Public invited to Well-Read Citizen Book Club party


Community members interested in reading and civic participation are invited to a party at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Backstep.

The Well-Read Citizen Book Club invites you to bring along a wrapped used book that you’ve enjoyed and learned from — and are ready to pass on to others. We’ll toss the wrapped books into a pile and have some good White Elephant fun. You’ll meet others who like to read and like to talk about ideas.

Now well into its second year, the Well-Read Citizen Book Club meets monthly on the first Wednesday of the month to talk about books that members of the group themselves suggest. Selections have been wide-ranging and attendees enjoy lively discussion, sometimes debate, and always excellent snacks. A warm community has developed among people who have met for the first time at a meeting of the club.

What books might you like to recommend? Maybe some of this year’s selections will include the books pictured here. Do these covers intrigue?

Maybe mental health is of concern or interest to you. Jane Anne Phillips’ 2023 novel “Night Watch” set before, during, and most centrally after the Civil War, introduces readers to a little known and highly humane treatment method practiced for 40 years or so in this country in “insane asylums.” This mental health issue comes to the fore in the midst of a riveting love story birthed on a plantation just before the Civil War.

Or, maybe you are an artist of some kind and are interested in how art can express history and tell stories that are harder to tell in other ways. If so, maybe you’d like to read or recommend Winfred Rembert’s “Chasing Me to My Grave,” a book that won the Pulitizer Prize for memoir in 2021. Rembert, who passed away that same year, tells stories of the Jim Crow South of the mid-20th century like no other artist. This gorgeous book contains 75 of the artist’s powerful paintings along with his life story.

Maybe Indiana history is a special passion of yours? This year Timothy Egan, highly acclaimed writer and winner of the National Book Award for earlier historical research work, has brought us “Fever in the Heartland,” a book that Eric Larsen has called “a riveting saga of how a predatory con man became one of the most powerful people in 1920s America, Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, with a plan to rule the country …” And, reader, Egan finds the heart of this story in Indiana. Did you know that Indiana had more KKK members in the early ‘20s than any other state? The book’s subtitle is: The Ku Klux Klan’s Plot to Take Over America and the Woman Who Stopped Them.” Interested? Maybe you’d like to suggest that the Well-Read Citizen Book Club read that one.

Readers, it’s up to you. What book(s) would you like to discuss with others as you get to know members of your community better? Bring your ideas or just your curiosity to the club’s party. And do bring a wrapped book to exchange. If you forget your book, not to worry, there are always a couple extra in the pile.

The Well-Read Citizen Book Club is hosted by members of the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County.