We started out as a family book club without a name. When our relative Rich retired, he had a lot of time on his hands and would come to our meetings having done much research on the books and their authors. In time we began calling ourselves the GALUR book club, an acronym for: Get a Life, Uncle Rich.
The group represents several generations and has now been enhanced by friends. We have a dozen men and women from the city, south suburbs and northwest Indiana. In March we celebrated our 10th anniversary, and by our reckoning we have read and discussed nearly 70 books.
Our club meets about every six weeks. We take turns choosing the title, hosting the discussions and providing refreshments. We choose both fiction and nonfiction material and even read Shakespeare's play "Julius Caesar."
One thing to know about our book club: We enjoy planning refreshments and decorations that tie in with the book, and some of us dress like characters from the book we're discussing. When we read “Murder at the National Cathedral” by Margaret Truman, the hostess created a map of the church, and we made guesses about the murderer and the weapon used, similar to playing the game of Clue. We also document each meeting with photos.
Authors who have joined us for a discussion: Gary W. Moore, co-author of “Playing With the Enemy: A Baseball Prodigy, World War II, and the Long Journey Home” and Kevin Guilfoile who wrote "Cast of Shadows: A Novel."
Authors we'd most like to meet: Stieg Larsson ("The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"), Khaled Hosseini ("The Kite Runner") and Mark Haddon ("The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time")
Books we liked and that inspired the best discussions: "Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II" by Robert Kurson, “A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail” by Bill Bryson, “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel, “The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel” by Diane Setterfield and “One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd” by Jim Fergus.
The worst books we've read: “The Corrections: A Novel” by Jonathan Franzen (too long), “The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit” by Shirley MacLaine (too weird) and “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” by John Gray (too many generalizations).
Worst excuse for not reading the book: The only excuses our members have used are that they were unable to obtain a copy of the book or they didn't have time to read. However, when we arrived at the meeting to discuss “Abandon Ship!: The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, the Navy's Greatest Sea Disaster” by Richard F. Newcomb, one relative realized she had read a book with the same title by a different author. She stayed for the refreshments but spent the discussion period cleaning out her purse.
What's next: “Deadly Blessings” by local author Julie Hyzy.
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