Sunday, May 25, 2008

Book Clubs Who Listen Not Discuss

Thursday last week, I presented Mudbound by Hillary Jordan to the Book Listeners Club of Memphis at the posh Chickasaw Country Club. The mean age of this group was 75; thus, more likely to listen to books than actually hold-in-hand read. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not showing ageism here, just explaining the nature of this group. A group that has been in existence for over 30 years with the same name, they are listeners.

In general this older age set prefers books on tape for various reasons: 1.) Books are too heavy 2.) Eyesight is failing 3.) Hand tremors 4.) Limited choices in LT, etc..

Please, don’t bombard me with, my granny read until she dropped dead comments. I know, trust me I know. As a librarian, I have waited on many over the age of 85 who read large-typed (LT) books. One patron in particular (age 92) wanted mysteries, but not cozies, with no violence in the death. She was also tired of Agatha Christie, but preferred them to be British and large-type. Um, not only did I run a small Mississippi library, I was a Miracle Worker!

My contact at the meeting (age 87) was just delightful. Upon meeting me she exclaims, “You’re Pretty!” Hey, I like those compliments, but then she went on, “You’re so young.” I got to throw out my favorite, “I’m older than I look.” And quick as a wit she sails back, “Me, Too!”

Do you ever feel like there is a reason you meet certain people. I was the club’s third choose: the first fell and broke her hip, the second (my boss) had a seminar she had to attend, and both are named Margaret. I joked they were getting the cheap imitation Maggie. Well, anyway, my contact told me she flew her husband’s Cessna 310 upon learning I had a bachelor in aerospace. We told hangar after hangar stories until we were wore out.

Sorry, to be all over the place with this post. My point, some book clubs only meet with the intent of listening to book reviews by members or outside guests. They don’t meet once a month to discuss a book, but rather hear the opinion of a speaker who has read a book.

Our own Como Civic Club started out as Como Book Club in the 1920s with monthly speakers that morphed into community speakers when book talkers were hard to find. It makes me wonder. How many book clubs in North America prefer this format?

Book Club by water colorist Emmy White