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Book clubs are taking off in Truckee

Pam McAdoo, Sierra Sun

A couple of weeks ago this column explored some ideas for starting a book club. Since then I have talked with members of what are probably only a small fraction of the existing groups who meet regularly to discuss books they have each read.

Here’s the lowdown:

My neighbor Katherine’s group – and she’ll go to almost any length to attend – meets every six weeks at a restaurant, where their discussion is led by the “hostess” who has chosen the book and made the dinner reservation. Their sole criterion is that the book be in paperback. Their current choice is the autobiography of Katherine Graham, the former editor of The Washington Post who recently died. Their last pick was Marlo Morgan’s “Mutant Message From Down Under.”

Another local group, which rotates their meetings at each others’ houses for appetizers or dinner and reads a title chosen by the hostess, is currently reading “Chocolat” by Joanne Harris. Previous choices include Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina”; “The Cider House Rules” by John Irving; and “The Liar’s Club” by Mary Karr.

Library staff member Cathy Bixler belongs to a self-described anarchic book group. Their previous book choice was “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” by Dave Eggers, and they are currently making their way through “The Importance of Being Earnest” or another play of their choice penned by Oscar Wilde.

My friend Katie is a member of a brand new group in town which has recently brought together a variety of women interested in books and reading. They discussed “Ladies with Options” by Cynthia Hartwick and are now reading Dodie Smith’s “I Capture the Castle.”

Fifteen years ago, Bobbi Specht formed a book group which is going strong and appears to have worked the bugs out of their club structure and protocol. They meet monthly at a member’s house for dinner at 6 p.m. with book discussion beginning at 7:30. One member researches the author while another leads the discussion. After several poor choices, they decided to choose only books which one of the members has already read and can recommend for a lively discussion. This month’s books are both “Girl With a Pearl Earring” by Tracy Chevalier, and Susan Vreeland’s “The Girl in Hyacinth Blue.” Former choices were “Corelli’s Mandolin” by Louis De Bernieres – which was also a pick for a mixed couples’ group in the area – and “The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi: A Novel,” by Jacqueline Park.

If you’re not yet a member of a bona fide group, Bookshelf at Hooligan Rocks bookstore offers an open-to-all monthly club which is reading Susan Orleans’s “The Orchid Thief” for their Sept. 20 meeting at the store in Gateway Center.

And if you’re groping for some guidance with your existing club, look for books with a Readers’ Guide in the back; or check out some online resources at one of these (gleaned from the Google Search Engine) or a number of other Web sites: Random House’s http://www.randomhouse.com/resources/rgg.html, or http://www.freebooknotes. com, or http://www.webrary. org.

Regular Childrens Programs:

— Toddlertime with Teri, for ages 18 to 36 months. Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.

— Babes In Bookland: An Infant Lap-sit Program for ages 6-18 months. Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m.

— Saturday Storytelling With Mrs. Fix. For ages 3-6. Saturdays at 10:30 a.m.


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