The Valley, May 2014
LIbrary Lines Your Mifflin County Library
Joining a Book Discussion Group by Trish Forshey
Have you ever considering attending a book discussion group? Two years ago, that thought never would have crossed my mind. I had this image in my head of elderly women sitting in someone’s living room going into discussion of all the symbolism and hidden meanings in a classic work of literature. So when I started working at the library and found out that I would be the facilitator for one of these groups, I became quite concerned. I spent many hours preparing for the first meeting and stressing out that I wouldn’t do it right, the big night finally arrived. When everyone arrived and we started talking about the selection, much to my surprise, it was very relaxed and informal. It was just a group of friends catching up and talking about a good book, nothing like the picture in my head. Everyone who attends book group stands to gain something. The discussions are often widely varied due to the diversity of our members. We have teachers, farmers, moms, dads, nurses, business people, and of course librarians, who can all offer a very different view on the same subject. This is the beauty of book group. The woman sitting next to me may have taken away something totally different from the same story that I have just read. When we talk about these books, we are letting our fellow members take a peek into our own thought processes. This can be a very intimidating and scary thing to do but it can also really help to enlighten someone on why you feel the way you
do. I was very nervous at my first book group because I was afraid that I would say the wrong thing or maybe I didn’t understand the book the way it was intended. But once the discussion got started, I realized that everyone had a different interpretation anyway. There were no wrong answers or wrong way to feel about the story. The important thing was that you own the way you feel. Even though someone in the group may challenge your point of view, they respect your opinion and interpretation. Nobody is going to tell you that you are wrong just because your view is different. Each person is free to feel and think what they want to about what they are reading. Whether you are reading for entertainment or for education, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you ARE reading. Mifflin County Library currently offers two different book group options. There is the Third Tuesday Book Group that meets the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 at the Kish Branch Library and the Second Wednesday Book Group which meets the second Wednesday of each month at 1:00 p.m. at the Lewistown Branch. Details on the current reading selections and contact information for each group is available on our website at mifflincountylibrary. org under the “adults” tab. New members are always welcome and registration is not required. Please consider joining us for one of these meetings, we would love to see you. a
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