Triangle Reads

Local book clubs: Clayton's Top Shelf

tleonard@newsobserver.comFebruary 16, 2014 

  • Non-fiction

    The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed the Bishop?

    Francisco Goldman

    Grove Press, 396 pages

The Top Shelf book club, with about 15 members in Clayton, has been gathering to discuss contemporary literature since 2008.

When and where do you meet? The first Thursday of each month, in the homes of our members.

Tell us about your club. We make our selections several different ways. Usually a member has already read a book and loved it, or a book has had such great reviews and word of mouth that everyone wants to read it. We usually socialize for the first 30 minutes or so before we get to the task at hand. We delve pretty deeply into the books we read and discuss each one from start to finish. We have really tried to cultivate members with varying viewpoints so our discussions are active and lively, not just agreement sessions.

What are you reading now? “The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed the Bishop?” by Francisco Goldman.

What’s the club’s favorite book? Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand.

What’s unique about your club? The original group met as a yoga class. I had just moved to the Clayton area and thought it would be great to have a book club like my old one. So we started meeting after yoga class to discuss a book each month. We wanted our book club to be different from the clichéd book clubs everyone hears about. So we decided to become more active in out reading. We participated in The Big Read project through the National Endowment for the Arts and loved the experience. So we tried to take the same approach with all of our books.

We have Skyped with authors about their books, the most recent being Diane Chamberlain and her book “Necessary Lies.” In 2012 we took a road trip to Richmond, Va., to meet with Nancy Wright Beasley the author of “Izzy’s Fire” and to visit the Virginia Holocaust Museum. We always try to make links between the books and our lives and our meetings. Whether it is a member serving berries with sugar after we read Shirley Jackson’s “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” or the group meeting for movie night to watch “When Billie Beat Bobby” to coincide with our discussion of “When Everything Changed” by Gail Collins, we are a unique group that loves our literature.

Tell us about your book club at

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