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Forget what you know about book clubs

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

What do you get when you put together a few teachers, business professionals, 30-somethings, 20-somethings, a librarian and a high school student? A book club where it is impossible not to laugh.

Once a month, friends Elaine Sheets and Mali Minter organize the date, time and location for the club and send out an email to the lucky ladies included in the group.

Unlike typical book clubs where a book is chosen and the group reads it at the same time, this club is a little more liberal.

Everyone is invited to bring books to “put in the pile” to share. They can discuss favorites or the book they are currently reading.

As they go around the circle describing the books they brought, Sheets takes notes that she later shares through email. The list includes the books discussed and a short synopsis, in case anyone forgets the name of the book that intrigued them.

This month’s meeting was at Minter’s home. As the ladies filled the gathering area, the room was abuzz with introductions and musings over the goodies on the table.

It is more of a social gathering where they happen to talk about books than a strict book club. Veterans who are used to each others’ tastes in books ribbed one another on the “freaky” or “weird” picks they brought.

One book in particular made its way to the bottom of the pile after science teacher Anne Smith said, “Well, it’s just different.”

One new mom – who was also a beginner to the club – confessed that lately all she has read are Curious George and Dora the Explorer books.

Minter, a Spanish teacher at Pocahontas County High School responded with, “That’s okay, we love Dora.”

There are so many different interests in the crowd and although you don’t think you might not enjoy a romantic novel, you might give it a chance after hearing a peer review it.

As the discussion continued, several books that have been developed into movies were mentioned and the subject veered to Hollywood’s inability to properly take the books and turn them into films.

After everyone took their turn sharing the books they brought or are currently reading, the pile of books was scavenged by those looking for something new to read.

The club is a great amalgam of women from the upper end of Pocahontas County who all share at least one thing – a love of books.

The list of recommended books include:

• Solo by William Boyd

• Foreign Influence by Brad Thor

• The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards

• A Million Nightingales by Susan Straight

• One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell

• Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro

• What I Thought I Knew by Alice Eve Cohen

• The Princess of Burundi by Kjell Eriksson

• Broken Harbor by Tana French

• Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

• A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnely

• Safe Harbor by Nicholas Sparks

• Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein

• Little Bee by Chris Cleave

• Taltos by Anne Rice

• The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer

• Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

• Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

• The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

• Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah

• Divergent by Veronica Roth

• You are a Badass by Jen Sincero

• Yes Man by Denny Wallace

• Mary Reilley by Valerie Martin

• Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

• Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

• Hollows, Peepers and Highlanders by George Constantz

• Letters to My Son by Kent Nerbern

• The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

• Carrie and Me by Carol Burnett

• The Rotweiller by Ruth Rendell

Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at

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