East Ridge resident Tag Marvel relishes the books she has read as a member of the East Ridge at Cutler Bay’s Persnickety Book Club and believes the group has read 120 books over the club’s 10 year history.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary on February 20, the group meets monthly at the life plan community and their membership has ranged from 10 to 18 members over the years.
Marvel attributes the success and longevity of the book club to the assistance of the Miami Dade Public Library System’s Bookmobile which comes to the community every Monday. They provide six to eight copies of a book the group wants to read.
Primarily, the Persnickety members enjoy reading fiction but have also delved into memoirs, biographies and some historical work.
The group started when Tag was talking with their executive director’s wife and found that reading was their common interest. She suggested they start a book club at East Ridge and brought some books to their first get together.
“We selected Alexander McCall Smith’s book, ‘The #1 Ladies Detective Agency’ for the first book to read,” Marvel recalls. “Coincidently, this is the book that launched the popular series for McCall Smith featuring Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s leading and only female private detective.”
The book club acquired the name, “Persnickety” to reflect the variety of the books the group wanted to select to read. As with many book groups, the group tries to choose a book that pleases everyone and one person volunteers to lead the discussion. This person is responsible for researching and preparing for the discussion. They develop an outline which may cover plot and character development and the writing style of the author.
“Sometimes we’ll talk about something as simple as if you liked the book or not and why or who a character reminds you of,” she explains.
Some books spark a special interest in something that is mentioned. For example when they read a book club favorite, “Little Bee” by Chris Cleave about the lives of a sixteen-year-old Nigerian orphan and a well-off British woman, one member brought home-made honey cookies to enjoy.
They brewed the tea that was referenced in McCall Smith’s book and researched potato peel pie recipes when they read “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society”. Marvel said she never could find an actual recipe for potato peel pie which is thought to be as fictional as the characters in the book.
The book club has introduced some readers to books they typically would not select to read. Resident and poet Juanita Wright said she didn’t initially like fiction but the group has opened her eyes to this type of writing.
A recent book, “A Man Called Ove” was recommended by Marvel’s granddaughter who was reading the novel for her book group of women under the age of 40.
“I was intrigued why they were reading about an old man,” she said.
Her granddaughter brought some of her group’s members to East Ridge for their monthly discussion.
“It was probably the best time our members have had,” she said. “Despite the differences in our ages, we all loved the book for many of the same reasons.”