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The Page Turners: Robson Ranch’s third book club

Mary Falek

“There’s so much more to a book than just the reading.” Children’s author Maurice Sendak.

What did Mr. Sendak mean by that statement? Should you join a book club to discuss the book you just read and share opinions? Does it mean a book is a great way to meet new people and fellow book lovers, read things you may not otherwise have read, to laugh, get off topic, or share something about yourself? How about all of the above?

The 15 members of Robson Ranch’s third book club, The Page Turners, certainly agree with Mr. Sendak’s statement. In late 2010 a number of Robson women were interested in joining a book club at Robson Ranch. Unfortunately the existing book clubs weren’t accepting new members. Opportunity to form a third book club presented itself at a Robson Clubs and Activities Fair. An interest list to form a new club was started. Soon those interested women were invited to a Reading Between the Wines book club meeting. The invitation was a way for potential new book club members to meet and plan how to move forward to form a third book club. With the help from an email to all Robson residents from Betty Murphy, a new club quickly formed.

The Page Turners held its first meeting in February of 2011 and have met every month since then. A majority of the members have been with the club since it began. We meet every month since eight to 10 of us live here year round. Our group sets its schedule for the year with meetings held in our homes. The hostess chooses the book, provides refreshments and guides the discussion.

Our 2014 book club selections took us to many different places and times. We started the year by “boarding” The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. While the novel we read was fictional, actual orphan trains did exist. Between 1854 and 1929, more than 100,000 children were sent, via orphan trains, to new homes generally in America’s rural farm communities. Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford was another noteworthy book. Set in depression era Seattle, this mother/son saga centered on William and his single Chinese mother, Willow Frost. Willow supports herself and her son by singing, dancing and occasional acting jobs. As the depression deepens and jobs grow scarcer, Willow makes the difficult choice many parents faced during the depression: placing their children in orphanages when they could no longer support them. We also read several novels dealing with moral and ethical issues. The Promise of Stardust by Priscelle Sibley was a heartbreaking account of a modern day loving husband, his pregnant wife and the legal battle to remove his wife from life support after a devastating accident. The husband and his mother are on opposite sides of the ensuing legal fight. Our November book was Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. This book deals with a quadriplegic’s wish to end his life with dignity and the hope that his family will support his decision. Coincidentally at the time of our book club discussion, terminally ill Brittany Maynard ended her life in Oregon. We ended the year reading the chilling, apocalyptic One Second After by William Forstchen. The author shows us in great detail what happens to a small town in North Carolina in the aftermath of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse). After a nuclear attack in the upper atmosphere occurs, the resulting EMP destroys America’s entire electrical system. Anything with a battery or solid state circuitry is instantly “fried” in a massive power surge. Cars, trucks and trains stop running. Airplanes fall from the sky midflight. No cell phones or mass communication systems are available. Food and prescription drugs quickly run out. Getting water to the town becomes crucial. The town does its best to organize some form of emergency government and waits for help and answers to arrive. Soon it becomes apparent that help in the near future isn’t coming. While the book is fictional, an EMP attack is not. The author presents a frightening account of a small town whose humanity and civility are quickly stripped away as survival becomes next to impossible. After this frightening story, our book club is looking forward to our “trip” to Florence, Italy in January through the eyes and words of Dan Brown’s Inferno.

All our members agree that for avid readers joining a book club here at Robson Ranch can introduce you to new people, books or authors and interesting discussions. It can also be a lot of fun! Most of our members joined the book club to expose ourselves to books we may not have read otherwise.

Several Robson residents have asked if they could join our club, but our club is full. However, starting a new book club isn’t difficult. All it takes is one person to volunteer as the initial contact person and organizer and the help of Betty Murphy to put out an email notice to Robson residents with your contact information.