Now that 2020 is technically behind us it’s time to personally take stock of the year that was. Did you learn guitar? Remodel your bathroom? Perfect your second language? Us neither. For many, circumstances were precarious, and anxieties were running high -- taking on a new project was definitely not an option. But what about now? With a new vaccine coming our way sometime this year, perhaps now is the time to take on a new challenge. OPL suggests a 2021 reading challenge… read that book you’ve always been meaning to read. We’ll have many of them in “Always Available” digital formats that are ready when you are.
This January why not listen to what is arguably the most famous classic of them all, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. First published in 1866, this legendary work continues to enthrall readers around the world and earn Dostoevsky legions of fans with every printing. It’s the story of a young Russian intellectual's decision to murder a cruel pawnbroker and his subsequent intellectual and spiritual crisis. So much to discuss in this ambitious book club pick.
If you’d prefer a challenging eBook Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray would be an especially juicy book club pick. In what is described as one of the best Victorian novels ever, Thackeray tells the story of the impoverished Becky Sharp as she ruthlessly climbs the class ladder along with her sentimental companion Amelia who’s doomed to long for a caddish soldier. Try this gloriously satirical epic of love and social adventure.
For the month of January French selections, we recommend Le Royaume by Emmanuel Carrère. This novel follows in the path of Paul and Luke in a fascinating chapter of history. Le Royaume was not only awarded several literary prizes, it will fill your time at 630 pages long!
Have you thought about reading Guerre et paix (War and Peace) by Leo Tolstoy, but haven’t found the time? Perhaps this January lockdown is the perfect moment to listen to the unabridged version, which is over 50 hours long! This classic will transport you to the historical Russia of yesteryear.
Of course, in addition to these titles, your book club might like to join the uniquely bilingual cross-Canada book club One eRead Un Livrel Canada this January and read Vi by Kim Thúy! Available in French and English, in eBook and eAudio with special author events on January 19 and 20.
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
Finding eBooks and eAudiobooks for your Book Club
- Always Available eAudio from OverDrive – many great Book Club reads in this list
- Always Available ebook Classics from Duke Publishing
- OPL streaming eBook and eAudio collections
- Some French publishers OPL purchases from through Cantook Station offer many loans of the same title at once. You can search the Cantook platform for these publishers and make your choice. Participating publishers include Gallimard, Actes Sud, Rivages, POL, Flammarion, and Payot.
- Radio-Canada offers free “Always Available” French eAudio - stream from the ICI Première website or download the Radio-Canada OHdio app.
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!