The theme for the 2021 Cleveland Humanities Festival is Identity, and RRPL has embraced this theme by offering the Book Club Kit, Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar. This book was chosen as one of the NYT’s Best Books of the Year 2020, one of Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2020, and best book of 2020 by the Washington Post and O Magazine.
Check out our Book Club Kits for 6 weeks and you will receive 8 book copies, a set of discussion questions and other pertinent information about the author and title, all inside a canvas library tote. Inquire at the Adult Reference desk for more information.
Each week a Rocky River Public Library staff member will share a glimpse into their reading shelf in hopes that you will discover that next great read.
We know how difficult it is to choose a book for your next book group meeting, and to find enough copies for all the members of your group. We would like to make this easier for you by offering Book Club Kits to our patrons. You will receive 8 copies of the same title, a set of discussion questions and other pertinent information about the book or author, all inside a canvas library bag, to be checked out on the library card of the patron picking up the kit. The loan period for the kit is 6 weeks. We own 18 Book Club Kits, 12 fiction book titles and 6 nonfiction book titles. I’d like to share with you one of our newly selected book titles, Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell..
“On a summer’s day in 1596, a young girl in
Stratford-on Avon takes to her bed with a
fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches
everywhere for help. Why is nobody at
home? Their mother, Agnes, is over a
mile away, in the garden where she grows
medicinal herbs. Their father, a playwright,
is working in London. Neither parent knows
that one of the children will not survive
Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a
famous playwright. It is a story of the bond
between twins and of a marriage pushed
to the brink by grief.
Above all, it is the tender reimagining of a
boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but whose name
was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written.”
© Women’s Prize for Fiction
While I fell short of my personal reading challenge this year, I can say my top ten books of this year I thoroughly enjoyed. The Ferrante quartet I simply fell in love with, the historical fiction choices captured the details of the time period with eloquence, the thrillers kept me engaged and the nonfiction moved me beyond words. I took my time with each book and found moments of pause and new meaning in a world that can be overwhelming, and admiration and gratitude for sharing their story, albeit fiction or truth. Happy holidays and my best for a peaceful and bright 2021.
Discover RRPL’s Shared Shelf. Each week a staff member will share a glimpse into their reading shelf in hopes that you will discover that next great read.
I did it! I finished the Neopolitan Quartet, My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay and The Story of the Lost Child, by Elena Ferrante, and I already feel lost without “my” girls, Lila and Lenu, Ferrante’s main characters in this sweeping series of a lifelong friendship within the backdrop of a poor neighborhood of Naples, Italy.
I need to rely on some wonderful quotes from a review by Ella Alexander found at https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/culture/a25122947/elena-ferrante-neapolitan-novels-female-friendship/ to give an essential understanding of Lila and Lenu’s story. “We place a lot of emphasis on romantic love because of the narratives that we’re fed from such a young age. But the relationships and love we have for our female friends, especially during childhood, are equally as emotional and charged…But it’s not always rosy. There’s the jealousy, competitiveness and cruelty that people only dish out to those they love the most, and when we’re children, teenagers and even in our early twenties, we don’t understand yet how to rationalize those feelings or to temper them… It is a reminder that we never lose the love for someone who we were once so close to, and of how far someone can push another before deciding that a friendship brings more sadness than joy.”
I believe most readers will find a friendship, somewhere within their lifetime, that will cause reflection and raw emotion to surface, while reading about the journeys of Lila and Lenu. As a reader, as well as both the main characters, you come full circle and find some understanding and peace as to how we got here.
If you choose to go on this journey with Lila and Lenu, which I highly recommend, it will be lengthy, but take your time, absorb, digest, reread, if necessary. I also watched the HBO series while reading the books and found that each format, reading/watching, complimented each other very well, and ultimately enhanced the story for me.
While I will miss “my” girls”, I look forward to jumping into Ferrante’s new novel, The Lying Life of Adults, to be released September 1st, 2020.
Have You Heard About RRPL’s Little Library?
Our Little Library is located near the front entrance, right next to the bench. I’m sure many of you have heard of “Little Free Libraries” and may have seen one in your own neighborhood. The philosophy of the “Little Free Library” is simple: take a book, leave a book. Here at RRPL we encourage our community to simply take a book, no need to contribute books, we’ve got that covered. This is a small collection of books ranging from adult book selections to books for children. We refresh our selections weekly, along with a bottle of hand sanitizer to keep you safe. If you would like to browse a larger collection, come into our lobby and peruse our ongoing Book Sale. Donations for your choices are always appreciated and can be left at the Greeters Desk. I love tending to the books housed in this little gem, and I can’t help but smile when I discover these books have found a new home. So, if you find yourself taking a stroll near the library, take a peek inside our Little Library, who knows, maybe you will stumble upon that next great read!