A tale of five book clubs


By Carole Howard  | PREVIEW Columnist, and the library staff

Many booklovers prize reading as a solitary activity, an opportunity to escape their day-to-day routine and become immersed in others’ travels, troubles, romances, families and adventures. Others prefer the sociability and camaraderie involved with exchanging opinions and ideas about a book with others in a book club setting.

We don’t know how many book clubs exist in Archuleta County, but we do know that there are a lot — and that they are an important part of the lives of many avid readers in our community. 

One such group calls itself the Retro Book Club because its members wanted to focus on the classics, from “Wuthering Heights” to “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” — although they occasionally will choose a current bestseller. Initially made up of 17 women when it was formed four years ago, it became moribund during COVID and then resurfaced with a more manageable membership of seven. 

Each month the host picks the book and cooks a one-dish-meal dinner like lasagna or shepherd’s pie while guests bring their own beverages. Book discussions are wide-ranging and stimulating, and it is a rarity when someone can’t participate in depth because she hasn’t read the assigned book carefully enough.

“I’ve been very impressed by how intelligent everyone is and how involved we all get as we talk about the plot, the characters and the other details of the books,” said Chris Pike, a founding member. “We’ve become really good friends through our love of reading and our respect for each other.”

Another local club known as the B3 Book Club has been in existence for 12 successful years — although the meaning of their name is known only to insiders. Like most book clubs, they meet monthly at a member’s home. The host picks the book and prepares dinner matching its theme — for example, a Hawaiian meal when they read “The Book of Molokai.”

Robin Brobst, a founding member, said everyone tries hard not to miss a session, just like you would arrange your schedule to be sure you could attend a family reunion. 

“We’re like a large, close-knit family,” she said. “Our ages range from mothers in their low 40s to women in their mid-70s, and everyone’s varied experiences bring a depth to the discussions that greatly add to our understanding and enjoyment. 

“We read books with a wide variety of subjects, but it’s interesting to note that we often gravitate to stories featuring strong women.” 

If you want to participate in a book club without having to organize and host one, consider joining one of the three available at your library:

Our book club for adults has been around for almost 10 years. Named for the library’s namesake, Ruby’s Book Club meets on the second Tuesday of each month, alternating between fiction and nonfiction titles. Members nominate books for the year and then vote to decide the final list. Discussions are stimulating and can become heartfelt when participants relate personally to a topic, as happened recently with “Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting.” 

Next in longevity comes our teen book club for sixth- through 12th-graders that began more than five years ago. Although COVID affected attendance, the boys and girls who are members say it is a good way to find new books they like and also to make new friends. 

Our newest book club is Junior Page Turners for elementary students in grades three through five that will debut May 2. Their first book will be “Wish” by Barbara O’Connor, an engaging story of family, childhood friendship and an adopted dog. 

Whatever your choice — reading alone, participating in a book club or some combination — we are glad you are reading. 

As Dr. Suess said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” 

Library fundraiser this Saturday

Saturday, April 15, is the second annual Library Affair fundraiser for our building campaign to expand and renovate your library. This elegant event will happen at 6 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts and feature an auction of 20 different table settings designed by some of Pagosa’s most creative artists. 

Book themes for the tables range from delightful children’s stories such as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” to adult classics like “The Great Gatsby.” Food will be courtesy of Todd Stevens and the Pagosa Springs High School culinary class with acoustic guitar music by Steve Blechschmidt. Tickets are $50 each, on sale now at the library (cash or check only) or online at pagosalibrary.org.

Lifelong Learning tonight

A new free spring series of Lifelong Learning lectures in April and May begins tonight, Thursday, April 13, from 6 to 7:15 p.m. when we will welcome Roberta Strickland teaching us about a simple art method that is also a form of relaxation. April 20 will feature Bill Hudson discussing Northwest Coast Native American art. April 27 will showcase Jen Doane talking about the amazing honeybees and other native Colorado bees.

Art fun for kids tomorrow

Mini Monets takes place tomorrow, Friday, April 14, from 10 to 11 a.m. for artists aged 1 to 4 using art to teach literacy skills. Participants should come ready to get messy at this free event. All materials are safe and nontoxic. 

Legal clinic tomorrow 

This month’s legal clinic on civil issues is by appointment tomorrow, Friday, April 14, from 2 to 3 p.m. Come to the library to meet privately via Zoom with our volunteer attorney. To schedule an appointment, at the beginning of the month send an email titled “Sign-up for Free Legal Clinic” with your first name and phone number, to ruby@pagosalibrary.org, or phone (970) 264-2209 or stop by the library. 

Powerhouse fun

Students in kindergarten through fifth grade will enjoy hands-on STEAM projects tomorrow, Friday, April 14, from 3 to 4 p.m.

Book buddies Saturday

Kids in kindergarten through second grade will celebrate favorite book characters with books and art Saturday, April 15, from 10-11 a.m. at this free event.

Makerspace on Saturday

Kids, tweens and teens are invited to a free Makerspace session on Saturday, April 15, from 11 a.m. to noon, when we’ll provide the materials so you can build, design and create.

High school
academic help

A free academic assistance program for high school students will happen Monday, April 17, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. to provide extra support, study time and homework assistance. 

Adult DIY 

At the free in-person adult DIY next Tuesday, April 18, from 1 to 2:30 p.m., you can make a woven placemat using colorful yarn. All supplies will be provided.

Spanish conversation

Practice your Spanish in a free group setting on Tuesday, April 18, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. There is no minimum skill level needed.

Online author talks

There will be one more talk this month in our free online virtual series featuring New York Times bestselling authors. You will have an opportunity to ask questions. 

Thursday, April 27, at 6 p.m. will showcase William Kent Krueger, author of “Ordinary Grace.”

Poetry challenge 

A new all-ages writing challenge was posted April 10 on the library’s Facebook page. In honor of Poetry Month, we’re asking you to write a poem in 15 words or less. 

Family storytime

Wednesdays from 10 to 11 a.m., join us for free in-person children’s stories, games, and plenty of reasons to get up and move. 

Short stories about
the outdoors

“Wilderness Tales” compiled by Diana Fuss is a collection of 40 short stories about North American outdoor life — both classics and contemporary pieces — by authors from James Fenimore Cooper and Jack London to Washington Irving and Margaret Atwood.


“The Librarian of Burned Books” by Brianna Labuskes is an historical novel inspired by the true story of a World War II organization founded by booksellers, publishers, librarians and authors to combat censorship. “Arch-conspirator” by Veronica Roth reimagines Sophocles’ “Antigone” in a place in the far future. “The Queen of Dirt Island” by Donal Ryan is a story of four generations of women in Tipperary. “The Last Kingdom” by Steve Berry is a Cotton Malone adventure centering on the discovery of a lost historical document. 


“Enchantment” by Katherine May is an invitation to rediscover feelings of awe and wonder in an anxious age. “Invention and Innovation” by Vaclav Smil draws on science and history to re-evaluate the overpromise of many inventions like supersonic flight. 


Our thanks to La Plata Electric Association for the generous monetary donation; to Jeanne Wilkins for the six new chess sets for Chess Club; and to Rosalea Connor, Linda Lutomski and John Prutsman for their materials donations. 

Quotable quote 

“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” — J. P. Morgan (1867-1943), American banker and philanthropist. 


For more information on library books, services and programs — and to reserve books, e-books, books on CD and DVDs from the comfort of your home — please visit our website at https://pagosalibrary.org.