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Zooming Books

Kathy Werner, Columnist
Posted 6/25/21

This past year the retired teachers’ group of which I am a member started a book club on Zoom. I had never been a member of any book club before, but since I had a Zoom account I volunteered to …

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Zooming Books

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This past year the retired teachers’ group of which I am a member started a book club on Zoom. I had never been a member of any book club before, but since I had a Zoom account I volunteered to host.

We put out the word and before we knew it, we had about a dozen people interested. We dubbed it The Book and Bottle Club since we intended to imbibe while we chatted.

And so it began. Only a few of us had been in a book club before, so we were winging it. Since we began our club during the pandemic and were all quite hungry for human contact, we decided to meet every two weeks and that our first book would be Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” which we would divide over those first two meetings.

From Michelle we went to Jeanine Cummins’ “American Dirt” and from there to the comic stylings of David Sedaris. The rest of our books included the monumental “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson, “Red at the Bone” by Jacqueline Woodson, and “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett. We also fit in “The Year of Living Danishly” by Helen Russell and two Carl Hiaasen novels.

But our favorite selection was “A Gentleman from Moscow” by Amor Towles, a beautifully crafted story about an elegant Count trying to make his way in newly Communist Russia. Thoroughly delightful in every way.

Over six months, we read an amazing array of books which stimulated fascinating discussions. Pandemic or not, I would highly recommend a Zoom Book Club. It has so many advantages.

First of all, by taking distance out of the equation, Zoom enabled us to spend time with some of our favorite former colleagues even though we were spread out from Cape Cod to Florida.

And since we were all on Zoom, we didn’t have to dress up and drive to some happy host’s house. And said Happy Host didn’t have to spend the day cleaning and baking and figuring out the seating arrangements for the club. We just all logged on from the comfort of our own homes and chatted away. No stress.

At the end of every session, we would chat about possible new titles and decide on one for our next meeting. Since so many of us either read e-books or audio books, we were usually able to secure our next read on the spot.

But we certainly didn’t stand on ceremony—club members need not have finished the book to attend. Heck, sometimes some of us hadn’t even begun to read the book but we always enjoyed the conversations.

Our Zoom Book and Bottle Club turned out to be an immensely enjoyable experience, and although the pandemic thankfully seems to be largely a thing of the past, we plan on continuing our long-distance book club in the fall.

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