LitClub: Sista to Sista Book Club
Greensboro, North Carolina

club sista-t-sista

NEW TO THE AREA and looking for friends, the organizer of this group was determined to find women like herself...those who share a love of books, as well as a desire for good friends — sistas!

Here's Tiffany Dixon in her own words:
"We moved to the Greensboro area when my husband took a job here. I didn't know anyone, and as a stay-at- home mom, it's hard to make new friends.

Also, as an avid reader, it was easy to let books take the place of an outside social life; that's when I realized I had to move out of my comfort zone to meet people. So I decided to combine my desire for new friends with my love of books.

I looked around for book clubs in the area but didn't find any. So I decided to start my own. I went on to find other newcomers, like me, and that's how we got together. That was in November, 2011."

How many members do you have so far?
Well, we're growing. Right now we're up to 36...and counting. Members keep bringing their family and friends.

At this point, though, we've closed the membership so we can concentrate on becoming a close-knit group. It's really exciting!

It is exciting! So tell us what you've read.
We've had two meetings so far. Our first book was Wench, which takes place in the antebellum South. It's about four American slave women from different plantations who, as mistresses, accompany their masters every year to a resort in the free state of Ohio. The possibility of escape into freedom becomes a powerful temptation.

Our most recent was Sugar by Bernice L. McFadden. It's about an unlikely friendship between a prostitute and a Christian woman, both of whom learn from each other and realize they have more in common than they first thought.

Of the two books, is there a favorite?
So far I think the group really enjoyed Sugar the most. The storyline made us all explore the hidden truths within us all. Sugar was a prostitute and, therefore, was easy to judge because her flaws were obvious; however, everyone has flaws they have to deal but some are just easier to hide than others.

What's next on your reading list?
Our book for February, 2012, is Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza. The book is about a young women's experience during the Rwandan Genocide. Since the story takes place in Africa, our meeting is going to be held at an African restaurant and everyone will wear some type of African garment. It should help us get into the spirit of the book.

How do you choose your books?
During our last meeting we had each member put a name of a book into a hat; then we drew 3 names of books to read over the next 3 months. We made sure that the books met certain criteria before they were submitted—

  • books by African-American authors
  • books we can learn from
  • books by authors whose experiences or imagination will help us grow individually and collectively.

Do you have any special activities during your meetings?
We open each meeting by going around the room, introducing ourselves, and talking about our favorite books. The icebreaker helps us get to know one another and create an environment of warmth and acceptance. We also like to plan a theme to accompany the books we read, and in the near future we'll invite authors to speak at our meetings.

Any plans for getting together outside regular meetings?
In the spring we'll start meeting once a month for a girls' night out—dinner or a movie.

How about rules?
We're still working on by-laws. But the main rule, so far, is that every member must be both respected and respectful. Everyone must be made to feel that she can contribute in some way to our meetings.

Overall, how would you describe the Sista to Sista Book Club?
While our ages range from 25-45 years, most of us are in our 30's and new to Greensboro, just like me. We all were looking for a way to meet people, and this book club has provided that opportunity.

Each member should feel welcome and accepted, no matter what her background, religion, and personal beliefs are. The overall goal is to bring together a group of women who love to read. Naturally, friendships will occur as a result.

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