Winter Book Discussion

  • Date(s): Wednesday, December 16th 2015 - Monday, May 2nd 2016
  • Time: 6 p.m.
  • Location: Niobrara County Library

Call or stop by the library today to register for the winter book discussion series, “Man’s Search for Meaning.” This series brings together four books that address meaning and man’s search for this in everyday life. Wayne Deahl returns to lead the discussions which will be held at 6 p.m. beginning February 1, 2016.

Victor Frankl’s book, “Man’s Search for Meaning” will kick the series off. According to a survey conducted by the Library of Congress and the Book-of-the-Month Club this book belongs among the ten most influential books in America. Victor Frankl, psychiatrist and neurologist wrote about being a concentration camp inmate during the World War II, where he spent 3 years in various concentration camps, including Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, and Dachau. He found that those who survived longest in concentration camps were not those who were physically strong, but those who retained a sense of control over their environment. Frankl’s message is ultimately one of hope. Even in the most absurd, painful, and dispiriting of circumstances, life can be given a meaning, and so too can suffering. Life in the concentration camp taught Frankl that our main drive or motivation in life is neither pleasure, as Freud had believed, nor power, as Alfred Adler had believed, but meaning. This book is scheduled for discussion on Monday, February 1.

The second book in the series, “The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun” by Gretchen Rubin will be discussed on Monday, March 7. Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project. Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier.

Paulo Coelho’s enchanting novel, “The Alchemist” has inspired a devoted following around the world and will be discussed on Monday, April 4. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.

Kahlil Gibran’s masterpiece, “The Prophet,” is one of the most beloved classics of our time and the final book in the series. “The Prophet” is a collection of poetic essays that are philosophical, spiritual, and, above all, inspirational and will be discussed on Monday, May 2. Gibran’s musings are divided into twenty-eight chapters covering such sprawling topics as love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, work, joy and sorrow, housing, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, talking, time, good and evil, prayer, pleasure, beauty, religion, and death. Each essay reveals deep insights into the impulses of the human heart and mind.

All of the books in the series are available through the Virtual Library, the 3M Cloud Library and One Click Digital and some through Hoopla. And library programs are free and open to the public.