By: Lorrie Ward Jackson | Category: Other | Issue: December 2010
The Bookies Book Club includes members (L to R): Janice Whittaker, Mike Bullis, Jay Wilkinson and Dottie Summers.
Reading is often perceived as a lonely hobby, an adventure one must embark upon alone. But many avid readers will tell you that although the act of reading itself is mostly a solitary activity, a good book can be savored with other readers through topic and theme discussion. Therefore, local readers will be excited to know that a forum is available for anyone who wants to share the joy of a good book with others of like mind. The Bookies Book Club started on October 7, 2010 and will meet the second Thursday of every month as long as there is sufficient interest – and according to Janice Whittaker, founder of The Bookies Book Club and owner of Boarding House Books in Claremore, there seems to be plenty of it.
“As far as I know, there hasn’t been a book club in Claremore of this type,” Janice relates. “We had eight people at our first meeting and had grown to ten before our next meeting.”
Janice says that often people assume book clubs are for females, but she wants everyone to know that men are welcome as well. In fact, she reports the group already has two men, one of which suggested the book selection for the first month.
Before starting the book club, Janice researched book club formats and presented options to the newly formed group, who decided on a democratic form in which club members suggest novel selections and then decide on the monthly book by vote. The first book choice was “Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett, followed by “Same Kind of Different As Me” by Ron Hall. The monthly meetings last from 7 to 9 p.m., with refreshments and discussions in what Janice describes as “a casual atmosphere to encourage everyone to develop good relationships and enjoy the experience.”
Many local readers will already be familiar with Janice Whittaker’s bookstore. Boarding House Books is housed in vintage downtown Claremore, right above Bike-About Bicycles (also owned by Janice), in what was once a boarding house over a hundred years ago. The store itself is steeped in local history, as Janice points out where high-end suites, smaller rooms, the sitting room, and the lobby once were, with antiques scattered throughout to increase the historical ambience – an antique library table here, an old children’s school desk there. These rooms, which surely have countless stories of their own, are now filled with new stories held between the covers of hundreds of books – fiction and non-fiction, regional, westerns, classics, collectors, children’s books, and much more. Janice also keeps up with local AP Reading lists so that students and parents can find the books required by teachers and schools.
“Finding classics, whether new or used, can often be a challenge,” says Janice. “If teachers let me know what they need, I will try to make sure and have new and used copies.”
Janice is also excited to report that Boarding House Books will host its first book signing on December 18 from 1 to 3 p.m. Local published authors to be featured include Jim Laughter, Bob Avey, Jackie King, Peggy Fielding, Carla Stewart, Dale Whisman and Vickie McDonough, who is author of the Christian romance line “Boarding House Brides.”
Whether you are looking to share the joy of reading with others through a book club experience, or just want to peruse a huge selection of books in a cozy, vintage atmosphere, be sure to visit Janice at Boarding House Books in Claremore.