The following was written by Lara Rhyner, Associate Director of Education at Geva Theatre Center and member of Writers & Books’ Book Thieves.
Hey there W&B blog readers!
My name is Lara Rhyner and I’m a proud member of the Book Thieves – Writers & Books’ awesome, casual, funny, smart, food, drink, and book loving, coed, young professionals’ book club. Have I convinced you to join us yet? I mean, we’re a pretty cool bunch of individuals, if I do say so myself. I spend my days connecting and collaborating as the Associate Director of Education at Geva Theatre Center (which I love!). Evenings and weekends are often spent cozying up to a good book, plotting what kind of food to bring to book club, and serving on W&B’s Gala planning committee (set for June of 2016), which you should definitely attend, because, A. supporting your beloved and dedicated local non-profits is vitally important because they do so, so much for the quality of life in our community, and B. it is going to be a blissfully wonderful affair that I’m already really stinking excited about attending!
One of the questions I am asked most frequently when people learn that I’m in a book club is, “How do you pick your books? Are they assigned by someone?” Every book club is different, and each likely has their own approach to selecting a season full of worthy reads, but I think our process is equitable and suits our style quite nicely. Every year, on the first Thursday in October, we are all invited to bring food and wine (this is a very important step) and a list of books we’d like to nominate for the following year. This month, 10 of our Thieves were available to gather and hash through the nominations. Like I said, we’re a laid back group, so our selection session, much like our meetings, was beautifully fun and not too structured. Someone would call out a title they were passionate about, share a short synopsis, we’d turn to Goodreads if we were interested in how many pages it was or the star-rating, and, if a majority of people were excited by the book, it was added to a list. Lather, rinse, repeat.
We do try to work in a classic every year, and this year we also wanted to broaden our horizons to include more genres other than just novels – so we suggested some plays, graphic novels, and memoirs too. About an hour and a half later we had a list of 12-15 books to whittle down to 8 coveted slots. From there we agreed upon the handful of books that were all definite yes-es, and put the rest to a simple majority vote. When we had our season selected, we giddily rejoiced over our fantastic selections and congratulated ourselves for picking a real winner of a season!
If you’d like to join us, our remaining 2015 books, and 2016 book club selections and meeting dates are:
November 5 – The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein
December 3 – holiday party at W&B
January – off
February 4 – All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
March 3 – Queen of the Fall, by Sonja Livingston (the 2016 “If All of Rochester Reads the Same Book…” book)
April – off
May 5 – NW, by Zadie Smith
June 2 – two plays by August Wilson – Fences, and The Piano Lesson
July – off
August 4 – Church of Marvels, by Leslie Parry
September 1 – Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck
October 6 – book picking for 2017
November 3 – A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki
December 1 – Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
We hope to see all you young professionals there!
Contact Tate DeCaro at firstname.lastname@example.org or Chris Fanning at email@example.com for more information about the Book Thieves.