Things to know about our club: Women Who Read has been in existence for 14 years, beginning as a small group of co-workers who then brought along friends and neighbors. We're a diverse group, with careers ranging from artist to scientist, but our love of reading joins us. As far as our book choices, we try to include at least one classic and one nonfiction book each year. The rest are selected by consensus. Our monthly meeting location rotates between our homes, but we have two special meetings. One is during the summer, when we combine our discussion with a garden tour in one member's lovely yard. The other is in December, when we are treated to a special Christmas wonderland in a fabulously decorated home. The highlight is a wrapped book exchange, where we draw names and give books we wish someone would give us — or ones we've read and loved. Recently, Justine Vaughn, a key member and the hostess of our annual Christmas celebration, passed away after a battle with cancer.
Authors we'd most like to meet: Arthur Golden, Sue Monk Kidd, Ann Patchett and Amy Tan. A group of our members took a field trip to the Women and Children First bookstore to hear Audrey Niffenegger read from "Her Fearful Symmetry."
Worst reason anyone has given for not reading an assigned book: We're a group of independent and outspoken women, so no excuses are needed. Some of us will start a book and decide life's too short to struggle through something that's not enjoyable. It's always fun when the discussion intrigues a rebel to finish a book that had been abandoned.
Average time we spend talking about a book before the conversation swerves off into politics and family issues: This varies from book to book. Often, someone will pull background information and topical questions from the Internet, which leads to extended discussions. If a book was unanimously uninteresting, we have no problem moving quickly from the drama of literature to the drama of our own lives. Some of our best discussions were about "House of Sand and Fog" by Andre Dubus III, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith and "Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia" by Elizabeth Gilbert. Very seldom does everyone agree about our book selections. For example, during our discussion of "The DaVinci Code" by Dan Brown, one member exclaimed, "Did everyone love this book as much as I did?" A fellow booklover quickly responded, "I thought it was the worst book I have ever read!"
Our favorite authors: Barbara Kingsolver, Anne Tyler, Richard Russo, Elizabeth Berg and Anna Quindlen.
What books are next: Coming books will include "The Woman in White" by Wilkie Collins, "The Tortilla Curtain" by T. Coraghessan Boyle, "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace … One School at a Time" by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin and "The Day the Falls Stood Still" by Cathy Marie Buchanan.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times