LitClub:  Friends of East Meadow Public Library
East Meadow, Long Island, New York

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FRIENDS LIKE THESE...well, every library should be so lucky. They're the Friends of East Meadow Public Library. This Long Island (NY) group goes all out to generate buzz and excitement at their beloved local library.

You're more than a book club. Can you explain?
We're "Friends" of our local library—a group common to many libraries around the country. We help develop programs and raise funds and awareness in our community.

We've established two umbrella groups—"Friends Mystery Book Club" and a spin-off we call "An Evening with Friends."

Tell us about Evenings with Friends—sounds interesting.
The group is about a year old. It's purpose is to sponsor author appearances—for both adults and children—and the events have been quite successful.

You clearly go all out to promote them. The photos are fantastic.
Yes, we love to create eye-catching, life-sized displays. And the night of the readings, we offer themed food or candy, games, and book give-aways.

We're fortunate to have both a library and a programming director who allow us to think outside the box.

Give us some examples.
Well, for Erika Swyler's The Book of Speculation, we put on a carnival, including games and a magician.

We hosted a Chinese banquet for Henry Chang's Death Money.

For Christopher Bollen's Orient, we sponsored a Long Island harvest reception.

We served wine—the "19 Crimes" label—for Jenny Milchman's As Night Falls, and ...

We made candy "fingerprints" for Terrence McCauley's Sympathy with the Devil.

Tell us about your Mystery Book Club. What have you read lately?
Well, in addition to the five books we already mentioned—whose authors visited our library—our reading list for the past year also included...  Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart  ♦  Rabbi's Knight by Michael J. Cooper. (We skyped with the authors for both of those books)  ♦  Run You Down by Julia Dahl.

Any favorites over the years?
We loved The Whites by Richard Price because of its detailed depiction of police procedure in NYC .

We also liked Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz. Although written in 2014, it reads like a classic Sherlock Holmes who-done-it.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty is remarkable for its narrative voice, which is so funny but at the same time deals with deadly serious topics—domestic abuse and murder.

What about disappointments over the years.
Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James, a Jane Austen based mystery. It felt contrived to us, and the characters lack the sparkle of the Austen original.

Generally, how would you describe both the Friends Mystery Book Club and Evening with Friends?
The two overlap in membership and activities. All together, we make up a varied collection of people. We range in age from 18 to 90+ years, and we come from different walks of life. We have a retired social worker, a police officer, retired librarians, insurance broker, travel agent and a pathologist. It makes for a fascinating mix of people and ideas, but we're all devoted to a single cause—supporting our East Meadow Public Library.

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