Chicagoland book club: the theme lunch group

One thing to know about your book club: Our book club has been meeting for three years. We meet six to eight times a year and have a meal that matches the theme of the book or is really easy to make and tastes great. We met and discussed “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett and had a Junior League luncheon. Many members even wore pearls.

Author we'd most like to meet: Members of our club have met Elizabeth Berg twice at the Frankfort library and Joyce Carol Oates at the Lombard library. Now we would like to meet Amy Tan or Kathryn Stockett.

Worst excuse anyone's given for not reading an assigned book: Once someone came and said, “Oh, that was the book?” and laughed. She was there for the food and friends. If someone hasn't read the book, they are welcome to attend but we read in the Tribune about another book club that imposes a chocolate fine for non-readers and we adopted that immediately.

Average time we actually spend talking about a book before conversation swerves off into politics and family issues: We spent an hour discussing “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett because we loved it, but have sometimes only discussed a book for 10 minutes. We usually print off discussion questions and the hostess leads. We start with personal discussion, have the lunch, start the book discussion over dessert, continue it with coffee, pick the next date and end with more chat.

Books we loved: “Run” by Ann Patchett, “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, and “The Joy Luck Club“ by Amy Tan.

What books are next: “Her Fearful Symmetry” by Audrey Niffenegger and “The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel” by Diane Setterfield.

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