Barbara’s Book Club—Twenty Years of Good Reading
When two newly-retired teachers, finally free from papers and preparations, decided it would be nice to read something other than Old Yeller and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, our book club was born. Our first meeting was in September, 1993, and our first book was The Bridges of Madison County. At that time we reached a consensus on a few basic rules: maintain a membership size that would be comfortable for meeting in our homes, females only, members are expected to read the book agreed upon, keep refreshments simple. At its inception, our club was simply known as “Book Club.”
Over the twenty years of our existence, our membership has varied from six or seven women to as many as twelve. Our format is that annually each member chooses a book that she would like to read and discuss. For several years, we bought our own copy of each book. Then one of our members, Dawn Clark, alerted us to the fact that it was possible to coordinate with North Central Washington Regional Library to schedule lending multiple copies of our chosen books for a given month. We explored this possibility, and have now availed ourselves of this wonderful service. Paula Walters has done all the scheduling for us, and we are deeply indebted to this very competent and patient lady for all the help she has given us.
An added benefit of procuring our books from the library is that we often receive a set of Reader’s Guide questions along with our books. This has helped to keep our discussions on track. We do not operate with a moderator; we simply begin our discussion and over the years have found that this encourages all members to get involved. We have read a great variety of literature ranging from light, highly entertaining novels to classics, biographies, histories, poetry, and plays. Connie Bean has served as our historian and coordinator for several years, keeping track of books read, meeting dates and hostesses. Because of her record-keeping, we have determined that to date, we have read at least 208 books over the twenty years.
One of the greatest fringe benefits of our club has been the meaningful friendships that we’ve formed over the years. Twenty years has brought many joys and many sorrows to members, and there is always a strong sense of support from fellow members. In November, 2007, one of our members, Barbara Smith, a dear friend to all of us, passed away. That prompted us to change our club’s name to Barbara’s Book Club. We have many precious memories of this remarkable lady.
Cicero said, “A room without books, is like a body without a soul.” It’s even better when you have good friends with whom who can share books. Here’s to book clubs around the world!
NCRL has over 300 book clubs. I think it is amazing that we have so many people that like to get together each month and share comments about the book they have read. How wonderful that Barbara's Book Club has been together for twenty years. Whether your group has been together for twenty years or one year I would like to hear from you. Please email me with comments about your club. My email address is on our Website on the Book Club page.