Thursday, July 28, 2011

One Hundred Books - A Reason for Celebration

Recently, named Cambridge as America’s #1 reading city. We believe the proliferation of book groups in our town is one reason for that rating. The CPL hosts several book groups, but we know there are many more informal groups meeting throughout the city. Over the next months we’ll feature some of these flourishing book groups.

The best discussions last from hors d’oeuvres
to dessert.
This July one local book club celebrated the reading of its 100th book. Each month one of the seven members selects a book she has previously read -- fiction, nonfiction or, occasionally, poetry and comes prepared to lead a discussion. Despite sometimes heated comments about the book, or perhaps as a result of them, the members have come to appreciate the different perspectives and life experiences each brings to the meetings. One member says, “I often find myself thinking through the discussion and the book after our meetings and wanting a second go -- to ask follow-up questions, or share insights I gain only on reflection. “  

“Our members …read extensively
and think critically. They challenge
and delight me in equal measure.”
Some comments from members about past favorites:

To Know A Woman by Amos Oz: “It was amazing to follow the ‘hero’ through his journey to the profound and original, and very beautiful, ending….I felt we were going along on the journey … very much working on the book together.”

“My favorite meetings have been our
poetry meetings--reading a variety of
poems aloud and listening to how
others receive and interpret them.
I've also loved preparing for those
meetings--selecting the poem I
want to submit from among so
many wonderful choices.”
The Odyssey by Homer: “I was surprised and delighted to find a group that wanted to read and discuss this classic, and then to find that the discussion was so rich and interesting.”

Tinkers by Paul Harding : “A demanding but very satisfying read. Our discussion was … a mix of intellectual commentary and personal anecdotes.”

Regeneration by Pat Barker: “Several of us liked this so well we went on to read Barker’s entire trilogy about the effects of World War I.”

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner: “Returning to [books read long ago] has deepened my appreciation … and given me a chance to approach the texts with the experience and perhaps wisdom acquired through many intervening years. “

You can find all of the books listed above at our Cambridge Public libraries. One club member says, “Thank goodness for the reach and depth of the Mass library system! “ Please consider sharing stories about your book club by emailing us at

There are always great things happening at the library! For more information on how you can get involved with the Friends of the Cambridge Public Library click here.

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