Mount Vernon Reads "At Home in Mitford"


The concept of one community all reading the same book was begun in Seattle in 1996. Their original purpose was to develop a community of readers with a shared sense of importance for reading, writing, and expressing ideas. Chicago quickly followed suit, and now lots of communities, both big and small are all "reading the same book" in the hopes of sparking water cooler discussion, a sense of community, a sense of belonging, and a renewed pride not only their library, but their community.
2005 will be the inaugural year of Mount Vernon Reads.

The book selected this year, "At Home in Mitford" is a popular title at APL, and resonates with so many of the community values in place in Mount Vernon - a small town with a big heart; a deep sense of faith, family and friends; quirky tales and interesting characters. We hope it will spark discussion, unite the community, and warm your heart.

APL have lots of paperback copies available for checkout, as well as audio editions and Large Print editions. Books will be located at the front of the adult fiction collection and will check out for the normal loan period of 28 days.


Discussions of the book will be planned throughout the year, as well as programming relating to Mount Vernon Reads.

Grab a copy of our calendar, or consult the programming page to stay up to to date on Mount Vernon Reads events!



"At Home in Mitford" by Jan Karon
Discussion Questions
  • What role does Barnabas play in Father Tim's life? What other characters seem to invade Father Tim's already busy life, only later to prove enriching elements? Are there any that are a permanent drag on his spirits? How does Father Tim come to terms with them?

  • Dooley appears on the scene untamed and uninvited. What is it that finally makes Father Tim and Dooley aware that they need each other? How does Dooley contribute to Father Tim's life? Have you had "Dooleys" in your own life?

  • Choose two of your group members to read the dialogue between Dooley and Puny in the middle of Chapter Seven - the scene where they first meet. How does the dialect differ in your part of the country? Try reading a brief part of a Dooley speech in the dialect of your own region.

  • Which characters did you dislike at first, only to later come to appreciate or at least understand them? What characters in the book react that way to someone new?

  • Compare Miss Sadie and Miss Rose. They are very different characters, but both make a powerful contribution to the books. What makes them such vivid characters? What would Mitford be like without them? What unique contributions do they make?

  • Priests seldom have people they can confide in. Who are Father Tim's confidants? What secrets does he entrust to them? What role does prayer play in giving Father Tim a chance to truly vent his feelings?

  • "Mitford takes care of its own," says Mayor Cunningham. How does this happen in the book? Is this limited only to small towns? What other types of communities can it take place in?

  • What do you think of Karon's writing style or "narrative voice"? Do you like having the story told in third person, rather than first person? What are your favorite, or least favorite, aspects of Karon's storytelling style?

If you'd like to host your own book discussion or would like us to come facilitate a discussion for your organization or group, please call Marissa Priddis at 838-3286 to arrange a discussion.




Alexandrian Public Library 115 West Fifth Street Mount Vernon, IN 47620 (812) 838.3286

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