Well Read

Book clubs make page turning fun

By Corky Mau
March 2022

Book clubs are popping up all over the place. Members typically meet once a month, which gives everyone time to read the selected book. And there’s more than just books. Clubs are equal parts dining, socializing and reading.

Some book clubs follow celebrity recommendations. Others focus on a genre, such as romance. Libraries or bookstores sponsor clubs. Even Netflix has one, where members can read works related to films.

Some of my friends belong to Saturday Sleuths, a club focused on mystery and psychological thrillers. They meet on the second Saturday of each month, either at a member’s home or via Zoom.

Beverly Wong joined three years ago. A favorite book was “The Last Flight” by Julie Clark. “There’s an intriguing plot about two women who decide to switch identities. It was a real page turner,” Wong says, noting books open up new experiences and club meetings offer a place to discuss those experiences.

“Our discussions are lively,” she says. “Members have shared personal experiences that mimicked the plot in the book. We’ve talked about cultural differences in marriage, mental illness, psychopaths, sociopaths, etc. I’ve met really interesting women with diverse viewpoints.”

My volunteer colleague, Rebecca Talley, at the Robbie Waters Library Bookstore joined Saturday Sleuths last year. She’s also in Rise Book Club, organized by the Rise Wellness Center. The next meeting is March 7. Members will gather in person at the yoga studio or via Zoom to discuss “Mrs. Queen Takes the Train” by William Kuhn.

Talley is an avid reader. Like Wong, belonging to a book club expands her reading experience. “I miss the nonfiction group that used to meet at the Robbie Waters Library. That club pushed me to read a genre I was unfamiliar with. Luckily, the Rise Book Club occasionally selects nonfiction books,” she says.

A recent read for Talley was “Miss Benson’s Beetle” by Rachel Joyce. “Set in 1950, it’s about a British schoolteacher who leaves her dreary job and sets out on an adventure in search of the golden beetle of New Caledonia. I enjoyed the mix of history, whimsy, emotional seriousness, biology and travel elements.”

A longtime member of book clubs, Betty Eng joined two clubs: Sacramento Library Adult Book Club and Saturday Sleuths. “When I joined five years ago, Saturday Sleuths was sponsored by Belle Cooledge Library,” she says. “Today, we run it independently. People volunteer to enroll new members, track book selections and lead group discussions.”

A committee chooses books, usually from Hoopla or Libby, free electronic lending services. March’s selection is “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie. “I grew up reading Agatha Christie. When I read this book again, I found myself reflecting back on my younger years,” Eng says.

Local book clubs are easy to find. Libraries offer at least seven varieties. Go to saclibrary.org/book club. There are around 20 Sacramento-area “meet-up” book clubs. Contact Rise Wellness Center at (916) 838-4284 to inquire about its club. For mystery buffs, contact Saturday Sleuths at saturday-sleuths@googlegroups.com.


Join other volunteers Saturday, March 12, for a park cleanup. The event starts at 9 a.m. in Parkway Oaks Park. Tools are provided. Councilmember Rick Jennings and Parks Commissioner Devin Lavelle are sponsors.

California recognizes Arbor Day March 7, the birthday of horticulturist Luther Burbank. In 1875, he settled in Santa Rosa. During his 50-year career, Burbank developed more than 800 varieties of flowers, fruits and vegetables, including freestone peaches, Santa Rosa plums and the Shasta daisy. Enjoy a trip to the Luther Burbank Home & Gardens city park in Santa Rosa to learn more about him.

Meanwhile, grab a shovel and garden gloves. Register for the Arbor Day cleanup by emailing Lavelle at devinlavelle@gmail.com.

Corky Mau can be reached at corky.sue50@gmail.com. Submissions are due six weeks prior to the publication month. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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