Thursday, September 30, 2010

Nobody Liked Hillie

It is easy to see why The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, is such a popular book. Ten of us met on Tuesday night for a discussion of it. Everyone present either 'liked' or 'loved' the book, with two members who were unable to attend expressing their 'loved' opinions by proxy.

We passed the time quickly at our meeting, as the book contained so many dimensions for us to discuss. Our conversation included topics of civil rights, prejudice, poverty, and morality, to handy kitchen tips and super-sized hair curlers of the sixties.

In discussing the characters we found that a lot of us differed on having a favorite character in the book. Top among the most well liked were Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter. We found Celia to be a sympathetic one. But nobody liked Hillie.

Visit the author's web site at:
See the Official Book web site at:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Surprising Facts About Books


What do the books:
  • The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank
  • Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell, and
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
have in common?

The Surprising Answer:

They are all books that at one time or another have been banned from schools, libraries, or bookstores.

Today is right in the middle of Banned Books Awareness Week, September 25th thru October 2nd of this year. "Banned Books Week is an annual awareness campaign that celebrates the freedom to read, draws attention to banned and challenged books, and highlights persecuted individuals." (Taken directly from Wikipedia. Emphasis mine.)

Half Price Books provides a link from their web site to, where you can learn more about the hundreds of books that have been considered improper to read at different times and places. You are likely to find several of your favorites and wonder why they are listed.

For example, Huck Finn was banned due to the informal style of dialogue the author used. Concord, Massachusetts considered it "trash and suitable only for the slums."

Even the dictionary itself has at one time been considered improper reading material. On the list of objectionable books was The American Heritage Dictionary, banned by a library in Missouri and a school board in Alaska. The book's offensive material was some of the words it contained. Words like 'bed', 'knocker', and 'balls.'

I don't know. All of that seems sort of tame by today's standards.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Free! Meet an Author!

Here is an exciting opportunity for anyone who likes to read. Copy this bookmark:

With funding from Minnesota's Art and Cultural Heritage Fund, and organized through Metro public libraries and the Library Foundation of Hennepin County, authors will be attending public libraries this fall to meet readers and speak about their books.

The events are free and open to the public. They are scheduled for libraries across the metro area. (So far nothing is listed for our very own.)

Some of the authors scheduled are: Terry McMillan, Colson Whitehead, Faith Sullivan, and Alison McGhee. Alas, readings by those we know well, Garrison Keillor and Patricia Hampl, have already been held. But this is an excellent way to learn more about . . . books!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy Anniversary . . . To Us!

Happy Anniversary!
It is hard to believe, but this month is the fourth anniversary of our first meeting of the Park Grove Library book club!

We have been a busy group, too. A glance at our list of 'Books We Have Read' shows evidence of that. As a group, we have introduced each other to new and different authors, new and different types of books, and so many new and different ideas and perspectives on what we have read. How many times has one of us liked a book, and then admitted, "I would never have thought to choose that one on my own."

So, this month we will be meeting at the library, Tuesday the 28th, at 6:30 p.m. Our selection is The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. This book is sure to generate a lot of conversation.

The Help has been called by Amazon, "The word-of-mouth fiction breakout of the year." It has been ranked at #5 on a list of Amazon's bestselling books of 2009, (see, and continues at the top of the bestseller lists for 2010. The New York Times places the book in the top 5 for bestsellers of 2010.

This is a book that has attracted a lot of attention and has a lot of longevity. We will likely be having a very interesting meeting this month.