Adult Engagement Calendars: September/October 2016
I love the idea of book clubs: gathering to eat, drink and converse on books and other topics. I’m fascinated by people’s stories — how they came together, how long they’ve been a group, the types of books they read, their club’s name and its significance. A friend shared a story of a graduation party where there was an abundance of food and drink left, so the host of the party decided to take advantage of the situation and called her book club for an impromptu meeting. I assume there’s a great story there.
I was recently asked to join a new book club. The woman extending the invitation had read a review of The Excellent Lombards by Jane Hamilton and wanted to read it with other people. Everyone at the table was a reader, but only two of us had ever been in a book club. This idea of reading with others seemed new to them. However, gathering to share food, drink and conversation was not. The book club date, location and time were set before the evening ended, and the newly formed club planned to meet in 5 weeks. We said our goodbyes, each on a mission to get the book and start reading.
I fizzled out of my last book club partly because my kids got involved in activities that demanded my prized driving skills, often on nights when the club met. For a while I kept reading the books, slowly descending to reading only part of it, then to getting the book and not opening it, and eventually nothing. Bless my friend who keeps me on the email list. Someday I’ll return, I promise.
Since then I’ve seen a few members of the book club, and I checked in to see how things were going. This paralleled my prior book club experience — some liked the latest book choice, others didn’t; some finished the book, others didn’t. However, everyone had a good time. They talked about the book and the next title was selected. The club continues.
I was with another circle of friends discussing books, and one person was sharing about a book she was really enjoying. When the title was shared, another person responded with, “Oh, I only read nonfiction.” My first reaction was, that’s a bit strange. Then I realized I do that too. We all have a preference, and some of us choose nonfiction, while others read mystery, fantasy, history, romance and other genres.
One of the joys of my job is to spend time in libraries. And when I do, I can’t help but notice book titles. I’m a visual person and find that taking photos of books helps me remember why I was drawn to them — more so than just writing down the titles. Guess what? My recent book photos reveal that 2 out of the 3 titles I want to read are non-fiction.
I’ve researched and read much about brain health in the past year as I helped introduce BrainHQ as an eResource for public libraries. One of my favorite books is The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, MD. His writing on a complex topic is very accessible. My reading list includes several other titles recommended by BrainHQ™, including A Calm Brain: How to Relax into a Stress-Free, High-Powered Life, Focus, 100+. I’m currently reading The Blue Zones Solution and learning about the way of life in areas of the world where people routinely achieve centenarian status.
I think I finally found the right kind of book club for me, based on a Facebook post from the Programming Librarian Interest Group. The individual was seeking additions to a new non-fiction book club that would include books, podcasts, documentaries, articles, etc. Keep It Real, Just the Facts, As a Matter of Fact and Stranger Than Fiction were some of the suggestions shared. I think the odds of my finishing a book suggested in this group are quite good, plus it’s an opportunity to meet new people. It’s a win/win, as socializing is an important attribute of centenarian life. If I can’t find a group in my area, I’m going to suggest it at my library, and make my title selection in my new group non-fiction.
As you’re wrapping up summer reading programs, what looms on the horizon for your book clubs and adult programming? If you’d like, please use the comments and share your plans with your colleagues. Need inspiration? The September and October calendars may spark some ideas.