Category Archives: book discussion group

England, China, Africa – A Travel by Book Update!

The first discussion in the Adult Summer Reading Program took us from England to China. Simon Winchester’s book, “The Man Who Loved China”, made for a lively discussion.

Several attendees had visited China and shared their interesting experiences with the group. They recommended reading books by Ha Jin, Amy Tan, and Jung Chang (“Wild Swans”) to anyone interested in stories with plots relating to China.

One lucky participant in the discussion won a Black Dog Coffee Mug for attending the meeting. More prizes will be awarded at the future meetings, courtesy of our sponsors, the Library Friends of Oak Bluffs.

Please join us for another fun and thoughtful discussion on Wednesday, July 22 at 10:30 AM. Copies of the book to be discussed, “Out of Africa” by Isak Denisen, are available at the check out desk at the library.

Adult Summer Reading Program Announced!

The library is hosting a series of book discussions this summer based upon popular works of travel, geography and history.

Attend the monthly book discussion meetings to be eligible for monthly prizes, enjoy free refreshments, and to be entered into an end of summer giveaway drawing. The more book discussion meetings that you attend the more chances you have to win the giveaway drawing!

Copies of the books will be available at the library, please read the books and join us for a series of lively discussion meetings:

June’s Discussion – “The Man Who Loved China: the Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom” by Simon Winchester on Wednesday, June 24 at 10:30am.

July’s Discussion – “Out of Africa” by Isak Denisen on Wednesday, July 22 at 10:30am.

August’s Discussion – “A Voyage Long and Strange” by Tony Horwitz on Wednesday, August 26 at 10:30am.

Sustainable Book Club – "The Omnivore’s Dilemma" by Michael Pollan

On Thursday evening, the library hosted the Island-Wide Sustainable Book Club Discussion. 15 people gathered to discuss Michael Pollan’s book, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”.

You can find a review of the book by visiting the library’s catalog, and the Sierra Club produced a useful discussion guide including links to other related resources (an interview with the author, articles, etc…) that you may find interesting.

As the meeting wrapped-up, a few stragglers continued to talk about television commercials and how they affected their parent’s choices of food and consumer products. Below are some commercials from the 50’s and 60’s that you can watch, courtesy of the Internet Archive.

The Bibliophiles, Inc. – Celebrate at the OBPL!

A lively and thoughtful 20th anniversary celebration of The Bibliophiles, Inc., the nation’s longest standing, continuously operating African American reading group, took place at the Library on Thursday afternoon.

A crowd of approximately 60 people filled the Library’s Meeting room to honor several of the group’s “Living Legends”: Ezola Adams, Cynthia Lemon, Frances May, and LuElla Peniston. Many of whom frequent the Oak Bluffs Public Library!

Many entertaining anecdotes were shared by the groups members, exemplifying the appreciation and joy that this group possesses for literature and learning.

The Bibliophiles, Inc. made a generous donation to the library as part of their celebration, and the library staff would like to thank all of the members of the reading group for the donation and for including the library in their festivities.

Book Discussion Group – "Mountains Beyond Mountains"

The book discussion group met on April 23 to discuss the book “Mountains Beyond Mountains” by Tracy Kidder. This non-fiction effort by Kidder focuses on the life and work of Dr. Paul Farmer and the Partners In Health Organization.

Much of the book takes place in the country of Haiti where Farmer works diligently to improve health care services to its impoverished citizens.

Farmer specifically focuses on the treatment of Tuberculosis and Aids and in conjunction with Partners In Health he brings his new and unique techniques to other countries around the world (Peru, Russia, etc…).

One group member mentioned that they really enjoyed Kidder’s other books as well. You can find more of Kidder’s books in the CLAMS Catalog:

  1. House
  2. Home Town
  3. Among Schoolchildren
  4. Old Friends
  5. My Detachment: A Memoir
  6. The Soul of a New Machine

The book that the discussion group will read for the May meeting is “The God of Small Things” by Arundhati Roy. Please pick up the book at the downstairs checkout desk and join us for our next stimulating book group discussion!

October’s Book Discussion: "Cod" by Mark Kurlansky

In conjunction with The Sustainable Book Club our Book Discussion Group met recently to talk about Kurlansky’s novel “Cod”.

Spirited discussions took place at both the evening and morning sessions, with mostly praise expressed for the author’s research and writing style.

Topics that received particular attention were fish farming, the fishing industry (techniques, technology, economics, etc..), the historical significance of cod, education in schools concerning sustainability, and the social/cultural influence of this important food source.

As usual people’s personal experiences and expertise on relevant subjects greatly contributed to the conversation, and made for a thought provoking group discussion!

Kurlansky has written a number of other books that may also appeal to readers:
Salt: A World History
The Basque History of the World: The Story of a Nation
The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell

Book Discussion Group – "To Kill A Mockingbird"

The Book Discussion Group met on the 28th and 29th of August. Harper Lee’s only novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, is a classic and all-time favorite. Librarians across the country voted it the best novel of the 20th Century! Across the board, the group agreed that it was one of their favorites — one person even said that she would like to read it once a year. We dissected and discussed many interesting topics, such as: race relations in the South during the 1930’s, single male parenting, coming-of-age stories, the integrity and justice of the court system both then and now.

For more information about Harper Lee’s life and other books that may interest people who enjoyed reading To Kill a Mockingbird, please check out NoveList, which is accessible from the oakbluffslibrary.org website. Listed below are several suggestions for similar books:

The Summer We Got Saved by Pat Cunningham Devoto

The Quiet Game by Greg Iles

The Madonna of Excelsior by Zakes Mda

We Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

Please join us next month for our next meeting when we will discuss The Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri. Stop by the circulation desk to pick up your copy today!

Book Discussion Group – "My Antonia"

The majority of Book Discussion Group attendees enjoyed reading Willa Cather’s novel, “My Antonia”.

Discussion topics included:

  • The author’s writing style & use of language.
  • The historical accuracy of how the mid-west was portrayed during the late 1800’s.
  • The main characters (Antonia, Jim, etc…).
  • What the author did not tell us and the questions left unanswered.
  • And other interesting topics that came to people’s minds while reading the novel!

For more information about Willa Cather’s life and other books that may interest people who enjoyed reading “My Antonia”, try these suggestions:

Click on the link to be brought directly to the book/DVD in the CLAMS Catalog!

Please join us next month for our next meeting when we will discuss “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee! Stop by the circulation desk to pick up your copy today!

Book Discussion Group – "The Time Traveler’s Wife"

Many of the Book Discussion Group attendees had distinctly different experiences while reading the book, “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger.

While many people did not like the time travelling/sci-fi aspect, relationships, etc… in the book, others enjoyed the novel’s unique plotline and love story.

The differing opinions made for an intriguing discussion!

If you weren’t able to read the book for the discussion group, you can request the book in the CLAMS catalog today!

Other books with time traveling/memory themes include:

  1. “A Shortcut in Time” by Charles Dickinson
  2. “Replay” by Ken Grimwood
  3. “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold
  4. “Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut
  5. “Crooked River Burning” by Mark Winegardner

Book Discussion Group: "Their Eyes Were Watching God"


This book was also chosen as the One Book One Island adult book for 2007. Their Eyes Were Watching God is the unforgettable story of Janie Crawford, an articulate African-American woman in the 1930s, and her quest for identity and independence through three marriages and many interesting adventures. Much of our discussion was about the life of the author, Zora Neale Hurston, who was born in Eatonville, Florida — an all-black community in the late 1800’s. She studied anthropology at Barnard College and did field work in Harlem and Haiti. The group was particularly keen on attending the talk by Hurston scholar, Glenda Carpio, on Friday, April 27th at the Oak Bluffs Library.

For those of you who enjoyed this book, we would like to suggest the following further reading:

Gloria Naylor, Mama Day (1988)
Toni Morrison, Sula (1973)
Randall Kenan, A Visitation of Spirits (1989)
Alice Walker, Possessing the Secret of Joy (1992)