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Swivel

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The name of our book club "Swivel" is an acronym based on the name of a school where the original members once taught. The meaning of the letters has faded over time, although we occasionally argue about it. The book club format was originally used as a forum in which members from various departments in the school could meet to discuss and exchange ideas in a social setting that would differ from staff room chat at lunch or the hilarity of a TGIF.

Swivel soon developed into a club with a regular membership which has slowly moved beyond the founding school as teachers moved or retired. Swivel has now operated for more than sixteen years with three principles at its heart: to read (and debate) enjoyably, to socialize companionably, and above all, to eat fabulously. Today the Swivel Book Club is a group of thirteen women and men who live and work in the Ottawa area. Many, now retired from careers in education, are avid gardeners, travelers and community volunteers, share a delight in reading, discussion, cooking and eating.

The clubs meets six or seven times a year to discuss books and, in May, goes on a field trip. At Swivel, we like an orderly discussion, with everyone around the circle giving their comment or opinion. Though with the heady mix of fine conversation, delicious victuals and complementary beverages, it is some times difficult to adjourn for the book discussion. Thus, we designate one of our number as time-keeper to remind us that book-talk time has arrived to discuss:

Here is the 2004-2005 season for Swivel book club of Ottawa.

The 2004 -2005 Season

  • in September a surprise field trip with sharing of The Best of Summer Reading

  • in October Elle by Douglas Glover

  • in December books by Simon Winchester*
    with special mention of The Meaning of Everything; Krakatao; The Professor and The Madman

  • in January Under the Burqa*<
    > with special mention of Reading Lolita in Tehran by Nafisa Azar; The Swallows of Kabul by Yasima Khadra

  • in March The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaege
  • in April Books about challenges* with special mention of Deafening by Frances Itani; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon

  • in May The Known World by Edward P. Jones

  • in June Novel Food* (i.e., novels in which food is a significant player) with special mention of Stanley Park by Timothy Taylor; A Cure for Death by Lightning by Gail Anderson-Dargatz; Chocolat by Joan Harris

* Individual members make their own selections and report on the work(s) selected. In Swivel, book discussions may be organized

  1. by single title in which everyone reads the same work, or
  2. by single author,
  3. by genre, or
  4. by theme in which members make their own selections.

The 2003-2004 Season

  • in September  Atonement by Ian McEwan

  • in October  The Life of Pi by Yann Martel

  • in December  Travel books by Bill Bryson*

  • in January  Challenges of early explorers*

  • in March  A post-2000 anthology of prose*   (e.g. Dropped Threads 2)

  • in April  A book with Crow in the title* (as we anticipate Anne Marie MacDonald's The Way the Crow Flies or recommend Mary Lawson's Crow Lake)

  • in May  our annual field trip - TBA

  • in June  A book whose author or central character shares a first or last name (or both) with the reader*

The 2002-2003 Season

  • in September  The Hero's Walk by Anita Rau Badami

  • in November  First Novels*

  • in December  Famous Buildings*  (picture book)

  • in January  A Book with a strange title*

  • in March  Unless by Carol Shields

  • in April  Current Australian Fiction*

  • in June  Biography of a 20th century Visual Artist*

* Individual members make their own selections and report on the work(s) selected. In Swivel, book discussions may be organized

  1. by single title in which everyone reads the same work, or
  2. by single author,
  3. by genre, or
  4. by theme in which members make their own selections.

In 1999, someone suggested that we should gather together some of the best of the club's tastiest recipes and fondest memories for our own use. A group of seven members took on the Cookbook Project. Then, when Sumach Press expressed an interest in the first draft, the group of seven became the Swivel Collective and began serious work on a cookbook for book clubs. Plots and Pans: the Book Club Cookbook, published in October 2002 by Sumach Press, is available in bookstores for $18.95 plus taxes.



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