• 52°

Passionate readers join new book clubs

By Deirdre Parker Smith

deirdre.smith@salisburypost.com

About 10 people gathered in the back of Literary BookPost for the first session of Jenny Hubbard’s new book club, The Last Tuesday Book Club, on Sept. 29. Hubbard and the group discussed “Trespass” by Rose Tremain, a book they all enjoyed, despite its dark tone.

Last Thursday, eight people gathered for Wendy’s Book Club, featuring Wendy Beeker, who works at the store and was recently in “Calendar Girls.” Beeker chose Alice Hoffman’s “The Marriage of Opposites.” Her club will be on the first Thursday of each month.

Hubbard, a former high school and college English teacher, said, “It was a chance for me to be back in the classroom, so to speak,” and she guided the club much as a professor would during class, asking questions, pointing out answers, drawing people out to tell her what they thought.

Those attending were regulars at book events, including Jenny’s mother, Jayne Hubbard, Betty Mickle, Connie Peacock, Philip Herman, a writer himself; Lou Adkins, Katie Scarvey, Lewellyn Padgett, Kim Fahs and Jane Gamewell.

The one-hour format, from 11 a.m.-noon, would work as an early lunch hour for readers, who could easily bring a brown bag lunch. The seating is comfortable and drinks are available.

Others in the group had been teachers or worked in the schools, sharing a love of learning.

Many, like Padgett, said they “fell in love with reading at an early age.” Herman liked the group because it helps him as a writer to talk about books. Everyone there said they loved to talk about books. One woman said she belonged to a book club that never really gets around to talking about books.

Hubbard had recently discovered Tremain, a much awarded British author and Francophile. “Trespass” is set in France. Many of her books are historical. Her most recent is a collection of short stories, “The American Lover,” published in America early in 2015.

Hubbard read the New York Times review of the short stories, then started looking at Tremain’s works, finally settling on “Trespass.”

Hubbard liked the structure of the book, which started in present tense, then moved to the past tense. Padgett appreciated how quickly the structure drew her in. Hubbard pointed out the characters were all motivated by things that happened in their childhood. “They’re defined by their past.”

And the discussion followed that path, as Hubbard pointed out all the characters are trespassing and being trespassed against. One of the readers pointed out the interview with Tremain in the back of the book, in which she talks about how people cope with the trespass of death, since few believe in an afterlife. Hubbard asked, “Could this be about her own exploration?”

Hubbard continued, “You’ve heard to write what you know, but Rose Tremain writes what she does not know. She seeks the strange, the unfamiliar to illuminate her novel.”

Wendy’s approach to the book club was to start the discussion and get everyone involved.  She used the reader’s guide from the publisher to spark conversation.

The group that joined her included Betty Mickle, who should win an award for most bookish in Salisbury. Others included a couple of former teachers, Cindi Graham and Robin Hendrick; JoAnn Nelson, Deanna White, who’s new to the area; Dr. Jessie Blumenthal and Wendy Williams.

All of them said they had a passion for reading. Beeker told them she wanted to get people out of their comfort zones with the books she picks. In “The Marriage of Opposites”  Hoffman explores how opposites work, so Beeker asked the group about the most obvious opposites in the book. It is historical fiction about the mother of painter Camille Pissaro.

Race and religion, wealth and poverty, searing heat and bitter cold are some of the opposites Hoffman writes about.

Mickle compared it to the works of Isabel Allende; Beeker to Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The discussion turned to identity, when it’s formed and how it molds who you are and what you do.

Readers talked about how vividly Hoffman describes Pissaro painting in an old barn, so vividly they could see the colors as if they were looking at the painting.

Beeker said the book was so engrossing that when she finished it, she wasn’t sure where she was.

They also discussed the strong women in the book who were powerful within their families and small sphere, but were denied any real power in the world.

In Beeker’s quest to challenge book club members, she chose “Out Stealing Horses” by Per Pettersoon for the Nov. 5 meeting.

Hubbard chose a non-fiction work sure to raise interesting questions, “Strangers Drowning,” by Larissa MacFarquhar, which looks at extreme altruism. The Last Tuesday Book Club will mee Oct. 27.

 

Comments

News

Catawba College hosts three in-person commencement ceremonies

Local

With high case loads causing numerous staff departures, Child Protective Services seeks more positions

Education

Livingstone College graduates celebrate ‘crossing the finish line’ during commencement celebration

Coronavirus

Rowan sees 4 new COVID-19 deaths as mask mandate lifted, vaccines administered continue decline

Local

Spencer is latest town updating its development ordinance

Local

Salisbury native Kristy Woodson Harvey makes NY Times bestseller list

Local

Board of Commissioners will convene for third time in May

Business

Biz Roundup: Salisbury, Kannapolis among recipients of Region of Excellence Awards

Local

Cheerleading team competes at Disney

Education

Salisbury High to celebrate football, swimming champions with parade

High School

High school girls soccer: Isley, Webb lead all-county team

Local

Spencer awarded $10,000 to develop trails at Stanback Forest

Books

‘Tails and Tales’ coming to library this summer

Local

Public Records: March Deeds

Entertainment

Salisbury Symphony’s ‘Return to the Concert Hall’ available May 24-31

Coronavirus

Salisbury teen becomes one of first in age group to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Business

Down Goat: Local farm and creamery poised to add goat yoga, artisan goat cheese to offerings

Local

Pandemic’s impact, uncertainty of transit funding prompt request to eliminate Rowan Express service

Lifestyle

New Waterworks’ exhibit opens June 1

High School

High school football: Walsh accepts the South football challenge

Lifestyle

Price of Freedom Museum gets donated landscape project

Lifestyle

Rowan Museum will have Upscale Yard Sale Saturday

Business

Seventh dragon boat festival set for July 24; deadline for sponsorships is May 28

Nation/World

‘Shocking and horrifying’: Israel destroys AP office in Gaza