Seaside Book Club –
We were a smaller group at our February meeting due to vacations and sickness, and possibly, due to our reading selection. All the Broken Things by Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer presented a challenge for many of our readers – not because of the way it was written, but because of the subject matter. There were some strong reactions to the presentation of such a sad collection of beings – Orange, Bo and Bear – and the animal rights issues were enough to deter one reader completely. Most of us made it to the end of the book though, and even those who hadn’t, had plenty to say and reflect on.
The author’s decision to adjust reality a little to fit a constructed timeline was one of the first topics of discussion. Where does the line between fiction and nonfiction sit when basing a story on real life events? Does it matter to readers if thoughts like “that couldn’t have happened then” interrupt the narrative? The “broken things” of the title were heart wrenching and disturbing. Whilst we acknowledged the desire of the author to force us to examine them and our reactions to them, it made for heavy reading. Themes of difference and acceptance resonated throughout alongside the overwhelming question of how do those people in the world who aren’t broken deal with those who are? Or, are we all broken in some way?
Looking at the book as a vehicle to present themes made it easier somehow to understand the surreal setting. Communication; loyalty; empathy; duty; these were all ideas that ran through the story, with the main character Bo personifying the struggle to live within a contradiction of these: literally wrestling his way through life. We talked about refugees, disabilities, child abuse, rejection and anger. Though some of the subject matter was dark, our discussion remained lively and the very fact of this being a book that wasn’t universally well received by the group caused us to remember why we wanted to be in a book club in the first place. The opportunity to read widely and beyond our comfort zone; the chance to hear other people’s thoughts (and maybe allow them to change our own) – it was all positive stuff! Many of the Book Club thought they would look for other books by the author as her style was engaging and certainly thought-provoking. There were treats from Quince Café too, that’s a great incentive to come along next time!
Book Club Q &
Q How do you chose the books?
A The book selection is a little down to luck – each month the Sidney/North Saanich Library tries to get hold of a book club set for us to use. Availability is based on demand. So far we have had a choice between several titles each month, and have voted which one to use. Generally this will mean that people can leave the meeting with a copy of next month’s read. Book Club members can suggest titles they would be interested in reading from the VIRL book club sets list:
Q How do you structure the meeting?
A Members bring questions or discussion points with them, written down. These are put in a ‘hat’ and drawn from to keep the discussion going. It leads to diverse questions and no need for anyone to feel self-conscious. The meeting is facilitated by Seaside Magazine’s Deborah and Sidney/North Saanich Library’s Virginia.
Q How do I stay up to date with Book Club happenings?
A Sign up for our mailing list and you’ll get meeting reminders by email
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The Book Club selection for our March meeting is The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. The meeting will be held on March 15 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the SHOAL Centre, Resthaven Drive, Sidney. Visit www.seasidemagazine.ca/book-club for a more information and to sign up.