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BookTalk June 2010
BookTalk: Pamela Klinger-Horn's book club recommends "Remedies" by Kate Ledger. What would your book group recommend?

Pamela Klinger-Horn affectionately refers to her book club friends as the "Book Snobs." "We are not a social club. Everyone in the group is a passionate reader and wants to be with a community that is equally committed to discussing great literature," Klinger-Horn said. The group has met for over 20 years, originating from a group of Carleton College grads. Currently there are 11 active members from Minneapolis and the west metro area.

What books by women has your group read recently?

"Remedies" by Kate Ledger, "People of the Book" by Geraldine Brooks and "The Space Between Us" by Thrity Umrigar.

What book by a female author would your group recommend?

We heartily recommend "Remedies." Ledger joined us for a three-hour discussion of her story of a marriage in crisis. The couple in the story repeatedly attempt to engage each other and deal with the pain of losing their infant son, while only managing to drive each other further away.

The two main characters evoked very strong responses from all the club members and we had a diversity of opinion regarding how the couple should have handled the situation. We find our best discussions occur when members disagree.

What book by a female author has sparked a lively discussion?

"People of the Book" is a fascinating fictional history of the Sarajevo Haggadah mixed with the contemporary tale of a troubled young woman hired to restore the ancient Jewish book. Our group became involved in a very lively debate over the ethical choice of one character to let another character die when he becomes disabled. The discussion went far beyond a euthanasia debate. We did not resolve the issue, but we certainly had a great discussion.

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What rituals or traditions does your book group have?

Each month we talk while having dessert and coffee. The one exception is the October meeting when we decide the agenda for the upcoming year. The meeting is always entertaining as each member may nominate up to four titles, giving a summary of their book suggestions. At the end, we each place 12 votes and the top 12 become the next year's selections.

What makes your group work?

We are a diverse group who work as librarians, attorneys, full-time mothers, computer specialists, a social worker, etc. We really enjoy having a wide perspective of experience when discussing and nominating books.

-Norma Smith Olson
Tell us about your book group. What would your book group recommend? Write to editor@womenspress.com.

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