South Coastal Library offering book club series

The South Coastal Library is again hosting their popular book club series on one Wednesday each month, from 1 to 3 p.m. The theme for this series is “It’s Literary.” Previous book club series have discussed historical mysteries and foreign translated books.

The series is lead by former reader advisor and library assistant Morgan Golladay.

“She picked books that either are classics or probably destined to become classics,” explained library Director Sue Keefe. “She picked these for books that, hopefully, at some point they will be timeless, like ‘The Great Gatsby.’ You could read it then, you could read it now; it doesn’t change how you perceive it.”

The series is set up to discuss four books over four months — “Atonement” by Ian McEwan kicked off the series on Sept. 8. “The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd will be discussed Oct. 6, followed by “Charming Billy” by Alice McDermott on Nov. 3, and they will finish up with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” on Dec. 1.

“They’ll be on reading lists for a long time to come,” Keefe said of the books. “She picked one that was really well know, like ‘The Great Gatsby,’ and those that are more recent, so you can see where the commonalities are between them. It’s a little different – things that are destined to become classics, that are timeless, and what is it about them that keeps them that way or makes them that way. What makes it as good today as it made it 50 years ago or will it be around 50 years from now?”

Participation is free, however registration is required, along with a call to request that books for the series be placed on hold.

“You don’t have to attend all of them,” Keefe noted. “You can pick and choose whichever one you do. What we do – we package all the book information in one packet, so that way, when you sign up you get it all in one, so you don’t have to get, two, three, four,” she said.

With registration, the library will reserve a copy of the upcoming book, upon request, and each participant will be given a discussion packet put together by Golladay.

“She finds titles. She prints up a readers guide for each of the titles, so you’ll have an overall view of the book. She’ll also give you bio information on the author and then she’ll also give you the discussion questions so you can keep them in your mind while you’re reading, because for some people that works better.”

Participants will discuss character motives, relationships and even various expressions used within the books.

“Like in ‘The Secret Life of Bees,’ Morgan asks, ‘Have you ever heard of “kneeling on grits?”’” noted Keefe. “In ‘Atonement,’ they discuss the social and cultural settings. What’s the mood of the house? How does the attention of detail effect the pacing? What happens between characters? Things like that.”

If the library’s book club series doesn’t work with a given person’s schedule, they offer a number of book club kits. The kits were put together after the library’s own book club series left them with extra copies of books.

“We were buying a lot of these books in paperback – maybe 10 of them, so we knew we had a good start for the number of copies. And, of course, after the program was over, you had 10 copies of the same book,” explained Keefe.

The kits are black plastic boxes, which patrons may check out for six weeks at a time, containing 10 paperback copies of the book title, a binder containing author information and discussion questions, along with a book that offers ideas about how to run your own book club.

“You take the box home; you parcel out the books out to your people and just keep track of them. And then, when you return it, you just return the whole thing in the kit,” she said. “It’s gone over very, very well. That’s what we ended up doing in the past when we bought extra copies of the books – we turned them into book club kits. We’ve got some for teens, too. It is so helpful, because there are so many small book clubs with five, six, seven people in them.”

As for the library-sponsored book club, Keefe said generally around 15 people participate per title.

“It’s a good number if everybody wants to talk. It’s usually not the same people, and they get to meet other people. It gets social a little bit, too.”

For people who have trouble reading small print or prefer to listen to books while in the car, Keefe said the library staff would do their best to accommodate them.

“Some of the titles come in large print, and some of the titles may come in audio book form. So if your vision is bad, or if you tend to listen to books while you’re traveling, you can still join in if we can find it for you.”

The group is also open to those who have already read a given book and are ready to discuss it without re-reading.

“If you’ve read the book before and don’t want to read it again but still want to come that’s fine, too,” Keef said, adding, “Everybody is welcome.”

For more information, call (302) 539-5231 or visit