Book clubbing. You didn’t think…? Well, never mind that. I am not as well read as I’d like to be. That’s a public confession. I read a lot of poetry and short fiction.
I am a slow reader. I am also a “rat” reader. Like a rat repeatedly following the same path through a maze, I read mostly in the same genres (poetry, sci-fi, and fantasy), and I re-read a lot of stuff. Hell, I read Dune once a year! Now that might be because I secretly want to produce, direct, and play in a community theater version of Dune, but that’s a post for another day. Still, if you know me, I have likely sized you up for a part in this epic, so don’t be surprised if one day you are called for a reading. Enough digressions!
I think librarians love running book clubs because they compel us to read outside of our personal comfort zones. That’s why I do. I just participated in a recent Smithfield Critics book club discussion about E. L. Doctorow’s World’s Fair. This incredibly warm and real fictionalized memoir of growing up in the New York City of the 1930s profoundly moved me. I feel like I have a new friend now. Without the structure of the book club, I would not have read any Doctorow.
Next up for me comes Maya Angelou and I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. I read this twenty-three years ago. Reading it again after doing so much living gives me a whole new perspective on it. I’ve read enough since then to recognize the lyrical quality of Ms. Angelou’s work, and I appreciate her accessible descriptions of life’s hardships through the eyes of a young African American girl. She makes it look easy, but writing good prose that transports the reader to that place and time is a challenge.
You can find an extensive listing of our book clubs on our web page here. If you look hard enough you should be able to find one that suits your location and areas of interest.
We offer book clubs for our patrons, but make no mistake, they do just as much good for us.