Diversity of taste, views cherished in book club

There are eight women, we call ourselves Bookmates, who meet in living rooms throughout Rockdale once a month. We meet once a month to discuss literature, or what we think passes as lit. We discuss a book a month and each member gets to choose a book.

And, oh boy, we've read plenty of stinkers: Salmon Rushdie's "Midnight's Children," Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "Love in the Time Cholera" and Mark Twain's "Innocents Abroad" come immediately to mind.

The stinker list above is mine alone and the other women in the group will probably argue my point, perhaps Kay Richardson or Annette Stone, but lucky for me I have the column.

What I particularly love about the club is the diversity of views from conservative, moderate to liberal, and our debates, no matter how heated, are always resolved before the meeting's end.

Each book we read is a segue into a broader discussion of morality, spirituality or humanity. For instance, a book about the history of tractors in the Ukraine, Dolores Sonntag's recommendation, led to a heated discussion about the pros and cons of immigration, and Tony Morrison's "Bluest Eye," Beverly Garlett's pick, sparked a lively talk about racism in the U.S.

Stephen King's book "The Shining" prompted an interesting discourse on religion and spirituality, while Edith Wharton's "Summer" got us riled up about whether or not some women are victims of circumstance or instigator's of their own fates. Both of these books were chosen by Leah Thomason.

The little tome of Vladimir Nabokov's "Lolita" kept us occupied for two full hours, when normally we discuss the books we've read for 15 to 20 minutes tops and then wind down to more personal matters, such as, family, friends and extended family.

Anne Kouba chose "Lolita" for us to read because she was still upset with her hometown's librarian, who would not allow Anne to check out the book when she was 14. After reading the book she said, "Oh my, now I get why she didn't let me check it out. And I'm glad she was looking after me."

Since Bookmates started two years ago we've had five family deaths, two births, two major surgeries and plenty of drama in between.

The one thing we all manage to agree on is good food. And this past Tuesday was no exception. After reading Diana Lopez's young-adult book "Confetti Girl" and proclaiming it cute we got down to really important business — getting our hands on Marie Gest's Peanut Butter Carmel Bar recipe.

See the recipe at right.

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2009-11-26 digital edition

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