Main

July 12, 2014

Southwest Book Club Meets July 15

light_between_oceans.jpg Join the Southwest Book Club this month to discuss The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman. This Australian author's award-winning debut novel tells the tragic story of lighthouse keeper Tom Sherbourne and his wife Isabel who, after discovering a baby in a shipwrecked boat, must face the terrible consequences of their decision to raise the child as their own.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. No registration needed. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.

Tuesday, July 15
7:00 p.m.
Library Meeting Room

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Do you think characters in the book do anything 'wrong'?

2. Light, literally and metaphorically, is core to the story. The incandescence of Janus Light, the oil lamps, electric lamps, the candles and the darkness they stave off, all serve to illuminate the characters and their changing era. Discuss the meaning of light in The Light Between Oceans.

3. The author describes the structure of the book as resting on a series of triangles, with different characters becoming the fulcrum at different times - e.g. Tom/Izzy/Lucy; Hannah/Frank/Grace; Violet/Bill/Isabel; Tom/Ralph/Bluey; Septimus/Hannah/Gwen. Do you agree? If so, what effect do you think the changes in balance have on the reader's experience of the story?

Discussion questions obtained from http://www.milesfranklin.com.au/

April 8, 2014

Southwest Book Club Meets April 15

defending jacob.jpeg Join the Southwest Book Club this month to discuss the legal thriller, Defending Jacob by award-winning author William Landay. When his 14 -year- old son is charged with murder, assistant district attorney Andy Barber is torn between loyalty and justice as facts come to light that lead him to question how well he knows his son. Named one of the best books of the year.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. No registration needed. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.

Tuesday, April 15
7:00 p.m.
Library Meeting Room

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. What was the most damning piece of evidence against Jacob? Was there anything that you felt exonerated him?

2. How does gender play into the narrative?

3. Is Andy a good father? Why or why not?

4. How do modern science and technology figure into the story?

Discussion questions obtained at litlovers.com and Novelist Plus.

March 25, 2014

Southwest Book Club Meet and Greet with Mirta Ojito at UCF Book Festival

The Southwest Book Club will be attending a Meet and Greet with author Mirta Ojito at the 5th Annual UCF Book Festival to discuss her book, Hunting Season: Immigration and Murder in an All-American Town. Drawing on firsthand interviews and on-the-ground reporting, journalist Ojito documents the true story of a Long Island immigrant's murder in 2008. With a strong commitment to telling all sides of the story, Ojito unravels the engrossing narrative with objectivity and insight, providing an invaluable look at one of America's most pressing issues.
ojito.jpg
Ojito, a newspaper reporter since 1987, has worked for the Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, and, from 1996 to 2002, the New York Times, where she covered immigration, among other beats, for the Metro desk. She has received numerous awards, including a shared Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2001 for a series in the Times about race in America. The author of Finding MaƱana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus, she is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and an assistant professor at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York City.

If you are interested in attending this event, please contact Sandy at Southwest Library for further details at southwest@ocls.info or call 407.835.7323. Admission to the Festival is free.

What: Southwest Book Club's Meet and Greet with Mirta Ojito
When: Saturday, April 5 10:00 a.m.
Where: UCF Book Festival at the UCF Arena


March 11, 2014

Southwest Book Club Meets March 18

Join the Southwest Book Club this month to discuss Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. New York Times bestseller Flynn writes a masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. When a woman goes missing on her fifth wedding anniversary, her diary reveals hidden turmoil in her marriage, while her husband, desperate to clear himself of suspicion, realizes that something more disturbing than murder may have occurred.

gonegirl.jpg

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. No registration needed. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.

Tuesday, March 18
7:00 p.m.
Library Meeting Room

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Consider Amy and Nick Dunne as characters. Do you find them sympathetic at first? Talk about the ways each reveals him/herself over the course of the novel. At what point do your sympathies begin to change (if they do)?

2. Do you find the Gillian Flynn's technique of alternating first-person narrations compelling...or irritating. Would you have preferred a single, straightforward narrator? What does the author gain by using two different voices?

3. A skillful mystery writer knows which details to reveal and when to reveal them. How much do you know...and when do you know it? In other words, how good is Flynn at burying her clues in plain sight? Now that you know how the story plays out, go back and pick out the clues she left behind for you.

4. Critics, to a one, talk about the book's dark humor and author's wit. What passages of the book do you find particularly funny?

Discussion questions obtained at litlovers.com.

February 11, 2014

Southwest Book Club Meets February 18

devilinthegrove.jpg Join the Southwest Book Club this month to discuss Devil in the Grove. Author Gilbert King chronicles a little-known court case in which Thurgood Marshall saved a black citrus worker from the electric chair after the worker was accused of raping a white woman in 1949 with three other black men in Groveland, Florida. 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner for General Nonfiction.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. No registration needed. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.

Tuesday, February 18
7:00 p.m.
Library Meeting Room

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Was there anything that made you think about Thurgood Marshall differently in terms of his role in American history based on what you've read in Devil in the Grove?

2. Reviewers have commented that Devil in the Grove has the narrative drive of a thriller. Did this book read or feel differently than other nonfiction books you've read in the past?

3. Four people were killed during this case, yet Marshall still saw it as a victory. Why do you think that was so?

4. Before reading the book, were you aware of the Ku Klux Klan's activities in Florida during the first half of the twentieth century? Do you believe that race relations evolved differently in Florida than in the rest of the South?

Questions obtained from back of book and Reading Group Guides

January 16, 2014

Southwest Book Club Meets January 21

anchee_min.jpegJoin the Southwest Book Club this month to discuss The Cooked Seed: A Memoir by Anchee Min. Author of the internationally bestselling memoir Red Azalea, Min now traces her journey from the painful deprivations of her homeland to the sudden bounty of the United States, where she endured five jobs, crime, and a painful marriage before the birth of a daughter inspired her writing career.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. No registration needed. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.

Tuesday, January 21
7:00 p.m.
Library Meeting Room

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Consider the title of this memoir. Why was Min considered a "cooked seed" in China? Why would she choose this insult as the title for her memoir?

2. After her first trip back to China, Min realized "I did not yet know the American I was becoming, but I was sure that I was no longer the same An-Qi from China. I, who was defeated, was refusing to accept the defeat." (p. 134) Why did Min feel alienated from her family when she returned to China? What are some key events that demonstrate her resilience and her refusal to accept defeat?

3. What can The Cooked Seed teach Americans about China and its people? What can Americans learn about themselves by viewing their culture through Min's eyes?

4. Discuss the sources of conflict between Min and her daughter. Why was Min slow to recognize her daughter's struggles and unhappiness?

5. If you read Min's first memoir, compare The Cooked Seed to Red Azalea. What incidents in Red Azalea were revisited in The Cooked Seed? What kind of challenges did Min face in each memoir? How has her writing style evolved in the twenty years since Red Azalea was published?

Discussion questions obtained at http://media.bloomsbury.com/rep/files/the-cooked-seed-rgg-ce-nb.pdf

December 11, 2013

Southwest Book Club Meets December 17

Join the Southwest Book Club for the Annual Joy of Reading event. No selection to read this month. Tell others about one of your favorite books. Learn about new books and authors. Relax, enjoy refreshments, and win door prizes too!

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

book club cake.jpg

October 9, 2013

Southwest Book Club Meets October 15

wolves.jpeg

Join the Southwest Book Club this month to discuss Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. In Brunt's debut novel, 15-year-old June must come to terms with the death of her beloved uncle Finn, an artist, from AIDS in 1980's New York. The novel is both a painful reminder of the ill-informed responses to a once little-known disease and a delightful romp through an earlier decade. Named one of the best books of 2012.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. No registration needed. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.

Tuesday, October 15
7:00 p.m.
Library Meeting Room

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Toby initiates a relationship with June that necessarily involves secrets kept from her parents. Can this ever be right? Is it ever okay for an adult to have a secret relationship with a child? Even if it's formed out of the best of intentions?

2. Every relationship in the book is tinged with jealousy and/or envy. How is this played out in each of the relationships? Can jealousy ever be a positive thing? Does loving someone too much always lead to jealousy?

3. "My mother gave me a disappointed look. Then I gave her one back. Mine was for everything, not just the sandwich"

Readers have said that they feel very negatively towards June's mother, Danni. How do you feel about her? How much is she to blame for the events in the book?

4. If you were around in the late 80s, do you remember anything about your perception of AIDS and the fear surrounding the disease?

5. Do you blame June for what happens to Toby towards the end of the book? Do you think June will ever forgive herself for what happened that night?

Questions obtained at www.litlovers.com

September 11, 2013

Southwest Book Club Meets September 17

garden_beasts.jpg

Join the Southwest Book Club this month to discuss In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. Best-selling author Larson (The Devil in the White City) turns his considerable literary nonfiction skills to the experiences of U.S. ambassador to Germany William E. Dodd and his family in Berlin in the early years of Hitler's rule. Larson offers a mesmerizing portrait of the Nazi capital, the Third Reich and its leader.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.

Tuesday, September 17
7:00 p.m.
Library Meeting Room

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. William Dodd went to Germany believing that Hitler would have a positive influence on Germany. Why were so many at first enamored of Nazism and willing "to give Hitler everything he wants"?

2. Why did Dodd's--and numerous others'--warnings about Hitler fall on indifferent ears in the US? What was the primary concern of the US in its relationship with Germany? Was the US stance one of purposeful ignorance...or of sheer disbelief?

3. How does Erik Larson portray Hitler in his book? Does he humanize him...or present him as a monster? How does he depict Goebbels and Goering...and other higher-ups in the Nazi party?

4. What do you think of William Dodd? What about him do you find admirable? Were you mildly amused or impressed by his sense of frugality?

5. What about Martha? What do you find in her character to admire...or not? Did she purposely allow herself to be blinded by Udet and Rudolf Diels...or was she truly dazzled by their charms? Her promiscuity could have made her a serious liability. Were you surprised that her parents seemed untroubled by her multiple love affairs, or that they didn't try to reign in her behavior?

6. What have learned about the period leading up the World War II that you hadn't known? What surprised you? What confirmed things you already knew?

7. How does the fact that you know the eventual outcome of Nazi Germany affect the way you experience the book? Does foreknowledge heighten...or lessen the story's suspense. Either way...why?

Discussion questions obtained from litlovers.com

August 13, 2013

Southwest Book Club Meets August 20

hotel_bitter.jpg

Join the Southwest Book Club this month to discuss Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. This book club favorite and historical fiction bestseller is a story about the love and friendship of a Chinese boy, Henry Lee and a Japanese girl, Keiko during the Japanese internment in World War II. Years later widowed Lee embarks on a personal quest that leads to memories of a love that transcended cultures and generations. This quest may also help him confront the choices he made many years ago.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.

Tuesday, August 20
7:00 p.m.
Library Meeting Room

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. From the beginning of the novel, Henry wears the "I am Chinese" button given to him by his father. What is the significance of this button and its message, and how has Henry's understanding of that message changed by the end of the novel?

2. What sacrifices do the characters in the novel make in pursuit of their dreams for themselves and for others? Do you think any characters sacrifice too much, or for the wrong reasons? Consider the sacrifices Mr. Okabe makes, for example, and those of Mr. Lee. Both fathers are acting for the sake of their children, yet the results are quite different. Why?

3. Does Henry give up on Keiko too easily? What else could he have done to find her? What about Keiko? Why didn't she make more of an effort to see Henry once she was released from the camp?

4. Should the men and women of Japanese ancestry rounded up by the US during the war have protested more actively against the loss of their property and liberty? Remember that most were eager to demonstrate their loyalty to the US. What would you have done in their place? What's to prevent something like this from ever happening again?

Discussion questions obtained at litlovers.com

July 9, 2013

Southwest Book Club Meets July 16

reliable_wife.jpg

Join the Southwest Book Club to discuss A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick. Ralph Truitt, a wealthy businessman who lives in a remote nineteenth-century Wisconsin town has a troubled past. After advertising for a reliable wife, his ad is answered by Catherine Land, a woman who makes every effort to hide her own dark secrets. A tale of suspenseful seduction and an unexpected ending!

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.

Tuesday, July 16
7:00 p.m.
Library Meeting Room

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Ralph and Catherine's story frequently pauses to give brief, often horrific glimpses into the lives of others. Ralph remarks on the violence that surrounds them in Wisconsin, saying, "They hate their lives. They start to hate each other. They lose their minds, wanting things they can't have". How do these vignettes of madness and violence contribute to the novel's themes?

2. The encounter between Catherine and her sister, Alice, is one of the pivotal moments of the novel. How do you view these two women after reading the story of their origins? Why do the two sisters wind up on such different paths? Why does Catherine ultimately lose hope in Alice's redemption?

3. The idea of escape runs throughout the novel. Ralph thinks, "Some things you escape.... You don't escape the things, mostly bad, that just happen to you" (pages 5-6). What circumstances trap characters permanently? How do characters attempt to escape their circumstances? When, if ever, do they succeed? How does the bird imagery that runs through the book relate to the idea of imprisonment and escape?

4. Did you have sympathy for any of the characters? Did this change as time went on?

5. Does Catherine live up in any way to the advertisement Ralph places in the newspaper (page 20)? Why or why not?

6. At the onset of A Reliable Wife the characters are not good people. They have done bad things and have lived thoughtlessly. In the end how do they find hope?

Discussion questions obtained at litlovers.com.

June 12, 2013

Southwest Book Club Meets June 18

bossypants.jpg

Start your summer reading by joining the Southwest Book Club to discuss Bossypants by Tina Fey. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon, comedian Tina Fey reveals all, and proves that you're no one until someone calls you bossy. A hilarious and insightful read!

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.

Tuesday, June 18
7:00 p.m.
Library Meeting Room

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. What's with the book's cover? Why would Fey have given herself hairy, masculine arms?

2. Readers and reviewers are all over the map on Bossypants: some see it as a revealing memoir, others as an act of concealment, revealing very little of her personal life. Where do you stand on Fey's book? Is the book a memoir...or a comedy book filled with one-liners. Is it humorous...or insightful...or neither? Do you want more? Or does it leave you satisfied?

3. Which essay pieces do you find most engaging or provocative--the women's magazine parody, the "prayer" for her daughter, the pretend facts-of-life brochure, or the satirical "me time" for parents?

4. Speaking of one-liners, which ones do you find funny or, perhaps, insightful? Talk about the lines that tickled your funny bone...or others that struck the philosopher in you.

5. What do you think of Tina Fey? Has reading Bossypants altered your view of her? Why or why not?

Discussion questions obtained at Litlovers.com

May 18, 2013

Southwest Book Club Meets May 21

joyluckclub.jpeg

As part of the Big Read program, join the Southwest Book Club this month to discuss The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. After being drawn together by the shadows of their past, four women start meeting every week in San Francisco to engage in hobbies they all enjoy. After one of the four members dies, her daughter takes her place to fulfill her mother's dying wish. After the revelation of a secret, the women are forced to think back to their pasts and remember the sometimes painful events of their lives. With wit and sensitivity, Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between mothers and daughters.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. #BigRead13

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.

Tuesday, May 21
7:00 p.m.
Southwest Branch Library

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. The Joy Luck Club was written as a collection of short stories. Is the order important? Could this have been told as a single story? What would that change?

2. By telling a story from the perspective of Chinese immigrants and first-generation Americans, what does the book reveal about American culture?

3. How do the struggles of the daughters mirror the tragedies of their mothers? What does this suggest about the relationships between parents and children?

4. Tan has said that she wishes to break from "the ghetto of ethnic literature." Does The Joy Luck Club cross from the ethnic to the universal?

Questions obtained at http://www.neabigread.org/books/joyluckclub/joyluck06_discuss.php

March 12, 2013

Meet the Author - Lucas Daniel Boyce March 19

lucas_boyce.jpeg

Meet local author and NBA Executive Lucas Daniel Boyce as he shares insights from his book, Living Proof: From Foster Care to the White House and the NBA. In his inspiring book, Boyce tells the powerful story of his ascension from abandoned foster care child to Pennsylvania Avenue. To learn more about the author, visit www.lucasdanielboyce.com
Book sale and signing will follow the program.

Tuesday, March 19
7:30 p.m.
Southwest Branch Library

For more information, call 407.835.7323 or southwest@ocls.info

Southwest Book Club Meets March 19

hunger_games.jpeg

Join the Southwest Book Club to discuss the Young Adult bestseller, Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Set in the cruel world in the Capital of the nation of Panem, the annual Hunger Games pits young children against one another in a battle to the death on national T.V. So, when Katniss is ordered to represent her district, she knows an important decision between survival and the love of another will have to be made when she is called to enter the ring.
Teens (ages 13-18) are welcome to attend the discussion of this bestselling Young Adult novel. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Tuesday, March 19
6:00 p.m.
Southwest Branch Library (study area)


Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Describe the relationships of Katniss with Gale, with Prim, with her mother. How do those relationships define her personality? Why does she say about Peeta, "I feel like I owe him something, and I hate owing people." How does her early encounter with Peeta affect their relationship after they are chosen as tributes?

2. Why does Katniss ignore Haymitch's advice to head directly away from the Cornucopia? Did she do the right thing to fight for equipment? What are the most important skills she has for staying alive -- her knowledge of nature? -- her skill with bow and arrow? -- her trapping ability? What qualities of her personality keep her going - her capacity for love? -- her intelligence? -- her self-control?

3. What makes Katniss and Rue trust each other to become partners? What does Katniss gain from this friendship besides companionship? Is Katniss and Rue's partnership formed for different reasons than the other group's?

4. What do you think is the cruelest part of the Hunger Games? What kind of people would devise this spectacle for the entertainment of their populace? Can you see parallels between these Games and the society that condones them, and other related events and cultures in the history of the world?

5. In 1848, Karl Marx wrote in The Communist Manifesto, "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles." Discuss this statement as it applies to the society and government of Panem. Do you believe there is any chance to eradicate class struggles in the future?

6. Reality TV has been a part of the entertainment world since the early days of television (with shows such as Candid Camera and the Miss America Pageant), but in the 21st century there has been a tremendous growth of competitive shows and survival shows. Discuss this phenomenon with respect to The Hunger Games. What other aspects of our popular culture do you see reflected in this story?

Discussion questions obtained at litlovers.com

February 14, 2013

Southwest Book Club Meets February 19

Winterwiththewriters_2013.jpg


The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. in the Meeting Room at the Southwest Library. We will discuss books written by featured authors at this year's annual Winter with the Writers event at Rollins College. Featured writers this year include: N. Scott Momaday, Karen Russell, Ricardo Pau-Llosa, Mayra Santos-Febres, and Azar Nafisi. Pick one or more to read!

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest(at)ocls.info.

January 9, 2013

Southwest Book Club Meets January 15

lost_city_z.jpg

Join the Southwest Book Club to discuss the book, The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann on Tuesday, January 15 at 7:00 p.m. in library study area. In 1925, renowned British explorer Col. Percy Harrison Fawcett embarked on a journey to find the city of Z, site of an ancient Amazonian civilization that may or may not have existed. Fawcett, along with his grown son Jack, never returned. But that didn't stop countless others from venturing into the jungle to find Fawcett or the city. Among the wannabe explorers is Grann, a staff writer for the New Yorker, who has bad eyes and a worse sense of direction. By interweaving the great story of Fawcett with his own investigative escapades in South America and Britain, Grann provides an in-depth and colorful tale of true adventure.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest (at) ocls.info.

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. What is the Western world's attitude toward science and progress during Fawcett's time?

2. How does Grann portray Fawcett? What kind of a man was he? Would you describe him as a victim of his own obsession...as a romantic...a fool bent on his own destruction...a rational man of science...?

3. What draws Grann into the search for Fawcett--what initially sparks the author's fascination? Consider Grann's own difficulty in the Amazon, especially for a man who delights in air conditioning and fast food. Finally, what new information does Grann contribute to solving the mystery surrounding Fawcett's disappearance?

4. What are some of the more surprising, even shocking, accounts of jungle exploration you found in this work?

5. What does the book have to say about the native people of the Amazon?

Discussion questions obtained at litlovers.com and NoveList Plus.


December 10, 2012

Southwest Book Club Meets December 18


Join the Southwest Book Club this month at their annual Love of Reading celebration. No selection to read this month. Instead, celebrate your joy of reading with others by sharing one of your favorite books. Relax, enjoy refreshments, and door prizes too!

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

657px-Le_Cannet_Madame_Lebasque_Reading_in_the_Garden_by_Henri_Lebasque.jpg


Image was obtained at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Le_Cannet_Madame_Lebasque_Reading_in_the_Garden_by_Henri_Lebasque.jpeg

November 12, 2012

Southwest Book Club Meets November 20

confession.jpeg


Join the Southwest Book Club to discuss the book, The Confession by John Grisham on Tuesday, November 20 at 7:00 p.m. in the Meeting Room. This psychological thriller by best-selling author Grisham is the story of an innocent man about to be executed and the guilty one who only can save him. But will the guilty one be able to convince the lawyers and judges of their error?

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest (at) ocls.info.

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Grisham has received criticism that his characters are one-dimensional--either all good or all bad, depending on which side of the death penalty issue they fall on. Do you agree? Or do you feel his characters are fully drawn? What about Keith Schroeder?

2. Grisham has also been criticized for straying from his signature suspense fiction to push his views on the death penalty. Do you agree with those critics? Should Grisham, as a writer of fiction, stay away from hot button political issues? Or should he to use his popularity as a fiction writer to speak out? Does your answer to that question align with your attitude toward the death penalty?

3. How is your reading of this novel affected by the knowledge that much in the book is based on actual events, not just in Texas but in other states as well?

4. Have you learned anything new about the working of the legal system in this country? Do you see it in a different light because of Grisham's book?

5. What are your views regarding the death penalty? Has your perspective been changed by reading this book? Do you see Grisham's book as a fair--or unfair--portrayal of the legal system and death penalty issue?
Discussion questions obtained from litlovers.com

October 10, 2012

Local Author Greg Dawson visits Southwest Book Club October 16

dawson_greg_.jpg Greg Dawson, local author (Hiding in the Spotlight, 2009) will visit the Southwest Book Club to discuss his latest book, Judgment Before Nuremberg on Tuesday, October 16, 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Branch Library. Mr. Dawson's latest book is the result of his trips to Ukraine, the scene of the crime and the discovery of the trial which began the tortuous process of avenging the murder of his grandparents, great-grandparents, and 16,000 other Jews from Kharkov, Ukraine. In this book, Greg Dawson reveals a lost chapter in Holocaust history. Book sale and signing will follow the discussion.

Greg Dawson has worked as a journalist for 45 years. He is currently a business reporter and columnist at the Orlando Sentinel newspaper in Orlando, Florida.

book_cover_judgment.jpg

The Southwest Book Club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest (at) ocls.info.

Post Questions for Greg Dawson
If you are unable to attend this meeting with Greg Dawson, but have questions you would like to ask him regarding Hiding in the Spotlight and Judgment Before Nuremberg, please post it here. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Your question will be given to Mr. Dawson and his response placed within this post.

September 14, 2012

Southwest Book Club Meets September 18

cutting_for_stone_Jacket.jpg

Join the Southwest Book Club to discuss the book, Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese on Tuesday, September 18 at 7:00 p.m. in the Meeting Room. Twin brothers born from a secret love affair between an Indian nun and a British surgeon, come of age in an Ethiopia on the brink of revolution, where their love for the same woman drives them apart. An enthralling family saga of Africa and America, doctors and patients, exile and home.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest (at) ocls.info.

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. A passionate, unique love affair sets Cutting for Stone in motion, and yet this romance remains a mystery--even to the key players--until the very conclusion of the novel. How does the relationship between Sister Mary Joseph Praise and Thomas Stone affect the lives of Shiva and Marion, Hema and Ghosh, Matron and everyone else at Missing? What do you think Verghese is trying to say about the nature of love and loss?

2. Almost all of the characters in Cutting for Stone are living in some sort of exile, self-imposed or forced, from their home country--Hema and Ghosh from India, Marion from Ethiopia, Thomas from India and then Ethiopia. Verghese is of Indian descent but was born and raised in Ethiopia, went to medical school in India, and has lived and worked in the United States for many years. What do you think this novel says about exile and the immigrant experience? How does exile change these characters, and what do they find themselves missing the most about home?

3. Abraham Verghese has said that his ambition in writing Cutting for Stone was to "tell a great story, an old-fashioned, truth-telling story." In what ways is Cutting for Stone an old-fashioned story-and what does it share with the great novels of the nineteenth century? What essential human truths does it convey?


4. Although it's also a play on the surname of the characters, the title Cutting for Stone comes from a line in the Hippocratic Oath: "I will not cut for stone, even for patients in whom the disease is manifest; I will leave this operation to be performed by practitioners, specialists in this art." Verghese has said that this line comes from ancient times, when bladder stones were epidemic and painful: "There were itinerant stone cutters--lithologists--who could cut into either the bladder or the perineum and get the stone out, but because they cleaned the knife by wiping their blood-stiffened surgical aprons, patients usually died of infection the next day." How does this line resonate for the doctors in the novel?

5. In what important ways does Marion come to resemble his father, although he grows up without him? How does Marion grow and change over the course of the novel?

Discussion questions obtained at Litlovers.com

August 13, 2012

Southwest Book Club Meets August 21

jacket_unbroken.jpg

Join the Southwest Book Club to discuss the book, Unbroken: A World War ll Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand on Tuesday, August 21 at 7:00 p.m. in the Meeting Room. Hillenbrand, bestselling author of Seabiscuit tells the gripping true story of a U.S. airman who survived when his bomber crashed into the sea during World War II, spent forty-seven days adrift in the ocean before being rescued by the Japanese Navy, and was held as a prisoner until the end of the war.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest (at) ocls.info.

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Laura Hillenbrand gives us a moving story, one that brings to life the suffering and courage of not just one man but thousands, whose stories are untold. What is it about Hillenbrand's writing that saves her book from becoming mired in bathos and melodrama?

2. What do you admire most about Zamperini? What enables him to survive the plane crash and POW ordeal? Does he possess special strengths--personal or physical? Did his training in track, for instance, make a difference in his resilience?

3. Why, after World War II, did the medical profession fail to acknowledge Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? After all, this was the mid-20th century, and psychiatry was a fairly established discipline. Plus, the horrors of World War I were only one generation behind. What took so long?

4. Unbroken is a classic inspirational story, but it lies somewhat on the surface, offering little in the way of psychological depth. Do you wish there were more introspection in Zamperini's account? Or do you feel this story is rich enough as it is?

5. Readers and critics alike have described Unbroken as gripping, almost impossible to put down. Was that your experience as well? How do you account for the page-turning quality given the grim subject material? Also, would your reading experience have been different if you didn't know that Zamperini survived? (Or didn't you know the outcome?)

Discussion questions obtained at http://www.litlovers.com


July 10, 2012

Southwest Book Club Meets July 17

calebs_crossing.jpg

Join the Southwest Book Club to discuss the book, Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks on Tuesday, July 17 at 7:00 p.m. in the Meeting Room. Once again, Brooks takes a remarkable shard of history and brings it to vivid life. In 1665, a young man from Martha's Vineyard became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College. Upon this slender factual scaffold, Brooks has created a luminous tale of love and faith, magic and adventure.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. How are the lifestyles of the Wampanoag and the English settlers different?

2. In discussing the purchase of the island from the Wampanoag, Bethia's father says, "some now say that [the sonquem] did not fully understand that we meant to keep the land from them forever. Be that as it may, what's done is done and it was done lawfully" (p. 9). Do you agree with his opinion?

3. Examine Caleb's view of the settlers on p. 143 - 144. Why does he say that the sound of their "boots, boots, and more boots" (p. 143) moved him to cross cultures and adopt Christianity? Contrast this with Tequamuck's reaction to the settlers' arrival (p. 295). Placed in their situation, what would you have felt?

4. Compared with those in her community, Bethia is remarkably unprejudiced in her view of the Wampanoag. Did you grow up surrounded by prejudices you disagreed with? How did this affect you? Conversely, did you have prejudices in your youth that you've since overcome?

5. Bethia sees her mother's silence as a great strength and tool in dealing with society, particularly as a woman in a male-dominated culture. However, while Bethia repeatedly tries to emulate this behavior, she's often overcome by her own passionate opinions. Find an example where Bethia's boldness in stating her mind is a good thing, and an example where it brings her trouble. Have you ever wished you had spoken when instead you stayed quiet--or wished you had stayed quiet instead of having spoken your mind?

6. Both Bethia and Caleb struggle against the limits and expectations placed on them by society. How are their experiences similar? How are they different? Who faces the greater challenge?

Note: All page references relate to the print copy of the book. Discussion questions were obtained from Novelist Plus database and litlovers.com


June 14, 2012

Southwest Book Club Meets June 19

children_fire.jpg Join the Southwest Book Club this month to discuss the book, Children and Fire by Ursula Hegi on Tuesday, June 19 at 7:00 p.m. in the Meeting Room. Protecting her beloved students from the devastating world outside of their 1934 Berlin classroom, Thekla Jansen, a gifted young teacher sacrifices some of her personal freedoms to retain her teaching position until activities within Hitler's early regime test her moral courage.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Children and Fire takes place over the course of one day, with flashbacks interspersed throughout. How does the novel's structure influence your understanding of the events in the book? How does Thekla's past inform her response to the events of February 27, 1934?

2. Being a good teacher is incredibly important to Thekla. What do you think makes a teacher effective? Do you think teachers have responsibilities to their students beyond the curriculum? Can you explain what they are? Do you believe Thekla is a good teacher?

3. On page 97, the author writes, "Messages change. Right and wrong can trade places, fall out of fashion." How do you interpret this? Can you think of an incident when you were forced to reexamine your perceptions of right and wrong? What is the impact of propaganda on society--past and present?

4. When the students pick on Eckart, one of the weaker students in the Thekla's class, she thinks, "if you step back, you are lost. The urge of the pack will escalate." (p. 191) How is Thekla's classroom a microcosm of the attitudes in Germany and in the world at large? What is the allure of losing yourself to "crowd mentality"? What is the danger?

5. Why do you think the Hitler Youth is so alluring to the boys in Thekla's class? Can you empathize with them? Do you believe they are aware of the moral implications of participating?
Discussion questions obtained at:
http://books.simonandschuster.com/Children-and-Fire/Ursula-Hegi/9781451608298/reading_group_guide

May 9, 2012

Southwest Book Club Meets May 15

snowfallingoncedars.jpg

Join the Southwest Book Club this month to discuss the award-winning book, Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson on Tuesday, May 15 at 7:00 p.m. in the Meeting Room. A 1954 murder trial in an island community off the coast of Washington state broadens into an exploration of war, race, and the mysteries of human motivation. Guterson has written a thoughtful, poetic novel, a cleverly constructed courtroom drama with detailed, compelling characters.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Snow Falling on Cedars opens in the middle of Kabuo Miyamoto's trial. It will be pages before we learn the crime of which he has been accused or the nature of the evidence against him. What effect does the author create by withholding this information and introducing it in the form of flashbacks? Where else in the narrative are critical revelations postponed? How is this novel's past related to its fictional present?

2. The trial functions both as this novel's narrative frame and as its governing metaphor. As we follow it, we are compelled to ask larger questions about the nature of truth, guilt, and responsibility. How does the author interweave these two functions? Which characters are aware that what is at stake is more than one man's guilt?

3. Racism is a persistent theme in this novel. It is responsible for the internment of Kabuo, Hatsue, and their families, for Kabuo's loss of his land, and perhaps for his indictment for murder. In what ways do the book's Japanese characters respond to the hostility of their white neighbors? How does bigotry manifest itself in the thoughts and behavior of characters like Etta Heine--whose racism is keenly ironic in view of her German origins--Art Moran, and Ishmael himself? Are we meant to see these characters as typical of their place and time?

4. One way that Guterson interweaves his novel's multiple narrative strands is through the use of parallelism: Ishmael spies on Hatsue; so does Kabuo. The two men are similarly haunted by memories of the war. Both Kabuo and Carl Heine turn out to be dissatisfied fishermen who yearn to return to farming. Where else in this novel does the author employ this method, and to what effect?

5. Ishmael's attraction to Hatsue is closely connected to a yearning for transcendence, as indicated by their early conversation about the ocean. Ishmael says, "It goes forever, " while Hatsue insists, "It ends somewhere" [p. 97]. Typically, it is Ishmael who wishes to dissolve boundaries, Hatsue who keeps reasserting them, as when she gently withholds the embrace that Ishmael so desperately wants. What limits might Ishmael wish to transcend, even as a boy? Does he ever manage to do so? Does Snow Falling on Cedars hold the promise of transcendence for its characters or at best offer them a reconciliation with their limits?

Questions obtained from Litlovers.

April 11, 2012

Southwest Book Club Meets April 17

31BondStreet.jpg Join the Southwest Book Club this month to discuss 31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan on Tuesday, April 17at 7:00 p.m. in the Meeting Room. In a story based on an actual killing, Dr. Harvey Burdell, a prominent New York City dentist, is found stabbed and decapitated in his townhouse. Police promptly arrest the widow who managed his house and servants, but attorney Henry Clinton swiftly comes to her defense, and is pitted against an ambitious district attorney. Scandal, social climbing, and corruption in Manhattan during the 1850s come alive in Horan's historical mystery.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. 31 Bond Street is a unique novel because it has two leads and the plot is told from both points of view: Henry Clinton, who is the defense lawyer in the murder case and Emma Cunningham, the defendant. The scenes go back and forth from the present with flashbacks. How does this create tension? Does the reader benefit from each point of view? Do you find that you were more involved with one part of the story than the other?

2. What rights didn't Emma Cunningham have that women have today? Was she a typical product of her class and education? Is she a sympathetic character? Is her motivation to secure a future for her daughters valid? What would happen if she didn't find a husband? Could she support herself? What would be her fate? Was she motivated by survival or greed when she tries to make property deals and enter into the male world of financial negotiation? Is she motivated by survival or greed to find marriages for her daughters? How much is her quest a search for love, and how much a quest for survival? How are her daughter's characters shaped by her decisions? Are women caught in some of the same binds today, or have these dilemmas been entirely eliminated?

3. The role of the Newspapers and communication at this time in our history: Newspapers were king in this time period in NYC. How did the accounts in the newspapers play a role in the events? How were real clippings used inside the story? Do they enhance the story? Even though the technologies have changed in spreading news, are there similar patterns today in breaking stories? Is it possible for any news source to be 100% objective? Is it possible to know if what is reported is truth, rumor or slander? Is there more or less reliable information with the advent of the internet than in the past when there were many vital city newspapers?

4. What is fiction and what is fact in 31 Bond Street? Much of the novel is based on actual documents and true events in this case. Which characters were real and which were made up? What events in the book were embellished? Do you find that using real characters in a fictional novel works? Does this make you want to read more about the actual case or other aspects of the history the era? Can a fictional work give a real "sense" of the past?

Discussion questions obtained from author's site at Harper Collins http://www.harpercollins.com/author/microsite/readingguide.aspx?authorID=35472&isbn13=9780061773976&displayType=readingGuide


March 16, 2012

Southwest Book Club Meets March 20

cleopatra.jpg Join the Southwest Book Club this month to discuss Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff on Tuesday, March 20 at 7:00 p.m. in the Meeting Room. This Pulitzer Prize author weaves together sex and celebrity, empire and politics in a story that is as contemporary as it is ancient. Schiff's work of nonfiction fully captures the operatic power of Cleopatra's life and reign.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Why is Cleopatra's past so mysterious?

2. Why is she such an enduring historical figure?

3. How did the asp become part of Cleopatra's legend?

4. How did prejudices of the time affect Cleopatra?

5. If you read a historical fiction title about Cleopatra, compare your reading experiences after now reading a nonfiction title.

Discussion question obtained from Novelist Plus database.

February 20, 2012

Photo Gallery - Author Joy Johnson visits Southwest Book Club

Joy Johnson, author of the mystery/comedy series The BOOB Girls (Burned Out Old Broads) visited the Southwest Book Club on January 20. Joy shared her latest installment BOOB Girls lll: Sandhills and Shadows. A book signing and sale followed the program.
DSCN3489JoyAuthorTalk.jpg
DSCN3483SandyLaughing.jpg
DSCN3495JoyAuthorTalk4.jpg
DSCN3502JoySignsBooks.jpg
DSCN3503Joy&Roy.jpg

February 14, 2012

Full Time RVing Book by Connie Gleason February 15

Connie_Gleason.JPG

Connie Gleason will discuss her book, Living Your Dream: A How-To Manual for Full Time RVing.

Wednesday, February 15
2:00 p.m.
Southwest Branch Library

Have you ever dreamed of selling your house, buying an RV and traveling? Well, Connie and her husband, Ken did just that! Connie will tell you how to move from homeowner to full-time RVer, learn to drive an RV, select an RV, find campgrounds, live on the road and more. If you are about to make the RV leap or always dreamed of RVing, don't miss this program. Book sale and signing will follow the program.

For more information, call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Southwest Book Club Meets February 21

winterwiththewriters 2012.jpg

The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. in the Meeting Room at the Southwest Library. We will discuss authors and their works featured at this year's Winter with the Writers annual event at Rollins College. Featured writers this year include: Carl Hiaasen, Mihaela Moscaliuc, Ilya Kaminsky, Paula McLain, and Chimamanda Adichie. Pick one or more to read!

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest(at)ocls.info.

January 9, 2012

Southwest Book Club Meets January 17

the_borrower.jpg

Join the Southwest Book Club this month to discuss The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai on Tuesday, January 17 at 7:00 p.m. in the Meeting Room. In this delightful, funny, and moving first novel, a librarian and a young boy obsessed with reading take to the road when the boy runs away from his parents who force him to attend anti-gay classes with a celebrity pastor. But who is really running away?

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Who is the "borrower" in the novel?

2. Under what circumstances is it acceptable to take a child away from his/her parents? Based on what you know about Janet Drake, is she an "unfit" parent?

3. Does one have to first become a parent or in Lucy's case, a parent proxy in order to come to terms with one's own parents?

4. In many ways, The Borrower is Lucy's coming-of-age story as much as it is about Ian. Is she, like Jim in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn freed at the end of the novel, or like Humbert in Lolita, diminished by her experiences?

5. What were the seminal books of your childhood? Are any of them mentioned in The Borrower?
(Discussion questions obtained from http://us.penquingroup.com/static/rguides/us/borrower.html)

December 14, 2011

Southwest Book Club Meets December 20


Reading_couple_statue.jpg

Another year of great reading! Join the Southwest Book Club this month at their annual My Book to You celebration. Celebrate your joy of reading with others by sharing a favorite book.

Don't miss this special last book club meeting of the year. Plan to relax and enjoy refreshments. Door prizes to be given away too!
Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The Southwest Book Club meeting monthly at the Southwest Library located in the Dr. Phillips area at 7255 Della Drive, Orlando, FL 32819.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Image was obtained from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Reading_couple_statue_at_UNC.jpg

November 11, 2011

Southwest Book Club Meets November 15

the_help.jpg

Join the Southwest Book Club this month to discuss the NYT's bestseller book The Help by Kathryn Stockett. A spirited debut novel that explores the Civil Rights movement through the relationships among a young white woman and two African-American maids in 1960's Mississippi. Recently, released as a movie.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Who was your favorite character? Why?

2. How much of a person's character would you say is shaped by the times in which they live?

3. Do you think that had Aibileen stayed working for Miss Elizabeth, that Mae Mobley would have grown up to be racist like her mother? Do you think racism is inherent, or taught?

4. Do you think there are still vestiges of racism in relationships where people of color work for people who are white? Have you heard stories of parents who put away their valuable jewelry before their nanny comes? Paradoxically, they trust the person to look after their child but not their diamond rings?

5. What did you think about Minny's pie for Miss Hilly? Would you have gone as far as Minny did for revenge?

Discussion questions obtained at http://www.kathrynstockett.com/stockett-reading-groups.htm


October 14, 2011

Edgar Allan Poe Programs October 18 and October 27

Poe in stacks 1.JPG It's October and Southwest Library is hosting two special events in honor of the master of macabre, Edgar Allen Poe.

Celebrating the Works of Edgar Allan Poe
Tuesday, October 18
8:00 P.M.
Share your favorite Poe tale or poem with other Poe fans. Join in a discussion about the great author, poet, editor, and literary critic. Enjoy light refreshments too. A Big Read/National Endowment for the Arts event. To learn more about the Big Read visit their website at http://www.neabigread.org/

Unhappy Family Stories
Thursday, October 27 7:00 P.M.
Join one of our talented storytellers for family fun and freaky tales as we celebrate the bewitching season with scary tales ranging from downright creepy to seriously silly! Hear horror-fying stories of ghosts and haunted houses and scare your parents senseless! All programs will end with a sweet treat.

Orange County Library System is also having Edgar Allan Poe Short Story contest for adults (18 & up) and one for teens (13-18). Contest entry forms may be obtained at any library location. Story entries may be submitted online also. For more information regarding the story contest and other Big Read events throughout the library system during October go to http://www.ocls.info/poe

October 10, 2011

Southwest Book Club Meets October 18

pearl _of_china.jpeg Join the Southwest Book Club this month to discuss Pearl of China by Anchee Min. A story based on the life of novelist Pearl S. Buck follows her as she grows up in late-nineteenth-century China; befriends Willow, a Chinese peasant girl; and with Willow shares life's joys and sorrows, despite the Communist revolution.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.
Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Pearl of China opens with a quotation from Pearl S. Buck: "I was never deceived by Chinese women, not even by the flower-like lovely girls. They are the strongest women in the world." Discuss how two strong-willed characters in Pearl of China, Willow and Madame Mao, display the fortitude that Buck describes. How are these two women's strengths similar and different? Who benefits--and who suffers--from these two women's powers?

2. Although Pearl is American, "beneath her skin, she was Chinese." (263) What Chinese qualities does Pearl exhibit in childhood and in adulthood? What American characteristics does she have? How is Pearl able to reconcile her Chinese heritage and her Western birth?

3. Compare the relationships Pearl and Willow have with their fathers. What troubles does each girl have with her father? How does the relationship between Pearl and Absalom change over the course of the novel, and what difficulties between them are never resolved?

4. 10. Discuss the theme of forgiveness in Pearl of China. When are Papa, Dick, and Bumpkin Emperor forgiven, and why? What friendships and values are strengthened through forgiveness? Which characters have difficulty forgiving others' transgressions, and why?

5. On her voyage to America, Willow pictures Pearl's American home: "I imagined the rooms filled with tasteful furniture and decorated with Western art. Pearl would have a library, for she had always been a lover of books. I also imagined that she would have a garden. She had inherited Carie's passion for nature. The garden would be filled with plants whose names I wouldn't know, but it would be beautiful." (261-62) What surprises does Willow discover when she finally sees Pearl's home and garden? How do Pearl's home, garden, and grave meet her expectations, and how do they defy her imagination?

6. If you have read The Good Earth, discuss similarities and differences between Buck's novel and Min's Pearl of China. How does each author portray the people, land, and troubles of rural China?

Discussion questions obtained from Litlovers

September 12, 2011

Southwest Book Club Meets September 20

outliers.jpg

The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, September 20 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. The best-selling author of The Tipping Point and Blink identifies the qualities of successful people and provides theories about the cultural, family, and idiosyncratic factors that shape high achievers. Gladwell poses the question: why do some people succeed while so many more never reach their potential; and challenges the cherished belief of the "self-made man."

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Malcolm Gladwell is interested in what makes some people more successful than others. Overall, how would you describe his thesis, or central premise? Do you agree or disagree with his ideas?

2. What does Gladwell mean by the term "outlier"?

3. Why does Gladwell feel there is no such thing as a self-made person. Do you agree? Can you name people who overcame great odds--circumstances not in their favor--to attain success? What about those people that Gladwell offers in support of his argument (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or the Beatles, among others)? Do you agree with his assessment that much depends on timing?

4. What personal experiences--people and incidents in your own life--can you think of that support or challenge Gladwell's ideas?

5. Gladwell gives differing definitions of intelligence. Yet his definition of success is singular--"worldy" success in terms of of wealth, power, and fame. Are there also differing definitions of success that Gladwell doesn't consider? If so, what are they, and what does it take to achieve those versions of success?

Discussion questions obtained from http://www.litlovers.com/reading-guides/14-non-fiction/728-outliers-gladwell?start=3

August 9, 2011

Southwest Book Club Meets August 16

mary sutter.jpg

The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, August 16 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira. An enthralling historical novel about a young woman's struggle to become a doctor during the Civil War.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Women's rights have greatly improved since Mary's time, but do you believe that women are still limited by prejudice as to what they can or should do professionally?

2. Beyond Mary, which character did you find most interesting? Why? Which character did you find the least interesting?

3. Describe Mary and Jenny's relationship. What type of tensions exist? Consider the relationship from both women's perspectives.

4. From Jake to Thomas to William Stipp, there is a wide range of male characters in the novel. What type of masculinity does each demonstrate?

5. The end of My Name is Mary Sutter is both satisfying and surprising. What was your response to the conclusion of each character's story?

Discussion questions were obtained from http://robinoliveira.com/book-group-guide.php


July 12, 2011

Southwest Book Club Meets July 19

people_of_the_book.jpg

The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, July 19 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. Hanna Heath, a young Australian book conservator is called to analyze the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, a priceless six-hundred-year-old Jewish prayer book that has been salvaged from a destroyed Bosnian library. When Hanna discovers a series of artifacts in the book, she unwittingly exposes an international cover up. Based on a true story.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. When Father Vistorni asks Rabbi Judah Ayreh to warn the printer that the Church disapproves of one of their recently published texts, Ayreh tells him, "better you do it than to have us so intellectually enslaved that we do it for you." (p. 156). Do you agree or disagree with his argument? With the way he handled Vistorni's request?

2. Several of the novel's female characters lived in the pre-feminist era and certainly fared poorly at the hands of men. Does the fact that she was pushing for gender equality -not to mention saving lives-justify Sarah Heath's poor parenting skills? Would women's rights be where they are today if it weren't for women like her?

3. How did Hanna change after discovering the truth about her father? Would the person she was before her mother's accident have realized that she loved Ozren? Or risked the dangers involved in returning the codex?

4. There is an amazing array of "people of the book" - both base and noble-whose lifetimes span some remarkable periods in human history. Who is your favorite and why?

(Discussion questions obtained from LitLovers)

June 13, 2011

Southwest Book Club Meets June 21

still alice.jpg

The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, June 21 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss Still Alice by Lisa Genova. Diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's Disease, Harvard psychologist, Alice Howland struggles to find meaning and purpose in her everyday life as her concept of self slips away.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Alice's doctor tells her, "You may not be the most reliable source of what's been going on" (pg. 54). Yet, Lisa Genova chose to tell the story from Alice's point of view. As Alice's disease worsens, her perceptions indeed get less reliable. Why would the author choose to stay in Alice's perspective? What do we gain, and what do we lose?

2. Do you find irony in the fact that Alice, a Harvard professor and researcher, suffers from a disease that causes her brain to atrophy? Why do you think the author, Lisa Genova, chose this profession? How does her past academic success affect Alice's ability, and her family's, to cope with Alzheimer's?

3. When Alice's three children, Anna, Tom and Lydia, find out they can be tested for the genetic mutation that causes Alzheimer's, only Lydia decides she doesn't want to know. Why does she decline? Would you want to know if you had the gene?

4. Alice decides she wants to spend her remaining time with her family and her books. Considering her devotion and passion for her work, why doesn't her research make the list of priorities? Does Alice most identify herself as a mother, wife, or scholar?

5. "He refused to watch her take her medication. He could be mid-sentence, mid-conversation, but if she got out her plastic, days-of-the-week pill container, he left the room" (pg. 89). Is John's reaction understandable? What might be the significance of him frequently fiddling with his wedding ring when Alice's health is discussed?

6. Do you find irony in the fact that Alice, a Harvard professor and researcher, suffers from a disease that causes her brain to atrophy? Why do you think the author, Lisa Genova, chose this profession? How does her past academic success affect Alice's ability, and her family's, to cope with Alzheimer's?

(Discussion questions obtained at litlovers.com)

May 11, 2011

Southwest Book Club Meets May 17

south-of-broad.jpg

The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, May 17 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss South of Broad by Pat Conroy. Best-selling author returns with a sprawling tale set mostly in Charleston, South Carolina, where, after his brother's suicide, Leopold Bloom King struggles along with the rest of his family until he begins to gather an intimate circle of friends, whose ties endure for two decades until a final, unexpected test of friendship rears its ugly head.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. At the beginning of the novel, Leo is called on to mitigate the racial prejudice of the football team. What other types of prejudice appear in the novel? Which characters are guilty of relying on preconceived notions? Why do you think Leo is so accepting of most people? Why is his mother so condemnatory?

2. What do you think of the title South of Broad? How does the setting inform the novel? Would the novel be very different if it were set in another city or region?

3. Chapter one begins with the statement, "Nothing happens by accident," and Leo often reflects on the way that destiny has shaped his life. How does destiny affect the other characters? Do you agree that real life is the result of predetermined forces? Or can we affect our fate?

4. What do you make of the smiley face symbol that Sheba and Trevor's father paints? How does the novel address the idea of happiness coexisting with pain?

5. Leo admits that the years after Steven's suicide nearly killed him. How was he able to cope? How do Leo's parents deal with their grief? What does the novel say about human resilience and our propensity to overcome tragedy?

Discussion questions obtained from litlovers.com

March 9, 2011

Southwest Book Club Meets March 15

cry_beloved.jpg

The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, March 15 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton. Many would say this is the most famous and important novel written about South Africa's history during the 1940's set against the background of a land and a people torn apart by racial injustice.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Cry, the Beloved Country is, in part, a story about those who stayed and those who left. What happens to the people who stayed in the tribal villages? What happens to those who left and went to Johannesburg? What is Paton's point of view of this mass migration? Does he feel it was necessary? Inevitable? What is your opinion?

2. How are rhetoric and repetition used in this book?

3. There are many paradoxes in this novel: a priest's son commits murder; a white man who fights for the dignity of South African blacks is senselessly murdered; the father of the murdered son helps the father of the son who murdered to keep a disintegrating native tribe together. How do you reconcile these paradoxes? How do they contribute to the richness of the story? Why might Paton have made this choice?

4. Does Paton offer an overview of South African society?

5. Is the novel itself a demonstration of outdated innocence?

These questions were obtained from litlovers.com and Novelist Plus (go to www.ocls.info and click databases).

February 12, 2011

Southwest Book Club Meets February 15


winterwiththewrites2011.jpg
The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. in the Meeting Room at the Southwest Library. We will be discussing authors and their works who were featured at this year's Winter with the Writers annual event at Rollins College. The authors featured this year were: Jim Shepard, Stephen Dunn, David Henry Hwang, Lydia Peelle and Rhonda Pollero.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Copies of these authors' books may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

January 11, 2011

Southwest Book Club Meets January 18

ford_county.jpg

The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss Ford County: Stories by longtime bestselling author, John Grisham. Grisham presents seven short stories about the residents of Ford County, Mississippi. Each story explores different themes-mourning, revenge, justice, acceptance, evolution. As always, Grisham balances his lawyerly preoccupations with a deep respect for his undereducated and overlooked characters.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. How do the small-town lawyers in Ford County compare to some of the high-powered attorneys featured in John Grisham's other works? What struggles and temptations do they all have in common?

2. How do the residents of Ford County imagine city life--Memphis, San Francisco, New York? What determines whether they fear it or crave it?

3. Whose lives are changed for the better by the legal agreements and maneuvers described in Ford County? What is the most significant factor in whether the law is a force for good or evil in these stories?

4. Tort reform has received much publicity in recent years. Discuss the question of damages raised in stories such as "Fish Files," "Michael's Room," and "Quiet Haven." When should an injured person be entitled to financial compensation? What should drive the dollar amount of that compensation?

5. What makes Grisham's approach to storytelling so appropriate for short fiction? Linked by time and place, do the stories in Ford County form a novel, in a way?

Discussion questions were obtained at http://litlovers.com/guide_ford_county.html


December 15, 2010

Southwest Book Club Meets December 28

reading_boy.jpgThere is no book to read for the month. Instead, we will celebrate our annual "My Book to You: Celebrating the Gift of Reading." For those of you who are new to the book club, the December meeting is a time to share one book with other club members that you really enjoyed reading outside of book club. This may even be a book you enjoyed as a child or teen. You do not need to possess a physical copy of the book. Just try to remember the title and author, for some of us may want to put the book on our "To Read" list or may want to consider it for future club selections. Don't miss this special last book club meeting of the year. Plan to relax and enjoy some refreshments too!

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The Southwest Book Club meeting monthly at the Southwest Library located in the Dr. Phillips area at 7255 Della Drive, Orlando, FL 32819.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

November 15, 2010

Southwest Book Club Meets November 23

the_women.jpg The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss The Women by T.C. Boyle. In this biographical novel, Boyle gives account of Frank Lloyd Wright's life as told through the tempestuous experiences of the four women who loved him and offers insight into the famous architect's enduring struggles against conventional boundaries.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. How does Boyle's choice of narrator affect your reading of the novel?

2. Consider Wright's flagrant solicitation of loans he never intended to repay. Does a visionary owe a greater obligation to his art or to the social contract?

3. Do you think Wright ever found his soulmate?

4. Have you ever visited a Wright building? If so, describe the experience.

5. Does Boyle's portrait of Wright accord with your own notions about the architect?

6. Do you read many novels about historical figures? What kind of entree does fiction provide that mere fact cannot?

Discussion questions obtained from Readinggroupguides.com


October 19, 2010

Southwest Book Club Meets October 26

hiding_in_spotlight.jpg

The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss Hiding in the Spotlight by local author Greg Dawson. In this remarkable biography, Dawson, a consumer columnist at the Orlando Sentinel writes about his mother, pianist Zhanna Arkashyna. Zhanna's life changed in 1941 when her Jewish family from Ukraine were led along with thousands to their execution by the Nazis. Zhanna, a gifted piano prodigy managed to escape and use her rare musical gift to survive the Holocaust.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. What is Zhanna's most admirable quality? Is she someone you would like to know?

2. What did you learn about the time period in which the book is set that you did not previously know?

3. Compare this book to similar titles the Southwest Book Club has read (The Zookeeper's Wife, The Book Thief). Did you like it more or less than the similar titles? Why?

4. What is the significance of the title?

5. What do you think will be your lasting impression of the book as a whole?

Discussion questions obtained or adapted from
http://www.readinggroupguides.com/guides/guide_biography.asp

September 20, 2010

Southwest Book Club Meets September 28

gatsby.jpg

The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This twentieth-century literary classic is a portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess. Gatsby captured the spirit of the author's generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald's--and America's--most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Why do Tom and Daisy end up together in the end?

2. Why do the characters live on East Egg and West Egg?

3. What do T. J. Eckleberg's eyes mean?

4. Is Nick to be trusted?

5. What is the importance of the last sentence: "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past"?

Questions obtained from Novelist Plus http://0-search.ebscohost.com.iii.ocls.info/login.aspx?direct=true&db=neh&tg=UI&an=501352&site=novp-live.

August 10, 2010

Southwest Book Club Meets August 17

bob_morris.jpg

The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss the Zachary Chasteen mystery series by Florida author, Bob Morris. A mixture of mystery and humor, his books can be described as seriocomic thrillers which take place in Florida and the Caribbean. Though a series, each novel can be read as a stand-alone.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Overall, how did you experience the book while reading it? Were you immediately drawn into the story or did it take a while? Did the book intrigue, amuse, disturb, alienate or irritate you?

2. Did you find the characters convincing or believable? Fully developed as complex human beings?

3. Was the plot well-developed? Believable?

4. Discuss the mystery aspect of the plotline. How effective is the author's use of plot twists and red herrings? Were you able to predict certain things before they happened or did the author keep you guessing until the end of the story?

5. If you read other books in the Zachary Chasteen series, how does this book stack up against others in the series?

Questions obtained from http://litlovers.com/questions_f.htm and http://readinggroupguides.com/no_guide/guide_mystery_thriller.asp

July 19, 2010

Southwest Book Club Meets July27

monster_florence.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library in the Meeting Room to discuss The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi. New York Times bestselling author, Douglas Preston teams up with Italian investigative journalist Mario Spezi to present a gripping account of crime and punishment in the lush hills surrounding Florence, Italy.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Do you think Preston and Spezi's suspect is the monster? Why or why not?

2. If not, is there another person in the book you think may be the monster?

3. The authors' mention a Italian cultural more- dietrologia, the idea that the obvious thing cannot be the truth. Discuss how this impacted the investigation.

4. Preston comments on the book's web site Italy's great wealth and power seem to have brought with it a spiritual and ethical malaise - saving face, cutting a good figure and advancing one's career. These symptoms of malaise trump the plodding and unglamorous search for the truth. In his opinion, the book is not only about a serial killer or a bungled investigation, it's a book about modern Italy itself. Do you agree with Preston's comments? Why or why not?

(Questions are obtained or adapted from http://www.monsterofflorence.co.uk/ or created by the Southwest Book Club)


June 2, 2010

Southwest Book Club Meets June 8

book_unholy_mischief.jpg The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, June 8, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library in the Meeting Room to discuss The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark. Taking a job as a chef's apprentice at the palace of the doge in 1498, the dawn of the Renaissance, Venice street orphan Luciano becomes increasingly suspicious about his master's shadowy past and learns about an ancient book containing a dangerous power. Rich with the luxurious colors and textures of Venice, this book delights the senses and breathes fresh life into an age defined by intellectual revival and artistic vibrancy.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. In The Book of Unholy Mischief, no one seems to know exactly what is in the mysterious book that everyone wants, but each character is sure that it has the thing he or she wants or fears the most. What does this say about human nature?

2. The chef needs an apprentice as well as a protege for his secret legacy, but he also wishes for a son. How does this and Luciano's wish for a father complicate the situation? In the last chapter, what point is the author making about biological parenthood?

3. How does the author make Venice one of the characters?

4. Throughout the book, the author uses food as a metaphor. Considering what the chef wishes to teach Luciano, why is the souffle the most significant recipe, and how does the lesson of the souffle impact Luciano's behavior?

5. How do Francesa and Rosa reflect women's role in society at that time?

6. In the last sentence, Luciano overhears something about a new theory and he says, "I turned around as if the chef had called my name." How does that ending work with the theme of immortality?

Discussion questions obtained at http://www.ellenewmark.com/discuss.php

May 3, 2010

Southwest Book Club Meets May 11

against_medical_advice.jpg

The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library in the Meeting Room to discuss Against Medical Advice by James Patterson and Hal Friedman. Best-selling author, Patterson follows a family's decades-long struggle with their son's mysterious medical disorder that from the age of five induced violent physical tics, traumatic treatments and a nightmarish situation that pitted the family against a disheartening medical establishment.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. What do you think motivated Cory Friedman to share his life story? How did you respond to the his"voice"?

2. Discuss the book's structure and the author's use of language and writing style. How does the author draw the reader in and keep the reader engaged? Does the author/Cory convey his story with comedy, self-pity, or something else?

3. Do you think Cory and his family were being fair to the medical establishment? Have you or somebody you know had similar experiences involving a serious medical problem?

4. Do you agree with Cory's statement that most people don't have empathy (Chapter 64, 1st page) in regard to other's and his condition? Discuss why you agree or don't agree.

5. What is Cory's most admirable quality? his parents? Are these people you would want to know or would like to have known?

6. What did you like or dislike about the book? Were you glad you read this book? Would you recommend it to a friend?

Questions adapted from http://www.readinggroupguides.com/no_guide/guide_memoir.asp and constructed by the Southwest Book Club.

April 5, 2010

Southwest Book Club Meets April 13

northriver.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library in the Meeting Room to discuss North River by Pete Hamill. Tending to his poor and sick neighbors throughout a Depression-era winter, New York City doctor James Delaney is haunted by memories from World War I and the disappearances of his wife and daughter, until his three-year-old grandson is abandoned on his doorstep. Hamill weaves a story of honor, family, and one man's simple courage that no reader will soon forget.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Dr. Delaney has had a difficult life. How does Delaney's past haunt him in the present? To what degree do you think he has healed by the end of the novel?

2. Why does Grace leave Carlos with Delaney? Do you feel her actions are justified by her explanation? What role do you think her relationship with her own father played in this decision?

3. What is the significance of the North River in the novel? How does the imagery the author uses evolve over the course of the story? Do you think it is an apt metaphor for Delaney's life?

4. How do you think Rose's personality contrasts with Delaney's? What effect does her presence have on him?

5. Many characters in this novel are tough, without being mean. Has such a quality vanished from today's life in America?

Questions obtained at readinggroupguides.com

March 2, 2010

Southwest Book Club Meets March 9

the_reader.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library in the Meeting Room to discuss The Readerby Bernard Schlink. At the age of fifteen, Michael Berg falls in love with a woman who disappears, and while observing a trial as a law student years later, he is shocked to discover the same woman as the defendant in a horrible crime. Hailed for its coiled eroticism and the moral claims it makes upon the reader, this mesmerizing novel is a story of love and secrets, horror and compassion, unfolding against the haunted landscape of postwar Germany. An Oprah Book Club pick.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. At what point does the significance of the book's title become clear to you? Who is "The Reader"? Are there others in the story with an equally compelling claim to this role?

2. In a novel so suffused with guilt, how is Michael guilty? Does his narrative serve as a
way of putting himself on trial? What verdict does he reach? Is he asking readers to examine the evidence he presents and to condemn him or exonerate him? Or has he already condemned himself?

3. Do you agree with the judgment of the concentration camp survivor to whom Michael delivers Hanna's money at the end of the novel? Why does she accept the tea tin, but not the money? Who knew Hanna better--Michael or this woman? Has Michael been deluded by his love? Is he another of Hanna's victims?
(Questions obtained at http://litlovers.com/guide_reader.html)

February 5, 2010

Southwest Book Club Meets February 9

The_garden_of_last_days.jpgThe_air_we_breathe.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library in the Meeting Room to discuss The Air We Breathe by Andrea Barrett and The Garden of Last Days by Andre Dubus lll. Both authors were featured at this year's Winter with the Writers at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.

Barrett's The Air We Breathe takes place during World War I at a sanitarium in the Adirondacks. A discussion group's weekly conversations lead to tragedy and eventually anti-immigrant sentiment directed at some of the patients.

In The Garden of Last Days, Andre Dubus III fashions a disturbing and revealing encounter between an American woman on the edge and an intense Muslim man.
Pick one or read both!

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

The Air We Breathe
1. The two opening chapters explicitly contrast conditions at the public sanatorium of Tamarack State, inhabited largely by impoverished immigrants, and the cure cottages of Tamarack Lake, inhabited by wealthy patients. Discuss the role class differences play in the novel.
(from http://books.wwnorton.com/books/ReadingGuidesDetail.aspx?ID=13670&CID=8502&tid=3288&tcid=).

2. What do you think of the following quotation? "We are nothing but what we derive from the air we breathe, the climate we inhabit, the government we obey, the system of religion we profess, and the nature of our employment." (J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur) How do you think it relates to the story?
(from www.massbook.org/reading_guides/AirWeBreathe_guide.pdf)

The Garden of Last Days
1. What are some possible meanings of this book's title? What various images and interpretations of "paradise" appear here?

2. How do you feel about the particular blend of fiction and history in this book? Should the author have strayed further from or stayed closer to the historical reality?
(from http://books.wwnorton.com/books/readingguidesdetail.aspx?ID=13646&tid=3288&tcid=)

January 11, 2010

Southwest Book Club Meets January 12

nora_ephron.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library in the Meeting Room to discuss I Feel Bad About My Neckby Nora Ephron. A collection of essays by the woman who brought us When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail, and Bewitched, and the author of best sellers Heartburn, Scribble Scribble, and Crazy Salad. Ephron offers a humorous look at the ups and downs of being a woman of a certain age, discussing the tribulations of maintenance and trying to stop the clock, menopause, and empty nests.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. In What I Wish I'd Known, Ephron lists things she wishes she had known when she was younger. Were there any entries that were particularly resonant for you? Which ones, and why? Is there anything that Ephron left off that you would like to add? Would your list look similar to hers?

2. Ephron's essays are filled with the humourous anecdotes regarding "maintenance." However there is an edge to this humor. What comment do you think she is making about the place of "women of a certain age" in society?

3. Ephron presents some life questions: Should you live everyday as if it's your last or should you save money on the chance you'll live twenty more years? Is life too short or is it going to be too long? Should you work as hard as you can or should you slow down to smell the roses?
What life questions do you have?
(Questions obtained from Reading Group Guides).

November 30, 2009

Southwest Book Club Meets December 8

festival_of_books.jpgCome join Southwest Book Club's 3rd Annual "My Book to You" celebration on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. What book have you enjoyed reading this year or in the past? We want to know. Share your joy of reading with others. Relax and enjoy refreshments and prizes too!

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info


November 4, 2009

Southwest Book Club Meets November 10

a_painted_drum.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library in the Meeting Room to discuss The Painted Drum by Louise Erdrich. Discovering a cache of valuable Native American artifacts while appraising a family estate in New Hampshire, Faye Travers investigates the history of a ceremonial drum, which possesses spiritual powers and changes the lives of people who encounter it.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. How would you characterize the relationship between Faye Travers and Kurt Krahe, and how does it change over the course of the novel?

2. To what extent do you agree with Faye and Elsie Travers that the theft of the drum from the Jewett Parker Tatro estate and the return of it to the Ojibwe people was an ethical decision?

3. How does the author use the theme of grief relating to the deaths of young children to connect different characters in The Painted Drum?

4. Of all of the characters in The Painted Drum, which did you find most memorable, and why?

5. To what extent does Faye's discovery of missing dog's skeleton in the final scene of the book bring the narrative of the novel full-circle?

Discussion questions obtained from HarperCollins Pulishers.

October 30, 2009

Carol Everhart Presents at Southwest Book Club


MVC-004F.JPG
On Tuesday, October 13 members and guests of the Southwest Book Club came to hear Carol Everhart of Orlando talk about Florida history and lead the discussion for the month's book selection, A Land Remembered by Patrick D. Smith. Carol is a Florida Civil War enactor and Florida history enthusiast. She also brought along for display several artifacts from the book's historical period such as clothing, tools, currency and even a cracker whip! Snacks were provided which included hardtack which was the most convenient food for Civil War soldiers, explorers, pioneers, or anyone else who needed to be able to pack light and move fast. 20 people attended the event.
MVC-006F.JPG

October 5, 2009

Southwest Book Club Meets October 13

alandremembered.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library in the Meeting Room. Join the Southwest Book Club this month to discuss A Land Remembered by Patrick Smith. Discussion will be led by guest presenter and researcher, Carol Everhart.

In this novel, award-winning author, Patrick Smith tells the story of three generations of the MacIveys, a Florida family who battle the hardships of the frontier to rise from a dirt-poor Cracker life to the wealth and standing of real estate tycoons. A Land Remembered was winner of the Florida Historical Society Tebeau Prize as the "Most Outstanding Florida Historical Novel".

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Most people probably have perceptions of Florida as the home of theme parks and vacation sports. How has your idea of Florida changed since reading this book?

2. The topic of environmentalism, especially in some endangered areas of Florida is a critical issue today. Discuss how people like the MacIveys both hurt and helped the Florida environment.

3. The MacIveys' acceptance of people of different cultures helped them to make friends who stood by them in their difficult times. What made these mutually beneficial relationships possible?
(from http://www.bookmovement.com)


August 31, 2009

Southwest Book Club Meets September 8

girlsfromames.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, September 8, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library in the Meeting Room. The club will discuss the book, The Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow. This NYT's bestseller is the story of eleven childhood friends who formed a special bond growing up in Ames, Iowa. As young women, they moved to eight different states, yet managed to maintain an enduring friendship that would carry them through college and careers, marriage and motherhood, dating and divorce, a child's illness and the mysterious death of one member of their group. A moving tribute to female friendships.

And be sure to attend Jeffrey Zaslow's appearance at the Orlando Public Library on September 11 at 7:00 p.m. for the annual An Evening with the Author fundraiser. Don't miss this coauthor of the million-copy bestseller, The Last Lecture written with Randy Pausch. For more information, go to www.ocls.info or call 407.835.7481.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. At the end of his introduction, the author repeats a question posted to him: "Could a man ever really understand women's friendships?" How would you answer that question? Do you think Zaslow succeeded in his attempt to portray and explain the Ames girls' long-lasting bonds?

2. Cathy tries to explain the attachment between the women as one borne out of shared roots: "We root each other to the core of who we are, rather than what defines us as adults -by careers or spouses or kids. There's a young girl in each of us who is still full of life," (page 96). Do you think it is common for people who were close childhood friends to maintain that bond in adulthood?

3. "Male relationships are often born on the athletic fields," (page 54). What do you believe comprises male friendships? Do they form through activities like sorts or through something different? Do you know men who are part of a group much like the Ames girls? If so, how does the male group differ from the female?

4. Do you believe the closeness the girls experienced in childhood was in part a result of growing up in a small town like Ames, Iowa? Would they have been as tight a group of friends if they came of age in a big city, like New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles? How much of a factor was Ames in the women's relationships?

5. Do you agree women stay closer to friends than men do? Why or why not?

6. Do you have a collection of friends similar to the Ames girls? Who is in your circle? What does this group and its bonds mean to you?

Discussion questions obtained and adapted from http://us.penguingroup.com/static/rguides/us/girls_from_ames.html

August 4, 2009

Southwest Book Club Meets August 11

thirteenthtale.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library in the Meeting Room. The club will discuss the book, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. Margaret Lea is summoned to the home of Vida Winter, England's most popular novelist, and commanded to write her biography. Miss Winter has been falsifying her life story and her identity for more than 60 years. Facing imminent death and feeling an unexplainable connection to Margaret, Miss Winter begins to spin a haunting, suspenseful tale. Setterfield's debut novel. A ghostly tale about the tranformative power of truth.


Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Much of the novel takes place in two grand estates - Angelfield and then Miss Winter's. How are the houses reflections of their inhabitants?

2. As the story unfolds, we learn that Margaret and Miss Winter are both twins. What else do they have in common?

3. The title of this novel is taken from the title of Miss Winter's first book, Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation, a collection of twelve stories with a mysterious thirteenth left out at the last minute before publication. How is this symbolic of the novel? What is the thirteenth tale?

4. Miss Winter frequently changes points of view from third to first person, from "they" to "we" to "I," in telling her story. The first time she uses "I" is in the recounting of Isabelle's death and Charlie's disappearance. What did you make of this shifting when Margaret points it out on page 204?

5. The story shifts significantly after the death of Mrs Dunne and John Digence. Adeline steps forward as intelligent, well-spoken, and confident -- the "girl in the mists" emerges. Did you believe this transformation? If not, what did you suspect was really going on?
(Discussion questions obtained from http://www.litlovers.com/guide_thirteentale.html)

July 7, 2009

Southwest Book Club Meets July 14

bornblueday.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, July 14, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library in the Meeting Room. The club will discuss the book Born on a Blue Day: A Memoir by Daniel Tammet. The author, who has a form of autism called Asperger's syndrome is a savant with genius-level mathematical and language talents. Daniel describes how he was shunned by his classmates and offers insight into how he experiences the world.

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. How does Daniel Tammet's experience of numbers and language differ from that of most people? What explains his intense attraction to prime numbers? How does Daniel characterize his relationships with numbers, and how does it compare to his relationships with people?

2. "Predictability was important to me, a way of feeling in control in a given situation, a way of keeping feelings of anxiety at bay, at least temporarily." To what extent is Daniel's need for regularity and predictability a kind of compulsion? Why might similar behavior in someone without savant syndrome be perceived as neurosis? How does the unexpected affect Daniel?

3. How would you describe Daniel's relationship with his partner, Neil? In light of Daniel's unique neurological concerns, why was their decision to move in together especially complicated? How do they accomodate Daniel's autistic spectrum disorder in their day-to-day life as a couple? Given that Daniel has difficulty feeling and identifying emotions, why do you think he is able to experience romantic love?

4. How can Daniel's professional and personal success be understood in light of his having grown up in a large family and the parenting he received?

5. Why do you think Daniel describes meeting Kim Peek (the person whose life as a savant inspired the film, Rain Man) as "one of the happiest moments" of his life?

Discussion questions obtained and adapted from http://www.simonsays.com

May 23, 2009

Southwest Book Club Meets June 2

awaybyamybloom.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library. The club will discuss the book Away by Amy Bloom. Arriving in America alone after her family is destroyed in a Russian pogrom, Lillian Leyb receives word that her daughter Sophie might still be alive and embarks on a risky odyssey to find the missing girl. Bloom writes with extraordinary care about people caught in emotional and physical crosswinds. Voted "Best of 2007" on many book award lists.

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Much of the novel centers around self-invention and reinvention. Can you identify some characters who invent themselves over the course of the novel? Which characters are successful? Which characters are unable to complete the process?

2. During Lillian's journey, there are key points at which she is required to demonstrate her allegiance as either a native or a foreigner, insider or outsider. Can you identify some of these moments? At the end of the novel, how complete is Lillian's assimilation?

3. How are sexuality and physical love portrayed in the novel? Consider Lillian's relationship with the Bursteins, Chinky's relationship with Mrs. Mortimer, and Gumdrop's relationship with Snooky Salt, as well as Lillian's relationship with John Bishop and Chinky's relationship with Cleveland Munson.

4. The omniscient third-person narrator of the novel is able to jump forward and backward in time and between parallel narratives. What is the purpose of this technique? Why does the author want us to know what happened to Sophie, even though Lillian herself never learns? Do you think Lillian ever stopped looking for Sophie?

5. What significance do the chapter titles have? What are they derived from, and what do they tell the reader about what happens in the novel? Why did Bloom title her novel Away?

Discussion questions obtained at http://litlovers.com/guide_away.html


May 4, 2009

Southwest Book Club Meets May 5

zookeeperswife.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library. The club will discuss the nonfiction book The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman. The book documents the true story of Warsaw Zoo keepers and resistance activists Jan and Antonina Zabinski, who in the aftermath of Germany's invasion of Poland saved the lives of hundreds of Jewish citizens by smuggling them into empty cages and their home villa.

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. How does Diane Ackerman's background as a naturalist and a poet inform her telling of this slice of history? Would a historian of World War II have told it differently, and, if so, what might have been left out?

2. How would you describe Antonina's relation to animals? To her husband? How does she navigate the various relationships in the book, given the extreme circumstances? Is her default position one of trust or distrust?

3. The drive to "rewrite the genetic code of the entire planet" is not distinct to Nazism. What similar efforts are alive today? Are there lessons in Jan and Antonina's story for evaluating the benefits and dangers of trying to modify or improve upon nature? Do you see any connection between this story of more than sixty years ago and contemporary environmental issues?

Discussion questions taken from http://litlovers.com/guide_zookeeper's_wife.html

April 3, 2009

Southwest Book Club Meets April 7

burningbrightjacket.jpg The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library. The club will discuss the novel Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier (author of Girl with a Pearl Earring). In Burning Bright, the reader follows the Kellaway family as they leave behind tragedy in rural Dorset and come to late 18th-century London and move in next door to the radical painter/poet William Blake.

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. What were your first impressions of the main characters? Who did you like best initially? Which, if any, surprised you by the end? Whose transformation was most complete?

2. William Blake's first two appearances in the novel are quite striking (p. 19- wearing a bonnet rouge; p. 27 -having sex in his backyard shed). What significance does this have for him as a character? What did you expect of him after these prominent glimpses?

3. Life in Georgian times was unpredictable and dangerous. How does Chevalier use this precariousness to enrich the story? What role does economics and class play?

4. How much did you know about the political background of the story? Would you have signed the loyalty oath? What did it reveal about Dick Butterfield's character when he signed? About Thomas Kellaway's when he refused?

5. Discuss the novel's ending. Which volume do you think Blake intended for Maggie, and which one for Jem? What do you think the future holds for these two characters?

Discussion questions obtained from http://readinggroupguides.com

February 25, 2009

Southwest Book Club Meets March 3

ladies of liberty.jpgfounding mothers.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, March 3, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library. The book club is celebrating National Women's History Month by discussing two books by Cokie Roberts, Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised our Nation and Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped our Nation. These books shed new light on the generations of heroines, reformers and visionaries from the Revolutionary era through 1828 who helped raise and shape our nation. Roberts brings to life the extraordinary accomplishments of women who laid the groundwork for a new nation and a better society.

Copies of this book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Why do you suppose the contributions of women in the Revolutionary era and in the early days of our nation have been largely overlooked by historians?

2. Despite a lack of legal and social rights, including the right to own property and receive a formal education, how did the women presented in Robert's books assert their authority and exercise their intelligence?

3. By telling the stories of our Founding Mothers and Ladies of Liberty, these books also shed light on the men of the time. Did you learn anything new about these men, such as Benjamin Franklin, George Washington or Thomas Jefferson seeing them from the perspective of their female contemporaries?

4. Can you reference examples from the books that show how integral it was for the women to be able to step in and "calm down the men," or even to act as intermediaries?

5. Cokie Roberts intersperses her thoughts and commentary throughtout the book. Does this enhance the narrative? In what ways?

January 26, 2009

Southwest Book Club Meets February 3

foodindustry.jpg

The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, February 3, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library. This month the Southwest Book Club is exploring food politics and culture. "Chew on This" will be a themed discussion regarding our nation's food industry; and the attitudes, practices, and rituals surrounding food. A suggested reading list of various food industry-related titles is available at Southwest Library.

Materials may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. What was your perception of America's food industry prior to reading your book? (Please state the title of the book)

2. What are the problems or issues raised by the author of the book you read?

3. Has it altered your views on the way food is acquired and consumed?

4. In what ways, if any, have you changed your eating habits since reading your book?


December 29, 2008

Southwest Book Club Meets January 6

gardenspellsjacket.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss the book, Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small, quiet house in an even smaller town, is an apple tree that is rumored to bear a very special sort of fruit. In this debut novel, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it

The book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Could you be persuaded that certain plants have powers, as Claire describes and uses them? If you believed you possessed the magical powers that Claire has inherited, how would you use them? What's the first thing you would do?

2. The four Waverley women in this novel (Claire, Sydney, Bay, Evanelle) have special gifts. Which of the four gifts would you like to have yourself? Why?

3. Which character changes the most over the course of the book? What does he or she learn? What had to take place in order for this to happen?

4. Do you consider this to be a "southern" novel? Besides its setting, what characteristics make it so?

5. If you know that biting into a Waverley apple would reveal your future, would you bite? Why or why not?

Questions obtained from Readinggroupguides.com

December 9, 2008

Southwest Book Club Meets December 16

mybooktoyou2008.jpgCome join Southwest Book Club's 2nd Annual "My Book to You" celebration. What book have you enjoyed reading this year or in the past? We want to know. Share your joy of reading with others. Relax and enjoy refreshments and prizes too!

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

November 13, 2008

Southwest Book Club Meets November 18

glasscastlejacket.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, November 18, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss the book, The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls. Walls, a MSNBC.com reporter discusses her childhood growing up with a scholarly, alcoholic father and an eccentric artist mother. Despite this dysfunctional family, Walls' story is no pity-party; rather a story of unconditional love and survival against all odds.

The book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Though The Glass Castle is brimming with unforgettable stories, which scenes were the most memorable for you? Which were the most shocking, the most inspiring, the funniest?

2. Discuss the metaphor of a glass castle and what it signifies to Jeannette and her father.

3. Though it portrays an incredibly hardscrabble life, The Glass Castle is never sad or depressing. Discuss the tone of the book, and how do you think that Walls achieved that effect?

4. For many reviewers and readers, the most extraordinary thing about The Glass Castle that, despite everything, Jeannette Walls refused to condemn her parents. Were you able to be equally nonjudgmental?

Discussion questions taken from BookBrowse at http://www.bookbrowse.com/reading_guides/

October 13, 2008

Southwest Book Club Meets October 28

geographyofblissjacket.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, October 28, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss the book, The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner. This book uses a mixture of travel, psychology, science, and humor to investigate not what happiness is, but where it is. The author takes the reader on a journey from America to Iceland to India in search of happiness.

The book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. The author presents "bits of wisdom" through out the book given by ancient philosophers, country leaders and everyday people. What "bit of wisdom" caught your attention and made you stop and think? Explain.

2. Weiner believes where we are and our culture plays a major role in our happiness. He refutes the belief that all happiness comes from inside of us; that we can be happy no matter where we are. Do you agree with Weiner? Why or why not?

3. What's your happiest place?


September 15, 2008

Southwest Book Club Meets September 23

selfstoragecover.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss the book, Self Storage by Gayle Brandeis.

Set during the year following the September 11 attacks, Self Storage explores the raw insecurities of a changed society. With lush writing, great humor, and a genuine heart, Brandeis takes a peek into the souls of a woman and a community and reveals that it is not our differences that drive us apart but our willful concealment of the qualities that connect us.

The book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. List three words you would use to describe what this book is about. Why?

2. Is Self Storage a realistic novel in terms of its plot and characters or, on the contrary, does it become fantastic, "hyperreal," like the soap operas that Shae watches so obsessively?

3. The Student Family Housing complex at the University of California -Riverside where Flan and her family live can be seen as a kind of small-scale multicultural utopia. What role do Sodaba and her husband fill in this utopia? Is the utopia destroyed as a result of outside influences or from internal stresses? And do you think the housing complex is meant to symbolize the wider world?

4. Are Shae and Flan responsible parents? Do they become better parents over the course of the book? If they were neighbors, would you be as helpful and understanding as Pia?

5. When Flan finds the word "Yes" inside a box, it leads her on a quest to discover the source of "Yes" in her life. Is her quest successful? What is the source of "Yes" in your own life? What have you said "Yes" to in your life?

Questions obtained or adapted from www.gaylebrandeis.com

August 7, 2008

Southwest Book Club Meets August 26

the descendants.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss the book, The Descendants by Kauri Hart Hemmings

Narrated in a bold, fearless, hilarious voice and set against the lush, panoramic backdrop of Hawaii, The Descendants is a stunning debut novel about an unconventional family forced to come together through a time of betrayal and loss and re-create its own legacy.

The book may be reserved for home delivery or location pick-up at http://www.ocls.info

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or comments about the book here. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

July 14, 2008

Southwest Book Club Meets July 22 and Online Discussion

Jacket.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss the book, Talk to the Hand by Lynne Truss.

This book is all about bad manners and behavior. The way discourteous behavior has become commonplace and even applauded in today's society is evaluated. Truss presents a humorous call to arms that challenges ill manners and the practices that support them.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, questions related to the book are posted below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Share your thoughts and comments, then click "post". Comment on one question or all of them. Join the discussion!

1. Do you agree or disagree with Truss's statement - "Basically, everyone else has bad manners; we have occasional bad moments." Why or why not? What does Truss imply by this statement?

2. Do you think a book like Talk to the Hand is helpful to society? to you? toward improving people's manners?

3. Share an experience when you were treated with bad manners. How did you feel? What did you think? How did you handle the situation? Now share a time when you acted with bad manners. How did you feel? What did you think? How did you handle it?

4. What purpose(s) do you think good manners serve in a society?

June 11, 2008

Southwest Book Club Online Discussion Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

middlesex.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will be meeting on Tuesday, June 17, 2008 at 7:00 P.M. at the Southwest Library to discuss the book, Middlesex by bestselling author Jeffrey Eugenides. Middlesex is a story of Calliope Stephanides, who discovers during adolescence that she is actually a he. The now adult male, Cal tells of his transformation and of the genetic condition which caused it - a condition which is traced back to his Greek-American paternal grandparents who were also brother and sister. Middlesex is a story about what it means to live within the complex and unnamed middle ground between male and female, Greek and American, past and present. Lastly, Middlesex is a novel that questions what it is that makes us who we are.

If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, questions related to the book are posted below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Share your thoughts and comments, then click "post". Comment on one question or all of them. Join the discussion!

Discussion Questions: Middlesex
1. Occasionally, Cal interrupts his own narrative, calling attention to himself and the artifice inherent in his story (example on pp. 110-111). What purposes do these interruptions serve? Is Cal a reliable narrator?

2. Why does Cal decide to live as a man rather than a woman?

3. How is Cal's experience living within two genders similar to the immigrant experience of living within two cultures? How is it different?

4. Middlesex is set against the backdrop of several historical events: the war between Turkey and Greece, the rise of the Nation of Islam, WWII, and the Detroit riots. How does history shape the lives of the caracters in the novel?

5. Describe Middlesex. Does the house have a symbolic function in the novel?

6. How does the structure of the novel and its movement backward and forward in time reflect the larger themes of the work?

Questions obtained or adapted from http://readinggroupguides.com

May 7, 2008

Southwest Book Club Online Discussion - The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman

the world is flat.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will be meeting on Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 7:00 P.M. to discuss the book, The World is Flat by Pulitizer Prize winner and journalist, Thomas Friedman. This is Friedman's account of the great changes taking place in the world as continuous advances in technology and communications put people all over the globe in touch as ever before. It is an essential update on globalization, its successes and discontents; and what it means to countries, companies, communities, and individuals.

If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, questions related to the book will be posted to our blog prior to the meeting date each month. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Share your thoughts and comments, then click "post". Comment on one question or all of them. Join the discussion!

Discussion Questions: The World is Flat
1. What does Friedman mean by the book's title?

2. Friedman discusses the many occupations that can now be outsourced or offshored, including his own job as a journalist. Could your job be done by someone in another country? Could you do your job better from home, as the JetBlue telephone agents do? Would you feel comfortable knowing your taxes had been prepared by an overseas accountant, or your CAT scan read by an overseas radiologist? (Chapter One)

3. Discuss the "Indiana versus India" anecdote, recounted in the second section of Chapter Four. Which approach benefits Americans more: offshoring state projects and cutting taxpaper expenditures, or paying higher wages to maintain job security at home?

4. Chapter Seven, "The Quiet Crisis," outlines dirty secrets regarding American dominance: fewer young Americans pursuing careers in math, science, and engineering, and the demise of both ambition and brainpower among American youth. What accounts for this? What would it take to restore academic rigor and the enthusiasm enjoyed during the "man on the moon" days?

5. Friedman contemplates the cultural traits that drive a nation's success. He uses this to illustrate why Mexico, despite NAFTA, has become the tortoise while China has become the hare. Does America fit Friedman's cultural profile as a nation poised for prosperity? (Chapter Nine)

6. What would it take for you to become an "untouchable"? (Chapter Six)

Questions obtained or adapted from http://readinggroupguides.com

April 14, 2008

Hands-On Healing Massage Therapy Program April 18

massagetherapy.jpgCome and learn the benefits of massage therapy for health and well-being. Join Lori Dunn, Licensed Massage Therapist from Amazon Massage and Health Spa for complimentary massges in honor of National Stress Awareness Day.

Friday, April 18
Noon
Southwest Branch
407.835.7323
southwest@ocls.info

April 2, 2008

Southwest Book Club Online Discussion - A Thousand Splendid Suns (Hosseini)

athousandsplendidsuns.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will be meeting on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 7:00 P.M. to discuss the book, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner. Two women born a generation apart witness the destruction of their home and family in war-torn Kabul. Hosseini's second novel weaves thrity years of turbulent Afghan history through a powerful story of family, friendship and, ultimately, hope.

If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, questions related to the book will be posted to our blog prior to the meeting date each month. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Share your thoughts and comments, then click "post". Comment on one question or all of them. Join the discussion!

Discussion Questions: A Thousand Splendid Suns

1. What is the significance of the novel's title? Why do you think Hosseini chose it?

2. Mariam's mother tells her "Women like us. We endure. It's all we have." Discuss how this sentiment informs Mariam's life and how it relates to the larger themes of the novel.

3. Growing up Laila feels that her mother's love is reserved for her two brothers. How does this sentiment inform her reaction to becoming pregnant with Rasheed's child? What lessons from her childhood does Laila apply in raising her own children?

4. And in this fleeting, wordless exchange with Mariam, Laila know that they were not enemies any longer (p. 224). How is the deep bond between Mariam and Laila forged? How does this bond sustain both of them?

5. One of the Taliban judges at Mariam's trial tell her, "God has made us different, you women and us men. Our brains are different. You are not able to think like we can. Western doctors and their science have proven this." What is the irony in this statement? How is irony employed throughout the novel?

6. How does Miriam and Laila's story metaphorically reflect the larger story of Afganistan's troubled history?

7. How would you describe Hosseini's writing style? Were there particular passages that impressed you, and, if so, what were they and why?


(Questions were either obtained or adapted from reading guides found at http://www.bloomsbury.com and http://www.readinggroupguides.com

January 8, 2008

Southwest Book Club Meets January 15

The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss the book, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See.

An evocative story of friendship set against the backdrop of a nineteenth-century China in which women suffered from foot binding, isolation, and illiteracy. The novel follows an elderly woman and her companion as they communicate their hopes, dreams, joys, and tragedies through a unique secret language.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

December 8, 2007

Southwest Book Club Meets December 11

The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, December 11, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library. We will be having our first "My Book to You" celebration. Come join us to celebrate a year of great reads! Share your favorite book from this past year. Book list flyers will be provided so you can write down titles and authors of books you would like to read that others have enjoyed. Enjoy refreshments and conversation with other book lovers.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest(at)ocls.info

stackofbooks.jpg

November 16, 2007

Tall Ships Exhibit November - December 2007

John Levell, Sr., model shipbuilder currently has several of his model ships on exhibit at the Southwest Library. John has been buidling airplane, automobile and ship models since he was a teenager. John, along with his two brothers had a model room in the basement of their home in Orange, Massachusetts. At one time, the boys opened a model store in a section of their father's radio and T.V. store. An uncle, Ken who was in the U.S. Navy during WWII helped to deepen John and his brothers' interest in ships; along with their father, Norman who also buiilt model ships.

John served for five years in the U.S. Navy and for 19 years in the U.S. Navy Reserves. He was employed with Lockheed Martin for 39 years before retiring in 1995.

John builds the ships from kits purchased from model distributors. Generally, each ship takes from two to three years to complete. Each ship is a replica of real ships used during the 19th century.

John's "Tall Ships" collection is on exhibit in the foyer display case at the Southwest Library during November and December. For further information, please call the Southwest Library at 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

The two ships below are the "Swift" (top) and the "Kate Cory" (bottom)
MVC-003F.JPG MVC-004F.JPG


November 7, 2007

Southwest Book Club Meets November 13

The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss the book, Last Train to Paradise by Les Standiford.

Standiford describes the remarkable and challenging efforts of the ambitious entrepreneur, Henry Flagler to construct a railway that would connect Key West to the mainland. The author's writing style brings to life the design and engineering of the project, the thousands of workers who brought Flagler's vision to life, and the 1935 hurricane that destroyed the railway.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest(at)ocls.info

lasttraintoparadise.jpg

October 13, 2007

Doris Lessing wins Noble Prize in Literature

The Noble Prizes were created when founder Alfred B. Nobel (1833-96) bequeathed $9 mil, the interest on which was to be distributed yearly to those judged to have most benefited humankind in physics, chemistry, medicine-physiology, literature, and promotion of peace. Prizes were first awarded in 1901. The 1st prize in economics was awarded in 1969, funded by Sweden's central bank. Each prize is now worth about 10 mil Swedish kroner (about $1.3 mil). The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2007

MVC-020F.JPG
Click on Doris Lessing who just won the Noble Prize in Literature.

Check out our web site to see what other books we carry by this author. Doris May Lessing also wrote under the names Jane Somers and Doris Taylor.

October 2, 2007

Southwest Book Club Meets October 9

Marchbrooks.jpg
The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, October 9, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss the book, March by Geraldine Brooks.

In this Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction in 2006, Brooks imagines the Civil War experiences of Mr. March, the absent father in Louisa May Alcott's, Little Women. Mr. March is an idealist and a man of faith whose convictions are challenged by the horrors of war.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest(at)ocls.info

September 19, 2007

Meet Local Authors of Award Winner Children's Book September 22

LadySquirrel.jpg
Meet the local authors of the children's book, The Adventures of Lady: The Big Storm I ris Pearson and Mike Merrill on Saturday, September 22 at 10:30 a.m. The authors will be reading the book and sharing about its main character, Lady.

The Adventures of Lady: The Big Storm is the winner of the 2007 New York Book Festival Best Children's Book Award. It is illustrated by former Disney Animators. This is the story of a scared and lost little squirrel named Lady who lands in a strange backyard. The book explores children's fears of being left alone and inspires the understanding that even in the darkest of times, something wonderful is often just around the bend.

When Iris Pearson is not being a squirrel mom she is a Production Accountant for Television Shows and Film. She works with Project Firefly Animation Studios, a group of former Disney Animators who illustrated this book. Co-writer and Iris' husband, Mike Merrill is a Certified Public Accountant with a Masters in Business Administration. His firm specializes in Television Production Companies. Mike, Iris and Lady live in Orlando, Florida.

For more information about this program, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

September 5, 2007

Southwest Book Club Meets September 11

The Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss the book, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death, himself narrates the story of Liesel. Liesel is a young German girl whose book stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family, neighbors and the Jewish man they are hiding. The publisher has marketed this book for young adult readers, though it was published in the author's native Australia for adults. A New York Times bestseller.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest(at)ocls.info

bookthief.jpg

July 26, 2007

New Library Resource for Book Clubs

book club logo.gif
Not sure what to read? Need multiple copies of a title so that you and your friends can read together and discuss the material? Check out our Book Bundles ! We've gathered approximately 5-15 copies of a particular title for you to check out for yourself and your friends. To learn more about Book Bundles, available titles and other resources for book clubs, visit the Book Clubs page in our Virtual Gallery.

For more information about the Southwest Book Club or other library-sponsored book clubs, call 407.835.7323 or email mayer.sandy(at)ocls.info

July 18, 2007

Harry Potter 7 is Almost Here!

hpotter.jpg

The countdown to Harry Potter 7 has started. Fans eagerly await the release of the book and many plan to attend a festivity or two celebrating the release of the final book in the series. In preparation for the momentous release, Potter enthusiasts have spent time rereading the series and brushing up on trivia. But wait! There may be a few things left to learn especially about the author of the series, J. K. Rowling. Take a look at the article, 10 Things to Know about J. K. Rowling

For more on Harry Potter trivia, check out the Library's virtual gallery. To request a copy of book 7 (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) for home delivery or location pick-up, call 407.835.7323 or go to www.ocls. info>library catalog to make your request online. Please have your library card and PIN ready.

Three days and counting...

July 7, 2007

Southwest Book Club Meets July 10

Southwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss the book, Digging to America by Anne Tyler.

A chance encounter between two families at an airport occurs as both await the arrival of an adopted daughter from Korea. This prompts an examination about what it means to be an American as the two families intertwine over the years.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The Book Club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

diggingtoamerica.jpg

April 24, 2007

Southwest Book Club Meets May 1

WATERFORELEPHANTS.gifSouthwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, May 1, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. in the meeting room at the Southwest Library to discuss the book, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

Ninety-something-year-old Jacob Jankowski, now in a nursing home remembers his time in the circus as a young man during the Great Depression. The author carefully weaves circus lore; romance and the always inspiring human/animal bond throughout the book.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The Book Club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

March 27, 2007

Southwest Book Club Meets April 3

Southwest Book Club will be meeting on Tuesday, April 3, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. in the meeting room at the Southwest Library to discuss the book, My Life in France by Julia Child.

juliachildgoogle.jpg

A memoir begun just months before Child's death describes the legendary food expert's years in Paris, Marseille, and Provence. Also, Julia describes her journey of a young woman from Pasadena who cannot cook or speak French to the publication of her classic Mastering cookbooks and winning the hearts of America as "the French chef." Clips from Julia's T.V. cooking shows will be viewed during the discussion also.
juliachildphoto.jpg

The Southwest Book Club meets monthly at 7:00 p.m. Anyone age 18 or older is welcome. For more information, please email mayer.sandy (at) ocls.info or call 407.835.7323.

February 27, 2007

Southwest Book Club Meets March 6

mkd.gif

Southwest Book Club will be meeting on Tuesday, March 6, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. in the meeting room at the Southwest Library to discuss the book, Memory Keepers's Daughter by Kim Edwards.

This is Edwards' debut novel about family tradegy that results following the birth of a baby with Downs Syndrome. "Memory Keeper's Daughter" explores deception, family secrets, and the influence of the past on the present.

The Southwest Book Club meets monthly at 7:00 p.m. Anyone age 18 or older is welcome. For more information, please email mayer.sandy (at) ocls.info or call 407.835.7323.

February 3, 2007

Southwest Book Club Meets February 6

runawaystoriesbookjacket.jpg
Southwest Book Club will be meeting on Tuesday, February 6, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss the book, Runaway: Stories by Alice Munro.

Munro, an award-winning Canadian author is a brilliant short story writer. In Runaway, Munro writes stories of the infinite betrayals and surprises of love between men and women, friends, parents and children. Picked one of the New York Times Book Review 10 best books of 2004.

The Southwest Book Club meets monthly at 7:00 p.m. Anyone age 18 or older is welcome. For more information, please email mayer.sandy (at) ocls.info or call 407.835.7323.

January 30, 2007

Photo Gallery - Southwest Book Club Celebrates 2 Years of Great Book Discussions January 9

After a lively discussion regarding Steve Bogira's Courtroom 302, Southwest Book Club attendees take time to enjoy cake and refreshments. The Southwest Book Club helds its' first meeting on January 19, 2005.
MVC-001F.JPG MVC-003F.JPG MVC-002F.JPG

January 3, 2007

Southwest Book Club Meets January 9

Southwest Book Club will be meeting on Tuesday, January 9, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library to discuss the book, Courtroom 302 by Steve Bogira.

Bogira, a Chicago-based journalist provides an outstanding journey inside the American criminal justice system of the Cook County Criminal Courthouse - known as "the biggest and busiest felony courthouse in the nation." Bogira's book pierces the popular myths so easily created by T.V. shows like Law and Order and replaces them with the harsh and grim realitites of the criminal justice system.

The Southwest Book Club meets monthly at 7:00 p.m. Anyone age 18 or older is welcome. For more information, please email mayer.sandy (at) ocls.info

December 19, 2006

It's a LibraryThing

librarything.jpg
You know who you are.

You have hundreds of books stacked in piles or haphazardly on shelves. You love books and talking about them with other book lovers. Finally, what if you could easily catalog your library of books (no more messy "can't read my own writing" lists or tedious WORD document creations); connect with other book lovers who have similar libraries; or have recommendations made to you based on your library? No more "what if's"! Welcome to LibraryThing

Named by PC Magazine as one of the five best services of 2006 (Skype was another service named). "If you love books, and love people who love books, LibraryThing is for you. Start by using the service to catalog your book collection: Tag your books by topic, share your catalog with others, and then endlessly browse the titles that they have on their shelves." (PC Magazine, February 2006)

All you need to get started is to create a user name and password. LibraryThing allows you to catalog up to 200 titles for free; as many as you like for $10 (year) or $25 (life). Go ahead and take the tour today.

November 27, 2006

Southwest Book Club Meets December 5

ldod.gifThe Southwest Book Club will be meeting on Tuesday, December 5, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. in the meeting room at the Southwest Library to discuss the book, The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diamant.

Diamant writes a rich and captivating novel set in 1800's Cape Ann, Massachusetts of society's cast-offs trying to make a living in a harsh environment. Diamant admits it is fiction based lightly upon historical record which is spotty at best when it comes to the village of Dogtown, a hamlet once existing on the rocky coastline of Massachusetts Bay in the heart of Cape Ann. But Diamant, author of The Red Tent once again brings to life characters (including the dogs of Dogtown) living in a place and time history has all but forgotten.

The Southwest Book Club meets the 1st Tuesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. Anyone age 18 or older is welcome. For more information, please email mayer.sandy (at) ocls.info

November 13, 2006

Publishers Weekly Top 100 Books for 2006

publishers-weekly.jpg
Publishers Weekly recently released their picks for the 100 top books of 2006. The picks are divided into various categories including: fiction, poetry, mysteries, science fiction/fantasy/horror, romance, comics, religion, religious fiction, nonfiction, lifestyle, and childrens' books. For more information and a complete list of the categories and titles, click here.

Publishers Weekly is an American weekly trade news magazine targeted at publishers, librarians, booksellers and literary agents. It carries the tagline, "The International News Magazine of Book Publishing and Bookselling."

To check for availability of Publishers Weekly top titles and to request home delivery, please go to our library catalog at www.ocls.info or call 407.835.7323

October 30, 2006

Southwest Book Club Meets November 7

40stories.gifThe Southwest Book Club will be meeting on Tuesday, November 7, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. in the library to discuss the book, Forty Stories by Anton Chekhov, translated by Robert Payne.

One of Russia's greatest playwrights and short story authors, Forty Stories is a collection of Chekhov's short stories from 1883-1903. Chekhov paints a painfully accurate portrait of the Russian character with wit, compassion and keen insightfulness.

The Southwest Book Club meets the 1st Tuesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. Anyone age 18 or older is welcome. For more information, please email mayer.sandy (at) ocls.info

September 26, 2006

Southwest Book Club Welcomes Author Sharon Hinck October 3

sharonsittingpubshot8_06.jpg secretlifecover.jpg
The Southwest Book Club will be meeting on Tuesday, October 3, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. in the library meeting room. Author Sharon Hinck will be discussing her book, The Secret Life of Becky Miller via online interactive chat. If you are unable to come to the library but would like to attend this discussion, you may log on to your computer at www.ocls.info/loe at least 15 minutes before the discussion starts.

Becky Miller, ordinary wife and mother wishes to do great things for family, friends and God. The Secret Life of Becky Miller is light-hearted and humorous "Mom-Lit," but with a far-reaching message for all of us who are striving to "do it all" and searching for the grand purpose of our lives. For more information about the author and her book, click here.

The Southwest Book Club meets the 1st Tuesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. Anyone age 18 or older is welcome. For more information, please email mayer.sandy (at) ocls.info

August 29, 2006

Southwest Book Club Meets September 5

Lipstickjihad.gif
The Southwest Book Club will be meeting on Tuesday, September 5, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. in the library to discuss the book Lipstick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni.

Lipstick Jihad is Moaveni's memoir of growing up Iranian in Amercia and American in Iran. Moaveni, an American child of Iranian exiles during the Islamic Revolution eloquently describes her personal search to "figure out her relationship" to Iran. Moaveni's childhood and adolesence did not prepare her for the realities she faced working as a journalist in Tehran during 2000-2001. Moaveni gives the reader insightful descriptions of recent Iranian history, culture and the Islamic Revolution; and of the struggle to integrate two cultures within herself.

The Southwest Book Club meets the 1st Tuesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. Anyone age 18 or older is welcome. For more information, please email mayer.sandy (at) ocls.info

July 27, 2006

Southwest Book Club Meets August 1

lifeofpi.gif

The Southwest Book Club will be meeting on Tuesday, August 1, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. in the library meeting room to discuss Life of Pi by Yann Martel.

Life of Pi is a fable-like story about adventure, survival, and ultimately, faith. 16-year-old Pi Patel recounts a harrowing journey adrift in the Pacific Ocean trapped on a 26 foot lifeboat with a wounded zebra, a spotted hyena, a seasick orangutan, and a 450 pound Bengal Tiger. Life of Pi, Martel's second novel, is an award winner in Canada and winner of the 2002 Man Booker Prize.

The Southwest Book Club meets the 1st Tuesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. Anyone age 18 or older is welcome. For more information, please email mayer.sandy (at) ocls.info

July 11, 2006

Southwest Book Club Meets July 18

nutsbook.gif The Southwest Book Club will be meeting on Tuesday, July 18 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss May Contain Nuts by John O"Farrell, a British best-seller author who has been described as the British equivalent of Dave Barry.

May Contain Nuts is a comical and provocative satire about today's overprotective and overcompetitive parents. Although set in British society, Americans will have no problem recognizing or relating to the manic and extreme behavior of the parent protagonists in the novel. O"Farrell has a knack for comic detail, but as with all satire there is are serious lessons to be gleaned.

The Southwest Book Club meets every 3rd Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. (note: starting in August 2006 meetings will be held every first Tuesday of each month). Anyone age 18 or older is welcome. For more information, please email mayer.sandy (at) ocls.info

June 13, 2006

Southwest Book Club Meets June 20

MBpic.gif

The Southwest Book Club will be meeting on Tuesday, June 20 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss the classic novel by Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary.

Madame Bovary is Flaubert's best-known novel. His novel features for the first time in European literature, an ordinary, middle to lower-class woman as the central character. Madame Bovary is bored with her life and marriage to a worthy but dull man. She goes on a futile journey to find romance and excitement. Madame Bovary may have been the very first "desperate houswife."

The Southwest Book Club meets every 3rd Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. (note: starting in August 2006 meetings will be held every first Tuesday of each month). Anyone age 18 or older is welcome. For more information, please email mayer.sandy (at) ocls.info

May 15, 2006

Independent Publisher Book Awards Announced

The Independent Publisher Book Awards, celebrating their tenth anniversary, has announced the results for the 2006 competition. The "IPPY" Awards bring increased attention to independent, university, and self-published titles. IPPY awards those who exhibit the courage, innovation, and creativity in the world of publishing. Winners and finalists are recognized in 60 categories including fiction and non-fiction titles. Also, at this year's ceremonies to be held on May 19 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D. C., ten outstanding women in independent publishing will be recognized for the first time in IPPY's history.

To read the complete IPPY article and to view the complete list of winners and finalists, click here.

If you are interested in IPPY award-winning titles not found in our collection, you may suggest a title.

May 9, 2006

Southwest Book Club Meets May 16

Millionlittlepieces.gif

The Southwest Book Club will be meeting on Tuesday, May 16 at 7:00 pm at the library. A Million Little Pieces, the controversial memoir by James Frey will be discussed.

In a recent note to readers, Frey acknowledges his memoir is a combination of facts about his life and certain embellishments. He believes that a memoir allows the writer to work from memory rather than strict historical or journalistic protocol. Of course, many take issue with this (including Oprah and Frey's publisher) and the debate will continue. Frey's expressed purpose for writing the book is a noble one; too bad he did not come clean about his ideas or beliefs concerning his style of the literary memoir from the start-another lesson to be learned on the road to recovery? Nonetheless, Frey's book still offers a gripping look into the world of addiction and the addicted.

Anyone 18 or older is welcome to join the Southwest Book Club. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest (at) ocls.info

April 24, 2006

National Volunteer Appreciation Week April 23-29

Southwest Library is taking time this week to celebrate National Volunteer Appreciation Week by giving special attention to our great volunteers. Currently, Southwest has 7 volunteers through the Friends of the Library volunteer program. In May, Southwest will began a Teen Library Corp (TLC) volunteer program for students age 13-18. Three students will be starting in this program next week. In 2005, volunteers provided a total of 846 hours of service at Southwest! The staff at Southwest appreciate the time, talents, and dedication the volunteers give to the library each week. To each and everyone of our volunteers-past and present-Thank You!

MVC-001F.JPG MVC-002F.JPG
(L. to r.) Richard and Aruna taking time for a quick photo shoot.

For more information about Friends of the Library and the Teen Library Corp volunteer programs, call 407.835.7323 or email mayer.sandy (at) ocls.info

April 19, 2006

Southwest Book Club's Upcoming 2006 Reading Selections

In case you want to get a head start on Southwest Book Club's upcoming reading selections, here is the list:
May A Million Little Pieces by Jim Frey
June Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
July May Contain Nuts by John O' Farrell
August Life of Pi by Yann Martel
September Lipsick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni
October Forty Stories by Anton Chekhov

All selections are available through the library except the July and October titles (note: the July and October titles are available in paperback at local bookstores or online). Currently, the book club meets every 3rd Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm. The next meeting is May 16, 2006. For further information on these titles and to request home delivery, go to the Library Catalog and search by author or title.

If you would like more information about the Southwest Book Club, please call 407.835.7323 or email mayer.sandy (at) ocls.info

Keep those pages turning!

April 18, 2006

'Jean Brodie' Author Dies

Jean-brodie-pic.gif

Muriel Spark, who wrote more than 20 novels, including The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie which was later adapted for a Broadway hit and a movie, died Thursday, April 13 at age 88 in Italy. Spark wrote her famous 'Jean Brodie' book in 1961 which made her internationally famous. Besides her novels, Spark wrote three volumes of poetry and biographical and critical work about the Bronte family, Mary Shelley, and John Masefield.

Many will remember the 'Jean Brodie' movie adaptation in 1969 starred Maggie Smith as the young, unorthodox Scottish schoolmistress and her special, and ultimately dangerous, relationship with six of her students. To request home delivery of this movie or other works by Muriel Spark go to the Library catalog. For more information on Muriel Spark, her life and works go to the Literature Resource Center one of the Library's online databases found in the Virtual Library.

April 12, 2006

Southwest Book Club Meets April 18

Carlhiassen-picture.gif

The Southwest Book Club will be meeting on Tuesday, April 18 at 7:00 pm at the library. Works of fiction by Carl Hiaasen will be discussed. Book club attendees may pick to read any fiction title by Hiassen, including his two juvenile titles " Hoot" and "Flush."

As an award-winning investigative reporter for the Miami Herald, Carl Hiaasen's fictional works reflect his exposure to--and outrage over--Florida's social ills. A native of South Florida, Hiaasen has turned his righteous indignation into humorous satire in which heroes and villains alike exhibit farcical quirks and an attachment to creative forms of violence. His first juvenile fiction book, "Hoot" has won awards. For more information about Hiaasen and his writing, go to the online database Literature Resource Center found in the Library's Virtual Library.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend book club meetings. For more information about the Southwest Book Club call 407-835-7323 or email mayer.sandy@ocls.info

March 14, 2006

Southwest Book Club Meets March 21

The Southwest Book Club will be meeting on Tuesday, March 21 at 7:00 pm. Carl Honore's book, In Praise of Slowness will be the topic of discussion.
honorbookgif1.gif

Honore, an award-winning Canadian journalist explores and challenges the cult of speed in our 21st century. The author's wake-up call came when he began reading one-minute bedtime stories to his two-year-old son in order to save time. Honore explores a quiet revolution going on called the "slow movement" which strives to integrate and achieve balance while living in a technology-charged world. But note this is not one of those anti-technology books! If you have come to believe faster is not always better or more is rarely enough (and cringe when you hear the word, "multi-tasking"), come join the discussion.

Anyone 18 or older is welcome. For more information, please email mayer.sandy@ocls.info

February 20, 2006

Southwest Book Club Meets February 21

The Southwest Book Club will be meeting on Tuesday, February 21 at 7:00 pm at the Southwest Library. The book, One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus will be discussed.

This is a "what if" historical fiction type story. What if the United States Government had actually decided to go ahead with a proposed program called "Brides for Indians" in an attempt to help assimilate the Native Americans during the 1870's? This should be a most interesting discussion.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. For more information, call 407.835.7323 or email Sandy at mayer.sandy@ocls.info

February 16, 2006

Newbery and Caldecott Medal Winners

The American Library Association recently announced the winners of the 2006 John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott Medal winners. The Newbery Medal is awarded for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature. The Caldecott Medal is awarded for the most distinguished American picture book for children.

Just click on each title to place a reserve for home delivery.

Newbery Medal
Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins

Caldecott Medal
The Hello, Goodbye Window illustrated by Chris Raschka, written by Norton Juster


Click here for more information regarding the Newbery Medal and 2006 Honor books.

Click here for more information regarding the Caldecott Medal and 2006 Honor books.

February 13, 2006

Southwest Book Club Celebrates One Year

At the past January meeting, the Southwest Book Club took time out from discussing their monthly selection to celebrate their first year of existence with cake and refreshments. (Watch for upcoming photos)

The Southwest Book Club held its' first meeting on January 19, 2005. We discussed the book by Cassandra King, The Sunday Wife. As it turned out, it was not one of our popular reads for the year. In the months to follow, some our most popular reads have included: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini; The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck; To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and Breaking Ground by Daniel Libeskind. This last title, a work of nonfiction presented a "six degrees of separation" experience for the book club. It so happened Mr. Libeskind's ( the architect who won the commission to rebulid the World Trade Center site) senior architect at his firm, Carla Swickerath was from Ocoee, Florida and her mother worked at the West Orange Times.

The Southwest Book Club currently meets every third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm at the library. We read fiction, nonfiction, and biographies. Our next meeting is February 21. We will be discussing the book, One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd. This is an extremely interesting work of historial fiction and should lead to great discussion.

If you are interested in the Southwest Book Club, please call 407.835.7323 or email mayer.sandy@ocls.info

Here's to another year of great reading!