So, you’re in a book club.

Did you know that the Davenport libraries have just what you need?  Not only have we gathered multiple copies of the same title (and same edition) together into one convenient check-out box, but we’ve added lots of extras.  There’s biograhpical information about the author plus thought-provoking discussion questions.  Many of these questions have been pre-tested by various book groups here at the library. Each kit also has useful tips for starting and maintaining a successful book club.  So, you see, we’ve done the hard part for you!  All you have to do is choose from 37 different kits. We have a whole list for your selection, but here’s a few examples:  The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.

More favorite books from 2009 from our Blogging Librarians.

Lynn: Home Safe was my favorite book of the year because, once again, Elizabeth Berg writes so beautifully about the small moments of daily life. I loved the writing group that the main character teaches and was intrigued with her dilemma – to stay in Oak Park or move to a perfect house in California that her late husband built for her. Lynn blogged about Elizabeth Berg speaking at the Moline Library here.

Tana: My favorite book this year was The Glass Castle, a memoir by Jeannette Walls. I couldn’t put it down – I found it incredible that she not only survived her childhood, but that she was able to become a very successful adult who still obviously loved her parents. I can’t wait to read her new book about her grandmother, Half-Broke Horses.

Ann: My choice is The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Narrated by Enzo the dog, it is about a family that is torn apart by tragedy and betrayal, then slowly brought together again by love.  It is by turns heartfelt and heartbreaking and it’s a book that I still think about often, months after reading it. It made me cry, but it also made me laugh and it made me hopeful. You can read more about it here.

Now it’s your turn. What was your favorite book that you read in 2009? Don’t be shy – we’re always eager to hear about good books! AND, one lucky commenter will win two tickets to the Figge Art Museum! Leave a comment with your favorite 2009 book and why it was your favorite by midnight January 3. We’ll draw a random number and announce the winner on January 5. (Sorry, Davenport Library employees and their families are not eligible!)

Before we ring in the new year, let’s take a quick look back at 2009 and list some of our favorite books of the year. Our Blogging Librarians talk about the book that stood out to them this past year, although these books weren’t necessarily published in 2009. You’re sure to find some great titles to add to your to-read list. And watch tomorrow’s post for information on a contest – you could win two tickets to the Figge Art Museum!

garden spellsRita starts us off with Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, a story of magical realism. In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small, quiet house in an even smaller town, is an apple tree that is rumored to bear a very special kind of fruit. In this luminous debut novel, Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree and the extraordinary people who tend it. Rita says “This book made me feel good. It is magical, southern and romantic without being silly.” Rita wrote more about it here.

Book Review Drinking With GeorgeBill considered choosing Methland (which he blogs about here), but it ended up being the runner-up to it’s polar opposite, Drinking with George: a Barstool Professional’s Guide to Beer by Geroge Wendt. “Under one set of covers, Wendt gives you a mini-biography, a slew of interesting beer facts, funny beer anecdotes from his own life, and lighthearted fare regarding the 5.5% ABV antics of his Hollywood friends.” Read Bill’s complete post here.

Amber’s choice: The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice tells the story of Penelope, a young woman who feels her life will forever be average when she suddenly gets roped into sharing a cab with keepingSecretsa free-spirited socialite named Charlotte. Penelope and Charlotte quickly become close friends over their shared love for American crooner Johnnie Ray, and soon Penelope is wearing Dior, attending posh parties with Charlotte’s cousin Harry, and becoming a confidant for Harry’s mother. Imagine if Pam from the Office suddenly found herself hanging out with Serena from Gossip Girl, a jaded Edward Cullen, and Whoopi Goldberg. Penelope’s setting and circumstances: living in a romantic, rundown English estate with an eccentric single-parent and lots of financial woes, reminds me of my favorite book of all time I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. Pure loveliness.

Watch for more Favorite Books – and a contest! – in tomorrow’s post!