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Bound by Words: Book Club Discovers Delights at Edmonds Bookshop

The club provides a forum for book discussion through a book club carried over from one owner to the next. Next up: Timothy Egan's "The Big Burn."

A well-read tradition continues at the : a book club.

“My husband and I bought the bookstore almost 11 years ago,” recalls owner Mary Kay Sneeringer on a recent weekday afternoon in the shop. “There was already a book club that had been running for about eight or nine years, and we really wanted to make sure to keep that going.”

The shop’s former owner, Susan Hildebrandt, still works there, and runs one of the store’s two monthly book club meetings. According to Sneeringer, the morning meeting had always been the norm for the book club, but after several years of patrons suggesting they add an evening meeting as well, a second time was added to the club’s schedule. 

The meetings consist of a one-hour session to talk about a selected book.

“I’m in three different book clubs and, unlike the others where we can get to talking about work and kids and family, this is not just a social engagement,” Sneeringer said. “We’re here to really talk about the book.”

There is a core group of up to eight members who consistently show up for each monthly meeting, and some of them attend both the morning and evening sessions if they wish to expand their discussion of the material.

Sneeringer points out that while many book clubs are primarily female, the one at the Edmonds Bookshop has a strong gender mix.

Anyone is encouraged to join the club, and curious readers can pick and choose the months they wish to attend based on the books they are interested in. Sneeringer and Shirley choose a group of books (a mix of fiction and nonfiction) and let the club vote for their top picks. They try to choose books that will spur conversation—even if that includes differing opinions.  

“[The book club] really brings together readers,” Sneeringer said. “It brings readers to books they might not otherwise read, and brings them to the book in another way they might not approach it when they are reading for pleasure.”

Note: .

The Edmonds Book Club meets at the store on the first Thursday of each month at 7 pm and the third Wednesday of each month at 9 am. Read the book, show up and join the conversation! The February book is The Big Burn by Pacific Northwest author Timothy Egan, who writes for The New York Times.

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