Group's chats start with books, but usually shift to other topics

Book club

Howard Live

May 06, 2004

An interview with Sandi Nettina, a longtime member of the Book Babes of Wynfield in West Friendship.

What are you reading? Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand.

How did your group get started? Two years ago, one of the women in our community, Patti Mackey, felt she wasn't seeing the other women in the neighborhood enough and decided to start a book club for those who were interested. It sort of spread by word-of-mouth from there.

Do you do special activities along with discussing books? We have a nice dinner and drink wine. Each month's hostess decides on the theme and asks members to bring different parts of the meal. Our members tend to be parents with older children, middle school age and up.

How does the club decide on the book selections? We try to plan at least two meetings ahead, and we just take suggestions from the members. We used to meet monthly, but now it's more like every six to eight weeks.

What have been some of the more popular books? Our most popular book was the first one we read, The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver was also extremely popular and provoked a lot of discussion. The one people really loved was The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. It seems that the women always find some religious themes in every book, even if we're discussing a book about a different culture than our own. For the women in our group, religious values are important to us. At our next meeting, we're going to vote on our favorite book.

Have you read anything you consider unusual for the group? We read Longitudes and Attitudes: The World in the Age of Terrorism by Thomas L. Friedman. It stimulated some political discussion. The author is a writer for The New York Times, and the book was his commentary on events in the Middle East. It was actually easy to read because some of the contents were his columns from the newspaper.

What keeps you together? We really enjoy each other's company. People can come even if they don't finish the book. We enjoy the discussion about the book, but it always rambles off to what's happening in people's lives. Discussing the books opens us up to what's happening in the rest of the world and helps us to reflect on our own values.

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