Booksburgh book group.

Author:Goldstein, Lisa A.
Position:Book Groups - Interview

How did your group get started?

I always wanted to be in a book club, but I figured it would be too difficult because of my need to lip-read. How would I follow the discussion?

When I met my friend Lisa after moving to a suburb of Pittsburgh, we discovered our mutual love of books. We decided to start a book club with my needs in mind: the group would be small, and everyone would speak clearly, one at a time. We were very organized, and thanks to Lisa, we still are.

We now have a core group of eight. We have two rabbis, two neighbors, and eight moms. We jokingly called ourselves Lisa, Lisa, & the Cult Jam, but we later thought of the perfect name: Booksburgh.

How is your book group organized?

At the start of each book discussion, which takes place once a month, we socialize and then get down to business. Whoever suggests the book leads the discussion at another's house. No meeting is complete without food and drink, including our staple of hummus. Then we kibitz again.

We go out for dinner to celebrate birthdays, have an annual holiday dinner out with spouses where we dress up, and every summer, we look forward to our family picnic at a local park. Our December meeting always includes a gift exchange. We've even had Jr. Booksburgh, where our kids bring in books they like to read. Next month, our children will help us donate books to the Pittsburgh Children's Hospital.

How do you choose your books? And what have been some of your favorites?

We started out with a blog, and we currently have a group on Goodreads. We used to vote on books after lengthy discussions, but now we have an anonymous online survey, where members suggest two books each for the group to vote on. Our books run the gamut. We've read classics like Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. Other books include Mudbound by Hillary Jordan, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain, and Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. Our very first book was Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, so for our seventh anniversary this August, we're planning on reading his latest release, The Marriage Plot.

We even choose young adult novels, which make us feel both young and old. One of our favorites was The...

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