LitClub:  Happy Bookers
Linn, Missouri

club_happybookerMEET THIS ROWDY bunch of readers—a group from a small town near the capital of MO. They've read, partied, and paraded together for 15 years, all beneath the banner of "Happy Bookers"!

Do you really have your own banner?
Absolutely! We had a local seamstress sew one up for us. We stick it in the yard of the hostess every time we meet. And we carry it when we march in our local parade.

As a group, you do some serious traveling, right?
Right. We drove 1,000 miles (round trip) to Jefferson, Texas, to visit Beauty and the Book—the only hair salon / book store in the country. And, yes, we had makeovers—it was great fun, and we hope to go again!

We also like to visit out-of-town book clubs to see what they're up to and share ideas.

And sometimes we've taken road trips to hear authors of a books we've read—Sara Gruen of Water for Elephants and Jeanette Walls of The Glass Castle are two we've heard.

What else do you do?
Our June meetings are always special. This year our book was And These Shoes are Made for Walking (Kathi Kamen Goldmark). Rita Starnes, our hostess, went all out with the invitations, party favors, food, and drink. Members wrote and performed songs—with prizes given to the best honky-tonk entry!

Any other celebrations?
Christmas really brings out our creative talents. One year our hostess sent out the beginning of a short story—with a challenge: we were each to write our own ending! We discovered some pretty clever writers in our midst.

Also, each Christmas we each bring a book related gift ($10 value) and play Rob Your Neighbor. It's quite spirited.

Okay, party girls, ever get around to reading?
Yes, we do—15 years, 10 books a do the math. It's a lot of reading!

We choose all our books in September (after taking July and August off). Everyone brings suggestions, books, and reviews—and then we vote. We try to stick to paperbacks to make it easier on our wallets.

What books have lead to particularly good discussions.
I Love You Like a Tomato by Marie Giordano
Glass Castle
 Da Vinci Code
Pope Joan
Devil in the White City
Enemy Women
I Will Plant You a Lilac Tree by Laura Hillman
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Bel Canto
Nickel and Dimed
Kite Runner
Thousand Splendid Suns
Kidnapped! by Estella Pucher (a local author)
Turtle Moon

Any books you found controversial?
My Sister's Keeper
Memory Keeper's Daughter
Eat, Pray, Love
Drowning People by Richard Mason
The Hours

How would you sum up your club?
We're a lively group, and we work to keep our meetings varied. One of our members, Lisa, used to lead all discussions, but this is our first year in which each member will take a turn leading—which is why we're so thrilled to find LitLovers as a source. [Be still my heart.— Editor]

We've also invited a local book store manager, our new library director, and a number of authors to our meetings.

Within our community, many of our members are active at our local Friends of the Library—in fact, several are founding members. We've also given to local organizations from time to time that support education or reading. We believe in celebrating books—they're a big part of our lives!

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