Carson City Public Library Book Club offers chance to share thoughts, conversation with fellow readers

By Cory Smith • Last Updated 10:03 pm on Friday, February 07, 2014

Clockwise from left, Carson City Public Library Director Beth O’Grady, book club members Janette Kipp, Mary Pearson, Fonda Waldron, Fran Snyder, Louise Wing, Wendy Moncada, Patti Richards, Maureen Helman, Margaret Hecht and Sue Lowe, discuss their most recent book, “Sycamore Row,” by John Grisham last Tuesday evening at the library.


CARSON CITY — Several times a year in a quiet corner of this city’s library, a particular novel comes to life.

Discussions of themes, cultures, relationships, politics, history — whatever a book may entail, the details are dissected, sandwiched between laughs and entertaining conversation at the Carson City Public Library Book Club.

Each year, four books are chosen by Library Director Beth O’Grady, and once every three months the members of the book club come together at the library to discuss each book.

It’s a quarterly gathering that started in 2006 and continues successfully today.

From left, Carson City Public Library Book Club members Janette Kipp, Mary Pearson and Patti Richards share a laugh while discussing the book “Sycamore Row” by John Grisham last Tuesday evening at the library.

“We try to choose something that we think everyone might be interested in,” O’Grady said. “We get together and open up discussion and people jump in right away pretty easily.”

No topic is off limits once the discussion begins.

O’Grady does her best to draft several questions to keep the conversations going, but more often than not, the conversations don’t need any extra push.

“We do dive pretty deep into themes, sometimes you get a new slant on the story,” she said. “It’s very interesting. Not everyone always likes the book that we choose, but that makes for good discussion.”

The most recent selection was “Sycamore Row” the latest novel written by author John Grisham.

The members of the club, usually around 10 individuals, got together last Tuesday evening at the library to dive deep into the literature.

From discussions of expecting different outcomes to debates about why the time period was set in the 1980s to criticism of Grisham’s method of humanizing characters, everything was on the table for discussion.

For Carson City resident Maureen Helman, a member since the club began in 2006, the discussion is a chance to listen to several points of view she may not have considered herself.

Carson City Public Library Director Beth O’Grady leads a discussion Tuesday evening at the library during the library’s book club meeting.

“Reading a different genre, learning about the book itself and learning from other members of the group,” Helman said. “It adds a different perspective.”
Helman said she’s made several friends in the years that she’d attended the club meetings, and encourages anyone with a passion for reading to join.

“I’ve always come to this library and Beth does a great job,” she said. “She has a good selection, picking out something that everyone will like or sometimes going with something that’s a bit of a test. Not everyone speaks, some are quieter than others, but we accept everyone and like to meet new people. It’s been a lot of fun.”

The next book in line for club members to read will be “Orphan Train” by author Christina Baker Kline. The group will meet again in May to discuss that book.

“Most people check the book out here at the library,” O’Grady said. “Having three months in between each books gives everyone a chance to read it. It’s a nice way for people in the community to come together. I’ve met people I didn’t know before, which is also nice.”

The book club isn’t the only program available at the Carson City Public Library.

On April 23, “The Orphan Train in Michigan” will be presented by Al and David Eicher of Program Source International Lecture Series. The lecture will focus on the topic of how 12,500 orphans, called “Orphan Train Riders,” from New York and Boston were placed in Michigan via train from 1854 to 1927.

Carson City Public Library Book Club member Louise Wing, left, delivers her opinion on the book “Sycamore Row” by John Grisham as fellow book member Wendy Moncada, right, listens.

On June 4, the library invites visitors to attend “Journey of the Letters,” a program presented by Teresa Irish, author of “A Thousand Letters Home.” The presentation will focus on the 1,000 letters Irish found written by Irish’s father, Bud, during his time fighting in World War II, after his death in 2006.

“Libraries are hopping,” O’Grady said. “We have a lot to offer.”

Along with the scheduled programs, the library also offers Internet and computer workstations, as well as “story hour” time for children.

According to O’Grady, the library sees 50,000 visitors a year, which she says is a healthy base for the library.

“There’s a lot to offer here,” she said. “All it takes is a photo ID to get your library card.”

The Carson City Public Library serves the city of Carson City as well as eight neighboring townships. Call the library at (989) 584-3680 for more information about upcoming events.

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