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Ripon Book Club: Great way to connect
A recent youth program at the Ripon Library. - photo by Bulletin file photo

If you are looking for a great way to connect with other people while expanding your mind at the same time, Ripon Memorial Library offers a stimulating Book Discussion Group for Adults on the second Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. 

The group meets for an hour and has only one real requirement — that members have a love for books.  Even if you’re on the shy side and don’t particular feel comfortable speaking in a group setting, as long as you have a love for books, you can come to the monthly meetings, sit back and enjoy listening to others share their various thoughts about the book members read.

Ripon librarian and discussion group leader Melinda Kopp, carefully selects specific books each month, varying in genre, style and length then gathers plenty of copies for group members before distrusting them at the monthly meeting.  Sharing a bit of insight into the story they will all discover together, Kopp encourages group members to read the new book over a few weeks time then return the following month to discuss the questions that are either included at the end of the book or that Kopp finds elsewhere such as the author’s website or the book’s fan page.

Presently the group consists of approximately 15 members.  While not all members are able to read every book and attend every meeting, each month there is sure to be enough participants to generate a lively discussion, sharing different insights and viewpoints which makes for a very enriching time together.

This month the group read and discussed a young adult fiction novel, “Thirteen Reasons Why” by debuting author Jay Asher.

The story tells of a high school boy, Clay Jensen coming home after school to find a box laying at his front door with his name on it.  Opening the box he discovers seven tapes recorded by a classmate, Hannah Baker who committed suicide two weeks earlier. The tapes consist of Hannah describing thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life and Clay must listen to them all to understand how he fit into the reasons.

Questions discussed in the monthly meeting ranged from how readers felt about the dual narrative of the book between Hannah and Clay to heavier questions such as, who is to blame for Hannah’s death and how suicide impacts those left behind.

While the topic of this particular book was a serious one, it let to very meaningful discussion among members.

One of the many benefits to participating in such a group is that members have an opportunity to read and discuss books they might not otherwise consider reading in addition to making new friends.

The upcoming books handpicked by Kopp to be read and discussed over the next few months include:

u“Orphan Train” by Christina Kline – “A powerful tale of upheaval and resilience, second chances, and unexpected friendship.” (Discussed on August 11th)

u“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot – “A true story of a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine.” (Discussed on September 8th)

u“The Book of Unknown Americans” by Cristina Henriquez – “An extraordinary novel that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be American.” (Discussed on October 13th). 

If you are interested in participating in this lively book discussion group for adults stop by the information desk at Ripon Memorial Library, meet librarian Melinda Kopp, receive a copy of the “next” book along with discussion questions and then prepare yourself for an adventure through story along with satisfying discussions with new friends.

The library at 333 W. Main St. in downtown Ripon is open Mondays from 8 to 10 p.m., Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesdays from 1 to 6 p.m., Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The library is closed Sundays.