BOOK CLUBS by Vicki Fioranelli
I’m delighted that Vicki Fioranelli has agreed to write this blog post on book clubs. As the leader of our book club, Vicki is uniquely qualified to talk about the enrichment that comes from reading and discussing good books.
On a personal note, I want to thank the members of the Cherryhill Book Club for their support and encouragement as I walked through this very interesting time of writing and publishing a book.
She walked into book club clutching the current book in her arm. She wore warm ups because she had just finished a round of golf. Her hair is white and at age 80 she still tap dances. Right behind her strolls the newest, as well as the youngest member; a paralegal whose job allows her the flexibility of attending book club at 1:30 on the third Friday of each month. The remaining 10 members of the neighborhood book club are just as diverse and interesting.
Book clubs are in vogue and come in many shapes and sizes. There are the wine groups, the intellectual groups, the children’s clubs, and a growing number of all men clubs. Our club happens the be held in a small gated community, Cherryhill. Our members’ backgrounds hail from the deep south to the suburbs of Boston and places in between. Liberals sit beside conservatives and we are comprised of Catholic, Protestants and Jewish faiths. We boast of a published author among our group, as our own Kay DiBianca recently released the mystery, The Watch on the Fencepost. Other careers include retired educators, a master gardener, an alumni director emeritus, a journalist, an artist, an ordained minister, a caterer, and more.
Because we are a neighborhood club, we have the unique privilege of knowing everyone in our 44-family community; thus our format every month is a bit unique. We begin with what we call “housekeeping” before launching into the discussion of the book. Housekeeping includes a short discussion on houses for sale, illnesses, and any important issues from the last home owners association meeting. In other words, it might be construed as “gossip of Cherryhill”.
After simple refreshments, the discussion begins.The 7-year-old club was formed with 4 basic rules, though the rules are bent and exceptions have been made on occasion.
- It is preferred that the person recommending and discussing the book has actually read the book.
- Discussion questions are used to lead the session.
- No “one person” dominates the discussion.
- No judgments are made on others’ comments.
I dare say, in my opinion, we seek to broaden our appreciation of diverse authors and types of literature. In fact, if we find ourselves choosing too many of the same themes or genres, our hand is called and the subjects change. As with all book clubs, members are stretched to read books they would not have ordinarily chosen. Some are even out of our comfort zone
One of the most pleasurable aspects of any book club is viewing things from another’s point of view, stretching our minds, and respecting others even when we disagree.
In a time of society’s disconnection, in large part due to the obsession and dependence on electronic devices, in my opinion, book clubs provide more opportunity for connectivity and interaction. At Cherryhill, it’s even more: It provides a sense of community, growth, and caring.
Thank you, Cherryhill book club.