By October 28, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Mission Control

I’m on a mission. I’m not certain what the point of the mission is. But I want to see where the journey takes me.

I am going to visit as many of Kansas City’s book clubs as possible and record the experiences here for posterity. I’m hoping to gather some new rejuvenation tools, new titles to discuss, and get excited all over again about talking about books.

Tonight I started with the Linda Hall Library’s Periodic Roundtable book group. This experimental gathering was pulled together in January of 2008 and their focus is on popular science books. They’ve discussed, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman, Physics of NASCAR and the latest, Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam.

Rocket Boys, the inspiration for the popular movie, October Sky, prompted plenty of discussion on the place of science in today’s educational system and the encouragement of curiosity and exploration in children when they live in a world that tries to protect them from every evil.

The usual “memoir” dilemma was broached, how much of this book is fabrication and fact? We also discussed the influence of Hickam’s parents on his development as a young scientist. It’s obvious Homer’s mother was determined that her second son should live a life outside of the shabby company-owned coal mining town of Coalwood. But a few readers felt Homer’s father played a large a part in his development as his mother.

Readers also discussed Homer’s precarious hold on his passion for science. One reader pointed out that Homer could have been “lost” to science a number of times in his childhood but for the encouragement and support of his family, a beloved teacher, and some unusual townspeople who believed in Homer and his “Rocket Boys.”

Jenny led a lively group that included two students, community members and Friends of the Linda Hall Library. What thrilled attendees most was Hickam’s upcoming visit to Kansas City on November 6. It’s free and open to the public. Readers expect to continue the discussion with the author himself that night.

Fun fact: October Sky is an anagram of Rocket Boys.

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About the Author:

Kaite Mediatore Stover refuses to give up her day job as director of readers' services for The Kansas City Public Library to read tarot cards professionally or be the merch girl/roadie for her husband's numerous bands. Follow her on Twitter at @MarianLiberryan.

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