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October is National Reading Group Month, and what better way to celebrate than to read book club selections?! The College, Career, and Coffee Book Club at the Iredell County Public Library decided to read titles that have been selected by other book clubs. This includes the New York Times choices, Oprah’s Book Club, Goodreads group selections, and the book club selection in the Statesville location of the ICPL.

We started with Natalie who, as the running joke goes, read a few chapters of two books! The one she read the most of was The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. It is the story of a woman who discovers a box in her attic that contains a letter addressed to her, written by her husband, that she is not supposed to read until after his death. She reads it anyway unleashing a mirage of secrets that threaten to shatter her family and her marriage. Natalie really likes the characters and the twisty plot. The family discord and marital conflict add a level of realism to the story and makes it very intriguing.

Sam read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini at the recommendation of another book clubber, Becca. Sam also read A House Without Windows by Nadia Hashimi. Both books take place in Afghanistan and focus on the struggles of women in and around the city of Kabul before and after the takeover by the Taliban. Before the Taliban begins to control the region, the area is peaceful and economically prosperous. The culture is thriving and women are not only respected, but many even hold positions of power within their communities.  Hashimi’s book is about women who have been wrongly accused and are sent to prison and it documents their struggle for freedom, both outside the walls of their prison and within their own minds. Sam noted that while Hosseini’s story is more historically based and full of important cultural and historical information, Hashimi’s book plays more to the reader’s emotions. Sam is now on an Afghan women kick, and is hoarding more books on the subject, both fiction and nonfiction. She is inspired to learn more about the truth and the struggle of Afghan women in history and in their current plight in the Middle East. While on the subject of feminism, we all joked that our resident feminist, Becca, was not even present to enjoy the conversation!

Tara returned!! It has been a while since we’ve seen her, and we were so happy to have her back with us. She is halfway through a book from the book club collection called I am One of You Forever by Fred Chappell. Tara felt the book is somewhat confusing, but interesting. She could not initially find a plot summary and this was more of an impulse read. She is enjoying the characters so far, so she is looking forward to finishing. One of her favorite books of all time that is also a book club selection is Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. She highly recommended it to the group.

Lisa, always the over-achiever, read four books this month. First was Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Lisa loved the concept of humans fulfilling God’s will to care for the animals. She watched the movie also, and said it was similar and very well executed. Quiet by Susan Cain is a nonfiction psychology book about the difference between shy people and introverts. Lisa has always considered herself an introvert and values her alone time. The book also talked about one of her personal heroines, Rosa Parks. Parks is considered an introvert. Had she simply been “shy,” she may not have taken the stand she did on that bus during the Civil Rights movement. This conversation led us to discussing which type we are. Tru and Nelle by G. Neri is a fictional kids book about Truman Capote and Harper Lee who were friends growing up as children together. This book was complimented by The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin which is an adult fiction also about Truman Capote and the Roaring Twenties, one of Lisa’s favorite time periods in American history.

Shellie and Becca both read Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain, which is a story that takes place in North Carolina in 1960 and covers the controversial topic of the sterilization of women in the welfare system. This was a very emotional book and the author clearly did her research on this topic. The group talked about the two extremes presented in the book. One character who begged and pleaded to have the surgery done because she could not care for any more children was denied because she did not meet the criteria set forth by the government for sterilization. Another character, a 17-year old girl, was sterilized without her knowledge with the consent of her grandmother, all while dreaming of a big family and wanting five more children that she can never have. The social worker, who is the main character, is introduced to this world and tries to make a difference in the lives of these families. This book has been read by book clubs for a reason and it definitely sparks a lot of good discussion. Becca was happy Shellie read this book. She remembers reading the book as the real-life lawsuit for victims of sterilization was going on in North Carolina and how much of an impact the story had on her. The second book she read, and one that Becca had planned to read for this meeting as well, was The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. This book was recommended to Shellie by a patron who normally reads fantasy. Her immediate reaction was, “What on earth makes you think I will want to read this book??” It takes place in the early 1800s and spans 35 years from the perspectives of a young white girl, Sarah Grimke, from a privileged South Carolina family and the young slave girl, Handful, who was given to Sarah on her 11th birthday. The story weaves an inspirational tale of love and freedom based on historical characters. Sarah and her sister were two of the earliest feminists and the first female abolitionists in America. Shellie listened to the book on audio and highly recommended listening to this book as opposed to reading it because there are two narrators; the voice of Sarah and the voice of Handful. By listening to the book, you can really visualize these characters and it brings to life the historical struggle. Sue Monk Kidd did an amazing job researching these characters.

We had such a fun time with Subway cookies and coffee this month! November is National Adoption Awareness Month so we will be reading stories about adoption. This can include pets as well! Join us at our next meeting on November 3 at 7:00pm!