Friday, November 9, 2012


Let's hear it for Book Clubs!

Ottawa is a city that's blessed with, what it seems, book clubs in every neighbourhood. They meet in homes, in libraries, in bookstores, at community centres, even in pubs. Most meet monthly, with summer's off.

There are book clubs focused on mainstream novels, on books in general, and of course, on mysteries.

There are several mystery book clubs actively reading, dissecting, and enjoying all types of mysteries, many inviting local authors to speak to them when it's one of their books being read. And, it's becoming easier to slip the odd mystery title into the year's reading list for the others.

The format in each club is as different as the people involved. Some share ideas and opinions after reading the selection, at the meeting, often resulting in lively discussions. Some clubs have a member doing a presentation on the chosen book but of course, all must have read it in order to contribute to the talk. Some meet in the mornings, afternoons or evenings. My book club even includes a "spa weekend" in the mix...and the talk and laughter never ends.

Of course, a major part of most book clubs is the food (and wine). As much thought goes into this as into choosing each title. And so it should be, because a good read and good food go so well together.

You may wonder why I'm thinking of book clubs today (or maybe you're not wondering). It's because my nameless book club, which has been in operation for maybe 15 years now -- always nameless -- is now searching for a name. We've been having fun brainstorming by email with everything from the Happy Booker to Wine, Women & Words to Brazen Bookaholics being tossed around. No decision has as yet been made but stay tuned for developing news!

In the meantime I propose we raise a glass in toast of our wonderful array of book clubs, be they mystery readers or not. (We'll convince them all at some point to come over to the dark side.) Authors thrive because of them...and of course, we're all readers.

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

Berkley Prime Crime, now available
READ and BURIED, coming Dec., 2012, available for pre-order

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