Triangle Reads What local book clubs are up to

Triangle Reads: What local book clubs are up to

tleonard@newsobserver.comApril 6, 2014 

“97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement” by Jane Ziegelman

  • Nonfiction

    97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement

    Jane Ziegelman

    Smithsonian Books/

    Harper Collins, 253 pages

The Tuesday Evening Book Club at Chatham Community Library in Pittsboro has been meeting since 2003, says library branch manager Jennifer Gillis, even during the three years Gillis worked at a library in another county.

When and where do you meet? We meet the first Tuesday of each month. When we first began, we were in the “old” Pittsboro Memorial Library. We were such a small group that we could sit around a table. Today, we are in a beautiful new library that’s nearly five times the size of the original.

Tell us about your club. The official name is Chatham Community Library Adult Book Club, but we thought people might get the wrong idea, so we refer to it as the Tuesday Evening Book Club. We read fiction and nonfiction in alternating months. Members suggest titles, and I compile a title list with synopses from Goodreads or other sources. We then choose titles for the next six months: three fiction and three nonfiction. We used to choose for the entire year but found that often we would miss out on something people really wanted to read. We have 59 members on our mailing list and routinely have between 15 and 20 at our discussions. We have a newcomer at almost every meeting.

What are you reading now? “97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement,” by Jane Ziegelman.

What is your club’s favorite book? “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand,” by Helen Simonson.

What’s unique about your club? Although the average age of our members is probably somewhere in the 70s, we have one member in her 90s who, although she can’t attend the meetings anymore, still reads the books and emails me her impressions. This is an intrepid group! A couple of years ago I dared to suggest that it might be time for us to consider meeting during the day. It went over like a lead balloon.

How to join: If you’re interested in joining, check out the library’s website at You’ll find a list of all the books from the past 10 years as well as the ones coming up. Prospective members are encouraged to come even if they haven’t read the book. Also, we welcome drop-ins, recognizing that people may not want to read every book the group has selected. For directions or more information, call 919-545-8084.

Read more about this book club and comment on its current book, or tell us about your book club at

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