Potluck Book Club

Quebec Book Clubs

When it started, we called it the Potluck Book Club. Once a month, our members brought their favourite dish, supervised and organized by one of the group considered to be a culinary star, to a sit-down supper followed by a two-hour discussion on the chosen book. The meals were usually a delight, punctuated by much vocal praise for the particular food donor. The discussions were also generally loud and boisterous, especially on books dealing with a political subject.

This went on for many years. Our monthly meetings were an event everyone looked forward to. However, time took its toll. Some members passed on, others moved away. but the core carried on. The women, who had the major responsibility for the suppers, began to tire and suggested we serve coffee and desserts instead.

So that's where it's at----over 40 years later!

It's no longer potluck, but we've been exceptionally lucky to have been able to persevere with a handful of the original members still at it.

There are 16 to 20 in the group, only limited by the space in the living room of the home we happen to be meeting in.

The books are selected by a majority vote. The last two were "Next Episode" and "The River Midnight". The next ones on the schedule are "Embers" (Marai) and "Typing" (Cohen). One person agrees (or is convinced) to lead the discussion and that job is spread around so that everyone gets at least one chance during the year.

A partial list of what else we've read this past year, 2003, is as follows:

  • The Ash Garden (Dennis Bok)
  • Mr. Mani (A.H.Yehoshua)
  • Bel Canto (Ann Patchett)
  • Notes from the Hyena's Belly (Nega Mezlekia)
  • The Archivist (Martha Cooley)
  • Journey to the end of the Millennium (A.H Yehoshua)
  • Colony of Unrequited Dreams (Wayne Johnston)
  • Shadow of a Saint (Ken Wiwa).

Guess we must be doing something right. Our friendships have endured and been strenghthened. Even when there are diametrically opposite views expressed during the evening, nothing challenges that friendship, based on a love of books.

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