LitClub:  Dirty Dogs
Concord, North Carolina, and surrounding towns

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An ARTIST, A BAKER, and a candlestick maker...well, actually, a cobbler. Still, it sounds like a nursery rhyme. But they're for real, and they're members of Dirty Dogs, a North Carolina book club. And no, they don't have fleas.

Okay, your name—we need to know.
Well, we started at a local library, but eventually we broke off on our own. We wanted flexibility in how we run our meetings, as well as how we select and discuss our books.

But we felt guilty about abandoning the library, so we began referring to ourselves as "you dirty dogs, you."

So how long have you been around?
At least 10 years...and we have 10 or so members.

And you don't scratch or anything?
No. But we come when called, especially if wine is served at a meeting (which it always is).

So what
have you read lately?
Here's our list from the past year:

3:00 A.M.
Secret Keeper
Ten Beach Road
Screwtape Letters
Hiding Place
Boys in the Boat

Any favorites over the past 10 years?
Several from this year's list qualify as all-time favorites:
Secret Keeper
Hiding Place
Ten Beach Road

We also loved the following, simply because they were good books and led to fun discussions:
Eat Pray Love
Fahrenheit 451
Dog’s Purpose
Book Thief
Glass Castle
Cat Who Ate Danish Modern
Book of a Thousand Days
Book of Air and Shadows

Any really great discussions over the years?
One Second After by William Fortschen—We talked about survival. The book takes place in our area of North Carolina. Some of our husbands read the book, as well, and came to the meeting.

Pretty Poison (Peggy Lee Garden Mystery, 1) by Joyce & Jim Lavene—The Authors live in the area, and we invited them to our meeting to talk about the book and answer questions. They also autographed copies and brought swag for all. [Joyce Lavene is photoed above, 2nd row from the bottom, on the left. Sadly, she died in December, 2015. —Ed.]

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie—We discussed the plight of the American Indian in today's world. It was a great discussion.

Tell us about your meetings.
We meet monthly at each other's homes on a Friday night. We start at 7:00 and finish...whenever. Everyone takes a covered dish, occasionally themed to the book. We chat while we eat and afterwards discuss the book.

We don't have to read the book to attend. But the first question is always this: did we like the book, and do we want to discuss it. Some of our best discussions are for books we don't particularly like, although once—and only once—the book was so disliked we decided NOT to discuss it!

Sometimes wine is involved. Well...mostly wine is involved. is involved all the time.

How do you choose your books?
We're fairly informal. After we've eaten and discussed our book for the month, we talk about other books we’ve read. We find out who's read what—whether it was any good and whether or not we'd like to read it next month. Then we take a quick vote, and someone volunteers to host.

We've tried creating lists so we can read ahead of time, but it usually doesn't work out very well. We're better choosing books month by month.

You also join in your area's ONE BOOK READ, right?
Yes, we usually participate. Once a year the local libraries select a single book to be read by area residents. They host discussions, often with authors, and sponsor other community activities related to the book.

Finally, what would you like to leave with us?
We have an interesting group of women, some are teachers and homeschoolers. One is an artist, who created lovely glass goblets for each of us; one is a baker who made a wonderful Christmas cake for the group; and we have a real, honest-to-goodness cobbler, who makes beautiful shoes, sandals and even women's purses. (All of this is shown in the photos above.)

We have a great time together. We read a lot and believe in the three Fs: Food, Friends...and Fun. We consider ourselves sisters.

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