From a 19th century who-done-it, to a contemporary memoir of a young woman seeking political asylum in Netherlands after being persecuted in Somalia, Folsom Book Club members always have their head in a book. Most often, a very good book.
The club, which has been around for several years, is led by library technician Regina Maduell, and members can’t get enough.
The room was abuzz on a recent afternoon, when members discussed “The Moonstone” by Wilkie Collins, a novel that was written in the 1800s, and is considered to be the basic framework for the modern suspense thriller.
One member’s favorite aspects of a book club is they read books they might not otherwise pick up.
“The group has expanded my reading. I was pretty limited in what I read before joining the group — it has opened up a new world of reading for me,” said member, Nancy Stream.
Sharing points of view is another reason many members enjoy the group.
“I’ve belonged to book groups for many years. I go to a meeting with one mindset, but I leave seeing the characters in a different way. I might leave the meeting with a totally different opinion than the one I came with,” said Jane McKinnon.
Maduell credits Oprah Winfrey for a surge in book group popularity in the last decade, though people have shared books forever.
“Oprah really brought it to the mainstream,” Maduell said. “I think people are looking for something that is social, low cost, and intellectually stimulating. And there are a lot of people who just love reading.”
The group offers two meetings per book from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. the first Tuesday of the month, and 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. the third Thursday of the month. July will only offer the Thursday meeting, due to the Fourth-of-July holiday. the group meets to socialize up to 45 minutes before the discussion.
With book clubs popping up in neighborhoods throughout the country, some might ask why a club is needed at the local library.
“A lot of people who have come to the group complain that their regular book groups have become more of a social get together, and they really want to focus on the book,” Maduell said. “I could see there was a need for a community event like this; an event where we could share ideas in a more structured environment.”
The group typically numbers about a dozen members, with higher attendance for an author appearance.
Every six months group members submit a list of books they would like to read, and Maduell creates a short list based on which titles are still in print, or are available in paperback. the library purchases several books for members to check out.
Maduell tries to create an interesting mix of genres and styles, including two non-fiction titles, and a poetry night in December.
“People love to enjoy and listen to poetry. this group is really no pressure. There are no signups involved, and no one has to read a poem aloud if they aren’t comfortable,” Maduell said. “We have a variety of personalities, and we have something for everyone.”
In the know
Where: Folsom Public Library Book Club, 411 Stafford St., Folsom
Upcoming book-club books:
July: “State of Wonder” by Ann Patchett
August: “Infidel” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
September: “Death comes for the Archbishop” by Willa Cather
October: “Angle of Repose” by Wallace Stegner
November: “Plague of Doves” by Louise Erdrich
December: favorite poetry