Director's Message

Gene Coppola
Gene Coppola

 “Book Clubs: Chapter Two!” 

Last month I indulged in one of my favorite pastimes, reading. I also discussed how reading can be further enjoyed by parlaying it into book clubs. I gave several suggestions how the clubs could be successful and ended with a promise to share more information. This month, we’ll take a look at what book clubs Palm Harbor Library are offering, other types of clubs around the country, a great book magazine and some recommended titles that could end up in your bucket list. 

Palm Harbor Library currently offers three book clubs. This first is the traditional kind made up of a mixed-bag of genres; fiction, biographies, non-fiction, memoirs and on those rare occasions, drama. It’s called PHiL’s Book Club and we have been meeting the second Monday of every month at 11 am for the past 17 years. We’ve done just about everything. Our first book back in September 2000 was Anne Tyler’s Patchwork Planet and in August this year we’ll be discussing The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman. That’s a lot of reading! Our second book club has an art angle to it. It’s the ABC (Art, Books, Community) Reading Club. It’s a collaborative effort with the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art and we always meet there every other month, third Friday at 1:30 pm. Since L-R focuses on 20th century art and beyond, we likewise focus our discussions in that direction. We have done biographies on Matisse and Kahlo, art thefts such as the Mona Lisa, movements like “installation art”, paintings such as “The Lady in Gold” and art museums. We next meet on Sept. 15th when we’ll be discussing Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies by Ross King. Our third book club is the most recent and a bit more casual called “Ales & Tales”. That’s right, it’s a bar. More specifically it meets at Stilt House Brewery on Alt. 19, second Thursday of the month at 6 pm. In August the brew talk will be A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway.

As for those unique book clubs around the country, here are some interesting examples: the “Cookbook Book Club”, the “Hiking Book Club”, the “Mother-in-Laws Book Club”, the “Veterans Book Club” and the “Cross-Country Book Club” where members Skype to one another.

Now there are several sources for collecting good titles but my all-time favorite is “Bookmarks” magazine. As their slogan says, “For Everyone Who Hasn’t Read Everything”, it does just that. This is a wonderful resource of reviews, interviews and fascinating features. It never disappoints.

Finally, from bucket list to yours, here are a few contemporary titles I could not put down:

  1. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee (Better than the movie!)

  2. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Pulitzer Prize winner about WWII)

  3.  A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines (winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award)

  4. Making the Mummies Dance by Thomas Hoving (The bold transformation of Metropolitan Museum of Art)

  5. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (Booker Prize winner)

  6. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (A clash of cultures; missionaries in the Belgian Congo 1959)

  7. Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz (Family saga of Egypt during WWI; Mahfouz won the Nobel Prize)

  8. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (Compassionate realism and narrative sweep captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India)

  9. Empire Falls by Richard Russo (Pulitzer Prize winner of small town America)

  10. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (From Addis Ababa to New York City and back again, this is a story of love, betrayal and medicine and two brothers whose fates are forever intertwined)

  11. The Glass Menagerie- Tennessee Williams (Just simply beautiful)

Happy Reading!

Gene P. Coppola, Library Director