The Valleybrook Book Club in Durham is a neighborhood club, according to member Elizabeth Deal. She says neighbors have developed a closer sense of community as they come to know one another and build friendships.
When and where do you meet? We meet the fourth Monday each month in members’ homes. For our December meeting, we have holiday dinner at a favorite restaurant.
Tell us about your club. We started in March 2011 when a retired neighbor posted a message inviting anyone interested to come for a first meeting. Eight women came. Our book selections often reflect our mood at that moment – what is current, what someone has read or heard about, an author who has recently died. Our interests are eclectic; we enjoy fiction, nonfiction, biography, sci-fi and history. We gather for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, spend some initial time catching up, attend to any simple housekeeping items, enjoy delicious potluck selection of finger foods and beverages, then transition into our reading focus. Varying perceptions are welcome. Some books are enjoyed, others are not, and we express our opinions. Often we hear, “I would never have read/known about this author/book if I were not in this group.”
What are you reading now? “The Wind Done Gone,” by Alice Randall
What is your club’s favorite book? “King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village,” by Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor Herman
What’s unique about your club? We have an annual dinner gathering inspired by the book for that month. Last year, we read selections about Julia Child, her life before food and the unique chef and mentor she became. Each member prepared a Julia “classic” to share. For our April selection, “The Divine Comedy,” by Dante Alighieri, our hostess proposed a 14th century feast. Another member interviewed Lynne Rossetto Kasper of public radio’s “The Splendid Table.” Kasper gave the most interesting recipe ideas, including one for a venison pie. Other members researched and selected medieval recipes to complement the venison pie – mushroom tarts, a turnip dish, boiled asparagus with onion and spices, hot apple soup, peach tart, farinata or socca and grilled quail.
How to join: We welcome neighbors and friends of neighbors. We also post invitations to join through our neighborhood listserv. New member inquiries can be sent to email@example.com.
Read more about this book club and comment on its current book, or tell us about your book club at newsobserver.com/trianglereads/.