October is National Reading Group Month (NRGM). According to the NRGM website, one of the goals of National Reading Group Month is "to increase public awareness of the joy and value of shared reading." I admit I found my way to book groups slowly and reluctantly. After spending years discussing assigned reading for school, I didn't necessarily want to read what someone else had chosen for me and I wanted to have my own experience of the books I was reading. However, I'm now a member of two book groups and I have to say I enjoy being introduced to books I might not necessarily read on my own. Having a conversation about what I'm reading enhances my reading experience and it helps me to articulate what I liked or didn't like about a book and to see points I may have overlooked.
This month I'm re-reading Tom Perrotta's The Leftovers for the Dimond Branch Book Group. Published in 2011, Perrotta's novel is set in a suburban community and deals with the aftermath of an inexplicable event in which random people go missing, similar to The Rapture. Among the missing are people from all religions and backgrounds. In Perrotta's world this event isn't a question of good and evil but rather an exploration of how those who remain deal with their losses and the struggles they face trying to understand why they remain while their loved ones have disappeared. Some choose to join a cult, the Guilty Remnant, whose members wander the streets smoking cigarettes while waiting for the world to end, while others join and form groups such as The Healing Huggers, led by their guru, Holy Wayne, and the The Barefoot People who spend their days partying. The book is both satirical and grounded in reality as it poses the question, "how would ordinary people function if they suddenly found themselves in such extraordinary circumstances?"
The book has inspired a 10-episode HBO series scheduled to release this year.
If you're interested in checking out a library book group, stop by the Dimond Branch for a discussion of The Leftovers on Tuesday, October 8th at 6:30 PM or visit the Lakeview Branch on October 15th at 6:30 PM to discuss Enduring Love by Ian McEwan. The Elmhurst and Piedmont Branches also have book groups and are always open to new members.
Submitted by Rebekah Eppley at the Dimond Branch on 9/27/13.