One thing to know about our club: Our Champaign- Urbana book club has been meeting monthly since 1983 and has read more than 280 books. More than half of our members have belonged since the club began. Our very first book was "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, which immediately scared off several members. Fifteen years later, we attempted the book again, and fortunately no members were lost. From years of planning our reading schedules, we've learned that it's easier to curl up with a classic in the cold winter months and that lighter fiction is best to read in the sunshine. We've tried our hand at everything from acting out "A Doll's House" by Henrik Ibsen and "Richard III" by William Shakespeare to writing haiku to going to movies based on books we've read. Most of us are Cubs fans, all of us are Blackhawks fans, some of us once lived in Chicago, many of us have children living in Chicago, and we have read many books by Chicago authors or about Chicago.
Worst excuse for not reading an assigned book: We're a pretty loose and forgiving group, so we don't worry about excuses. But at least twice a member has read the entirely wrong book, and one time no one realized it until we were an hour into the discussion!
Average time we spend talking about a book before conversation swerves off into politics and family issues: The monthly hostess is in charge of leading the discussion, and we usually spend about an hour and a half talking about the book. We once read "How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines" by Thomas C. Foster, which was fascinating, but we quickly backslid to our non-academic ways.
Some books we loved: "Blindness" by Jose Saramago, "The Mists of Avalon" by Marion Zimmer Bradley, "Bel Canto" by Ann Patchett, "Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture" by Ross King and "The Woman at the Washington Zoo: Writings on Politics, Family and Fate" by Marjorie Williams.
What books are next: "The Whistling Season" by Ivan Doig and "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" by Helen Simonson