Looking to join a book club? The Rochester Public Library has several coming up -- and librarian Allison Girres won’t even raise an eyebrow if you haven’t had time to crack the novel of the month yet.

Tuesday’s book discussion is for OverDrive's Big Library Read selection, “Funny, You Don't Look Autistic” by Michael McCreary.

Billed as a “unique and hilarious” look at living with autism spectrum disorder, the #OwnVoices memoir features scenes from McCreary’s life, interspersed with factual asides and visuals.

Oftentimes, readers with ASD or family members with ASD criticize literary depictions, Girres said. But “Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic” got the stamp of approval from two RPL staffers with autistic family members.

OverDrive selects books from new authors to highlight, Girres said, and the surge in remote reading means quite a few Rochesterites read the memoir.

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“Suddenly, with people not able to access the library in person, they were like, ‘Hey, what’s this?’” she said. “So we decided to do (the discussion).”

"Because of Winn-Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo
"Because of Winn-Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo

“Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic” is no longer available for free through OneDrive, and the library’s copy has a waiting list -- but even if they haven’t read the book, Girres said anyone is welcome at RPL’s book clubs.

“I am a big proponent of people coming to book discussions even if they haven’t read the book,” she said. “If you’re interested, come here what people have to say!”

In May, the public library will hold its discussion for the statewide “One Book” program, which invites all Minnesotans to read the same novel, then come together in their respective cities to discuss it. The first book for the program is “Because of Winn-Dixie” by Minnesota author Kate DiCamillo.

Ebooks Minnesota has the digital book for free through May, while hard copies of the book will be available at local libraries as social distancing and demand allows.

Throughout April and May, Minnesota readers have access to author videos and a virtual book club through thefriends.org/minnesota-center-for-the-book/one-book-one-minnesota.

The Rochester Public Library will hold its virtual discussion of the book at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 21. A statewide discussion with DiCamillo is yet to be scheduled.

In an uncertain time, it’s important for the public library to be a resource, Girres said. They’re still reading to kids, answering questions, and chatting with library-goes remotely, but book discussions help with connection as well.

See rplmn.org for a list of virtual events and services at the Rochester Public Library.

If You Go

What: Big Library Read Book Discussion - Funny, You Don't Look Autistic

When: 7-8 p.m. Tuesday, April 28

Link: https://bit.ly/34mviYM

Password: library