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Civics – Your OPL Digital Book Club Picks for August

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Aug 03, 2023

The first Monday of August is a holiday in Ontario and across Canada, colloquially called the Civic Holiday but with a whole host of names and different things to celebrate officially in different provinces and different towns in Ontario. It’s a real mishmash of celebrating! This month for your book club why not keep it simple and read a title that explores civics -- the study of the rights and obligations of citizens in a society. Here are a couple of digital reads that explore what we owe each other -- both are available as Digital Express titles through CloudLibrary.

In eBook try Ted Chiang’s Exhalation. Chiang’s standout second collection of short stories explores the effects that technology and knowledge have on consciousness, free will, and human relationships and desire for meaning.

If you’d rather listen, then try George Saunders’ Liberation Day in eAudio which is also available through CloudLibrary as a Digital Express item. George Saunders returns with a masterful collection of short stories that explore ideas of power, ethics, and justice, and cuts to the very heart of what it means to live in community with our fellow humans.

For book clubs in French, here are some titles that are sure to inspire great discussions!

Innu writer and classical musician Alexis Vollant is an exciting new voice having recently published his first book of poetry, Nipinapunan. We follow a young Innu woman who reluctantly brings her partner from Montreal to Pessamit for the summer. For more information from the author, have a listen to this Radio-Canada interview.

Continuing the autobiographical story found in Le cigare au bord des lèvres, we hear from Akim, his brother Carl-Camille, and father, Pop in Granby au passé simple. Akim explores the many issues he dealt with growing up in a mobile home in Quebec all while treating the characters with dignity and respect. This audiobook is narrated by actor Paul Ahmarani. 

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

If you’ve used our suggestions in your book club, tell us about it!