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Reading, Writing, and Arithimetic: 2013 Village Readers Book Club

It is a wet, cold, gray day here at the Village. As much as I love my job, this is the kind of day that makes me think longingly of home—with my comfortable chair, a blanket, a cup of tea and a good book. If you’re like me and think reading is an excellent way to spend your time, you might consider joining the museum’s book club.

The Village Readers have a few important things in common: we love books and we love history. The book club began in the early 2000s, and I took over when I joined the Village in 2004. We’re not a huge group (and at times, we were quite small—in the early days it was sometimes a “private” book club with just me and one other person!), but we now average about 10 participants at each meeting. Some members are volunteers, some are friends of volunteers, and some are colleagues from the Village and other museums. We range in age from 30ish to, well, after a certain point, it’s not polite to talk about age. Each year, we choose a theme. We only meet every other month, and we try to choose books that are 300 pages or less. We want to be challenging, but not too challenging! And yes, most of the time, everyone has read the book or at least most of the book by the time we meet.

The Empty Schoolhouse: Memories of One-Room Texas SchoolsThis year, our theme is “Education,” so we’re reading books about teachers, schools, and students. Our first book is The Empty Schoolhouse: Memories of One-Room Texas Schools by Luther Bryan Clegg. It’s a great collection or oral histories from the first half of the 20th century. We typically meet at 6 p.m. on the 4th Tuesday of the month at the Lakewood Library. We’re still working on a round of updates for the website, and the complete 2013 list isn’t posted quite yet.

Last month, we established our book club on www.goodreads.com, one of my favorite book-related websites. If you can’t join us at the Lakewood Library, consider joining us online! The complete 2013 list is there, as well as books we’ve read since 2004. If nothing else, you might find something fun to read on a rainy day.

Books for 2013 are:

January 22

The Empty Schoolhouse: Memories of One-Room Texas Schools by Luther Bryan Clegg

March 26

Fortunate Sons: The 120 Chinese Boys Who Came to America, Went to School and Revolutionized an Ancient Civilization by Liel Leibovitz

May 28

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

July 23

Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West by Dorothy Wickenden

September 24

Well-Read Lives: How Books Inspired a Generation of Women by Barbara Sicherman

November 26

Twenty Years at Hull House by Jane Addams

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