Bookends Book Club welcomes newest members

Jaine Toth

At the January gathering of The Bookends, a book club made up of couples, the group welcomed our newest and final members, Bill and Kathy Koldewyn. At the same meeting we had the pleasure of a visit from Bill and Judy Henderson, part of our original group who have since moved to Idaho.

Two years ago Phyllis Flail and Barbara Englehart manned the book club table at an event in the Sports Center where clubs had representatives to inform residents of the various offerings here at Robson Ranch. We were told that there were three existing book clubs consisting of only women. Then we learned that they were all closed. But Phyllis and Barbara encouraged those who were interested to form another group.

Those of us who expressed a desire to belong to a book club were husbands and wives. In addition to the Hendersons, the founders of this club were Mike and Julie Lesica and Don and Jaine Toth. We were soon joined by Steve and Lynn Bishop and later Gary and Izzy Ocheltree. A few months ago John and Claudia Horak came along, and now with the Koldewyns we’ve decided to close the group so that we can continue to enjoy the warmth and hospitality that is afforded by meeting in our homes.

We’ve read novels, including one mystery and several that were historical fiction, as well as memoirs and biographies. We watched a film based on one of the books: Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and several of us went to see Lincoln, which was released right after we’d finished Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. Some of our members saw Unbroken, from the book by Laura Hillenbrand, to mixed reviews. Much of what some of us deemed the most important parts of the story were omitted from the movie. It bothered some but not others.

Those of us who were in the club when we read Kristie Miller’s biography of Arizona’s first female congresswoman, Isabella Greenway: An Enterprising Woman, hope to travel down to Tucson for lunch at the Arizona Inn that Greenway built in 1930.

Our last selection was Still Alice by Lisa Genova, a novel that traces a middle-aged professor’s dreaded descent into the mental limbo of Alzheimer’s disease. Julianne Moore stars in the movie adaptation, and we’ll likely try to see it as a group also. Now we are reading the newly released book, The Risk of Sorrow: Conversations with Holocaust Survivor Helen Handler. Author Valerie Foster taught English at Red Mountain High School in Mesa and now is an adjunct faculty member at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Handler lives in Phoenix.

Our club name was given to us courtesy of Mary Falek who came up with the moniker based on the fact that the club members are husbands and wives. We won’t argue which spouse belongs at which end of the books!