Possible Book Club Choices

You would be so good at this.

I have never found this phrase to be a boost to my confidence so much as a warning of impending exhaustion, frustration, and stupefacation. One should not use this statement lightly.

When my bosses suggested I would be good at running an off-campus book club, I was still filled with the giddy over my new bookstore job. Giddiness tends to make me  say “yes” to many things I should perhaps avoid  such as the purchase of a new-to-me Subaru without consulting my mister, adopting a third cat of questionable sanity, and agreeing to take my stepfather to WWF’s Raw. However, I read Little Bee, the Lambeth Book Club’s choice for September as fast as I could, and on the designated day and hour, I made my first visit to Lambeth House.

I was a bit grubby from inventorying and arranging books in the used store. When the director led me to the library for the club, I did not even want to sit on the furniture. I felt like a street urchin out of Dickens come to sing a song. The ladies of the club soon arrived compounding my feelings about being under-spiffy and underdressed. The women were nattily dressed. Apologizing for my appearance, we began to discuss Little Bee, and any concerns I had about my role in the club began to diminish.

The reason why I became an English teacher in the first place is because I love books and wanted to discuss their merits or lack thereof and pick apart their meanings. I fell naturally into my old pattern of discussion facilitator. Being new to NOLA, the book club introduced me to several women who had seen the evolution of the city through the years. When I left I could not wait to go back.

For our October meeting, we read Zeitoun. I lugged a big laundry basket of possibilities for the coming book clubs into Lambeth House, and as I awaited the arrival of the rest of the club, I displayed the books on a glass-top table, careful not to destroy the flower arrangements or the pair of decorative elephants. The women wandered in one at a time, and we began our chat.

As anyone who experienced Katrina can tell you, each person has a tale from that time weirder or more horrifying than the next. The women of the book club shared some stories with me, making it a little more real, as I had not experienced the effects of the storm myself. For some, the discussion seemed cathartic.

The book club is something to which I look forward. My bosses gave me a great lagniappe. I’m probably not using that term right. I am from the North and all. I am grateful.

Veronica K. Brooks-Sigler

Bookseller/Social Media, Maple Street Book Shops


The Lambeth Book Club selection for October is The Wrong Blood, which hits the shelves on September 28, 2010.