What We’re Reading This Year: Downtowners

I facilitate three book groups and guest facilitate at many others in the library’s community. This means I have to plan my reading carefully. I’m on a boot camp reading schedule that rivals that of any drill sergeant.

Here’s the new discussion list for The Kansas City Public Library‘s Downtowners reading group. We meet at lunchtime and the members are eclectic readers. I think the titles they selected reflect that and one of the unstated goals of the group is to have at least one member say at every meeting, “I would never have picked up that book. I’m glad I did.”

The Roadby Cormac McCarthy. A suggested reading title in the KCPL Adult Winter Reading program, Altered States. We will also be tying this title into our Read It/Watch It movie/book discussions.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. Another Winter Reading suggested read and also fulfills the request from a group member for a “meaty, beaty, big and booky” kind of book for winter.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi will be the first graphic novel this group has read in about five years.

Mudbound by Hilary Jordan was popular with a different book group I lead last year and turned up on the “let’s read this!” lists of at least three members of Downtowners.

My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor. We’re all looking forward to this story of a brain scientist’s journey from a debilitating stroke to full recovery.

So Much for That by Lionel Shriver is the prize winning title the group wanted to read. Last year we did The Appointment from Nobel Prize winning author Herte Muller.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Everyone else is doing it, why can’t we? But we also know it will be a very satisfying discussion.

Almost Dead by Assaf Gavron. A little gem that’s been flying under the radar. I’m expecting this novel to be one of those “I would never have picked this up!” books.

Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. In the fall this classic will be on the schedules for many of KCPL’s book groups as the new ballet based on the book is premiered at Kansas City’s grand opening of the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

The Good Soldiers by David Finkel. This book has a local connection. Many of the soldiers profiled in this well-received work came out of Fort Riley in Kansas.

Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff. We always read a biography and this was a hands down favorite.

In December we will hold our Reading Round Up and after discussing other good books we’ve read all year, I want to do a battle of the books from the past year’s reading group selections and declare a Best Book We Read and Discussed this Year.

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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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