Welcome to the Virtual Page, Rolling Hills Library's online book club!


If you can't make it to one of our regular monthly book club meetings, feel free to join in the conversation here! We will discuss the same books that our two book clubs are reading. Check here for a listing of our current book club selections.

And if you did make it to the meeting, you can continue the discussion here!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dine and Discuss

For this month's book we read - The Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley.  It's a great story about Flavia De Luce, a 10 year old girl who, in the 1950s lives in a decaying family home called Buckshaw in the English countryside.  Flavia is a precocious child, smart, curious and an expect in poisons!

 I can see you shaking your head and scoffing at the idea of a little girl who knows her way around a chemistry lab, and delights in the intricacies of toxins, but Alan Bradley has crafted not only a great mystery, but one of the most unique amateur detectives of all time!  Flavis comes alive in this book, her intelligence is never disputed, her manner of rooting out clues is believable, and the other characters in this book will draw you in like a noose around your neck!

 The general consensus of the book club readers was that this was a charming first novel and that the series could only get better.  Everyone seemed to like Flavia and her struggles not only to solve the mystery of the dead body in her cucumber patch, but to root for her in the war of torment her two older sister inflict upon her.  All the De Luce girls are smart and feisty but Flavia alone is searching for answers to the world around her and perhaps, to the circumstances surrounding her mother, Harriet's, death in a mountain climbing accident. 

 If you like English mysteries you will like The Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie.  Have you read it?  What's your opinion of Flavia and the other De Luces'?  Does this book make you want to hop on your bicycle and explore Bishop's Lacey?  Be careful around the cucumber patches, never know what you might find there!

Everything's Eventual

Stephen King, even his very name can sent shivers down a person's spine in the chilly month of October.  But is King really as scary as you think?  The Rolling Hills Book Club, Discuss & Dessert, read this collection of short stories for this months meeting.  Many of our members had never read a King novel and although they found some of the stories creepy and strange, no one was scared - at least they didn't admit to being frightened! 

 In this thick book, King covers everything from the fear of being autopsied alive, to dying gangsters, to zombie's and preternatural creatures who know where you live.  It's a good cross section of what makes King the Master of Horror.  Some of his earlier books might be scarier (Salem's Lot, Silver Bullet, It) but he's captured some of the secret fears we all have within us and shaped over a dozen stories to thrill and unhinge his readers.  We had a good time delving into the stories, and everyone came away with a good idea of what Stephen King is all about. 

Are you a Stephen King fan?  If so, what did you think of Everything's Eventual?  Any favorites you'd like to share?  Did The Road Virus Heads North have you looking over your shoulder?  Are you a fan of his Dark Tower novels?  If so did you think The Little Sisters of Eluria should have been in a different collection? 

You can always join us for our discussion either here or in person at Discuss & Dessert.  Our next meeting is Dec. 14th!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Dispossessed

By Ursula K. Leguin

   This is one of those books that are better after reading than at the time.  Our noon reading club, Dine & Discuss, met on July 27th to talk about The Dispossessed.  No one admitted to enjoying the book, finding it too packed with wide-ranging ideas to be easily digested.  However, after a lengthy discussion we all found nuggets of interest within the pages and a much better understanding of what the author was trying to say.
  This  is essentially a book about two worlds, one much like Earth and the other a nearly barren land where a group of anarchists have made their home for the last 200 years.  This planet, Anarras, has no government, no laws, each person does his or her work in the field they are best capable of, sharing equally in the hard labor of repair, or harvest when their name is chosen in a lottery.  This group mentality -everyone working for the good of the planet- is engrained in the population.  They do not have possessions, everything is shared from work, to food, to sexual partners.  Everyone has total freedom, or do they?   They are raised to believe that for the race to survive on this hostile planet all must strive for the greater good.
 On the other planet, Urras, there are governments, laws, rebellions, riches and poverty.  They fight wars among the countries which have risen on their lush planet, they trade with other worlds and they have limited contact with the anarchist, trading supplies.  It is from this world that Odo, a female philosopher, inspired a revolution.   Tired of governmental control, she longed for a Utopia world of freedom and to this end the anarchist were allowed to leave their home world and settle on Anarres. 
 LeGuin has set up the contrasts between the worlds beautifully.  Each has their own system, their own culture but they share a longing for freedoms they can't find on their planet.
 Our group was fascinated by the complex nature of the book, and how well the worlds were described though the use of odd names was off-putting to some members.  We all agreed it was well written and encompassed many ideas from the time in which LeGuin wrote it (mid 1970s) and while we didn't think we were enjoying it as we read it once we talked about it we all seemed to take something away from it.
Have you read The Dispossessed?  What struck you most about this book?  Did you like it more after you thought about it?  

 For more insight into this book, check out the KCMLIN United We Read page:http://www.kcmlin.org/UWR/readmore2011.html