By December 11, 2010 0 Comments Read More →

Trail Blazing Readers

tbThe Trail Blazers book group has called the Trails West branch of the Kansas City Public Library home for almost ten years. They started gathering to discuss reading in April of 2001.

This eclectic band of readers are open to almost any kind of books (not too fond of horror, they freely admit) and have definite favorites from the past years. Stand out titles include Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry (“Jackie brought cucumber sandwiches and fresh-squeezed lemonade!”), Portrait in Sepia by Isabelle Allende (flan!), and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

The Blazers aren’t shy about naming less popular selections. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson wasn’t on the list of best books ever, and neither was One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The group has since discovered that the more literary titles are not to their collective taste and gravitate towards fiction and nonfiction with a stronger focus on story and pacing.

A lively group, facilitator Nancy is always looking for ways to keep discussions active. Every December the group holds their meeting in a local restaurant and instead of talking about a specific book, they trade suggestions for good reading they’ve experience during the past year and possible titles for discussion in the coming year.

Nancy likes pairing books with movies and strongly encourages the members to attend special library events featuring authors of books the group has read. They all made the trip to different branches to hear presentations from Chris Crutcher, Tobias Wolff, Steve Lopez, and Jacqueline Guidry. Nancy also makes special efforts to get authors to visit the group via teleconference. Recently the group had an audible visit from Sharon Kay Penman discussing her historical novels and historical mysteries. Adriana Trigiani was a favorite with her lively commentary and warm friendly tones. Lorna Landvik also dropped in via phone and amazed the entire group when they realized that she had memorized all their names by matching them with their voices. “We were pretty impressed by that,” Nancy said.

Trail Blazers is looking forward to vigorous conversation in the new year as they start it off with A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain in conjunction with the KCPL’s Winter Reading Program theme, Altered States.

The Trail Blazers have never been afraid to boldly go wherever their books may take them.



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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