Cary club extends beyond the neighborhood


The MacGregor West Book Club began in 1991 when its founder was denied membership in a nearby neighborhood book club based on her residency, says club member Anne Brill. “She immediately founded her own neighborhood book club, recruiting four friends, and the group has blossomed into the current group of 14 book lovers. Not surprisingly, the group has always been open to membership outside the subdivision, space permitting.”

Tell us about your club. Members host the club in their homes the first Monday of the month, enjoy wonderful desserts and snacks for about 45 minutes, and then the member who recommended the book leads the discussion for about 90 minutes. The only rule for book selection is that the member who recommends the book must have read the book in its entirety. We read a wide variety of books – bestsellers, well-known as well as debut authors, memoirs, North Carolina authors, some classics – though we especially enjoy historical fiction. The old adage, “No two persons ever read the same book,” seems true for us, as we often have widely divergent views on various aspects of a book. Many of our members were teachers at one time, and we enjoy supplementing our presentations with research, pictures or YouTube clips.

What are you reading now? “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics” by Daniel James Brown

What is your club’s favorite book? “The Light Between Oceans” by M.L. Stedman and “A Fierce Radiance” by Lauren Belfer

What’s unique about your club? Our book club has changed through the years with book club kits from the library, e-readers, websites with discussion guides, YouTube clips, apps for recordkeeping, and fact-checking on smartphones during meetings, but one thing hasn’t changed: how good books and good friends enrich one’s life. Mark Twain once observed, “Good books, good friends and a sleepy conscience; this is the ideal life.” While we cannot attest to the third quality, the MacGregor West Book Club continues to enrich its members’ lives as good books bring good friends together.

How to join: The club is near capacity since we use library book club kits with 15 copies, but if you’re interested in the MacGregor West Book Club, contact Marilyn Clayton at (919) 772-2304.

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The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

Daniel James Brown

Penguin Books, 416 pages