I don’t know how many book clubs there are in Nelson. We do get asked quite a bit, but despite repeated pleas to come forward and ‘fess up so we might put together a database for newcomers, book clubbers remain a secretive bunch.
Perhaps it’s about not messing with a dynamic that works. Perhaps it’s not wanting to share those double chocolate brownies with anyone else. But for would-be book clubbers, the best advice is to start your own.
Safe to say, there are lots of book clubs — also known as book discussion groups — in Nelson. There are also lots of people looking. Luckily, there are some great resources for clubs and clubs-to-be.
Bookclubs.ca is a great online resource for everything from how to start one to tips for a good discussion to what to read. There are also links to other cool sites such as Booklounge.ca. Many contemporary novels include book club questions at the back.
For those who prefer print resources for their print materials, we have —yes — books! The Book Club Bible by Michael O’Mara (11.73BOO) offers talking points on 220 classic book club books, as well as resources for background information, and companion books.
For Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi, for example, you can learn about the number pi, or the real origin of Richard Parker, the name of the tiger that so wanted to eat the boy. Among suggested companion books is Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, an all-time fave of mine. Other useful books include Book Lust by Nancy Pearl (11.73 PEA) and Martel’s 2009 experiment in political literary influence, What is Stephen Harper Reading? (11.73 MAR).
Book clubbers often mix culinary with their literary. Check out the hilarious Kafka’s Soup: a Complete History of World Literature in 14 Recipes (641.5 CRI) or The Book Club Cook Book (641.5 GEL), with book-related recipes inspired by such authors as Isabel Allende (Spiced Turkey Empanadas) and Yann Martel (Tandoori Shrimp).
A consortium of Library Federations has conspired to make book clubbing even easier. There are more than 50 recent titles in book club sets available to order through the Nelson Library. For the lists, go to klf.bclibrary.ca/federations-book-club-sets. The 2012 books have just been purchased; 25 new titles including — wait for it — Will Schwalbe’s The End of Your Life Book Club.
One Book, One Kootenay is a region-wide book club that asks readers to choose — from a shortlist of three books penned by Kootenay authors — the book all Kootenay booklovers should read. Which means reading them, discussing them with your literary buddies, and casting your ballot.
This year’s shortlisted books are Never Going Back by Antonia Banyard, Confined Space by Deryn Collier, and The Dolphin’s Tooth: a Decade in Search of Adventure by Bruce Kirkby. Each year the shortlisted authors appear in person in select libraries, virtually accompanied by their co-shortlist via film clip.
On Thursday, May 23 at 7:30 pm the Nelson Library celebrates OBOK with a reading by Collier, with a bonus appearance by Banyard (Bruce Kirkby is still virtual). You’ll want to be there, because a book discussion is a fine thing, especially when you’re in the know.
Although the murder in Confined Space occurs in a brewery, the Library remains, sadly, unlicensed. Meanwhile, what beer-inspired edible could we pair with Collier’s book? Come and find out.
It’ll be a fine night of literary engagement, and who knows? There may be a wannabe book-clubber sitting next to you — who might just have a recipe for double chocolate brownies.
Anne DeGrace is the Adult Services Coordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Her column runs every other Friday.