Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Salon..Let's talk Book Clubs

Since I've moved to Maine (6 years ago next month), I haven't made time to participate in any live book clubs, or book discussion groups.  I have had plenty of discussion/feedback from my buddies over on the threads at, and many of you have provided some lively discussion here in the blogosphere.  Still, there's nothing quite like a face to face discussion with real people in a civilized setting.

Acting like the over-achiever I'm sometimes accused of being, I took the plunge this month and joined not one, but three different groups.  The first meets at a local senior center once a month.  It is a small group, but one I found offered the chance to discuss the chosen tome in a low key and non-structured manner.  April's book was Plainsong, which I read and reviewed earlier this month.

Then later that same week, I joined a group at one of our local libraries (not where I work) to discuss Cutting for Stone.  This was a much larger and more structured, but still fun, group whose leader kept us on track, but who allowed the group to have a very intellectual discussion of several aspects of this award winner.   I  found myself really enthusiastic about re-reading  the book to plumb everything that everyone got out of it.  The leader even sent out a follow-up email to group members re-capping our discussion. (Gosh Jenni, if I'd known you were going to do that, I'd have waited and copped your comments for my review---just kidding.) It was a great way tho to review what we talked about, and I printed out the email and tucked it in the book so I'd have those thoughts available when I do get around to re-reading.

Lastly I've joined  a Mystery Book Club at another local library.  This one sounds really fun.  Instead of picking a specific book to read each month, they simply pick a mystery writer.  We have to read anything written by that author and then will come together at a member's house to discuss.  As you know, I'm a mystery fanatic, and will have no trouble with this one.  Of the twelve scheduled this year, I unfortunately missed the first three:  Robert Crais ( I just read his Monkey's Raincoat earlier this year), Louise Penny - whose Fatal Grace I read and reviewed the end of January, and Kate Flora, a Maine/Massachusetts writer who has been on my radar screen for awhile now.  I'm going to have to check out one of hers (we have several at the library) soon.

So what's up next?  The Mystery Club is meeting the end of April, and this month's author is Jeremiah Healy, a new author for me.  I've just gotten Blunt Darts from the library and can't wait to get into the adventures of Boston investigator John Francis Cuddy.  I'll keep you posted.

The Senior group alternates fiction and non-fiction and for the May book has chosen West with The Night, the critically acclaimed memoir of Beryl Markham, a pioneering aviatrix who was the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west, and who spent thousands of hours flying people, mail and cargo in eastern parts of Africa.  I'm a really looking forward to this one.  It was a totally unplanned read about someone I'd never heard of.  The book looks fascinating, it's well reviewed and I just love finds like this one.

Finally, the library group has chosen the read The Sixteen Pleasures by Robert Hellenga. This one is the fictional story of a young woman who travels to Florence in 1966 to help save rare books damaged in the horrible floods that afflicted the area at that time.  Having just been to Florence for the first time last summer, this one is really ringing out "read me read me" so I was thrilled when the group chose it.

I've put Heretic's Daughter back into my queue for the time being to finish these up first.  Also want to finish Paul Johnson's excellent bio of Winston Churchill. I'm about 1/2 way through.  And I've got several brain candy cozies lined up for audio while I watch the SOX play this afternoon and work on my needlework.

Enjoy spring..if you are fortunate enough to have it. We're still on the edges of wintah up here, so I'm delighted to have such good reads to make the waiting bearable.


  1. gosh, you have been busy with a lot of these book groups.

    I would love to go to Florence....

  2. Sounds like you're going to have fun in your groups. We had spring last week and everything is still in bloom, but this morning we woke up to snow! Wintah is back. :(

  3. Oh how I wished I lived in civilization where there were things like bookclubs. Lol! I keep saying if I win the lottery I'm moving to ME. Mainly because my BFF of 56 years moved up there 2 years ago. They love it there. I tried to get them to move to FL. HA, they just laughed.

  4. I first joined a book club in 1996 when my youngest was 15 months old. I had no idea how I would manage to read a whole book in a month. Within a few years I was in three book clubs. And I've been in at least one every since, with the exception of June 2001-September 2002, when I moved to new state and couldn't find a club to join. I finally gave up and started on myself. And I'm happy to say it's still going strong. (Three years ago I also started a book club at the library where I work). Two book clubs is all I can handle and still be able to read other books on my "list".

    I love how the mystery book club works. What a great way to do it, by author. Great idea!

    Enjoy them all!


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