About Us

About Us

We love to read and we love to talk about books! 

We have a membership of about 55 individuals with at least half in attendance at each meeting.  The overwhelming majority of us are women, but we've recently welcomed a few men to our group.  We invite everyone to join our meetings and discussions.  Different points of view are encouraged.  You don't have to live in the village of Tall Trees to be a member.

How did we get started?
One of our current members organized the group shortly after moving to Florida.  The original members and still a majority of us live in the same small neighborhood community of Tall Trees. When the membership became too large to meet in one of our homes, a room was reserved in a nearby recreation center. 

What's unique about our group?
We reside either full or part-time in the largest senior retirement community in North America.  It's called The Villages, and is located in semi-rural central Florida, about an hour's drive north of Orlando.  Spanning three counties, our community offers many activities, sources of entertainment, opportunities to learn, and chances to make new friends.  All of us have come from somewhere else in the country or the world, and represent a cross section of backgrounds, interests and beliefs.  Most of us are retired, some of us travel, and some work part-time, but we still make every effort to read the books and attend the meetings.

How are books selected for reading?  Do we have any special interests?
We select books bi-annually at at special luncheon meeting, usually May and December. Sometimes we hold these luncheons at local restaurants, have them catered, or organize a pot luck event.  No matter what, we have fun and learn from each other. 

Members bring their book/s and recommendation forms to the luncheon meeting.  After eating, we present each of our books, keeping our talks brief.  We don't want to spoil the read!  Following this, we put the selections to a vote by pasting a sticker or stickers onto the recommendation form of the books we want to read.  Each of us is given five (5) stickers for the five months ahead, but we can put any number of stickers on any of the recommendations forms up to the five given.  Once done, the "votes" are counted and the top five are chosen for "the list."  The other choices are saved for future reference or recommendation again in the future.

It's preferred to have read the book beforehand, but we've considered some titles based on strong recommendations by others. Books can be fiction or non-fiction, biography - almost anything.  We try to keep our options open.  The book should be "discussable" on a number of levels or issues. 

One of our goals is to expose our members to books they normally may have not chosen to read.  We also try to ensure that the book is easily accessible through the library, used book stores, as an e-book, or available for purchase online or in retail stores for less than $10.

Some of the questions we ask ourselves in the selection process include the following:
  1. Is it worth talking about?  
  2. Is the book open to interpretation?
  3. Does it challenge your thinking in some way?
  4. Does it expose you to new and different ideas, places, cultures, or periods in history?
  5. Would you keep this on your bookshelf, recommend it to friends, or read this book again?
How do we run our regular book discussion meetings?
Meetings are held the afternoon of the second Thursday each month at a nearby recreation center.  Reminders are sent via email.  A discussion leader and host are assigned to each of the meetings.

Our discussions have evolved over time.  A variety of strategies have been used, but we've essentially evolved from a lecture format to a discussion format where all are encouraged to speak and participate.  The leader prepares a brief introduction about the author and a list of questions or strategies for the meeting.  We sometimes share photos, short videos, or items related to the story to add background and understanding.  

The host/s prepares light refreshments which are shared at the table during the discussion.  Sometimes the food has been related to the book we've read, especially if another country, environment, or culture was explored.  One book read recently, The Space Between Us by Thirty Umrigar inspired a tasting of Indian cuisine!

What have been some of our favorite and least favorite books?
We make every effort to select books that will be worth the read, but not every book is a favorite.  As a way of closing our monthly discussions, we ask everyone to rate the book based on a 5-star system.  Few of the titles have been rated a low 1 or 2 stars or a high 5 stars.  Most are judged to be a 3 or 4.  

One of our 5-star favorites was a book written about the history of central Florida.  The book, A Land Remembered, by Patrick Smith is now required reading in the Florida schools.  Other of the books we've rated well have been made into motion pictures.  Recent examples are The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

Selecting Books

Best Book Club Books for 2017

How to Have Meaningful Discussions
Great Books Foundation

Great EBook Bargains

Project Gutenburg

Upcoming Book Discussion

by Martha Relly
Discussion Leader:  Barbara Reilley
Treats:  Peggy McHugh & Phyllis Gleinn

Lilac Girls

for second half of year July - December 2018
Joan Smith, Erika Schaffer, Lillian Farrell, 
Joan Greenwood, & Peggy Gahwiler

by Gill Paul
Discussion Leader:  (OPEN)
Treats:  Carol Matla & Bonnie Whetter