As promised, here is the full version of the feature for our book club from House of Anansi for our keepsake.
Introducing the Matchbook Book Club
Q: Why did you decide to start the Matchbook Book Club?
A: I was inspired to bring together like-minded individuals who share the same love of reading and where discussions embrace the feel of a literary salon. I wanted Matchbook to be more than just a book club — it would be a gathering where we would go and try different restaurants or cafes for our meetings and hold fun trips and events like our recent fall craft party. The book club has a motto from English poet John Keats: "Beauty is truth, truth beauty — that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know." The name for our book club holds this significance: we match our books with the sentiments found within our own lives.
Q: How does your book club choose which book to read?
A: Every month we vote on a title out of five choices called "The Selections" during our meeting which revolves around a theme. For example, September's theme was "The Nostalgic Romantic" because of the atmospheric beauty which autumn brings, October was "Wonderstruck Noir" in light of Halloween, and for our recent theme, "A Winter’s Tale," Kathleen Winter's Annabel was the clear winner and has been a wonderful read thus far.
There are no limitations when it comes to the books that we select. I handpick titles that have caught my eye while in my favourite bookstores such as Nicholas Hoare, from publishers, literary sites and blogs, or from word of mouth. At the same time, every member has the opportunity to recommend a title that the book club would benefit from.
Q: Which book has generated the best discussion for your club so far?
A: While each discussion has been lively and appealing, one in particular stands out: Kathryn Stockett's The Help. The topics we covered, the deeper symbolism found within the book thanks to the insight from many of our members, and the comparison between the novel and the film that came out that same month, had generated such a discussion that the usual two hours that we would usually get together for went much longer than that!
Q: What do you think makes your book club special?
A: What makes the Matchbook Book Club special is first and foremost, the members. We also sometimes add bonus features into our meetings. For example, July was mystery-themed and we selected a classic: Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. Members brought treats and we played a murder mystery game called "Poirot Investigates." It was very fun and the ending turned out to be a twist as the murderer was not who we expected!
Incorporating trips is also a must, where visits to places such as historic sites and botanical gardens around the city is a given in the months to come as the weather turns warmer.
Q: What are you looking forward to reading in 2012?
A: There are a few titles that I’m looking forward to reading this year, including Ai Mi's Under the Hawthorn Tree. I have heard much praise and recommendations for this book so it's all the more enticing. I am also eager for Shadow of Night, the second book from the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. I was captivated by A Discovery of Witches, so I can’t wait to see what happens next for Diana and Matthew. Lastly, I’m also looking forward to the newest addition of the Maisie Dobbs mystery series, Elegy for Eddie. Maisie Dobbs is one of my favourite literary characters and I love a good mystery.
Our thanks to Joanne and the Matchbook Book Club for joining us for this Q&A!