Up for discussion; Book clubs restore love for reading
There is a social networking phenomenon taking San Diego by storm. It doesn’t involve Facebook, Twitter, iPhone applications or even the Internet. All it requires is a few hours once a month in exchange for a plethora of knowledge, entertainment, conversation and networking possibilities.
The book club is back.
While reading has never gone out of style (checking Facebook status updates and Wikipedia articles do count), the practice of reading a book and then discussing it seemed to have gone the way of car phones and pagers.
Not so any more. The recent multitude of book clubs popping up in and around San Diego suggests that with a little revamping, they are now alive and well. Recent local trends include hybrid book and movie, cooking, restaurant or online clubs, as well as numerous genres, from paperback romances to politically motivated books.
“I think more and more people want to exchange ideas about the books they read,” said Jet Hopster, publicity manager of The Book Works, an independent bookstore at 2670 Via de la Valle in Del Mar. “It’s a good way to get together and talk about something substantial. Also, it’s a relatively cheap night out, which is perfect for times like these.”
In 2007, KPBS and the San Diego Public Library launched One Book One San Diego. This communitywide reading initiative encourages San Diegans to read a select book – this year’s choice is “The Zookeeper’s Wife” by Diane Ackerman – and then attend various community discussions, author and scholar lectures and related film and art exhibits throughout the year.
The program has been a huge success, receiving a national “My Source” Community Impact Award for Engagement from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It has also encouraged a newfound interest and enjoyment in literature throughout the city.
“It instills that love of literacy and reminds people of the value of reading and the value of literature,” said Eileen Labrador, who ran the Child-Parent Book Club at the Carmel Valley Branch Library for seven years. “There are so many genres out there, it is about exposing people to them and educating them. And it is about giving people an opportunity to come together as a community.”
The One Book One San Diego program has also inspired lovers of literature to lure new readers in with innovative twists on the traditional book club.
Solana Beach Branch Library offers a book-to-movie club where members read a book, then come together to watch the movie and discuss the differences. UCSD recently launched a political book club, where faculty, students and members of the community come together to discuss the real-life problems brought up in fiction books from the federal government’s reading list.
Whether it is mystery or nonfiction, at a friend’s house or the library, book clubs have an uncanny ability to bring people together, providing a fun, creative, social environment that is not easily replicated by other social networking trends.
“Every book club is different, but I have not found a mean book club yet,” said Rebecca Lynn, branch manager of Solana Beach Branch Library. “They are always friendly, and nice and eager for new members. Just give one a try.”
Check out these local book clubs:
Book Club Discussion
What: General adult book club, all genres
Where: Rancho Santa Fe Branch Library, 17040 Avenida de Acacias
When: 2 p.m. second Fridays
Contact: (858) 756-2512, sdcl.org
Book to Movie
What: Read the book, then come together to watch the movie and discuss the two
Where: Solana Beach Branch Library, 157 Stevens Ave.
When: 6 p.m. fourth Tuesdays
Contact: (858) 755-1404, friendsofsolanabeachlibrary.org
Child-Parent Book Club
What: For students in grades 4-6 and their parents
Where: Carmel Valley Library Branch, 3919 Townsgate Drive
When: 6:45 p.m. first Wednesdays
Contact: (858) 522-1668, carmelvalleylibrary.org
Just for Girls Book Club
What: Led by educator Tammy Black, for girls ages 9-12
When: 10 a.m. Sept. 26 is the first fall meeting
Where: The Book Works, 2670 Via de la Valle, Del Mar
Contact: (858) 755-3735.
Mystery Book Group
What: Author and mystery-lover Jill Shure facilitates discussions of mystery books
Where: The Book Works, Del Mar
When: 6:30 p.m. fourth Thursdays
Contact: (858) 755-3735, book-works.com
What: General books geared toward those older than 50
Where: The Riford Center, La Jolla
When: 7 p.m. first Wednesdays and 2 p.m. second Tuesdays
Contact: (858) 459-0831,
UCSD Alumni Book Club
What: Open to everyone; books from the federal government’s reading list
Where: UCSD Book Store, La Jolla.
When: 6 p.m. first Wednesdays
Online Book Clubs
What: A variety of general and themed Internet book clubs
- The Book Works’ owner opens up
- Library jump-starts summer reading program
- Library friends donate funds
- Book sale coming to RSF
- Book Works celebrates (3)3 years in DM
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