LitClub:  Novel Nine
Lexington, Kentucky

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some are grandmothers, some mothers, and some newlyweds. Yet despite the differences in age, all share the same passion for reading and talking and having fun! Meet the Novel Nine!

Tell us your story—how you got your start.
We had our first official meeting on 9/11/2001. Yes—the actual 9/11.

Originally there were nine of us—thus, our name—who got together at the invitation of Nita, our founder.

Back then, most of us were strangers to one another. Now, nearly 14 years later, we've become a tight-knit group of friends who would do almost anything for one another.

One of your members actually lives out of state, right?
Yes. She moved away and now drives more than six hours every month to attend our meetings. That's dedication!

And you've got quite a range of ages.
Yes, 40 years, which leads to some very lively talk about books and current events.

So tell us what you've read lately.
Here's our list over the past year:

Doc (about Doc Holliday)
Light Between Oceans
Lean In
Aviator's Wife
Life After Life
Yonahlossee Riding Camp for
Irresistible Henry House
Book Thief

Any particular favorites?
We couldn't come to any agreement as to a FAVORITE. We've read so many great books over the years.

How about good discussions?
The Da Vinci Code led to a good discussion, as did West With the Night. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan generated a discussion about women's rights and how far we have come! Also Loving Frank led to a good discussion about architect Frank Lloyd Wright and his mistress.

You've invited authors to join you. Tells us about that.
We've had the pleasure of two authors who came to our meetings—Leslie Gutman (Equine E.R.) and Nancy Jensen (The Sisters). Both meetings led to lively discussions: in particular, we learned from Nancy how difficult it is to be published!

How do you make your selections?
We don't review or vote on books. Instead, when it's a member's turn to host, she chooses a book she wants to share—we get a lot of variety that way!

Any special activities?
We take December off but still meet at a restaurant for our annual Christmas party and gift exchange ($20 limit for the gift).

During the summer months, some of like to get together for a "Book Club Fix."

We occasionally attend author readings outside of our regular meetings.

We took a road trip to Asheville, North Carolina, where we rented a 7 bedroom house. We toured Asheville by trolley car, visited a local bookstore, and played Scrabble! We hope to do more road trips, but we all lead such busy lives....

Do you support any charities?
In November, we often gather the books we've finished and sell them to Half Price Books. We donate the money we collect to a charity—a different one each time.

Many of us attend an annual benefit to help out a non-profit preschool.

When members lose a loved one, we make a donation in that person's name to the University of Kentucky's Carnegie Center for Reading.

Overall, how would you describe your club?
We all share the love of reading (some are voracious readers), and everyone looks forward to our monthly meetings. But a month seems too long to go without catching up: we're so pleased to see one another that sometimes we have to make ourselves stop chatting to engage in the book discussion. That's the kind of close bond we've developed.

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