Local clubs opportunity to bond over booksOctober 1, 2019
By LEANN BURKE
There’s just something about a good book that can bring people together.
That’s what members of book clubs across the county have discovered. Area book clubs vary on how social they are — some meet over meals at local restaurants or in members’ homes — and whether members purchase the books or if they are provided, but they all have one thing in common: bonding over a book.
“When you get to discuss the book, you like it better than when you read it by yourself,” said Judith Wilson of Jasper.
Wilson attends a Jasper Public Library Tuesday night adult book club on the last Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. The group averages about 15 people, and meets monthly to discuss the book chosen for that month. This month, the club is reading “Ghost on Black Mountain” by Ann Hite.
Although clubs meet all over the county in various friend and community groups, the local libraries are a hub for such gatherings. The club Wilson attends is one of two adult book clubs the branch offers in addition to one picture book club to help youngsters with comprehension and one for upper elementary and middle school students. Huntingburg Public Library offers its book club on the second Wednesday of the month, and Dubois hosts End of the Month Book Club on the last Monday of the month. In Ferdinand, two groups gather for book club, one at 2 p.m. on the first Thursday and one at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday. Even Birdseye offers a book club that attracts three to four attendees each month.
In the era of Kindle and e-readers, what is it that keeps people coming to grab a paper copy of a book and discuss it? For many, it’s the variety.
“Participants often say they would never have chosen a particular book on their own, but were glad they read it for the book club,” said Karen Katafiazs, the library assistant in Ferdiand who hosts the book club.
Sandy Nunley, who attends Jasper’s Tuesday night book club, has had that experience. By the end of the discussion, she said, she usually ends up seeing the value in a book she wouldn’t have chosen for herself.
“It gives me a totally different perspective once I’ve read it and discussed it,” she said.
Of course, there is also the social aspect of book clubs. Ferdinand Library’s afternoon book club is looking at taking its meetings outside the library every so often to up that aspect, and their discussions often include a snack related to the book they read. Most recently, they enjoyed chocolates while discussing “Chocolat” by Joanne Harris.
Even without food, book clubs become friends groups and opportunities to step outside your comfort zone. That’s the aspect that keeps Emily Moon coming back to Jasper’s Tuesday night club.
“It’s a sort of therapy for me,” Moon said. “I have social anxiety.”
And if you stick around a book club long enough, eventually you’ll read a book that keeps coming up. After the September meeting of Jasper’s Tuesday night book club, a few members stayed seated at the table in the genealogy room reminiscing about “So Cold the River” by Michael Koryta. It’s a fictional suspense set in West Baden. It’s been months since the club read the book, but thanks to its local setting, it’s one that just won’t drift away.
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