Four reasons to join a Library Book Group

Did you know there are many Book Discussion Scheme book clubs meeting once a month in different libraries all over town?

One good reason to join a book group you get to meet new people. Many book groups start with a group of already established friends but there is much to be said for joining a group of people from different backgrounds – your book list will reflect diverse interests.  Another reason –  you will read books you don’t normally read. Some books you’ll love and some you may leave you conflicted. Did I like that? Is that really how people behave? Does the author really bring a true account of the period? Are the characters rendered realistically? We learn and grow in knowledge and what better place to do that than in a library. Every second Wednesday of the month our Central Library Peterborough book group meets at midday.

The Madonnas of Leningrad book cover The Mermitage 250 Masterworks Shostakovich Symphony No. 7 Leningrad cover

This month’s title The Madonnas of Leningrad is all about the Siege of Leningrad through the eyes of Marina, a guide at the State Hermitage Museum. It become clear her children have never understood this period of her life which has shaped the person she is. We see how much is hidden inside ourselves. You would think a book about the dehumanizing effects of war would be depressing yet it shows the resilience of mankind and the importance of finding beauty to the human spirit.

As her granddaughter looks to her future and prepares to marry. Marina is spending more and more time in her past due to the ravages of Alzheimers. She begins to rediscover the world seeing it anew as a child might, everthing new and wondrous. Borrow The Madonnas of Leningrad yourself or download an eBook  from Overdrive, take a look at the Hermitage’s masterpieces and listen to Shostokovich’s Seventh Symphony which was composed during the siege from our Naxos Music Library and read Sarah Quigley’s The Conductor inspired by these events. There’s plenty more to read if you like Russian historical fiction or you might like Still Alice for another novel exploring what it means to have Alzheimers (it is also available as an Overdrive eBook).

The Crimson Rooms book coverIf evenings are more your thing, every second Tuesday of the month our group meets at six o’clock at Central Library Peterborough. This month we are reading The Crimson Rooms by Katherine McMahon set just after World War One as women’s roles are changing. The main character is a feisty lady lawyer is juggling the demands of family against her independence. This detective novel is a good clean read.

Last month we read A Guide to the Birds of East Africa, a veA Guide to the birds of East Africary Alexander McCall Smith-like novel on ethics of competition and courtship. This book is a real treat with a great insight to human behaviour. Even if you are no avid bird watcher you may find you are intrigued to find out more about the birds of Africa to see if these birds truly caricature some of these characters! Listen to their calls while reading for something really atmospheric from our Smithsonian Global Sounds for libraries.

Why not join our book group at Central Library Peterborough or look for book groups and author events on our calendar at other libraries around the city.

Do you belong to a library book club? What are you reading this month?

Te Kupu o Te Wiki – Horoi (wash)

Kia ora. To encourage the use of Te Reo Māori we are publishing weekly kupu (words) and phrases that can be used with children.

Kīwaha (idiom)

Autaia tonu
Not bad

Kupu (word)


Me horoi koe, e te tau!
You should wash, my darling!

Whāngahia te Reo

This week in Christchurch history (12 to 18 October)

12 October 1939
Battery point guns in Lyttelton Harbour accidentally sink fishing boat “Dolphin”. 1 man killed.

13 October 1986
Sir Hamish Hay begins his fifth and final term as Mayor of Christchurch.

14 October 1989
Vicki Buck, first woman and youngest to be elected, wins Christchurch Mayoralty.

15 October 1881
Lancaster Park opens. This privately owned development was built so that sports clubs could charge admission fees to games.

Photo of spectators leaving Lancaster Park after the second test match between New South Wales and New Zealand, 1 Sept. 1923
Some of the 13,000 spectators leaving Lancaster Park after the second test match between New South Wales and New Zealand, 1 Sept. 1923, CCL PhotoCD 8, IMG0076

16 October 1988
Victoria Square Amphitheatre opens.

17 October 1861
Christchurch Club building opens. Designed by B. W. Mountfort and Isaac Luck, it was probably New Zealand’s first club.

More October events in the Christchurch chronology: a timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.