Baby talk not enough for them

Book club

April 05, 2001

An interview with Gayle Bragg, founder of Book Nooks book club.

How did your club get started? My daughter was in Stevens Forest preschool, and a lot of the moms and I would get together afterward while the kids were playing on the playground ... and we would talk about everything, including books. ... And [we realized that] we really missed having intelligent conversation with other women that went beyond diapers, etc.

Does your club have a structure to it? Did you start with any rules? We wanted members to have read the book being discussed, but if you didn't read it, it was OK. But if you didn't read it, why didn't you? ... We wanted people to make the effort to read it. ... We wanted it to be fun. We wanted it to be social. ... We had food that went along with the book. If we were in the South, for example, we had hush puppies, or we read "Snow Falling on Cedars" so we had sushi.

What book are members reading this month? This month, we are reading "Ahab's Wife: or, The Star-Gazer," and that is by Sena Jeter Naslund. It's a fictional version of the woman that married Ahab from "Moby Dick."

What books have members especially liked? One book everybody really enjoyed was a book by Wally Lamb, and it was called "I Know This Much Is True." He used many, many voices and many, many styles to chronicle the life and the history of a particular man. ... The author uses everything, from present tense discussion to a diary ... so there are a lot of stories within stories. ...

We did "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling because we wanted to delve into juvenile fiction, and a couple of the moms have 8- to 10-year-olds who just loved it. ... She wrote it on many levels. You could take it on the surface with the wizards, dragons, spells and friendly ghosts, then you could go into it more deeply ... how really it could apply to young people's lives: how it's hard to fit in with a group, how to assert yourself amongst your peers for what you believe in.

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