ll want to add Around the World in Books & Bites to your calendar. Now meeting twice a month (once in-person at a restaurant and once virtually), the Books & Bites group challenges readers to explore the world through a diversity of stories and cuisines. Each month, the group picks a book from another setting in the world and then accompanies their meeting with food from a nearby restaurant representing that culture. This month, the restaurant meeting has already taken place, but you can still join us virtually for “Crying in H Mart” by Michelle Zauner on Monday, May 23, at 1 p.m. Claim your spot online at www.delawarelibrary.org/events and enjoy some Korean cuisine as you discuss.
You can take your pick of which book club you’d like to attend (or double-up and attend both!) on Tuesday, May 24. At 5:30 p.m. in the Powell Branch Library, Carrie’s book club will discuss “Bewilderment” by Richard Powers – a story of astrobiologist Theo Byrne who is searching for life in the cosmos while single-handedly raising his quirky and troubled 9-year-old son. Then at 7 p.m. in the Ostrander Branch Library, Harla’s book club will tackle Gary Paulsen’s “Gone to the Woods.” Many will recognize Paulsen from their childhood reading of “Hatchet,” and this book is the first time he shares his own personal story of his turbulent childhood with the world.
Rounding out the month on Tuesday, May 31, at 1 p.m., Pam’s book club meets in the Delaware Main Library to discuss the tropical “Moloka’i” by Alan Brennert. Both this title and “Crying in H Mart” help celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, recognized for the entire month of May. My recommendations below all also highlight books written by and featuring AAPI heritage.
• “The Night Diary” by Veera Hiranandani. Newbery Honor-winning “The Night Diary” tells the story of shy twelve-year-old Nisha, who is forced to flee her home with her Hindu family during the 1947 partition of India. She tries to find her voice and make sense of the world falling apart around her by writing to her deceased Muslim mother in the pages of her diary.
• “Crying in H Mart” by Michelle Zauner. An unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean-American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity. In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist.
• “Eyes that Kiss in the Corners” by Joanna Ho. A self-confident and strong young girl recounts how she shares her eyes – and so much more – with her mother, her amah, and her little sister.
• “The Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan. In 1949, four Chinese women – drawn together by the shadow of their past – begin meeting in San Francisco to play mahjong, invest in stocks and “say” stories. They call their gathering the Joy Luck Club – and forge a relationship that binds them for more than three decades.
• “Patron Saints of Nothing” by Randy Ribay. Jay’s an average American teenager but when he discovers his cousin, Jun, in the Philippines has been murdered due to the country’s war on drugs, he has to take action. Jay travels to the Philippines to find answers about why Jun was murdered, and who he really is. National Book Award finalist.
• “Moloka’i” by Alan Brennert. Dreaming of far-off lands away from her loving 1890s Honolulu home, seven-year-old Rachel is forcibly removed from her family when she contracts leprosy and is placed in a settlement, where she loses a series of new friends before new medical discoveries enable her reentry into the world.
If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this column, mail it to Nicole Fowles, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH 43015, or call us at 740-362-3861. You can also email your questions by visiting the library’s web site at www.delawarelibrary.org or directly to Nicole at [email protected] No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked!