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Book Clubs Aren’t Just About Books Anymore

The AP’s Chelsea Carter spotlights the so-called “next generation” of book clubs, which have evolved in surprising ways since Oprah made them oh-so-popular. It’s just not just about gathering together to discuss a book, but adding food, movies and specific hooks (mothers & daughters, Hollywood social networking) to get people interested in specific tomes. “I used to think if Oprah decided not to do her show, there would be a decline in book clubs,” said Diana Loevy, author of THE BOOK CLUB COMPANION. “But now I don’t think so. Book clubs are evolving. They are creating social units that really work. They serve a social function.”

Which is why, even in a time of technological advances, iPods and downloads, meeting face-to-face still has appeal. For Barbara Randall, a book club was a way to meet neighbors after moving into her Brooklyn neighborhood. For nearly seven years, the women on her block met monthly to discuss books — and their families. “A lot of us in the group were mothers with children and we were desperate to get out of the house. The husbands knew that was our one night and that they better be home on time to watch the kids,” she joked. Eventually, once-a-month meetings proved unnecessary as friendships deepened and the book club ceased. “Now, we just pick up the phone or go over and knock on the door.”

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