Almost 50 years turning pages while enriching friendships
By Patte Smith; photo courtesy of Johnna DeBella
Forty-eight years ago before book clubs were in vogue, a group of avid women readers banded together for the love of reading and discussing books – all kinds of books. The nine ladies are still going strong, and while some of the members have come and gone, a core group of original members remains.
“The years have flown by, and we still look forward to getting together,” said Connie Pundt who is one of the original members. “It’s hard to believe we started in 1972. We enjoy discussing books and being together. Often, it is the only time we get to see each other,” explained Pundt. “Several of the ladies live in Castle Pines, Castle Rock and surrounding areas, and others live in the Denver vicinity.”
Every August, the group meets for a potluck, and each member chooses a book to read over the next nine months – they take summers off. Taking turns hosting the monthly book club, the hostess facilitates the discussion of the book she chose. Wine, coffee, tea and dessert is served as they chat, laugh and discuss what they have read.
Lesca Grant, who also joined the club at the beginning, emphasized, “Reading expands a person’s knowledge and the perception of people, whether it is their differences or similarities. You can question and learn.” She noted that the group’s most memorable discussion was examining the book Paris Trout by Pete Dexter. “I know my fellow members agree that even though it was a brutal topic, it was a rousing conversation.”
“Diverse subjects and challenging authors create a memorable book club,” affirmed Pundt. Chris Gabreski, who joined the club in 1986 added, “We are forced, in a way, to read books we normally would never have considered. A variety of subject matter is key in any book club.”
Reading does not stop with a single book club pick a month with these ladies. Many of the them read two, three or more books in a month, and several of them read that many in a week – voracious readers for sure.
Socializing is part of the fun for the club, and they enjoy a Christmas tea together every year and another potluck at the end of their reading season. Sometimes they go to movies together and they even took a field trip to Barnes & Noble.
Challenges for the group include getting a tad older and driving to each other’s homes. They carpool if possible and recently changed their meeting time from Sunday evenings to Wednesday afternoons. The club continues to find thought-provoking themes as they near a half century of fascinating literary exploration.