August 18, 2022

Book Clubs Thrive in Dutchess County: Find One

You can find one at the local library, tennis club, arts center, and even the neighborhood pub. Oprah has one, as does Reese Witherspoon, not to mention former NFL football player Andrew Luck. What are they?

Reading clubs.

Don’t believe what you hear (or read). Books are not dead. In fact, here in the Hudson Valley, there are plenty of book clubs for adult bibliophiles of all interests.

Colleen Ashe is a member of a private book club called I Like Mondays, made up of former IBMers. The seven-member group meets once a month at a local restaurant.

“It’s rekindled a passion for reading and some of us are reading books that we would never have picked out for ourselves,” the Poughkeepsie town resident said.

For example, in February, the group read “Glory over Everything: Beyond The Kitchen House,” by Kathleen Grissom, but the group also includes non-fiction titles.

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“I love chatting about books with the smart women I’ve met through this group,” said Jackie DiMarzo of Wappingers Falls. “It’s such a nice break from my working life to have that Monday night a month to talk about what we liked (and often didn’t like) about books.”

Rachel Reisman, the club’s coordinator, appreciates that the members are of the same political conviction. “We spend half our time on the book and the other half talking about life,” the Poughkeepsie resident said.

The New Deal Creative Arts Center in Hyde Park hosts a free monthly book club open to the public.

“A book club is a time to take it easy, share a good conversation about books and enjoy refreshments and good company,” said Teresa Gasparini, who said group size fluctuates depending on of the book, but fluctuates around 15 people.

Gasperini accepts the group’s recommendations, such as the book “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens, “I don’t think I would have opted for this book, a novel based on science and on the swampy lands of North Carolina” . she said, admitting that she liked him.

At Poughkeepsie Tennis Club, getting together is more about playing the game. “When the club started 130 years ago, it was meant to be a way for Victorian men and women to meet and socializing,” said Ellen‌ ‌Gartland,‌ board member‌ ‌‌ of directors‌ ‌. “So today we swim, play tennis, drink wine and eat and we always talk about books, so we started a club.”

Club members are allowed to bring one non-member guest. “It’s a good way to meet other people at the club,” she said.

Colette Green started the Hudson Valley Gals book club through MeetUp just a few months ago because the current book clubs she was joining were getting too big.

“I like talking with a smaller, more intimate group,” Green said, adding that the group is currently reading “The Dutch House: A Novel,” by Ann Patchett. Anyone can join the club, but each meeting is limited to nine people.

“Most of us go through an empty nest and it’s a wonderful way to meet like-minded women and form friendships,” Green said.

Most local bookstores and libraries, including Barnes & Noble and Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, host all types of free book clubs, some monthly and some quarterly.

Split Rock Books in Cold Spring hosts several monthly events, including an adult-only graphic novel book club.

“All clubs are free to attend,” said co-owner Heidi Bender. The Graphic Novel Club is led by Eisner-nominated cartoonist Summer Pierre, author of “All the Sad Songs” and the “Paper Pencil Life” series.

In addition to the standard book club, Starr Library in Rhinebeck hosts a monthly Mysteries Around the World book club and a cookbook club which meets four times a year.

“The Mysteries Club reads books from different countries around the world,” says Nan Jackson, program director at the Starr Library in Rhinebeck. “Our regular book club attracts about 12 to 24 people depending on the book. For example, Colson Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad” attracted a lot more people. Our participants told us that they felt like they were broadening their horizons.

Every December, the library wraps up the year with a book club party where attendees talk about what they liked and make recommendations for future choices.

The Poughkeepsie Public Library District currently hosts four book clubs.

“Book readers aren’t always the most outgoing or social butterflies, so it can be nice to go to a group where people will hear your thoughts if you choose to share, or you can just sit back and listen,” said Tammy Myers, supervising library clerk for the Poughkeepsie Public Library District, which is home to the Not Your Mama book group.

A few times a year, the library hosts a cookbook club, led by Myers. “Sign up to try a recipe in a specific cookbook or in the book of their choice and bring it as a potluck,” Myers said.

Their newest club is the Silent Book Club, where there are no assigned books and the emphasis is on being able to relax and read.

“One member almost never leaves her house, so she likes to come and read quietly with other people,” said Martha Farrell, Silent Book Club Library Facilitator. “Another person likes the club because she’s found the conversation at other clubs often turns to other things than the book and she doesn’t like that.”

How about a brewski to accompany your bookski?

The Blue Collar Brewery in Poughkeepsie hosted the Poughkeepsie Library’s Brew and Book Club series for several months.

Co-owner Randall Marquis explains that members order from the menu and discuss their books. “We are more than happy to donate the space to the library and support local organizations and businesses,” said Marquis.

So whether you just like to read quietly, read books and share opinions with groups of friends or those who might become friends or talk about food, wine or beer, there’s a book club nearby that’s got you covered. waits.

Join the club

  • New Deal Creative Arts Center: 960 Violet Ave., Hyde Park, www.newdealarts.org/events
  • Poughkeepsie Tennis Club: The book club is for members and their guests only; 135 S Hamilton St, Poughkeepsie, 845-471-1120, poktennis.com
  • Hudson Valley Girls’ Book Club Meeting: visit meetup.com/Hudson-Valley-Gals-Book-Club/
  • Split Rock Books: 97 Main St., Cold Spring, 845-265-2080, splitrockbks.com/event
  • The Poughkeepsie Public Library District: 93 Market Street, Poughkeepsie. CONTACT Kira Thompson 845-485-3445, ext. 350 [email protected]; http://www.eventkeeper.com
  • Col Bleu Brewery: 40 Cottage Street, Poughkeepsie, www.thebluecollarbrewery.com/events
  • Starr Library: 68 West Market Street, Rhinebeck, 12572; 845-876-4030; https://starrlibrary.org/

Lisa Iannucci is a freelance writer. Contact her at [email protected]