North Rosedale Park resident, Community House Building Manager and book club coordinator Nicole Daniels set up another table to accommodate the women who were arriving, books in hand. Shirl Ryan brought Jollof rice, a dish popular in Nigeria, the setting of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun, the novel they were set to discuss. Nicole’s mother, Janice King, had her binder full of maps, definitions, and research, typical for Janice’s involvement in the reading selection. Sonya Pouncy arrived, looking forward to both the food and the discussion. Betty Redditt walked in and admitted that she hadn’t quite finished, but that she looked forward to the discussion anyway.
Book Club in the Park began about two years ago. The group started out by following the Detroit Public Library’s Book in a Bag program, but soon outgrew that. They applied and received a grant from the Great Michigan Read which offered free copies of the featured book as well as a study guide to direct their discussion. Now the group members put their ideas for books to read in a bowl, and simply choose one for the group to read. Whosever book is chosen leads the discussion. The book club reads both fiction and non-fiction, and often the food shared is reflective of the books they read. “When we read Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca we had tea and scones,” remembered Janice. “When wine is featured in one of the books, the discussion can get very lively.”
Usually 12-15 people, Book Club in the Park has also met at the Just a Bit Eclectic tea shop at 19015 West McNichols. The North Rosedale Park Community House is their home base, however. They meet the third Thursday of the month whether they have finished or even liked the book or not. “Everyone is comfortable enough to say if they don’t like a book,” says Nicole. Betty Redditt remembers one in particular: “I was reading one of our books and I put it down after just about 20 pages. I thought ‘I can’t read this!’” Sonya remembered the book too: “Oh, I loved that book!” Clearly all input is welcome. Finished or not, the members of Book Club in the Park come to share what they think, to hear what others think, to eat, to laugh, to have an evening of fun and lively discussion.
Book Club in the Park is particularly excited about next month’s reading of local author Heather Buchanan’s novel Dark River. The novel is about intrigue, love, murder and greed, and is set in Detroit’s early days. The author will be joining the book club for the discussion! It’s certain she will find an enthusiastic group. Get your hands on a copy and come and join the discussion!