Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It's (almost) All In The Family

Here is the third entry in our series focusing on local book clubs. Please consider sharing stories about your book club by adding a comment to this article or by emailing us at

Founders Jamie (granddaughter),
Vinnie (grandmother) and
Winnie (mother).
Nine years ago in Gilmanton Iron Works , New Hampshire, six women started a summer book club that they called The All In The Family Group. Their first selection was Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner.  It was evident from the start that their multi-generational experiences and their biological ties would enrich their discussions. Since then the group has expanded to fifteen members ranging in age from 33 to 86 and includes new family pairs as well as a few friends that club members consider "family by choice." 

Members enjoyed their discussions so much that they now meet year-round. Three members are from Cambridge, three are from Brookline, one from Beacon Hill, one from Wellesley, one from Framingham, and five are from Needham. During their expanded season the group meets one Sunday a month in Needham, where host Jeanie Goddard, pictured below with her niece Kirsten and her daughter-in-law Tasha, spoils the members with her delectable desserts.

The discussions always begin informally with the sharing of family updates, travel experiences, and cultural events and then eases into the selection of the month. Since six of the members are retired or active teachers there is no lack of input nor need for an official leader! Recommendations for future selections are based on at least one person having read and endorsed the book as well as availability, length, and genre.

Eva holds on to a copy of the March
selection with one arm and her
daughter Emily with the other.
The new year began with A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, and Dreams of Trespass by Fatima Mernissi. Although members are not always unanimous in their love for a particular book, one member notes, "we always dig deep to acknowledge uniqueness and complexity. Most of all, we delight in each other’s company and look forward each month to getting together with our reading family."

Sisters Amanda and Emily enjoy
the March dessert.
Joyce, Marge, Diane and Ronna
Readers by birth, family by choice.

There are always great things happening at the library! For more information on how you can get involved with the Friends and help to support our Cambridge libraries click here.

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