Wednesday, December 5, 2012


I love my book club. And I expect if you're like most of the women I know, you love your book club too.

What's not to love? Here we have a group of women who enjoy reading, researching and discussing books. All kinds of books. One year my club read only Orange Prize winners. Another year we concentrated on mystery and spy novels. Still another we read exclusively from the European renaissance period.

I first met the women in my book club fifteen years ago when I was invited to speak about Canadian crime novels at one of their meetings. When, at the end of the meeting, they invited me to join the club, I jumped at the chance. How could I not? Here was a group of intelligent, articulate and intensely curious women. These gals question every assumption and it's made for some fine and heated arguments over the years. We’re mostly retired now, former teachers, a CBC executive, a librarian and a senior public servant. Without the tyranny of day jobs, we can get together in the afternoon over a cup of tea and fancy cakes. But being retired doesn't mean the discussion or arguments are any less intense. The hostess often prepares handouts and a list of questions and God help anyone who hasn’t read the book.

We've been through a lot together, my book club and I. We've lost members to cancer and heart disease and supported one another through family tragedies. These women turned up in force for my launch of Locked Up, and they bought dozens of books to give away as gifts.

One curious thing about book clubs is that they're almost always the domain of women. I wonder why more retired men don't join or form book clubs. Maybe they do, only they call them something else. My husband has a group of friends who meet for lunch once a month and call themselves The Gentlemen's Lunch. When I ask what they talk about, he says, "Oh, books mainly." But when I suggest it might be a book club, he looks horrified. Book clubs apparently, are only for women.

Sue Pike has published a couple of dozen stories and won several awards including an Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Crime Story. Her latest, Where the Snow Lay Dinted appeared in the January issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. Sue and her husband and an opinionated Australian Shepherd named Cooper spend the winter months in Ottawa and the rest of the time at a mysterious cottage on the Rideau Lakes.

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