Allviews' membership is an eclectic, co-ed mix

Book club

September 20, 2001

An interview with Susan Hardie, a four-year member of Allviews book club.

Where does the name of your book club come from? Most of us live in Allviews Estates in Columbia.

What book are members reading this month? This month, it's Modern Baptists. The author is James Wilcox. It's somewhat of an ironic comedy with unusual characters and sort of difficult situations that [the protagonist] gets himself into. He's sort of a sad sack.

Does your group concentrate on certain kinds of books? No. We have a varied book club [membership]. We're ages, probably, late 30s to early 70s, and we're co-ed, which is unusual. We have two men and five women.

Do you find that members' tastes vary by gender or age? No. It's interesting. It's a really eclectic mix. ... We don't always read the most modern bestsellers because we usually try to get the books from the library, and it's not always easy to find the most current books in six or seven copies.

Are there any books that members have especially liked? There are two books that everyone definitely liked and enjoyed reading. And one was - it's by Wallace Stegner - and the book is called Angle of Repose. ... The main character was a woman who was transplanted to the western part of the country in the 1800s and had to go from a life of ease to a more difficult life as a wife of a farmer. The other book was Angela's Ashes [by Frank McCourt]. [Members liked] the fact that a story of people with such difficult lives could be written in such a beautiful manner that the people came alive, that you could see the beauty in their lives in spite of the dire poverty and such bad circumstances.

Is there a book none of the members liked? I would say the closest we came to that was Dutch [by Edmund Morris]. It just was hard to slog through because it was sort of semi-fiction. It wasn't a biography of [former President Ronald] Reagan, so you never knew whether what you were reading was true or not.

How did you pick that book? Our selection process is that each member chooses a book in a seven-month cycle. The person whose house we meet at chooses the book for the next month.

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