The Might Monday Book Club reads equal parts fiction and nonfiction. Using an interdisciplinary approach, they often incorporate outside research, sometimes even music into their discussions. One of their members, Katharine Phenix recommends going to any lengths to ensure everyone has a chance to speak—”use a ‘talking stick’ if you have to”—and reminds of the importance in cultivating a safe space for discussion.
Years of Operation: 9 years
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Tell us a little about your book group.
This book club has been meeting for nine years. After it began, it got so big, it broke off into a Tuesday group (Tuesday Tales), a smaller, quieter group. We now have about 15 members in each group, with 10-12 who come regularly. Our oldest member is 91 and the youngest 32 (she brings her mother who has Alzheimer’s to the outings). Also, we have one man in our group, who is part of a couple. We read one classic, one Colorado author, and one international title each year, with six fiction, five nonfiction, and a cookie book exchange in December. In October, National Reading Group Month, we have tea with bundtinis and invite all book clubs in the north suburban area of Denver to join us. Publisher reps come, talk about their favorite upcoming titles, and give away ARCs.
When, where, and how often do you meet?
We meet at the library, anythink Library on Huron Street, on the third Monday of the month from 2-4pm.
How does your group make its reading selections?
We begin making reading selections in September by each bringing ideas of books we want to share. The books have to be available in paperback because the library is not likely to buy enough copies otherwise. We also coordinate with three other book clubs in the library system and try to overlap with some of their titles so that we can share resources. The librarian makes sure there are enough library copies and brings reviews to help us get a better sense of the book.
Which book did your group collectively like the most this past year?
The group most liked Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple. We had been reading a lot of WWII stories and were looking for something fun. But The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt came in at a close second.
Which is the most divisive book your group has read?
Midnight’s Children by Salmon Rushdie was not exactly divisive, but those who finished it really understood its import and loved it. Those who gave up on it were just frustrated. Watching the movie helped with the storyline.
How do your group discussions work?
The group meets at the library and our discussions are run by the librarian. We often have author videos, author bios, discussion questions, and/or research to share. For example, Emma Donoghue’s Frog Music, has a playlist on 8tracks we listened to while discussing the book. We always start by sharing other titles we have read and enjoyed that month. Sticky notes are provided for jotting down authors and titles.
What is your group most looking forward to reading this next year?
What is the best piece of advice you’d give a group that is just getting started?
Use a “talking stick” if you have to, just don’t let one or two people dominate the conversation. Also, remind people that it is a safe space, and what happens in book club stays in book club.
See the Mighty Monday group’s reading list for next year:
January: Frog Music, by Emma Donoghue
February: Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy, by Karen Abbot
March: H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald
April: Ordinary Grace, by William Kent Krueger
May: Nora Webster, by Colm Tóibín
June: Quiet, by Susan Cain
July: Marriage of Opposites, by Alice Hoffman
August: Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
October: Leaving Time, by Jodi Picoult
November: Dead Wake, by Erik Larson
December: Cookie Exchange!
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