Great discussions to be had at Chapter One Book Club
EDGEWATER – Among things overheard at a Chapter One Book Club meeting are scandalous tidbits on fights, relationships and treachery.
“What is said in the book club stays in the book club,” member Carol Johnson said.
Of course, all of this information pertains to fictional characters in novels.
Chapter One, a charter club started over five years ago and boasting over 40 regular members, holds monthly meetings in the Creekside Lodge. Judi Tepe is the club’s current president.
Meetings typically involve discussions on a book led by two members of the club. Occasionally, guest speakers will visit, as St. Charles author D.C. Brod did at the group’s August 7 meeting. The group has also welcomed impersonators of Mary Todd Lincoln and Jacqueline Kennedy, as well as a local expert on “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Chapter One also invests in community service, having donated books to the Boys and Girls Club of Elgin and Otter Creek Elementary School.
The group’s primary purpose, however, is to connect bibliophiles and turn readers on to some books they may have otherwise left on the shelf.
“I think most people agree that without the book club they may not have read certain titles and you may not have made that choice in the bookstore or the library. But because it was for the book club, you read it,” Glynn Wade, Chapter One’s vice president, said.
The books, which are voted on by members twice a year, encompass a number of genres, authors, and eras. Some, like Sarah Blake’s “The Postmistress,” published in 2010, are contemporary, while others, like Pearl S. Buck’s “The Good Earth,” from 1931, are classics.
After reading a book, members participate in lively discussions of the plot, themes, characters, and whatever else comes to mind. Like any book club, Chapter One is a collaborative effort.
“Reading can be very isolating, but then you can come out and talk to people about it, share your ideas, argue over what you think was good or bad,” Wade said.
What is unlike a typical book club, however, is Chapter One’s size. This does not get in the way of quality discussion, however, and members said there is a nice flow to meetings.
“Our best discussions probably come from books that we can relate to,” Sandy Mohn, who has been a member since Chapter One’s inception, said.
Mohn referenced the discussion of “Still Alice,” a novel by Lisa Genova that tells of a woman’s life with Alzheimer’s disease, as a book that really resonated with readers.
At the August 7 meeting, members discussed Brod’s 2005 novel, “Heart Stone,” a modern story of a woman seeking the cause of her father’s disappearance interwoven with Arthurian legend.
When asked about her writing method, Brod revealed that she spent 10 years writing “Heart Stone,” but the work was done around other novels.
“I spend the morning writing and the afternoon re-writing,” Brod said of her routine, adding that she does her best work when writing every day.
Discussion at the meeting involved everything from why certain characters were given their roles to which actors would play certain characters in a movie adaptation.
When one member asked why one of the characters chose to hide his second family from his original one, another reader had a quick response.
“He’s a guy,” one member answered and drew laughter from the crowd.
One thing is apparent upon entering a Chapter One meeting: there are no men. Members say men have attended meetings but none have stayed for more than a few months.
Though the club is open to all and one member said she would welcome the different perspective offered by male readers, members said they were more than happy with the current makeup of the club.
“There’s a great camaraderie of women here, very intelligent women,” Johnson said.