Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Book Discussion Groups at the Library & LibraryThing

There are two book discussion groups for adults that meet at the Buena Park Library—one in the afternoon and one in the evening. They generally meet on the 4th Thursday of the month, unless holidays or other special programs are scheduled. New participants are always welcome—please just stop by (no reservations or notice is required).

The next afternoon discussion group will meet on Thursday, November 15, 2007 from 1:00pm--2:30 pm in the Small Meeting Room downstairs. They will be discussing A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.

Here is a short review from Publishers Weekly: Afghan-American novelist Hosseini follows up his bestselling The Kite Runner with another searing epic of Afghanistan in turmoil. The story covers three decades of anti-Soviet jihad, civil war and Taliban tyranny through the lives of two women. Mariam is the scorned illegitimate daughter of a wealthy businessman, forced at age 15 into marrying the 40-year-old Rasheed, who grows increasingly brutal as she fails to produce a child. Eighteen later, Rasheed takes another wife, 14-year-old Laila, a smart and spirited girl whose only other options, after her parents are killed by rocket fire, are prostitution or starvation. Against a backdrop of unending war, Mariam and Laila become allies in an asymmetrical battle with Rasheed, whose violent misogyny—"There was no cursing, no screaming, no pleading, no surprised yelps, only the systematic business of beating and being beaten"—is endorsed by custom and law. Hosseini gives a forceful but nuanced portrait of a patriarchal despotism where women are agonizingly dependent on fathers, husbands and especially sons, the bearing of male children being their sole path to social status. His tale is a powerful, harrowing depiction of Afghanistan, but also a lyrical evocation of the lives and enduring hopes of its resilient characters.

The next evening book discussion group will meet on Thursday, November 29, 2007 from 6:30pm--7:45pm pm in the Library Board Room on the 2nd floor. They will be discussing Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.

Here is a short review from Publishers Weekly: Some failures lead to phenomenal successes, and this American nurse's unsuccessful attempt to climb K2, the world's second tallest mountain, is one of them. Dangerously ill when he finished his climb in 1993, Mortenson was sheltered for seven weeks by the small Pakistani village of Korphe; in return, he promised to build the impoverished town's first school, a project that grew into the Central Asia Institute, which has since constructed more than 50 schools across rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. Coauthor Relin recounts Mortenson's efforts in fascinating detail, presenting compelling portraits of the village elders, con artists, philanthropists, mujahideen, Taliban officials, ambitious school girls and upright Muslims Mortenson met along the way. As the book moves into the post-9/11 world, Mortenson and Relin argue that the United States must fight Islamic extremism in the region through collaborative efforts to alleviate poverty and improve access to education, especially for girls. Captivating and suspenseful, with engrossing accounts of both hostilities and unlikely friendships, this book will win many readers' hearts.

You can keep up to date with upcoming titles if you visit the Buena Park Library’s LibraryThing page at www.librarything.com/catalog/BPLDbookgroup. [Choose display style D to see when the groups meet.]

LibraryThing is an online service to help people catalog their books easily. Here is a little bit on how it works from their website:

“LibraryThing is really two sites in one.

First, it is a powerful tool to catalog your personal library. Users add books to their catalog by entering titles, authors, or ISBN numbers. LibraryThing then searches the Library of Congress, all five national Amazon sites, and over 78 world libraries, and returns with precise book data. Users can then edit the books in their catalog, tag their books with their own subjects, and use the Library of Congress and Dewey Decimal systems to organize their collections.

LibraryThing is also an amazing social space, connecting people with similar libraries. It also makes book recommendations based on the collective intelligence of the other libraries.”

Visit LibraryThing to learn more and start cataloging your books.

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