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Adult reading groups taking off
Discussions begin Sept. 1
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Forsyth County News

Forsyth County Library adult book discussions:

“The Maltese Falcon”
- Cumming Library: 2 p.m. Sept. 1
- Hampton Park Library: 7 p.m. Oct. 26
- Sharon Forks Library: 7 p.m. Nov. 8

“The Namesake”
- Sharon Forks Library: 7 p.m. Sept. 13
- Cumming Library: 2 p.m. Oct. 6
- Hampton Park Library: 7 p.m. Nov. 23

“My Sister’s Keeper”
- Hampton Park Library: 7 p.m. Sept. 28
- Sharon Forks Library: 7 p.m. Oct. 11
- Cumming Library: 2 p.m. Nov. 3
Children have spent the past week getting back to school.

Now adults will have a chance to hit the books, with several upcoming discussions at the Forsyth County Public Library’s branches.

“We were just looking for the right moment to launch it,” said Stephen Kight, assistant director for public services. “We had several other projects going on this past year ... so we thought the fall would be a great time to start something new.”

Library staffers selected three books of different genres and are inviting residents to read and discuss them during a free program sponsored by the Forsyth County Public Library Friends & Advocates.

Each book will be discussed on a rotating schedule among the library’s three branches.

One person from each branch selected a novel and will lead the groups.

“They just love these books and are looking forward to sharing them with the community,” Kight said.

Shamsha Karim, an information specialist at Sharon Forks, picked a book that hits home for her.

“The Namesake” tells the story of an Indian family trying to assimilate into American culture. It follows Gogol, a boy with an Indian background, Russian name and American birth certificate.

Karim moved to the United States from south Asia as a young child, but said the story universally applies to all ethnic groups in America. It also touches on the culture-blind difficulties of growing up, she said.

“I thought the book would generate a lot of interest,” she said, adding that several people have signed up for the discussion and the library recently ordered extra copies of the book, which are flying off the shelf.

Karim, who came across “The Namesake” several years ago, has since read all the books by Indian author Jhumpa Lahiri.

She’s excited to lead the discussion in her home county.

“Our community is becoming very diverse,” she said. “There’s a lot of interest in multicultural books and multicultural fiction.”

To attract all types of readers, the local library branches picked three novels from different genres, she said.

“My Sister’s Keeper,” which was recently made into a movie, tells the emotional story of a cancer-stricken teenager and her sister, whose medical procedures keep her sibling alive.

The other two books have also been featured on the big screen, something Karim said makes people “more aware” of the literature.

Ross Gericky said that’s how he discovered one of his favorite mystery novels, “The Maltese Falcon.” He’ll lead that discussion, the library’s first, on Sept. 1.

Published in the 1930s, the book became popular when the movie starring Humphrey Bogart premiered in 1941.

Gericky, who works at the Cumming library branch, said the book is one of America’s first crime novels.

“We’ll discuss a little bit about pulp fiction and its value and discussion in American literature,” Gericky said. “Also, we’ll discuss a good story with a main character who you’re forced to follow through the story with, and you may not even like him at all.”

This will be the library’s first regular adult book club. But the groups could continue if the discussions take off.

Copies of all three books and discussion space are limited, so those interested should sign up to reserve a spot and a chance to borrow the novel from the library.