In the vast cornucopia of literature, it’s hard to decide what to read.
Voltaire vies for attention over Vonnegut. Shakespeare strives against Sandburg. Gibran grapples with Goethe. Horace holds back Hemmingway.
We’re immersed in unturned pages—and we always will be. No literary bucket-list is long enough to reach the shore. For this purpose, many seek the company of word-thirsty vagrants in book clubs. They climb aboard bookish barges and chart the waters together.
There are a surprising number of book clubs here in Utah Valley. They meet in churches, coffee houses, ski lodges, dining rooms, public libraries and private office buildings. Book clubs are happening all over the place. Why? Because reading with other people is fun.
Mirielle Sanford, avid bookworm and member of multiple book clubs, said, “You get to have more intellectual conversations when you join a book club… Plus you can meet different spectrums of really, really unique people.”
All good literature leaves room for personal interpretation. And reading with others makes even mediocre literature good, and good literature great, because it expands the voice of the author into the voice of the readers. They add to the text their own understanding and experience, adding layers of depth and complexity to the pages.
No two book clubs are alike, but the concept is simple. A book is chosen, each individual commits to finish it by a certain date, and then the group gets together to discuss their impressions of the book, sharing thoughts, impressions and interpretations.
By joining a book club, you surround yourself with people who seek, like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “the love of learning, the sequestered nooks, and all the sweet serenity of books.”
Plunging into literary circles is a sure-fire way to change your perspective and charge your mind with curiosity. So, in the words of Sanford, “Culturize yourself. Get out there and read some books!”
Here are a couple local book clubs that stand willing to greet you with open arms.
Unbound: a book club for art lovers, held monthly at the Springville Museum of Art (126 E. 400 South Springville). Light refreshments are provided by Shaybee’s chocolate (and fashion) boutique.
Wednesday, Jan. 18, 7:00 pm: “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Tracy Chevalier
Wednesday, Feb. 22, 7:00 pm: “Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures” by John K. Wittman and Robert Shiffman.
Utah County Skeptical Book Club, held monthly at Carrabba’s Italian Grill (683 E. University Parkway, Orem).
Sunday, Jan. 15, 4:00 pm: “The Demon-Haunted World” by Carl Sagan.
Sunday, Feb. 19 4:00 pm: “Who Wrote The Bible?” by Richard Elliot Friedman.
The Provo City Library has a wide variety of book clubs. You can walk in the doors (at 550 N. University Avenue) and find one happening practically every day of the week.
Interested in starting your own book club?
The Provo City Library has over 150 book club “sets.” Each set includes 15 copies of the title book and a binder with information about the book and author. With one library card, you can check out each book club set for six weeks.