Book Lovers Join the Club
A guide to Regent Square's rich variety of book clubs
For people who love books, Edgewood and its neighboring boroughs offer residents of nearly every age a chance to join a local community of readers.
Several times each month, members of various book clubs gather at local libraries and community centers to share their thoughts on current selections, and often find friends in the process, according to the clubs’ organizers.
Even in an era of Kindles and Nooks and blogosphere commentary, many people crave the familiarity of a paper-and-binding book and the companionship of fellow readers, said Sally Bogie, library director of the CC Mellor Memorial Library on Pennwood Avenue in Edgewood.
“It’s the camaraderie and the social aspect of getting together and talking about a particular book and what you liked about it that attracts people,” said Bogie, who manages the library’s Edgewood and Forest Hills branches. “You can share your favorite books with others.”
Local libraries often stock enough copies of books to lend to everyone who wants to join the discussions, an added benefit to readers looking to save money in difficult economic times. In some cases, companies or foundations provide grants so that participants can keep the books after the meeting.
In Forest Hills, the PALS book club for senior citizens meets the fourth Tuesday of every other month at the Forest Hills branch on Avenue D. Another Forest Hills book club meets on off months – again on the fourth Tuesday – at The Forest Hills Senior Center, located in the same building.
In Edgewood, anyone can join meetings of the Drop Dead Book Club, so named because club members read and discuss mystery novels. The discussions, organized by Edgewood resident Linda Herward, are held in CC Mellor’s board room on the second Thursday of each month (except July and August) at 6:30 p.m.
At the next meeting of the Drop Dead Book Club Jan. 12, members will discuss Laurie King’s “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice.” Copies of the books are available for checkout in the Fred Rogers Children’s Room.
Also, a new book club called Fact or Fiction: the Civil War Era will begin in February at CC Mellor. Funded by a grant by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, the club allows American history buffs to discuss Gore Vidal’s “Lincoln,” Michael Shaara’s “Killer Angels,” E.L. Doctorow’s “The March” and James McBride’s “Song Yet Sung.” Meetings begin Thursday, Feb. 17 and copies of the books will be available for checkout in mid-January.
Edgewood has seen many young families moving into the community in recent years, and its book clubs aren’t just for grown-ups.
For the tween and teen set, Edgewood also offers Munch-A-Book, a book club that also encourages many teen readers’ other preoccupation: eating. Copies of the book “Hush, Hush,” by Becca Fitzpatrick, are available at the library in advance of the club’s next meeting on Jan. 22 at 12 p.m., and food will be provided at the meeting. Register by Jan. 21.
The littlest readers, ages 4 to 7, can join the We Two Read book club with a parent or caregiver to discuss age-appropriate books and complete a small art activity. The next We Two Read meeting will be Jan. 8 at 1 p.m. Copies of the book “That’s Not Funny,” by Jeanne Willis, are available at the library. Register by Jan. 7 or until the books are gone.
The children's book club helps build key components of literacy, such as the ability to listen to a story and repeat it to others, said Andrea McNeill, children’s and young adults’ librarian for CC Mellor.
“This is a way for us to lay a foundation, even before they go to school, of being an engaged reader,” McNeill said.