Chicagoland book club: La Grange United Methodist Church men's book club

Since its inception in 1986, the La Grange United Methodist Church men's book club has brought together men who enjoy reading. Presently we have 10 members, seven of whom are retired. Our ages are from 51 to 90. We meet monthly in members' homes from September to June and use the summer to read a longer nonfiction selection.

Why we continue to meet so faithfully:


The obvious reason is we're all confirmed bibliophiles, but it's much more than that. As we suggest books to read, we are introduced to authors and titles we might not have found or considered on our own. Also, our discussions expose us to new ideas and an opportunity to share experiences prompted by that month's book. Last but by no means least, the fellowship we share is just plain fun.

One thing to know about our group:


Attendance is very good, but if anyone misses the monthly meeting, often they send a written book report to be read at that meeting.

Average time we spend talking about a book before conversation swerves off into politics and family issues:

We have a very punctual group and spend the first 15 minutes catching up on the news since our last meeting. We vigorously discuss the book for the next hour and a half or so, followed by a pie-and-coffee break. We finish the meeting by selecting the next month's book, alternating between fiction and nonfiction.

Worst excuse anyone's given for not reading an assigned book:

The makeup of our group is: Three were engineers, three were teachers, one was a chemist, one was an architect, one is a printer, and one is a carpenter; therefore, we are all well-organized and rarely does anyone fail to finish the book.

Our favorite books: “A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance: Portrait of an Age” by William Raymond Manchester; “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” by Doris Kearns Goodwin, “109 East Palace: Robert Oppenheimer and the Secret City of Los Alamos” by Jennet Conant, “The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America” by Erik Larson; “Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace … One School at a Time” by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin; “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini; “Rookery Blues” by Jon Hassler; and “Snow Falling on Cedars” by David Guterson.

The book that engendered the biggest split in opinion: "Herzog" by Saul Bellow. Half of us said, "We were bored to death!" The other half said, "It was interesting and very worthwhile."

Our favorite authors


: Hassler (we've read five of his novels), David McCullough (we've read four of his books), Stephen Ambrose and Nelson DeMille.

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