Peace River Book Club

Alberta Book Clubs

Our book club was started in June 1989 by Helmi Bracco Callaghan. The first meeting was held in her backyard and Peek Frean cookies were served but no one can remember which book was discussed. I attended the second meeting in September 1989 at which we discussed The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler. Within months after starting the club, Helmi moved away from Peace River. Many members have come and gone over the years but we have three of the original members still involved. At present we are all women but on several occasions some of our husbands have come to the meetings. The discussion often takes a different tone when the men are there.

In June 1994 I started keeping a formal diary of our meetings and we managed to retroactively piece together a record of all the books we have discussed. At present there are about 19 members and usually about 12 show up for each meeting. We find that if we all show up it is harder to keep the discussion going as one large group and smaller groups start talking in their own corners.

Our Book Club has quite a diverse membership including two pharmacists, two physicians, two physiotherapists, one Book Store Clerk, two artists who are also stay-at-home moms, three other stay-at-home moms/community volunteers, one teacher, two Special needs teacher aides, one College teacher, one former teacher who is now in Health Promotions, and one self-employed cleaning lady.

We meet about 6 - 8 times a year and take turns hosting the meeting in our homes. The hostess serves wine and beverages, some finger food and a dessert and coffee. Food is a very important part of the meetings and we keep a record of what has been served. We only have to host a meeting about once every two years.

In the last two years we have allowed the hostess to select the book for the next meeting. Prior to that we decided as a group which books we were to read but found that not everyone was getting a fair voice in the decision.

In the ten years that our book club has been meeting, I have been to every meeting except two - the first one and one earlier this year. Our format is very informal. We try to discuss the book for at least an hour. Luckily some of the members make notes or mark passages. This helps a lot in getting the discussion rolling. We frequently get off on a tangent - religion, sex, men and children usually come up in most meetings! It is my job (self-appointed) to get discussion back to the book. We hold our meetings on a Friday evening starting at 8 pm and they last 3 - 4 hours. We have a lot of laughs and share a lot of wonderful thoughts. We also have gotten to know each other very well and shared our major life events with each other.

Karen Lundgard
Peace River, Alberta

This is a list of the books we have read starting with the most recent:

Christy   by Catherine Marshall
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood   by Rebecca Wells
Crazy in Alabama   by Mark Childress
The Poisonwood Bible   by Barbara Kingsolver
Ladder of Years   by Anne Tyler
The Sun Also Rises   by Ernest Hemingway
Angela's Ashes   by Frank McCourt
Behind the Scenes at the Museum   by Kate Atkinson
Memoirs of a Geisha   by Arthur Golden
The Cider House Rules   by John Irving
Anna Karenina   by Leo Tolstoy
A Good House   by Bonnie Burnard
Mother of Pearl   by Melinda Haynes
On The Black Hill   by Bruce Chatwin
Chokehold   by Todd Babiak
Like Water for Chocolate   by Laura Esquivel
The Vagina Monologues   by Eve Ansler
We Were The Mulvaney's   by Joyce Carol Oates
Mutant Message from Forever   by Marlo Morgan
Midnight's Children   by Salman Rushdie
A Man in Full   by Tom Wolfe
Bald in the Land of Big Hair   by Joni Rodgers
House of Sand and Fog   by Andre Dubus III
The Archivist   by Martha Cooley
Mercy Among the Children   by David Adams Richards
The Last Time They Met   by Anita Shreve
The Red Tent   by Anita Diamant
Year of Wonders   by Geraldine Brooks
Life of Pi   by Yann Martel
Clara Callan   by Richard B. Wright
Nine Parts of Desire   by Geraldine Brooks
One True Thing   by Anna Quindlen
Talk Before Sleep   by Elizabeth Berg
Where the Heart Is   by Billie Lett
Midwives   by Chris Bohjalian
Into Thin Air   by Jon Krakauer
The Ugly American   by William Lederer & Eugene Burdick
The God of Small Things   by Arundhati Roy
Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys
Fugitive Pieces   by Anne Michaels
A Lesson Before Dying   by Ernest Gaines
A Stone for Danny Fisher   by Harold Robbins
A Soldier of the Great War   by Mark Helprin
Snow Falling on Cedars   by David Guterson
The Cure for Death by Lightning   by Gail Anderson-Dargatz
Far from the Madding Crowd   by Thomas Hardy
Stones from the River   by Ursula Hegi
The English Patient   by Michael Ondaatje
She's Come Undone   by Wally Lamb
Beloved   by Ton Morrison
Surfacing   by Margaret Atwood
The Piano Man's Daughter   by Timothy Findlay
Two Solitudes   by Huigh MacLellan
Beach Music   by Pat Conroy
Dolores Claiborne   by Stephen King
Love in The Time of Cholera   by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Becoming a Man   by Paul Monette
Sense and Sensibility   by Jane Austen
Away   by Jane Urquhart
The Concubine's Children   by Denise Chong
The Alineist   by Caleb Carr
A Thousand Acres   by Jane Smiley
Icefields   by Thomas Wharton   (an author who lived in Peace River for a time)
Lives of the Saints   by Nino Ricco
The Shipping News   by E. Annie Proulx
The Ginger Tree   by Oswald Wynd
Children of Men   by P.D.James
A Prayer for Owen Meany   by John Irving
Stone Diaries   by Carol Shields
Possessing the Secret of Joy   by Alice Walker
Summer People   by Marge Piercey
Not Wanted on the Voyage   by Timothy Findlay
Swamp Angel   by Ethel Wilson
The Bone People   by Keri Hulme
Geek Love   by Catherine Dunn
A Year In Provence   by Peter Mayle
The Education of Little Tree   by Forrest Carter
Counterpoint   by Marie Moser
Tin Flute   by Gabriel Roy
Wilderness Tips by Margaret Atwood
The Bean Tree   by Barbara Kingsolver
The Wars   by Timothy Findlay
Prince of Tides   by Pat Conroy
King Rat   by James Clavell
Cat's Eye   by Margaret Atwood
Three Came Home   by Agnes Newton Keith
Wuthering Heights   by Emily Bronte
The Dark Quartet   by Lynne Reid Banks
Fahrenheit 451   by Ray Bradbury
The Y Chromosome   by Leona Gom
The Joy Luck Club   by Amy Tan
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Gone to Soldiers   by Marge Piercey
Testament of Youth   by Vera Brittain
The Color Purple   by Alice Walker
Green City in The Sun   by Barbara Wood
Handmaid's Tale   by Margaret Atwood
Bred in the Bone   by Robertson Davies
Twopence to Cross the Mersey   by Helen Forrester
The Shell Seekers   by Rosamund Pilcher
Mists of Avalon   by Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Fifth Child   by Doris Lessing
The Lives of Girls and Women   by Alice Munro
The Accidental Tourist   by Anne Tyler

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