Reading offers opportunities for women

MATCHbooks (Mothers And Their CHildren) is a book group at the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh. Pam Hayes organized the group and facilitates it with her sister-in-law Anne Hayes.

Tell us about your club. The group started in 2012 with an award of books from World Book Night. Our first read was “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou. We meet monthly and read both fiction and non-fiction. Typically there are 10-12 women in the group and the discussion is lively although, from month to month, the membership changes slightly as women are released, move to minimum security, obtain jobs, etc. Over time we have evolved to a place where the women are making the book selections and facilitating the questions. Along with gathering to discuss books, the prison has given consent for periodic “movie nights” featuring the film versions of the most recent book we’ve read.

What are you reading now? “Peace Like a River” by Leif Enger

What is your club’s favorite book? “The Angel Makers” by Jessica Gregson

What’s unique about your club? The initial objectives in forming the book group were to introduce women who love to read to the book discussion process and to broaden their landscape with books they would not have ordinarily chosen to read. What they say now is that, for many, it is also the first time they have had an actual conversation with other women as a part of a group and that it has given a boost to their social skills. In addition to World Book Night, books have come as gifts from other book groups. Anne and I have “gifted” every available family member for every possible occasion with a contribution toward a month’s worth of books. We also have formed a partnership with Wake Public Library for use of their book kits and will start with our first kit next month when we read “The End of Your Life Book Club” by Will Schwalbe.

Read about this and other book clubs at


Peace Like a River

Leif Enger

Grove Press, 312 pages