Niobrara County News

Reading and Book Discussion Series – “Being Human”

A three book discussion series is planned at the Niobrara County Library beginning on Monday, February 11 at 6 p.m. The series seeks to ask the question what is it to be human – how do circumstances and oft-times dire situations create the human experience? Through three novels, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” “The Book Thief” and “The Dive from Clausen’s Pier” these questions will be examined.

The first book, Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” is the story of Arnold Spirit, a goofy-looking dork with a decent jumpshot, who spends his time lamenting life on the Indian reservation, drawing cartoons and, along with his pal Rowdy, laughing those laughs over anything and nothing that affix best friends so intricately together. When a teacher pleads with Arnold to want more, to escape the hopelessness of the rez, Arnold switches to a rich white school and immediately becomes as much an outcast in his own community as he is a curiosity in his new one. He weathers the typical indignation and triumphs like a champ but soon faces far more trying ordeals as his home life begins to crumble and decay amidst the suffocating mire of alcoholism on the reservation.

The multiple award-winning book, “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak will be discussed on March 11 at 6 p.m. The narrator is Death himself, a companionable if sarcastic fellow. Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel–a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.

April 8 “The Dive from Clausen’s Pier” by Ann Packer will be discussed. “The Dive from Clausen’s Pier” tells the story of the moral and emotional dilemmas faced by twenty-three-year-old Carrie Bell. A lifelong resident of Madison, Wisconsin, her boyfriend of nine years, Mike, is injured in an accident and emerges as a quadriplegic after a temporary coma. The accident forces Carrie to rethink her responsibilities to friends and family, and the ultimate direction of her life.

Wayne Deahl will return to facilitate the discussions and the Wyoming Women’s Center will join via Skype. To register contact the library at 334-3490; copies of the first book will soon be available to pick up.