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Read Between The Wines

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Book Discussion Group Meets Monthly At Winery

By Daisy Hutzell-Rodman

Several Glenwood women sat at Vine Street Cellars on a warm Thursday evening talking about books they recently read at “Read Between the Wines,” a book discussion group from the library.

The group is the brainchild of adult services librarian Teresa Buckingham, who started the group in 2012.

“It’s always been a dream of mine,” Buckingham said. “I can’t think of anything neater than getting together over wine and talking about books.”

With that dream in mind, Buckingham approached Mark Perry, manager of Vine Street Cellars, to make her vision a reality.

“I thought it was a great idea,” Perry said. “She thought it would bring the people out, and it would be good for both of us.”

Perry said it has been good for his business.

“Two-thirds of the group patronize us at other times,” he said. “Perhaps half of them had never been in here before the group started.”

The group members, this particular night, all ladies, sip bottled water or glasses of wine. Some nibble on plates of cheese and bread. Perry appreciates all their business.

“They don’t have to buy wine,” he said. “Most of them do. I will also make a spritzer (wine combined with lemon-lime soda) for them if a glass of wine is too much.”

Buckingham started the evening by asking, “What is your ideal reading environment?”

The group members were left to ponder this as they passed around new acquisitions at the library, from the suspense novel “Eyes on You” by Kate White to the nonfiction “Everybody’s Got Something” by Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America” fame.

Adhered to the inside covers of the books were sticky notes where several of the ladies wrote their names in order to reserve the book from the library.

The reserve list is one of the major benefits of the club.

“We can’t hold the books back long,” said library director Jenny Ellis. “But since it is the first week of the month, we often get books in that day or a couple of days before. So there are some books that people have not seen on the shelf before.”

One of the new books sparked an author discussion. “Grand Central: original stories of postwar love and reunion,” by Pam Jenoff was viewed by many of the women. Ellis is bringing Jenoff to the group in the fall via Skype.

Glenwood resident Donna Bishop answers Buckingham’s question with “A recliner in my living room,” a popular answer echoed by Buckingham. Ellis mentioned her couch.

Sharon Howard’s sentimental answer brought lots of approval from the group.

“Wherever I am,” Howard said. “Because it’s like being surrounded by family. Wherever I am reading, there’s an old friend.”

Bishop said she was reading “The One and Only,” a nonfiction book about a relationship between a sports writer and a football player.

The mention of this book and its subject brings the discussion to the coming fall football season.

Susan Simmon said she is reading “A Stray Drop of Blood,” a novel about a slave living at the same time as Jesus. The conversation then drifted to discussion of church activities.
The women chat about movies, often based on books. They also chat about gas prices, but the conversation always comes back to books.

There’s no assigned reading, there’s no presentation.  It’s a group in which people can discuss what books they are reading and obtain ideas about what other books they might enjoy.
Buckingham said the group is open, and there is room for more people.

“I was hoping more couples would come,” she said. “I would like to have more men involved.”
The group differs by season.

“It’s interesting, but we have people who come in winter, and different people who come in summer,” Buckingham said. “There are some people who don’t like to come in the winter because they don’t want to drive in the dark, and there are some people who have lots of activities or vacations during the summer.”

The library staff and book club members learn more about each other through this group, Buckingham said. “These are people I would not know as well if it weren’t for this group,” she said.

As the evening winds down, door prizes, such as a small book, are given away.  The women leave with the satisfaction of having spent the evening with fellow bookworms discussing their favorite form of entertainment.