As a Nomadic Traveler, I often visit local libraries to write because it is a change of location. So, on August 17, 2016, I drove to the Lied Public Library in Scottsbluff NE to write.
As I approached the building, I exchanged pleasantries with a woman who was entering the building. As I opened the door, the woman showed me a book she and others will be discussing in a Book Club meeting. She invited me to attend, but I declined since I had some writing to complete.
Soon, after I settled into one of the quiet rooms, the librarian stopped in to invite me to attend the book club meeting and soon I was in a room with two dozen local women all of whom are all life long residents of Scottsbluff NE. I was taught never to turn down an invite by a librarian. 🙂
The Librarian Jana Kehn led the discussion of the novel “The Meaning of Names,” by Karen Gettert Shoemaker, a Nebraska resident. I believed the book’s title was about the actual meaning of names. Oh, how the novel was so much more.
The story is about an ordinary woman, Gerda Vogel trying to raise a family during extraordinary times. She is of German-American descent, estranged from her parents because she married aginst their will and confronted with violence and prejudice against her people.
She lived in the midst of the worst plague the world has ever seen during the early 1900’s and yet, she must find the strength to keep her family safe from the effects of a World War that threatens to consume the entire world.
I enjoyed the lively discussion based on the novel’s style of writing, unresolved consequences to a couple of the stories characters, and because the story rests in the town of Stuart Nebraska, everyone identified with the issues of prejudice against German-American during the first and second world wars.
Most of the people in attendance are life long residents of the Scottsbluff area with their family history dating back to their arrival during the late 1800 and early 1900’s. I appreciated the opportunity to learn and understand the residents who live in the farmlands in the panhandle of Nebraska.
I have placed the novel, “The Meaning of Names” along with next month’s book, “Between the World and Me,” written by Ta-Nehisi Coates on my to read, section on my Goodreads site.
I want to thank librarian Jana Kehn in the photo above for inviting me as I enjoyed the opportunity to get to know members of the reading community.