If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.











October Interview Schedule: 10/3 Ellen Byron, 10/10 Cynthia Kuhn, 10/17 Jacqueline Seewald, 10/24 G. A. McKevett, 10/31 Alan Orloff

Saturday Guest Bloggers: 10/6 Mary Reed, 10/13 J.J. Hensley,
WWK Satuday Bloggers: 10/20 Margaret S. Hamilton, 10/27 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:


Grace Topping signed a three-book contract with Henery Press for her Laura Bishop Home Staging series. Congratulations, Grace!

KM Rockwood's new short story, "Map to Oblivion," has been included the anthology Shhhh...Murder! edited by Andrew MacRae and published by Darkhouse Books. It was released on Sept. 12.

Warren Bull also has a story in Shhh...Murder! Look for "Elsinore Noir," Warren's short story, in this anthology.

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

WHY I LOVE BOOK CLUBS by Gloria Alden

Some of the members of Red Read Robin book club.


I belong to two book clubs. The first one I joined in the fall of 2006, a new and started by Carol Baker, the local librarian. We met in a cafĂ© which sold lunches and antiques and crafts. I think the first book picked was To Kill a Mockingbird, but I didn’t keep a record then.

Eventually, Carol couldn’t lead us because government funding for the library was cut back. She still had another book club at the library. We met there every third Thursday for several years until The Brew Basket went out of business. Then we went to several other restaurants for a while and finally ended up at Roby Lee’s a larger restaurant where we had more room and where we still meet at 11:00 a.m. the Third Thursday of each month except when one of our members has us meeting at her cottage on Lake Erie in July.
In December we meet at my house and each of our members brings two or three books for us to pick from for the following year for January to November. The extra books are added to a list for anyone to read after they’ve read that month’s book. We have a pot luck meal at my house, too.

When we meet at Roby Lee’s we discuss the book of the month and then some of us stay for lunch, some order take-out, or some like me order the meal for takeout, but stay there to eat from the salad bar which is really good and includes soup, dessert, and delicious small slices of white pizza. Carol Baker is retired now and has joined us again. The waitresses who take care of us always bring coffee or tea and fresh baked bread with butter to nibble on while we’re discussing the book or talking about what has gone on in our lives since the last time we met.

The other book club I joined was the Red Read Robin. It started in February 2008.. It’s a larger book club with over half of the members related to each other and at least half of them go to the same Mass I go to, and we sit together. With that one it is held in a member’s home where she prepares the meal, or if the member for some reason can’t or doesn’t want to have it in their home, they pick a restaurant for us to meet in and usually bring some little gift to give us. One of my best friends has a small house and a husband with a disability so she always chooses a restaurant. The hostess of the month always serves wine with the meal, too. We just celebrated our tenth year this past month.  

The first book that was chosen for that book club was also To Kill a Mockingbird. Only three members have dropped out not because they didn’t like us, but because they were too busy like Erin, who is a teacher and just had her second child an adorable baby girl and a son who is now in kindergarten. Her husband is also a teacher and both of them have lots of papers to grade. Another member moved back to her hometown in PA, and only comes once in a while because of the distance to drive at night. Two of our members live fifty miles away so don’t come quite as often, and when it’s their turn to have the book club they have it on a Saturday afternoon so no one has to drive the distance after dark
My love of belonging to book clubs has so many positive aspects. First, it’s interesting to hear everyone’s opinions of a book you’ve just read. Some really liked it. Some had a few complaints and then there’s one member who often hates the book which is kind of upsetting for the hostess of the book club that night who picked the book.

Second, it’s fun to be with fellow book lovers, who have become my friends over the years I’ve belonged.
Third, I’m introduced to books I might never have heard of or particularly wanted to read. I’m a big mystery fan and read more mysteries than anything else, but it’s good for everyone to read other books, too. There have only been a few over the years that I didn’t like, but that is because the person who picked the book didn’t bother to read it first. I often pick a good mystery, or a book I’d read in the other book club and enjoyed.

The two books I’ve read this month are The House Without a Key a Charlie Chan Mystery by Earl Derr Biggers.
He was born in Warren, Ohio, the capital of the county I live in. All the libraries in the county are featuring this book this month. He was born in 1884, and died in 1933 of a heart attack at the age of 48. He was a playwright and novelist, His greatest success was with his series of Charlie Chan detective novels. The popularity of Charlie Chan extended even to China, where audiences in Shanghai appreciated the Hollywood films made by his Charlie Chan mysteries. This is the first one of the series I read and enjoyed it enough to want to read more. He was posthumously inducted into the Warren City Schools Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame. This book was chosen by one of the members of my Red Read Robin book club.





Earl Derr Bigger
The other one is When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi . It’s a memoir he started writing when he was diagnosed with a life threatening cancer. He writes about his childhood, about going to college to become a doctor and changing his mind on what kind of doctor he wanted to become. It covers his years as a student and an intern.


He eventually became a neurosurgeon at Stanford and operated on brains. He was married to Lucy and he is facing his own death shortly after becoming a father, but still he continues with his job as long as possible. He died in March of 2015 while still working on this book surrounded by his large loving family, including his wife and their daughter.  His wife wrote the epilogue to the book. He was a beautiful, caring man who gave his all to his patients.

Paul with his wife Lucy


Paul with his daughter shortly before he died.

Two comments on the book “Rattling, heartbreaking, and ultimately beautiful, the too young Dr. Kalanithi’s memoir is proof that the dying are the ones who have the most to teach us about life.” Atul Gawande

“Thanks to When Breath Becomes Air, those of us who never met Paul Kalanithi will both mourn his death and benefit from his life. This is one of a handful of books I consider to be a universal donor – I would recommend it to anyone, everyone.”  Ann Patchett

I agree with these two comments.

Do you belong to a book club?
If not would you like to belong to one?
Are you interested in reading either one of these two books?


11 comments:

Kait said...

I don't belong to a book club, but the idea intrigues. What a wonderful way to be introduced to new books!

Margaret Turkevich said...

Always fun to hear about your book clubs, Gloria. I recently joined my first book club, an on-line organization with monthly live web chats. Tonight's discussion is SJ Rozan's Winter and Night.

Jim Jackson said...

This year our vacationing has taken us away from our winter book club in Savannah. There's still one more meeting for us to attend before we leave, so hopefully we'll be back in the action.

Gloria Alden said...

Kait, it is not only a way to be introduced to new books, but to make friends, too.

Margaret, I'm glad you joined a book club. You'll enjoy it. If you can find a local one where you share ideas and also meals that's always nice, too.

Jim, I hope you enjoy the last one at least.

Warren Bull said...

You gave me more books to read. Thanks

KM Rockwood said...

I'm in a mystery book club, that sometimes strays to thrillers, other crime novels and psychological suspense. I not only get introduced to works I might not pick up otherwise, but I can introduce books the others might not choose. Can you believe that none of them had ever read any of Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael? My next selection is Blanch on the Lam by Barbara Neely.

Shari Randall said...

I've been in two book clubs - one back in Virginia and I have a new group up here in CT. I love book club! Nothing better than eating, drinking wine, and talking books! Both groups read widely and so I've been introduced to a lot of authors I wouldn't have picked up on my own.
I concur with Ann Patchett's opinion of When Breath Becomes Air - what a beautiful book that anyone and everyone will love.

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, I think you'll enjoy them.

KM, I would like to belong to a mystery book club, too, although I think that would be a bit much. I'm so glad you mentioned Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael series. It's been some time since I read all of them so I know if I start reading them all over again I'll still enjoy them because I will have forgotten who did it. Was The Potter's Field her last one? It was her 17th one. It seems I heard she had died. Is that true?

Sandy Cody said...

I belong to two book clubs. One is affiliated with a church, though we don't read things that most people might consider religious. We try to choose books that reflect different cultures and different ways of looking at the world. Our selection this month is A Gentleman in Moscow. The other is a mystery book club. In this, we run the gamut and read everything from cozies to dark thrillers. This month's selection is Jacqueline Winspear's In This Grave Hour. Love the fellowship of both groups.

Grace Topping said...

My book clubs have introduced me to books the I probably never would have read. One has been going for over 25 years, with most of the original members.

Gloria Alden said...

Sandy, I like that you belong to a mystery book club. I've read all of Jacqueline Winspear' books and love them. Both of my book clubs have read at least some of them. My Third Thursday book club introduced me to Maisie Dodd.

Grace 25 years is a long time to have a book club going. I would have joined one earlier if I had known of any.