Bookies select Cunningham's `The Hours'

Book club

Howard Live

May 04, 2000

An interview with Dan Ryan of The Bookies, a book club run by First Place Singles, a Columbia Association-sponsored singles club.

What book are members reading this month? "The Hours" by Michael Cunningham.

Which books have members liked? "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver, "The Reader" by Bernhard Schlink, "Charming Billy" by Alice McDermott and "Cold Mountain" by Charles Frazier.

"The Poisonwood Bible" was very interesting because [Kingsolver] wrote each one of the chapters from a different character's point of view, and it was set in the Congo. Two married missionaries took their four daughters to the Congo, and that was interesting in and of itself.

We liked "Charming Billy" because the style was one where the book began near the end and worked toward the beginning. The style gave a sense of how all the characters felt about Billy, and it made for a big discussion because some of us felt sorry for Billy because he was an alcoholic, and others were disgusted because he was a drunk.

Is there a book none of the members liked? Most of us didn't like "A Prayer for Owen Meany" by John Irving. They thought the humor was too silly.

How many members does the club have? We have a core group of five people.

How often does the club meet? We meet the second Sunday of every month from 7: 30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at my house in Ellicott City.

When was the club formed? It started in 1993. It's open to the public. (Information: Dan Ryan, 410-313-8314.)

How do you decide what the book of the month will be? We come up with books by trying to talk to people in other book clubs to see what books led to good discussions. When a new member comes into the group, we'll ask them what's the best book they ever read, and we oftentimes read that.

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