www.montereycountynow.com JUNE 27-JULY 3, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 21 They’re currently reading Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver. It’s also the most popular title in the Monterey County Free Libraries’ Book Club To Go Program. There are 94 fiction titles and 24 nonfiction in rotation, with the most popular checked out through 2025. Library card holders check out a green bag of 10 editions, plus a brief author bio and suggested questions, prepared by librarian Carol Shields. She responds to regulars’ requests, with a recent emphasis on “more books for guys” and multicultural stories. “We try to listen to them and get it if we can,” Shields says. ~~ ~~ There’s no single right way to structure a book club, but a few have formulas that work. In some, like the Badass Big Sur Bitches Book Club, members democratically select the reading list. They pitch two to three books they want to read in the coming year, then vote, and 12 books are selected; then facilitator Danielle Glazer chooses the order. “I love reading, but I had stopped reading on a regular basis. I thought [joining a book club] would give me accountability to stick with a book,” Glazer says. It worked—but she’s also learned to give herself permission not to finish a book if it’s not resonating. A big emphasis of the all-women group is community. Glazer estimates they spent most of the time socializing, and about 30-50 percent on the discussion, depending on the book. Striking the right balance in a book club between socializing and dialogue can be the key to success, but the right balance is subjective. Same goes for how often to read, and how weighty the books should be. Perhaps most important is to set expectations that everyone agrees to. Even as a professional book club facilitator, Carson makes sure people feel welcome even if they haven’t finished a book—and in some cases, haven’t even started it. “I never make people feel bad about not having read the book. I just say, ‘I’m so glad you’re here, and I’m sure you will get something out of the discussion,’” she says. “Making them feel bad about not having done their homework is not the environment I want to create.” Of course, there’s a limit—if most members do not complete the book and you’re the only member who stayed up late to do your homework, it’s demoralizing to discover everyone else is just there for the cheese plate. Carson’s intent is to create an environment that supports literature and ideas as a focal point for social gatherings, bringing people together around something substantive and mind-expanding. A bad book club can be a source of frustration (bad books, bad discussion), but a good book club can be a journey in deepening how we read and comprehend great books, and read books we might otherwise not pick up. “There is a saying, ‘The reader completes the book,’” Carson says. “A good book asks more questions than it answers.” Carol Shields facilitates Monterey County Free Libraries’ Book Club To Go program, which circulates 10 copies of each title. Bags are stored in the Seaside branch library. DANIEL DREIFUSS ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES Stop By To Shop And Find Your Vintage Treasure OVER 100 DEALERS 21,000 SQUARE FEET The Largest Antiques and Collectibles Mall on the Central Coast 471 WAVE STREET MONTEREY (831) 655-0264 P M canneryrowantiquemall.com Open Daily 11am-6pm ’23 Voted Monterey County's Best Antique Shop ♦ 3 Card Poker ♠ Century 21st No Bust Black Jack ♣ Texas Hold’em ♥ Baccarat FULL BAR! BLACKJACK BONUS POINTS PAYS UP TO $20,000 SMALL TOWN BIG PAYOUTS! 1-800-Gambler • Gega-003846, Gega-Gega-003703, Gega-000889 Gega-000891 Gega-002838 The Marina Club Casino ensures the safety and security of all guests and team members at all times, while providing exceptional service. 204 Carmel Ave. Marina 831-384-0925 casinomonterey.com ♠ ♣ ♥ ♦ Just minutes from Downtown Monterey Where Monterey Comes To Play