These days, book clubs are increasingly taking place outside traditional cafes and libraries, in places such as restaurants, bars and homes. As part of its programming, the Desert Foothills Library in Cave Creek offers a happy hour book club.
Gatherings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at various restaurants around Cave Creek and Carefree. They are facilitated by three library staff members: Acquisitions Librarian Sara Zapotocky, Circulation Manager Kassie Green, and Youth and Teen Services Manager Heather Wurr.
Zapotocky said that, from the start, the book club provided a more social setting to talk about books and led locals to discover new places in their community.
“That’s the whole idea, is that we want to encourage business inflow to local restaurants in the Cave Creek/Carefree area. It was one of our goals to not just reach but help our community,” Zapotocky said.
Book Club started in the summer of 2019 but had to go live for a while due to the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s been back in person full-time since March 2022. Zapotocky said even when meetings were online, she encouraged attendees to grab a drink and a snack while discussing books.
At meetings in restaurants, the library offers appetizers to book club members, but they must purchase their own drinks and entrees. The August edition of the book club will take place at the library. During this meeting, refreshments, including alcoholic beverages, will be served.
As for the book club, participants read a variety of different types of works, including non-fiction, classics, memoirs and contemporary fiction.
“I feel like it’s a really good mix of books. It’s eclectic, and I think part of what our regulars love is that it’s not tied to one genre,” Green said.
All of the animators are avid readers who developed a love of books early on. Green grew up with a mother who was an English teacher. The book club gives leaders an excuse to find and read something new.
“We mainly choose books that we want to read ourselves. It’s a great excuse,” Zapotocky said.
Facilitators all have the ability to select books.
“We take turns choosing the books, then the month it’s my book, I’m expected to facilitate it. And the staff are always there to support you, even if it’s not their month,” Green said.
Green is a fan of true crime and mystery books, while Zapotocky leans more towards non-fiction. Green said hosts look for books that will spark conversations, even when book club members may not like them.
“We just had a lot of very contrasting views, as you can imagine, in the discussions,” Green added.
The books discussed change every month. The library has digital and paper copies of the titles, or attendees can choose to purchase their own copies.
The August book will be “Dark Archives: A Librarian’s Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin” by Megan Rosenbloom.
In September, the book club will read “The Paper Palace” by Miranda Cowley Heller. This fictional work follows Elle, a mother of three, as she wakes up in the summer residence she has visited for much of her life. This time it’s different, as she has had an adult encounter with her longtime friend Jonas and must make a decision about the direction of her life going forward.
October will be devoted to the psychological/social commentary horror novel “The Only Good Indians” by Stephen Graham Jones.
Other books this year have included “Gold Dust Woman: A Biography of Stevie Nicks” by Stephen Davis; “Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood” by Danny Trejo and Donal Logue; a novel about the struggles faced by a Vietnamese family during the Vietnam War titled “The Mountains Sing”, by Nguyen Phan Que may ; a non-fiction story about the first women to attend Yale called “Yale Needs Women: How the First Group of Girls Rewrote the Rules of an Ivy League Giant”, by Anne Gardiner Perkins; and a biography of the women in Benjamin Franklin’s life entitled “Poor Richard’s Women”, by Nancy Rubin Stuart.
For a month, book club members were encouraged to choose from different young adult books in the same reimagined fairy tale series.
Zapotocky says that through the book club, attendees often discover new literature.
“It gets them to read a book that they probably never would have read,” Zapotocky said.
Typically around eight core members show up for meetings, but newbies are encouraged to come check it out. The number of participants fluctuates depending on the time of year. But many regulars get to know each other over several book club meetings. There is always a part of the meetings designated to catch up.
“It always starts with ‘what happened in our life’ as we order a drink or an appetizer. And then we’ll get to the book,” Zapotocky said.
The next book club meetings will take place from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, August 9, September 13 and October 11. Online RSVP is encouraged.
More information about the book club and other adult programming offerings at the library by going to dfla.org/events/category/adult-programming or by dialing 480-488-2286.