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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Monroe City Book Club

I asked Marlis Day to tell all of you about her extra-ordinary bookclub. I visited, and it was quite a treat! That's me with Marlis at the Blue Jean Center.

In 2003 we started a book club in our little town of Monroe City, Indiana. Women from all over the area came to join. We joined the greater "Oprah Book Club" and ordered T-shirts. In the beginning we read the books Oprah picked and made the online connections for discussion questions. She even pictured our group on her web site for a while. We were so proud. Then Oprah's book choices became less frequent and we wanted to read a book every month, so we veered off on our own and began choosing titles. We read local authors, classics, and best-sellers.

We meet in the Blue Jean Center, the old school turned community center, on the first Thursday of each month at seven. We take turns choosing titles, leading discussions, and bringing snacks. It's a women's book club and a few men have inquired, but we tell them they wouldn't want to read the books we choose. We like books about strong women and prefer women authors.

Every year we have an author night. When we host an author, we send press releases to the local paper, order a box of his/her books and read. We invite the author for dinner, prepare a wonderful home-cooked meal, and everyone brings a friend to meet the author. Our group of twenty usually ends up hosting a dinner for fifty or more. After the dinner, the author has an hour to discuss her book. This is followed by a Q&A time and book signing.

Last month we hosted Agatha Nominee for Best First Novel, Joanna Campbell Slan. We read her first mystery, Paper, Scissors, Death, and loved it. Everyone agreed she was a wonderful speaker, making us laugh all evening. Many members bought her second mystery, Cut, Crop, and Die. Our member are anxious to discuss it at our August meeting. If you need a good speaker, contact Joanna. Her books are intriguing and she is delightful!

-Marlis Day
Author of the Margo Brown Mysteries
and The Secret of Bailey's Chase, a tween novel.

Joanna responds: I just want to say that I'd drive all the way back to Monroe City just for the food! They have this dessert called Robert Redford. Believe me, you'll want to lick Robert off your spoon.


Sara-Jane said...

Sounds wonderful! Think they would share the recipe for Robert Redford?

Joanna Campbell Slan said...


I've emailed Marlis to ask. I hope her sister will share!