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babble book club reading 'The Cellist of Sarajevo' by Steven Galloway

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babble book club is at it again!

Our new selection is The Cellist of Sarajevo by Canadian author Steven Galloway. Our final discussion date will be Friday September 20 at 2:00pm EST in the babble book lounge where everyone will meet and discuss their final thoughts.

The Cellist of Sarajevo explores three different, yet interweaving, narratives about individuals attempting to survive during the siege on Sarajevo. Arrow, a female sniper sent to protect the cellist of Sarajevo from enemy snipers, 62 year old Dragan, who works a coveted job at a bakery and a middle aged man, Kenan, trapped in his apartment with his family, only leaving for water.

Although the characters themselves are fictitious, save for Arrow, the title references and is inspired by the true story of Vedran Smailović, the cellist who played Albinoni's Adagio "dressed in evening tails and perching on a fire-scorched chair" every day at 4:00pm for 22 days to "honour the 22 people killed by a mortar bomb while they queued for bread on May 26, 1992."

This inspiration serves as the catalyst to a story set in a backdrop of inescapable and unrelenting modern warfare, portraying a range of humanity and the "healing power of art."

The Cellist of Sarajevo was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, longlisted for the 2008 Scotiabank Giller Prize and won the 2009 Evergreen Award, the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature and the Borders Original Voice Award.

Quill and Quire praised Galloway for "once again [showing] himself to be as gifted as he is fearless" and capturing "with taut, painstaking clarity the events and atmosphere surrounding the siege of Sarajevo."

The Guardian declared The Cellist of Sarajevo "the work of an expert" and "a controlled and subtle piece of craftsmanship."

The Cellist of Sarajevo looks like a fantastic read with many aspects rife for discussion. This book is widely available in local libraries and independent and secondhand bookstores and if you need some help finding a book just ask here in the comments section or on our babble thread for this discussion and we'll be happy to help.

Please pick up a copy, read along with us and let us know your thoughts on The Cellist of Sarajevo babble thread.

Want to "join" the babble book club?

Please do! It's easy and free, because all you need to do is register as a rabble.ca user!

The babble book club doesn't have official members -- any rabble users or new friends who want to join in the discussion are welcome.

First, here are some tips to become a rabble.ca user:

1. Go to our log-in/registration page and fill out the subsequent information. Don't worry, providing us with your email will not automatically set you up for emails from rabble.ca nor will we give your email to anyone else -- it is just for security reasons. Also, feel free to use a pseudonym as your username, most people do!

2. Once you sign up, become familiar with our babble policy and check out our FAQ babble page for tips and tricks on how to post in babble. A babble quirk? You have to refresh your page in order to see new posts on that thread. A bit time consuming, but we're working on it!

3. Look around and get familiar with babble by exploring all the different threads on the discussion board, including the babble book lounge where our discussion thread is set up for The Cellist of Sarajevo. Babble offers a lot of different topics with a lot of different users and is a great place to discuss current affairs, gardening, writing and hockey, among other things!

Second, here are the nitty gritty details of how the conversation works:

1. Our final discussion for The Cellist of Sarajevo happens in the babble book lounge on the previously established babble thread Friday September 20 at 2 p.m. EST for one hour in real time. Real time means there will be more members of the book club present and the conversation will have a quicker flow. Our moderator (username: Kaitlin McNabb) will kick off our conversation with a hello!

2. Even though we have a final discussion date, everyone is encouraged to discuss their thoughts on the book during their reading process. The advantage of having an online book club is it is flexible and available all the time! Since this part of the conversation is not in real time, comments might not be responded to immediately, but eventually.

3. During our final discussion everyone is encouraged to post their questions and comments with respect to other babblers on the thread. We want to create lots of discussion and find out whatever everyone thinks about this selection!

And that's it! Pretty simple, really.

We look forward to this discussion and the participation of babble book clubbers!

Join the babble book club Facebook group for added fun and meet some of the people in the club!

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