Arts & Entertainment

Book Group Meets for final “Let’s Talk About Books” of 2012-2013

A book group at Livingston Public Library meets each month to discuss a variety of books.  Credits: Jordan T. Chester
Nathanel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter was the book discussed at the June gathering of the book club at Livingston Public Library.  Credits: Jordan T. Chester

LIVINGSTON, NJ – Approximately twenty people attended a book discussion at Livingston Public Library on Friday, June 14.

Each month, a member-led book group meets to discuss a different book. One of the members, who helped in choosing the book to be discussed, leads the discussion.

For June, the book discussion was on The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

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Barbra Sikora, Director of Livingston Public Library from 1991-2009, led the discussion. She spoke about Nathaniel Hawthorne’s life and how his life affected his writing of The Scarlet Letter.

Members of the group had the opportunity to ask questions and share their thoughts on The Scarlet Letter.

Ms. Sikora and other group members also engaged in discussion about themes of adultery and religion found in the book.

In preparing for the discussion, Ms. Sikora read The Scarlet Letter and found passages that would be interesting. She also did research into what literary critics said about the book over time.

Janet Berger of Livingston, who said she has been in the book club for ten or fifteen years, stated that she enjoyed The Scarlet Letter because it reminded her of helping her children through the book when they were in school.  

“I love The Scarlet Letter, I think it’s a great book,” Ms. Berger said.

The book group initially began in 1992 with the help of Elaine Gil, a former English teacher, who started it as part of a joint venture between The American Association of University Women as well as Livingston Public Library.

Joe Begasse of Livingston, who leads the book group, says the group’s mission is book discussion.

The types of books the group talks about are “mainly novels, but we also talk about biographies.  We talk about non-fiction so it’s an eclectic series of books that we talk about” Begasse stated.

Begasse also said the group has discussed the classics in addition to more recently acclaimed books.

He also emphasized that as opposed to a lecture, the group has more of a discussion.  

The 2012-2013 book group season included discussions on No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin, The Help, Death Comes for the Archbishop, The Morality Play, A Tale of Two Cities, The Optimist’s Daughter, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Molokai, and The Sense of an Ending.

The group meets every month at the Livingston Public Library.

On July 12, books will be chosen for the 2013-2014 season.

For more information, visit

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