Join the club

Book clubs have been quite the rage for a number of years—I’m sure that Oprah’s Book Club made no small contribution to this craze.  People of all ages and backgrounds are recognizing the social and intellectual benefits of discussing fine literature and popular nonfiction books.  I recently became a part of a book club collaboration between a local retirement home and CLP.  Here’s how it works: We request a book club kit from the Catalog, and a couple of days later a kit containing 15 copies of a book and some discussion materials arrive.  We then distribute them to the participants.  A CLP volunteer and recent University of Pittsburgh School of Library and Information Science graduate named Kate begins the book club by introducing the book with author interviews, biography information and professional book reviews.   The first book the group is reading  is the über-memorable memoir The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls.

Books in the Afternoon, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s oldest book club, focuses on contemporary fiction.  We are currently reading The Monsters of Templeton, a story of what might happen if James Fenimore Cooper’s modern-day descendant were a 28-year old young woman who grew up in a fictionalized Cooperstown, left, and then returned in disgrace after having a disastrous affair with her married archaeology professor.  In this case, the town is Templeton, and the main character, Willie, is told by her mother upon her return that her father was not a nameless hippie but one of the men of Templeton.  Willie then uses her research skills to learn about the sensational history of her family and of the town in her quest to learn the identity of her father.  We are discussing The Monsters of Templeton on September 17 at 1 pm and 6 pm.

Oh, did I mention a 50-foot dead monster?  And ghosts?

You’ll have to read the book. 



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8 responses to “Join the club

  1. Amy

    Am I understanding it correctly that regular patrons can request and check out the book club kits as well? If so, that’s fantastic! Is it a regular three week loan period?

  2. how old is books in the afternoon? i know it’s been here at least as long as me.

    – amy

  3. Two Amy comments!

    Amy: anybody can borrow the book kits, and they do circ for 3 weeks, with 2 renewals available if they’re not on hold. Sorry it took so long to get back to you – I had to go check to make sure that was correct!

    Amy my fabulous colleague: off the top of my head I don’t know, but I know who will…

    Leigh Anne

  4. Amy

    That’s really great news! I let a few friends know about it this morning and we’re really interested in it! Thank you so much for such an informative post. (I love them all, but this one has us really excited!)

  5. Marian

    Books in the Afternoon dates back to at least 1994,
    and I believe we started it in 1993. Christine Donnelly is the one who came up with the clever name.

  6. Thank you Marian! Sixteen years and still going strong!!

  7. Huzzah for institutional memory, and book kits!

  8. Marian, a little bird told me that you started Books in the Afternoon! Thank you from Books in the Afternoon members past, present and future for a great success and a lasting legacy!


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