LitClub:  The Breakfast Book Club
Berwick, Pennsylvania

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THEY LOVED HAVING breakfast together after their class at the YMCA—and realized they talked a lot about books. So what to do but change their name from The Breakfast Club to...well, you guessed it!

Sounds like you were a book club before you even realized it?
Just about. We'd been meeting for a while—and often found ourselves discussing books—when one of us said, "Let's see if we can get a real book group together."

So we chose a book (Little Women), called a few more friends, and got started! That was in the fall of 2013.

Tell us what you've read lately?
We read old and new titles. Here is this past year's list:

Water for Elephants
Skipping Christmas
While I Was Gone
Storied Life of AJ Fikry
Revolutionary Road
Big Little Lies
Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
One Plus One
Gray Mountain
Orphan Train

We also read a Nancy Drew Mystery—each of us chose our own—just to see what we thought about her after all these years.

So what did you think?
Well, here's our shared opinion— Nancy Drew, how we have outgrown you!

For those of us who LOVED the books as kids, we're not so sure how we feel about them now.

Interestingly, the stories themselves didn't seem so dated, but we found Nancy to be unrealistically independent and mature for an 18 year old, as well as bossy and nosy.

Any favorite books?
Yes, Nightingale. This book was LOVED!—some of us felt it was the most powerful book we'd ever read, certainly the most powerful one we've read as a group. All of us were stunned by the descriptions of life in WWII France during German occupation.

How about particularly good discussions?
Big Little Lies resulted in the most interesting discussion this past year.

We talked about parents behaving badly, bullying, domestic violence, affairs, divorces, step families and other timely issues of the day—all prevalent in the book. The school yard antics stood out to us, maybe because so many in our group are retired educators.

Any disappointments?
Little Women, our first book as a club, was the most disappointing.  Most of us remember liking it as teenagers (or at whatever age we read it the first time) but found it tedious this time around.  

Revolutionary Road was disliked across the board. No one could find anything good to say about it.

You do some VERY impressive community work.
Yes. We recently started a local chapter of Books to Keep. We read about the group in a LitLovers Blog post.

We began distributing new and genlty used books to needy children through a local food bank. And just recently we were awarded (FREE) almost 8,000 new children's books through the First Book Organization!

Fantastic! Tell us more.
We learned about First Book through our contact at Books to Keep. As a result, we will be able to increase our distribution of books to needy children in our area and, as one of our members always says, "Share our love of reading with others."

Because we live in a small town, we made the front page of our local daily newspaper, complete with a photo of us "unloading" our "Bonanza of Books" (below).
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 Any special club activities?
Usually we meet at a local restaurant for breakfast and discussion, but occasionally we do something different.

After reading The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, one of our members hosted an English tea (see photo, top of column). Members brought teapots, and we enjoyed scones and other excellent breakfast items served on a beautifully decorated table.

We've also had a Christmas Book Exchange (bottom photo), and we viewed the 1994 film version of Little Women with Susan Sarandon and Wynona Ryder. (We liked the movie much better than the book, which is unusual for us. Maybe the wine and snacks helped!)

Generally, then, how would you describe your group?
Many members of the group are retired educators (teachers, administrators, teaching assistants), but not all. Most of us are fully or semi-retired. Most importantly we all love to read.

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