Book clubs can be found everywhere. Whether discussed via e-mail and Internet (like our own encore book club) or in person, they exist. More so, their potential is limitless. It really is just a matter of looking and finding the one that fits. Book clubs are a way to seek out and find social identity. When it comes to finding great reads, they can open endless discussions not only in the literary realm but also on topics of utmost importance. Seemingly, our Port City’s bookish world just got a little hotter with the addition of two new book clubs tackling different agendas.
The first, founded by Wilmington resident Jesse Cooper, is all about parenting, social behavior and how we, as human beings, relate to one another.
“I’m not a parent.” Cooper reveals oddly enough. “But this is a back-door approach for some of the topics I’m passionate about, professionally and personally. Parenting and early development, even our own fears about parenting and the family dynamic—this is an area where people can use the books we read to explore that objective. I’m just fascinated by how communities understand and approach babies and young children about their needs.”
By discussing more than diapering, feeding and scheduling or setting up a nursery, Cooper maintains that the Parenting Book Club (hopefully) will help those ready to start a family or those already enjoying the pride of parenthood to prioritize the emotional needs of their children. As Cooper points out, it’s an absolute critical aspect during infancy and through child-rearing which enables us to connect to the environment and others as adults. Whether we are aware of it or not, we treat the next generation the way we have been treated as a child. Truly, growing up is a trans-generational issue.
“It’s not about preaching or setting up a parenting strategy,” she says. “I don’t have a strategy, and I don’t know what will happen, but I’m excited to share ideas. This book club is about building the blueprint of developmental striving. It’s about the materials and the approach and the synchronizing that shapes development and, ultimately, the world. The book club is really about sharing in a community of conversation.”
A social scientist first, Cooper does not proclaim herself to be an expert on parenting. In fact, that proclamation would go against the very nature of her club. The Parenting Book Club is an arena where families and lovers of the factual and scientific word can come and learn together without being critical or judgmental. Currently, the titles on Cooper’s book club list are, “Parenting for a Peaceful World” by Robin Grille, “Molecules of Emotion” by Candace Pert and “The Unborn Child” by Roy Ridgway and Simon House. Cooper’s group meets every Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. at Old Books on Front Street. Those who can’t make it but want to share in the conversation can visit her blog, www.happyfamilieshappybabies.com/blog.
Adding to the mix of new book clubs is Wilmington’s own Going Green magazine. They do more than speak about pennant issues concerning our environment, they hope to connect eco-friendly goods, information and services with the people looking for them. Introduced by sisters Mary and Valerie Robertson, Going Green meets the first Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. at Old Books on Front Street.
“I attend several environmental events of all sorts each week,” Valerie Robertson, founder of the publication, says, “but many are lectures or monthly meetings with a presentation. I thought it would be fun to have a forum, such as a book club, that would encourage in-depth conversation among environmentally minded people.”
Old Books seemed a perfect fit as their support of Going Green hasn’t wavered since its debut. Plus, that their tagline is “Save Trees, Buy Used Books” makes a perfect fit for an environmental reading group. Thus far, the passionate group has read, “The Sea Around Us” by Rachel Carson, “Bringing Nature Home” by Douglas Tallamy, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver and Gerald Durrell’s, “A Zoo in My Luggage.” Their August read will be, “HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth” by Mark Hertsgaard.
Mary Robertson, co-founder of Going Green, stressed there is no age requirement to be a member, just as there is no prerequisite to start being environmentally conscious. “We’d like to have everyone, from high school students to folks old enough to remember the first Earth Day, so we have a variety of perspectives to share with each other. In each issue of Going Green, we try to offer our readers ways they can make a difference, and it’s the same with the books we choose. It’s pretty easy to get overwhelmed with bad news about the environment these days; no matter what your stance on global warming, it’s hard not to believe we are in for a heap of hard times. So many books do offer success stories, or at least concrete solutions that are worth discussing. That’s what will make a difference. Getting to know one another around these difficult issues is one of the most important steps we can take.”
Those interested can also visit Going Green’s website, www.goinggreenpublications.com, or their Facebook page for more information.