A new discussion group begins at 6:00 pm Friday, January 20, at the Cleveland County Wellness Square (The Well). The group will be led by Kim Bieda, one of our favorite bibliophiles.
“I like to introduce other cultures and points of view through fiction,” said Bieda. “Fiction may contain history and traditions, but it also creates empathy for a character.”
The group will meet monthly on the third Friday of the month.
“At the first meeting we will discuss the book list, discuss various resources to get the books and get to know each other,” she said.
Bieda said many of the books will be available through local libraries.
“We gave the list to the libraries,” she said. “The books will also be available at two local, independent bookstores.”
Participants will have a month to read the books and everyone will have a chance to speak during the discussion.
“We’ll go around the table and discuss basics, and once everyone has had a chance to speak, I’ll start the deeper discussion with some questions,” Bieda said. “I encourage people to have different opinions and be comfortable expressing how the book made them feel.”
The selected books explore representations of multiple experiences.
“We will also have a diverse representation of genres,” she said. “We’ll have a sampling of all the primary genres, including science fiction, fantasy, horror and literary fiction.”
The first book, “Klara and the Sun,” will be discussed at the February meeting.
“The other book clubs I run right now focus on specific genres,” she said. “In this book club I wanted to showcase a wider variety of styles.”
Bieda believes literary representation is important.
“I love how stories shape and influence our lives. I love how seeing yourself in a story can make you feel more comfortable in your own life,” she said.
Bieda has deep roots in Cleveland County and Norman in particular.
“I was born at Norman Regional and moved around a bit growing up, but always came back to Norman to spend time with my grandparents and cousins,” she said.
Bieda developed a love for reading at an early age and enjoys participating in conversations around books and stories. In 2021, she started a mobile pop-up bookstore and recently celebrated its one-year anniversary as a business. You can find her bookstore at local coffee shops and breweries, as well as the Norman Farm Market at The Well, 210 S. James Garner Ave.
Sign up for the free Diverse Voices Book Club at https://thewellok.org/all-classes/.
Note that participants will be responsible for borrowing or purchasing their own copies of the books on the reading list.