A salute to book clubs
The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment
February 27, 2021
Have you ever started a book club? Do you attend a club? Are you looking for one? There are all sorts of book clubs these days, found in homes and libraries, bookstores and online. They are set up for all ages, spanning a wide spectrum of books, both old and new. Some book clubs have specific themes, like reading all mysteries or historical romance, sci-fi or fantasy. Some read a variety of all genres. If you are looking for a specific type of book club out there, it is probably waiting for you.
Why do we enjoy book clubs? Generating new ideas, insights and lively conversation is a start. Book clubs are a chance for socializing with others and exchanging opinions. I have never been to a book club that fails if it has a friendly atmosphere and tasty refreshments. Some book clubs even theme their food to the book they are reviewing. Recently I watched a mystery show from New Zealand where the book club gathered at a bookstore and when they took a break, trays and trays of hot food appeared and they called their refreshments “supper” with their tea and wines. Even if you join an online club, you can treat yourself to a pot of tea and a sweet or two. Indulge yourself in the full spectrum of enjoyments, even if you can’t gather in person.
“Tall Tails Secret Book Club” from The Secret Library Cozy Mysteries series by Ceecee James drew me in because it starts by telling the reader that Laura Lee is hired as a servant at Thornberry Estate, which is haunted, full of secrets with a missing multi million dollar crown, two murders, and most of all, the owner of the estate forbids any books or reading in her house. What? Of course that caught my attention. And of course that is where the secret book club comes from in the title as the servants disobey that order by meeting in a secret room behind a hidden door. What could be more perfect?
Cook, whose surname is really Cook, prepares delicious refreshments, and most of the ladies choose wine over cups of tea as they discuss both their current book and also the multiple mysteries of the house. Can they solve the murders? Find the crown? Who will be caught first, the ghost or the book club members? This is a light, fun read. Can you tell?
“Ink and Shadows,” the fourth book in A Secret, Book, and Scone Society series by Ellery Adams brings the reader back into Nora’s book store, Miracle Books. The book club ladies gather to help her decipher a page of symbols and drawings that’s mysteriously tucked under the store’s doormat after a murder. These women have secrets from their own pasts that eventually are revealed in this series of four cozy southern mysteries in North Carolina. Check out the other titles too. Read them in order or any one of them first. They are easy to follow.
Of the book club titles I chose to review, “Bunny’s Book Club” by Anne Silvestro, illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss, is my favorite. When the book club is held outside in good weather, Bunny gets hooked on great stories while sitting along the edge of children listening. When cold weather sets in and the book club is held inside, Bunny can’t stand missing out and finds a way to get into the library. He uses the book drop. I don’t want to spoil the story, but it does involve other animal friends and escapades with eventual capture. But don’t worry! All ends well and will definitely entertain readers young and old.
Book clubs have become a staple all over the world; people from different places, in multiple languages and traditions, embracing diversity and the joy of story. Putting in a search on the internet for novels about book clubs, dozens of titles pop up including “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Society,” “The Accidental Book Club,” “The Jane Austen Book Club,” “Reading Lolita in Tehran” and “The End of your Life Book Club,” which follows a journey through pancreatic cancer. Several of these books have been reviewed here already, and many more are waiting to be read and savored, discussed over tea or wine, cookies, crumpets or suppers. Heartwarming stories, gut wrenching stories, stories that pull the heartstrings or have you running for cover. Something for everyone. Share a book you are reading with someone today, even if not in a book club setting, but just one on one. That is how the stories of our lives and the lives of others stay alive, with living words that keep on giving.
Good books. Good reading.
*Midge Lyn’dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.