What better pastime is there, on a cold and snowy day, then curling up with a great book? One of my recent favorites was Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell. This is a perfect winter-day book, in that the story is so captivating and engaging, you can easily read for hours. Margo Crane is 16 years old and growing up on and in the Stark River in northern Michigan in the 1970’s. An avid fisher, hunter and trick-shooter, Margo is forced to take to the river, her childhood paradise, after three tragic events. Shortly after her mother leaves their family and virtually disappears, she is raped by her uncle and consequently witnesses the death of her father. Taking with her only some prize possessions – a rifle, her father’s ashes, a childhood book detailing the life of her hero, Annie Oakley and her grandfather’s boat – Margo sets out on her adventure. With a loose notion of finding her mother, and the strong wish to determine “how to live,” she crosses paths with several influential men – some beneficial and some not – but all teaching her a lesson or two. The setting is lush but dangerous, and Margo is quiet, untamed, and spirited. You won’t be able to put this book down.
We recently discussed this title at our last Kiva Book Club. Join us in January for our discussion of The Art of Racing in the Rain. Perhaps your book club is just selecting their titles for the new year? We have helpful sources to aid your choices. Try the Reading Group Choices series, which suggests great titles for discussions as well as summaries and discussion questions. Also, try looking at our Readers Cafe subject guide. This guide is packed with reading suggestions. Lastly, from the Readers Cafe home, click on NoveList Plus. This database is a great tool for discovering new reads, and they also house insightful Book Discussion Guides. Once NoveList is open, look for Book Discussion Guides in the right-hand panel labeled “NoveList Resources.” Hopefully these will give your group some great ideas for some great reads in 2013.