Book clubs have been around for quite some time, but surged in popularity when the Oprah Winfrey show began featuring books and authors. Oprah’s book club was announced on September 17, 1996, with The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard as their first selection.
My book group has been together for at least 15 years, although none of us really are sure. Like your club (assuming many of you are in one), we started with a couple of women who wanted to read a book, share their ideas and comments, and enjoy an evening out. Our group has changed over the years, but we remain around 12, give or take one. I marvel at the insight of these women, and the personality traits each brings to our circle of reading. We have women who have great organizational skills and keep us on track, both that evening and creating lists of books chosen for the year. Some are deep thinkers, some are quieter; all comments listened to and valued. Some of us are more social in nature and suggest going to an author reading or an occasional movie based on a book we have read. After reading A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, some of us hiked on the Lake Superior Hiking Trail. After reading Sherman Alexie’s Reservation Blues, we had front row seats when he spoke at UW Eau Claire. Because we meet in our homes, ours admittedly is a more casual group, friends sharing similar interests in the community as well as the books we read.
My book club members sometimes suggest we read books that are sometimes out of someone’s comfort zone, or of a genre we might not select for ourselves. Over the years we have read fiction, non-fiction, “rippers” as some of our members call them, young adult books, fantasy, from bestsellers (we have to wait until they are not-so-new for enough copies to be available), a sampling of most everything you can imagine.
The L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library has several book clubs. There is a Mystery Readers group that meets at the library the 3rd Wednesday morning of each month. A Young Adult literature group, the Friends Morning Book Group which outgrew the library and now meets at a local church, and the Friends of the Library Evening Book Group.
(FYI: In March my book club is reading Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler)