September 1st, 2010

One Maryland, One Book

Each fall, readers across the state of Maryland join together to read the same book as a part of the One Maryland, One Book program.  It’s thrilling to know that thousands of readers – through libraries, book stores, and book clubs statewide – are enjoying and discussing the same great read.

This year’s fantastic selection is Outcasts United by Warren St. John, the moving true story of a soccer team for refugee boys, their remarkable female coach, and a small southern town turned upside down by the process of refugee resettlement.  These refugees come from the most harsh, war-torn areas of the world – Sudan, Iraq, Kosovo and others.  And despite many cultural and linguistic barriers, one determined coach unites the boys through their love of soccer.

This book is well-written, thought-provoking and very moving.  The heartwarming, and also heartbreaking, tales of the refugees were so powerful that I had to share them with family and friends.  Most books don’t inspire me to change, but this one had me contemplating how I can be more neighborly, more community-oriented, and more embracing of others in our ever-global world.Outcasts United book

As a part of the One Maryland, One Book program, Cecil County Public Library will be hosting book discussions of Outcasts United at many branches.  Stop by your local branch to sign up and pick up a copy of this great read.  Click the links below to see more information.

Rising Sun Branch Library – Wednesday, September 8 at 7 pm
Perryville Branch Library – Thursday, September 23 at 7 pm
Chesapeake City Branch Library – Monday, October 4 at 1 pm
North East Branch Library – Monday, October 18 at 7 pm
Cecilton Branch Library – Tuesday, October 26 at 6:30 pm
Elkton Central Library – Tuesday, November 2 at 7 pm

There’s even a One Maryland, One Book selection for teens.  Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate is the tragic yet inspirational tale of a young man who comes to the U.S. after losing his home and family.  Click the links for more details.Home of the Brave book

Rising Sun Branch Library – Wednesday, October 6 at 6:30 pm
Elkton Central Library – Tuesday, October 19 at 3:30 pm
Chesapeake City Branch Library – Thursday, October 28 at 3:30 pm

I hope you’ll all join us in reading and discussing.  In the meantime, leave a comment.  What books have inspired you to make a difference?

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October 14th, 2009

Forget the Books… What about the Food?

It’s book discussion time… everyone has their bookmarks and notes in place, with plenty of interesting ideas to contribute to the discussion.  Water for tea is boiling, the delicious smell of fresh coffee fills the air, and the best part, there are snacks!  October is National Reading Group Month, and we have book discussions (and snacks) on the brain.

We respect how you like to read and eat, so we’ve created many choices when it comes to book discussions (click here to see a list).  You can bring your lunch and talk about suspenseful reads at our “Brown Bag Mystery” book discussion, plus enjoy free dessert.  Our many adult book discussions feature the best fiction and non-fiction titles, along with delicious refreshments.  And, of course, our teen and kid book discussions always include yummy snacks.

In my experience, one discussion really stands out (for both the conversation and the cuisine).  My group read Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, which is all about sustainable, local agriculture.  We had fresh, locally grown strawberries; they were right in season, tasted wonderful, and were the perfect complement to the discussion.  Some of the other librarians like to theme their snacks to the book and participants often volunteer to make treats.   Some past hits have been trail mix for A Walk in the Woods, devil’s food cake for the very creepy The Devil in the White City, and real fried green tomatoes for the book of the same name.  Having food that goes with the read can help spark conversation and set the tone, plus, it’s just tasty.

Tell us — what’s the best snack you’ve ever had at a book discussion group?  What’s your favorite book discussion read?

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