Do you participate in a book club? What do you think are advantages? Disadvantages? If you attend, what keeps you coming back? What do you like best about your particular book club? Maybe you belong to more than one group. Do tell.

A few days ago, my book club experience was amazing, yes, that overworked word, amazing. Better if I had said remarkable. It was that, too. I sat around a large square of tables with more than 30 other women in a sunny room over the office at the condo complex where I am staying for a few weeks in Florida. I have stayed here for some weeks for quite a few winters and many of the participants are known to me.

Discussion was free and wide-ranging, punctuated by the jackhammer staccato of workmen using drills to repair sets of double doors. But the thoughtful women paid attention to the topic at hand, ignoring the drills as much as possible. So many different ideas, so much wisdom, nothing to do with drills; listening to each other, and chiming in with words toward a greater understanding.

The book happened to be A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner. Yes, there are interesting ideas in the book. It is a novel of coping with sudden tragedy and loss, two stories – one from the time of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in the early twentieth century and the other from the time of the 9/11 violence. These stories are woven together like the scarf at the center of the novel. But my attention was held by the ideas, questions, revelations and differences of opinions discussed by the participants, women from states all over the eastern United States, Ontario and Alaska.

This book club keeps running because of a talented committee who pick the five books discussed at two week intervals over the winter when many snowbirds visit. Women who are adept at leading discussion volunteer to facilitate; we take turns. We talk and toss our ideas and opinions across the wide table over our bag lunches. Someone brings a dynamite dessert. Oh, the most beautiful chocolate cake this past week.

Each book club has an individual identity. All readers hold preferences built on backgrounds and reading experiences. But somehow when a group gathers to discuss a book, magic can happen. The book can seem a different level of story or information after discussion than it did before. Don’t you think so?

Share anything you might wish regarding the book club or the two, or three or more you may attend. This blog is the place to hear about the joys of reading. Sometimes that means sharing a book at a book club.


  1. Judy Tolley

    Oh how I miss my snowbird book club where you are!! Until I was a member I would never have exposed myself to many of the wonderful books we shared opinions on. A new world opened up to me. I will be back one day. Until then, read on my friend’s! I love you all! ❤

  2. Judith

    Beautifully stated, Paulette … I love the Summerhouse book club because of the always insightful discussions … difficult to believe that this can work with over thirty women in attendance, but it always does … as I said the other day, the committee selects its books not only on the plot and appeal of the book, but also the fact that it will stimulate interesting discussions

  3. Mary Ann Piramalli Krengel

    Thought it was the best discussion yet. We had a great facilitator and the women were respectful of each other’s contributions. The book lent itself to many discussion points because there were many layers to this novel
    Bravo to the committee. And Paulette, your words are always insightful and eloquent.


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