Literary Minds Online Book Club Announces New Books for New Session

Don’t look too closely at the book titles in the photo, because we have new books for our next Literary Minds Online Book Club session. I’ve already started reading one of the books, “God is in the Pancakes” – an easy, interesting read.

One of the things I like about our Literary Minds Online Book Club is that, as with other book clubs, I end up reading books that I might not normally have chosen, but I’m always glad that I did.

This month, I’m pleased to announce that A News Café has once again partnered with the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency and the community-based Suicide Prevention Workgroup for this online book club, in honor of National Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 9-15).

This is good timing for us here at A News Café in light of reporter Bill Siemer’s series about suicide, which we publish weekly.

If it appears that A News Café  is overly focused on the topic of suicide, consider that more than seven in 10 people in Shasta County know someone who has died by suicide. I would venture a guess that you have known someone who took his or her own life. I have shared before that my mother committed suicide when she was just 42, when I was 12.

So, I lost my mother to suicide. But many of you have lost friends, family and neighbors. Too often, stigma discourages these survivors of suicide loss from talking about their loved one, or seeking the help they need.

Yes, the topic of suicide can be a tough one to face, but not facing it is not a good reaction, either.

This online book club is one of several community activities designed to bring awareness to the issue of suicide and promote understanding that suicide prevention is everybody’s business.

The Suicide Prevention Workgroup wanted to focus on some of the issues involving teens, older adults and veterans, so this time, two books were selected.

“God is in the Pancakes” by Robin Epstein, the book I’m reading now, includes plenty of teen angst, but also deals with the tough questions surrounding older adult suicide. The book is direct and well-laced with humor, which brings some levity to the subject.

In “Flashback,” author Penny Coleman looks at the relationship between combat veterans, PTSD and suicide. Here in the north state, with a high percentage of veterans, I know many of us have a veteran in our life who suffers from PTSD.

Participation in the online book club is easy. First, you can find these two books at the Redding Library (check our special display upstairs) or at Barnes and Noble.

The books are also available through on online bookstores, as well as for Nook and Kindle. You can also choose your own book, if you prefer. Then, come share your thoughts and ideas on A News Café.com in October during Mental Illness Awareness Week.

I invite you to read the books and  join me in our latest online book club discussion. I’ll write a story about the book to start the dialogue, and you can use the comments section to continue the discussion.

Whichever book you select, we hope you’ll consider how the book approaches the issue of suicide, and whether it changed the way you think about the issue.

Meanwhile, we invite you to learn more about Suicide Prevention Week activities.

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Chamberlain was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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7 Responses

  1. Avatar Harold A. Maio says:

    Too often, stigma discourages these survivors of suicide loss from talking

    And that "too often" includes the above, Doni. See rape/stigma for clear example.

    Can one be trained to a "stigma?" You were, see rape/stigma for another example of such "training."

    Can one be untrained? You were. See rape/stigma for example. Late in the 20th century women stopped training generations to that one.

    Harold A. Maio, retired mental health editor

  2. Avatar Canda says:

    I read the last two books for this online book club, and found them to be interesting and useful. I also enjoyed the online discussion, as well as the face-to-face meeting we had at Yaks to discuss the books. Thanks for providing this forum, Doni and Shasta County Health.

  3. Avatar Carolyn says:

    The Shasta College Library has a few copies of "God is in the Pancakes" and "Flashback" available for loan. If you live in Shasta, Tehama, or Trinity counties, you may obtain a Shasta College Library community library card to borrow these books. Also, please visit the Brave Faces Gallery, on display at the Shasta College Library through the month of September.

  4. Avatar Annie says:

    So sorry for your loss, Doni. Even though it has been many years, I know it must still hurt.

    • Thank you, Annie. It has been a long time since my mother took her life (1969), but the pain's intensity faded with each passing year.

      I know that everyone can relate (because everyone faces loss, eventually). Yes, I lost my mother sooner than most people, but most of my friends are now dealing with the loss of their parents, or issues leading up to it. There's no escaping the pain, whether someone chooses to die, or whether he or she dies of old age. It's the price we pay for loving.