PageTurners’ Book Club: Twenty-Sixth Anniversary

PageTurners Celebrates Twenty-Sixth Anniversary
Hope Luedeke, a founding member of PageTurners, recently shared a bit of the group’s history, recalling the early days this way:
“My neighbor on Vista D’Onde, Barbara Crist, came to me one day during the summer of 1991 and asked what I thought about forming a book club. She and Marian Pearl had been discussing it and I thought it was a great idea so we set about finding others who would be interested. Margaret Brugger was part of that first group, along with about a dozen others—all wonderful, interesting ladies.
“Barbara picked the first book that she would discuss and I took the second. Back then a committee did the research and chose the books from members’ suggestions. At first we chose seven books—three non fiction and four fiction— and met to discuss one each month. Later we increased our monthly meetings to eight times per year.
“The leader would focus first on the background of the writer, which explained a lot about where the author was coming from when the book was written. Research wasn’t easy back then and was usually based on information found in the library reference section. We often used guidelines
for discussion, especially the five basics that Barbara felt were so important: character, plot, location, theme, and style. As it turned out, we had a good group!”
Adding to Hope’s description, we note that from its beginning PageTurners met in members’ homes, but eventually the group became so popular that living rooms grew crowded on meeting days. When members decided that getting up and down from the floor was not their favorite aerobic activity,
the difficult decision was made to split the group. Since 2012 one group has continued to meet on Monday mornings while two other groups gather Monday or Thursday afternoons.
The Monday morning group chooses its titles several times a year from current and classic works. Someone from the group usually presents information on the chosen title and author for the month, and everyone enjoys an active discussion at a member’s home.
The Monday and Thursday afternoon groups both read the same titles, which are chosen annually by a nominating and voting process. Members from each afternoon group propose a list of nine titles to create a combined list of eighteen titles. Then everyone votes for nine books from the combined list. After the votes are tallied, the excitement builds over which books made the final cut. The results are revealed at an afternoon gathering of both groups in June. There’s something for everyone among the chosen books, as the list ranges from such classics as The American by Henry James to best sellers like A Gentleman from Moscow both in the same year. The books not chosen become a perfect source of independent reading as well.
If you are interested in knowing what books PageTurners have read since 1991, click PageTurners – Past Selections on the Clubs menu of the Niguel Shores website, You will see that we have read 227 titles since the inception of the group! Feel free to start at the beginning and catch up!
Twice a year the afternoon groups have a joint Tea and Cookie get-together and a “White Elephant” used
book exchange, which usually includes a lot of friendly stealing when one member picks a book from the exchange table that someone else had been eyeing.
PageTurners’ topics may range from the literary merits and flaws of a work to the larger theme a book presents or the personal life lessons learned. Our discussions are even livelier when we have friendly disagreements—a reason why this quote by Edmund Wilson is so appropriate: “No two persons ever read the same book.”
We’re always trying to keep our groups at a reasonable number to allow for everyone’s participation in discussion, so there is a sixteen-person maximum for each of the afternoon groups. For more information contact Lisa Buchner: or Diane Hearne: