Brandon Book Club

Manitoba Book Clubs

We started out in the late eighties as a gourmet supper club. When we ran out of food themes and were thoroughly tired of doing dishes, we looked for other reasons to get together. While we knew of one other book club, we really had no direct models. So, we developed in our own way. We tend to work this way. Eight couples, four originals, alternate as hosts thoughout the fall and winter months, on average once per six weeks. The host couple chooses the book, arranges discussion and activities as well as food for the evening. Typically, we break into small groups to discuss a number of prepared questions. Following that, we gather in the large group to compare notes and to further the discussion. We finish with a "book rating" that almost always includes individual analyses.

There are no rules for selection of our books. There are, however, some trends. Most of the books, though not all, are Canadian. Most, but not all, are novels. We have also had an evening of poetry and another gathering following a play. There is an emphasis on prairie literature, especially works produced by Manitobans.

While there may be typical ways of operating, there are no rules for discussion. Though usually stimulated by the book, discussion is not often confined to it. We almost always reach for, and manage to find, deeper and interesting themes in our reading of the book. And, even when we cannot find it in the book itself, we always manage to find it in our discussions. There are no rules for membership either. We are friends and friends of friends who happen to get along splendidly. Because sixteen feels like enough, more than enough sometimes, we don't add to our ranks. Nor do we lose members. For all of us, the book club has become a staple of our social and intellectual lives.


  • Mary Lawson, Crow Lake
  • Myla Goldberg, Bee Season
  • Ian McEwan, Atonement
  • Dennis Bock, The Ash Garden
  • Miriam Toews, Swing Low
  • Yann Martel, Life of Pi

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