Readers say library discussion group stretches their minds

<p>The May gathering of PageTurners, the adult book discussion group at Ocean Park Library, was small, possibly due to a change in time from afternoon to evening. The readers meet at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month. The next meeting, to discuss “A Girl Named Zippy,” will be June 5. Seated here, around the table (left to right) are Linda Kuhlmann, Robin Libby, Vicki Libby and Gerrie Penny.</p><p></p>

    OCEAN PARK — There’s still time to pick up a copy of “A Girl Named Zippy,” to read for the next meeting of the Ocean Park Library’s PageTurners book discussion group, Tuesday, June 5, starting at 6 p.m.

    Those who attended the May meeting, only four in number, hope that the recent time change (from afternoon to evening), hasn’t confused former and potential members and that more readers will be around the community room’s table next time. Rosters show that members in the past have numbered as high as 17.

    At the May meeting, sisters Robin and Vicki Libby, along with Gerrie Penny and discussion leader Linda Kuhlmann shared  opinions on “The Knitting Circle,” by Ann Hood, the atmosphere was casual, but matter of fact. It was a book about loss and grief and some at the table spoke briefly about how their own losses paralleled the lives of some of the book’s characters.

    The four admitted that book discussions often get a little derailed for a few minutes and then drift right back.

     The group seemed like a gathering of close friends, sharing not just opinions, but also life experiences that relate to what they have read.

    Some of them have been part of the group longer than others. Robin said she’s been attending about 10 years. When Vicki was asked when she joined, she grinned and quipped, “When Robin told me I had to.”

    Linda, that evening’s discussion leader, has only been part of the group for about a year. She travels a lot, but comes to discussions when she’s home.

    Gerrie belonged to a similar group in the Washougal area, before she moved here.  “I really enjoyed it,” she said, having been attending PageTurners for about three years. “The reason I joined is because I don’t know what kind of books to read,” so this has given her the opportunity to dive into some books that she might not have chosen on her own.

    Those same reasons also appeal to Linda who commented, “I agree with what Gerrie said about choosing books that stretch your mind – books that you would never have chosen.”

    Robin was responsible for picking this year’s list of books. The choices are printed on book markers available at the Ocean Park Library. Researching information from the Great Reads section of the Timberland Regional Library’s website, plus other sources, give her ideas. And, she also gets input from group members. “There’s a lot of sifting through that I have to do. Also, the library has to have enough copies.” That often restricts the group from getting new releases on the list. But if they pick books that are about a year out from first release, they have better luck. For 2012, they are all set. “We actually went through the year, so we’re good until next January,” Robin said.

    The choices aren’t all fiction. Gerrie said, “We’ve decided we are going to read non-fiction once in a while and that’s what ‘Shadow Divers’ is.” This choice for the Aug. 7 discussion, Gerrie said, “Is really exciting. I think it takes place in the ‘90s and it’s all about deep sea diving and finding a submarine from World War II. You learn a lot about deep sea divers.”    

    The current pick, “A Girl Named Zippy,” is a memoir written by Haven Kimmel, who was born in a tiny Indiana town in the mid ‘60s. It is hailed as “almost dreamlike” with superb storytelling and moments of sheer joy. One review called it, “Very engaging, funny.”

    It’s not a long read – just 275 pages laced with photos of Zippy’s childhood. There might be one book in audio format still available.

    The June 5 discussion will be led by Gerrie Penny. Though the room at Ocean Park Library is available from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., members of the group said they don’t always stay the full two hours.

    Other branches of the Timberland Regional Library (www.TRL.org) also have similar reading groups for adults. Check the website for meeting days and times, plus book selections.

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