Laughalotte

LitClub:  Laughalotte
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

club laughalotte0VARIETY IS THE SPICE of life for this group. Members appreciate the variety of books chosen by others—books they might not choose on their own.




Your name looks French, romantic—sort of Lancelot-ish. Or maybe Native American? Both groups have a history in your area.
No, no. Laughalotte—it's what we do. We try not to take ourselves too seriously.

Ah... You laugh-a-lot. That's good! Okay, how about some quick statistics?
Well, we started up in early 2000 and have eight members.

So what brought you together?
Our two founding members were chatting online about reading, when one observed that she chose the same type of book over and over—to the point where plot lines became predictable and boring.

Then, off the top of her head, she mused, "Wouldn’t it be fun to have a group of friends who got together, each choosing a book we wouldn't choose for ourselves? Think about the variety of books we'd be exposed to!" (She swears she didn't know about Oprah!)

The other friend latched onto the idea, saying she new a few people who might be interested. "Let's do it!" she said...and there it was!

YES! Reading together what we might not read on our own—one of the great things about book clubs.

And that brings us the question: WHAT ARE YOU READING?

Here's our list from the past year:
Paris Wife
Thirteenth Tale
Claude and Camille
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
61 Hours
Cater Street Hangman
Memory of Water
Dante Club
The Brave
Calico Joe

Any all-time favorites?
Plain Truth, our first Jodi Picoult novel—we were engaged by love and the moral dilemmas.
Sarah's Key taught us a lot about France during World War II.
Seabiscuit
, a surprise for many of us who didn't expect to like it but ended up loving it.

Other favorites include:
Art of Racing in the Rain
Have a Little Faith
Five People You Meet in Heaven
Red Tent
Thirteenth Tale
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Help
Still Alice

Great discussions?
We've had some really good discussions with My Sister's Keeper, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and Midwives.

1984 led to a particularly lively discussion. That was when we met at Border's...and, during the Orwell discussion, people we didn't even know wandered over and said, "I couldn't help but overhear, and I just have to add something."

You meet at a Border's Bookstore?
We did when we first started. It was perfect: they were so welcoming and always had a comfortable place for us to meet. They even gave us a discount on our monthly book selections! We'd buy coffee and something to nibble on. In fact, on occasion, the Barista would bring food samples over to our table to try.

They never rushed us or made us feel unwelcome. Once a man sitting nearby complained that we were making too much noise, and our very protective Barista replied, “This isn’t a library; they are regular customers, actually purchasing things, not just coming in to read.”  She got an especially big tip that night!  :)
 
So what happened?
Unfortunately, Border’s closed, and we haven’t really been the same since. We've been meeting at an Eat ‘n Park restaurant since, and although they've been very accommodating, it’s just not the same. Plus, it's a restaurant, so we feel obligated to eat a meal. But our discussions have suffered for it. We're seeking a new meeting location.
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Any ideas?
Barnes and Noble said that they would love to have us, but they close too early (our work schedules make it hard to shift to an earlier time). A nearby library said they would provide a room for us. But for now we're at Eat 'n Park...and still looking.

Why not meet in your homes?
We all work and don't want hosting the book club to be an added demand on our time. We want it to be an evening out, an escape we look forward to, something for which all we have to do is SHOW UP!

Any unusual book club activities?
We had read The Ladies of Troy Hill, about a group of women who voluntarily care for a non- denominational chapel in Troy Hill, a part of Pittsburgh. The chapel contains the largest cache of historic, religious relics in the world! So we took a group tour. It was fascinating—something we didn't know existed, let alone in our backyard!

We've been interviewed by our newspaper, attended movies of books we've read, and once had a movie/snack night at a member's home to watch A Woman of Substance. Our hostess fell asleep on the couch, which lead to a quandary: she gets up very early for work, so...should we wake her...leave quietly...wake her...leave quietly...? Just one more time to laughalotte!

Do you get together outside the club?
We've attended a mystery dinner theater. And our most memorable outing was a one-woman stand-up comedy show when a member of our group (who was celebrating her birthday) was chosen out of the audience to participate. Hysterical and unforgettable!

Overall, how would you describe Laughalotte?
Well, we laugh a lot!... and enjoy each other's company. We joined through different paths—sometimes through work or church—and not always knowing very well the person who invited us. The first invitation was simply to check the group out, to see if it would be a good fit. And, of course, we ended up staying for good!

We've grown to be great friends beyond book club. Many of us are at similar points in our lives with children and other lifetime events. It is great to have friends to commiserate with, to get support and advice from...and to keep you laughing!

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