Hi, Jim, I'm excited about this interview for a couple of reasons; one, your group meets at a library and the second is because your a male book club leader. You are the first one I've encountered. I'm curious how your group works.  Could you tell me something about your group and how you got started?

Our branch will be two years old on this Memorial Day. The two book clubs are part of the Adult Programming at Hall County Library Systems, Spout Springs Branch. Al is Adult Services Mgr and I work in Circulation. He started the “Early Bird Book Club” and I am a member of it. It meets on the first Thursday of each month at 10:30 in the library. At that hour, as you can imagine, the members are retired librarians, educators and other retired professionals. A very well-read, articulate, enthusiastic group. When John Updike died we read the Rabbit books, each one of us reporting a different book to the group. We read the Stieg Larrson books recently and are waiting for the third installment to come out. Our next selection is Chris Bohjalian’s Skeleton at the Feast.

My regular work schedule has me working until closing at 8 PM on Thursday. I started the “Late in the Day” book club to reach patrons who work or for other reasons could not come to the morning club. I am a Georgia native, one member spent her early life in Birmingham, AL, two or three are from the mid-west and one member immigrated from England. We take turns suggesting books. The member who makes the suggestion researches the author and reports the bio, etc. at the meeting. The Brit recommended The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which told of a story that she was unaware of. Our most recent book was The Help, that allowed us southerners to share real life experiences. The group was so interested in learning more and selected To Kill a Mockingbird, as our next book. Both clubs have about 12 members and have 6-9 in attendance.

What lead up to you starting a book club? Had you ever been apart of a book club before? What's your club name?

Al and I started a morning book club, The Early Bird, and based on its success we thought a club meeting in the late afternoon would appeal to employed people. The Early Bird Book Club is my first. I had been employed in Human Resources in industry and found employment in the library just recently and that gave me an opportunity to participate. My book club is named, “Late in the Day”.

Hi, Jim, I’m interested in being apart of your book club, could you please describe for me what I can expect? What does your typical meeting look like?

This is our book club standing on the hearth of the fireplace. We usually sit in front of the fireplace when we meet. Two-three of our members had illness or family issues and could not make the meeting when this picture was taken. There is a coffee shop outside of the library we enjoy, other pictures were taken and you'll see later on in this article.

You can expect that discussion of the book of the month will be our primary objective. We will not assign refreshments but we have a coffee shop and snacks are welcome in our library. We will get to know each other and hopefully become friends but socialization will be secondary. The library will be our meeting place and since it closes at 8 o”clock our meetings will not last more than an hour and a half. Our library has a fireplace and stuffed chairs and coffee table which lends a homey atmosphere where we sit in a semicircle.

Please describe to me how the book selection process works for your club? Do you vote with a secret ballet? Or some other method? Do tell. This will be helpful to book club leaders just starting out!

Each member suggests a book on a rotating basis. That member then brings author and/or setting information to the meeting and gives a report to the group. This almost guarantees an eclectic selection of genres, topics, fiction or non-fiction.

Does your group have guidelines? If so what are they? How does your group handle conflict? This will be helpful to other groups. Thanks for your help in this matter.

We have not had conflict. We may disagree at times but recognize that this only perspective and this sharing of perspective helps us get to know each other better. Disagreements are never personal.

Jim, you mentioned in an email to me that you are apart of Al’s book club does he run things a little different than you do? Do you let down your leader role and enjoy the group or do you want to step I and help lead?

We are more hosts rather than leader. We may stimulate discussion with questions or bring the group back from getting off subject.

You had mentioned in an email to me that your book club read the Rabbit books when John Updike died. How did that meeting go? I think you said it was a little different because you had all read different books. How did that meeting operate? How much time did everyone have to talk and did you ask questions? This does sound like fun—I just wanted to know how it worked, could you please explain?

Since they were sequels we discussed them in order. Each person reported on their book and we were able to tie the characters together as they lived their lives through the books.

What have you read at a book club recently that really touched everyone’s heart and created good discussion?

The Help by Kathryn Stockett was especially good because two of us were raised in the south during the civil rights movement years, one of us was raised in England, two were raised in the Midwest and one or two were too young to have personal experiences but were full of questions.

What is the most creative thing you all have done for book club? What was something that was way over the top for you and everyone loved? Special event, field trip, retreat?

Nothing yet because we are so recently formed. We do like to go to the coffee shop and discuss books--not really a field trip but it's fun.

How do you get the word out about your book club? How did you get this book club started? This will be helpful for new book clubs or people wanting to take the plunge into leading book clubs.

Announced it on our library web page and promoted it to patrons as they came to the library especially if they checked out a book we were going to discuss.


What are your Three favorite books of all time?

The Bible,
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Twain),
 Pillars of the Earth (Follett).

Please name Three of your favorite books your read growing up?

Sacketts (La’Mour),
Uncle Remus or
Song of the South (Harris),
Miss Minerva (?)

A friend of yours has given you an opportunity to take a trip in a time machine—What two events in the history of the world would you like to experience?

Sermon on the Mount and Landing on the Moon

You have the chance to hang out with any two people (alive or dead) in the history of the world who would you pick and what would you do?

Paul the Apostle

Abrahom Lincoln

What movie most impacted you as a child? Why?

Gone With The Wind. My aunt brought me to Atlanta where she lived and took me to the Fox Theatre. The visit included a trip to the Cyclorama, Stone Mountain and a ride on the electric trolley cars.


The book club belongs to the members not the leader. Listen and respect everyone’s views. Remember everyone is coming from a different place and background that is what makes a book club educational.

THANKS SO MUCH JIM for stopping by and letting us know your book club!! I always find it fascinating to hear about other groups, where they meet and what they read. Thanks for providing the wonderful pictures!!

Blessings to you and your group. I'll have to stop by sometime--I love the fire place you all hangout by. The coffee shop looks fun too!!


Nora :D

1 comment:

  1. Great interview Nora...enjoyed learning about other books clubs.

    Gail Mundy