Triangle Reads What local book clubs are up to

Triangle Reads: What local book clubs are up to

tleonard@newsobserver.comMarch 15, 2014 

“River of Smoke” by Amitav Ghosh.

  • Fiction

    River of Smoke

    Amitav Ghosh

    Picador, 528 pages

With a dozen or members, the Bad Girls Book Club has been “rotating” through their Durham homes every month for the past 24 years, according to club member Joyce Pardon. Their name comes from a greeting card received from a club member’s daughter, referring to the group as “bad girls” and saying “Sometimes they don’t even read the book!”

Tell us about your club: Once a year, we take one of our monthly meetings to select our books for the year. Everyone comes with suggestions, and we discuss and choose the top dozen or so. All must be in paperback already, or will be in paperback by the time we read them. We have sometimes chosen a theme to explore, such as crosscultural sensitivities. We now try to vary the books by length and depth. The hostess provides our snacks: always popcorn and something chocolate with tea, and whatever else she uniquely wants to serve.

What are you reading now? “River of Smoke” by Amitav Ghosh.

What is your club’s favorite book? “The thousand autumns of Jacob De Zoet” by David Mitchell, although some of our favorite books are often the ones we all hated and frequently bring up as a joke!

What’s unique about your club? When our first babies were born 25 years ago, many of us had just become stay-at-home mothers and realized that we needed a support group outside of baby playgroups. Elizabeth Dunn, a reference librarian at Duke, began the group by asking her friends and neighbors in downtown Durham to join. We used to spend half the meetings talking about children and schools, but now that all of the children are into college or past, we only touch briefly on them occasionally. A handful of us are from the original group; we’ve lost and picked up a few along the way. We have read so many books and been through so many discussions that sometimes we know what one another will say about the books without discussion. We began as twenty-somethings, all married, and are now fifty-somethings, some single, some never married, some still married. We are still trying to outdo one another in our lavish annual pot-luck at our December meeting.

Read more about this book club and comment on its current book .

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