Truthfully, we don’t have a name, nor do we seem to need one. Ellen Ruffin, curator of the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, put out an invitation for children’s book lovers to assemble, choose a book, and talk about it. Picture setting a saucer of syrup on your patio and see how fast you get ants.
We’ve met through the summer and taken turns selecting a book. That has worked well except for the time Ellen got halfway through my first selection of A Solitary Blue and declared that I could not select any more books. The book was making her heart hurt. I’m glad to report the ending was satisfying enough that she has now repented, and I am back in the loop.
Our read for this week’s meeting was the middle of the Lois Lowry trilogy The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger. We had a good time discussing the three individuals with gifts in Gathering Blue. They lived the good life because they were useful to the community, only to come to the ultimate realization that they were in danger of losing their own identities and art expressions in the process. We were unanimous in rejoicing that it was their art that became the salvation for the community.
I’ve always enjoyed reading aloud Lois Lowry books, especially The Giver, with junior high students. She raises more questions than she answers, and I found her work stimulated thought and great discussions. She helped students see that answers sometimes come out “it depends” instead of right and wrong.
In addition to reading our assigned Gathering Blue, I enjoyed rereading the entire series. My wish list includes an October release of the book that will make the trilogy a quartet – Son. Can’t wait to see if I guessed right about who married and had the son! Then again, when has Lois Lowry ever done what I expected?
If you are in reach, I invite you to our nameless book group. Our next meeting is at the de Grummond Display Room on the second floor of Cook Library at USM and will be at 4 PM on August 30. If this idea appeals to you but it’s too far to travel, gather a few like-minded souls and start one of your own. Having a name is optional.