Thursday, October 28, 2010

Our Opinions of Olive in October

Last Tuesday night we met to discuss the book, Olive Kittredge, by Elizabeth Strout. We had a good turnout of readers, and two new women joined the group.

Reactions to the book were mixed, although there was no one who totally disliked it. Many in the group commented on the great writing, the fully developed characters, and the well defined visuals that made the story come alive. These remarks were counterbalanced by several people describing the story as dark and depressing.

Or, I should say, stories, since the book is written as separate tales within every chapter instead of as one continual plotline. Many of us found that to be confusing. Many of us found the abrupt endings to the chapters frustrating.

Our conversations about Olive herself allowed for a lot of laughter in our meeting. We all admitted to knowing someone who was as brash as she seemed to be. Some of us saw a little of ourselves in parts of her. And the author did a good job of showing us Olive's tender side, so that little by little, as we began to know Olive better, we began to understand and like her more.

This was the first book we have chosen in our club that some readers found a second reading to be more meaningful, and others are planning to reread the book for a deeper understanding.

Read more about the author at her web site:
View the awarding of the Pulitzer Prize for this novel at:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Time to Help the Library

Be part of helping the Washington County Library system grow and prepare for the future.

Until November 14th, the library is seeking your input through an easy, seven (with multiple parts) questionnaire, online or by paper copy at any county branch. You can rate the importance of the library's current programs and help with the Strategic Planning for the future.

This is an easy way for you to voice your opinion on what direction the library should go. You will find a link to the survey on the Washington County Library web site, or here:

And, by the way, the survey does include a question on the importance of a book club . . . .

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Famous Cat Close to Home

Remember the book we read about the library cat? It was Dewey, a small town cat that touched the world. And then we talked about Oscar, a famous cat who could predict when people would die. Well, it turns out that we have a similar cat right here in our midst.

According to a story printed in the Pioneer Press (Sept. 27, 2010), there is a cat named Ollie who lives as the official pet of Gilbert House, an Episcopal Church Home here in St. Paul. This cat, too, is known to provide a presence of peace when a resident of the home has reached the end of their life.

Could it be an inherent trait in some animals? Doctor Dosa, who wrote the book about Oscar, thinks that Ollie is not that unusual. Cats have long been thought to have special traits, but not all of them are as perceptive as these two.

Read more from the newspaper's web site: St. Paul cat seems to know when nursing home residents will die, by Molly Guthrey. If you want you can add your views to an ongoing conversation, with the ability to read comments made by other readers, or leave one of your own.