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Bildungsroman – Your OPL Digital Book Club Picks for September

Aug 31, 2021

Reading bildungsroman (don’t you love that term?) or Coming of Age stories can be a transformative experience.  Reading them makes you remember or helps you through that period of your life.  Alternatively, they can have you really see and understand another’s experience.  Either way you’re caught up in fantastic, experiential storytelling that is sure to get any book club discussion going!

This month we have some excellent suggestions for you to try from our “Always Available” collection of eAudio or eBooks.

In eAudio this month try In Search of April Raintree by Beatrice Mosionier.  In this story two young sisters are taken from their home and family. Powerless to change their fortunes, they are separated, and each put into different foster homes. Yet over the years, the bond between them grows.  This title is doubly appropriate as a selection this September as September 30th was recently declared by federal legislation as the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation... That day was chosen for this new statutory holiday because it was the time of year when Indigenous children were taken from their families and forced to attend residential schools.

Perhaps one of the most well-known coming of age stories in the English canon, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens is the somewhat autobiographical story of a young man making his way in the world after being cast out of his family home by a cruel and unloving stepfather. If you haven’t read this since high school you may be surprised by how truly funny some of the scenes and characters are!

In French, Alain Mabanckou reads his novel Petit Piment in this audiobook edition. We follow the young protagonist in the Congo as he avoids the reign of Dieudonné Ngoulmoumako and plots revenge for the wrongs that befall him.

We also recommend the eBook Zahra by Soufiane Chakkouche to follow the adventure of this heroine with a secret past. To note, Franco-Ontarian Day is on September 25, and the author resides in Toronto and the publisher, les Éditions David, is located in Ottawa. Let’s celebrate this day by reading Zahra!

Suggestions and Resources for a successful online Book Club

In order to have your Book Club take place online you can try creating Facebook groups, or using various social media channels to discuss books. Or you could try meeting live via online video conferencing tools. The following tools are free:

  • Google Hangouts provides free video/chat/voice conferencing and does not have a time limit
  • Jitsi is a free open source video conferencing tool 
  • In French, there is a platform built by Les libraires that allows book clubs to meet online! You can request to create your own club, or there are groups that are already running that you can join.
  • All book clubs, including the current book club picks and comments, are visible to anyone accessing the site Le Regroupement des éditeurs franco-canadiens is offering a monthly book club called D’un océan à l’autre – here is more information (in French only), and the books available at OPL!

Finding eBooks and eAudiobooks for your Book Club 

Contact OPLs InfoService 613-580-2940 if you need help accessing these titles and resources

Hosting and Discussions

If you would like discussion questions for your book, here is a list of 40 Great Book Club Discussion Questions from Book Riot. They work for any book.

Here are some great tips about how to host an online book club from Bustle Magazine: 10 Tips For Hosting A Digital Book Club

Enjoy your Book Club – online or off!