We are all employees of Nicor Gas, based in Naperville. Our book club began in 1992 when a handful of employees decided to gather informally during lunch to discuss books. Our club has since expanded to 38 employees, including four retirees. We meet once a month in the corporate library at the company's headquarters in Naperville.
What we read
We tend to read our selections more carefully when we know the author will be participating in our discussion. Last year, local authors Bryan Gruley, John F. Wasik, Laura Caldwell and Michael Collins called in and described their backgrounds, writing styles and upcoming projects for us.
Several of them also recommended books for the club: Michael Collins suggested "Cutting for Stone," by Abraham Verghese, and Sarah Blake, who holds a doctorate in Victorian literature, recommended "The Woman in White," by Wilkie Collins.
We really enjoyed "The Merchant of Power: Sam Insull, Thomas Edison and the Creation of the Modern Metropolis" by John F. Wasik. As employees of a natural gas distribution company, we enjoyed discussing the history of the energy industry.
"A Widow's Story," by Joyce Carol Oates, was not one of our favorites. Most of us thought her grief was "over the top."
This month, we're reading Simon Winchester's "The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary." Next month, it's Carlos Ruiz Zafón's "The Shadow of the Wind."