What we are reading / Book clubs in Georgia

A -- Z Book Club

Debbie Withers / McDonough

How often it meets: Monthly

About this club: Since starting in 2005, this club has made it through the alphabet twice and then some. The 18 members take turns selecting books and locations for discussion based on the alphabet. The first year, the restaurant was based on the letter of the month. For example, Olive Garden for the letter O. The next year, for added challenge, members decided the book's title or author, as well as the restaurant, should reflect the letter of the month. For example, "The Red Tent" by Anita Diamant, represented the letter R. The meeting place: Red Lobster. "We exercise creative license in our choices," Withers says. For X, the club read "I Am Madame X" by Gioia Diliberto and dined at Taqueria La Oaxaquena. "The beauty of the club is that it's low maintenance," Withers says. "Because everyone takes a turn selecting the book and restaurant, and moderating the discussion, we read quite a variety from easy beach reads to best-selling nonfiction to classics."

Favorites have included: "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls, "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett and "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen.

Memorable flops: "The Stupidest Angel" by Christopher Moore and "My Nerdy Valentine" by Vicki Lewis Thompson, though both titles were  "inspiration for chortles when we met," Withers says.

Recently read: "The Double Bind" by Chris Bohjalian

What it's about: A social worker finds photographs taken by a formerly homeless client and tries to find out his history. The thriller has many references to the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic "The Great Gatsby."

What members thought: Their original restaurant choice for the letter D was closed, so they diverted to a nearby spot. "Everyone enjoyed the book, which had a surprising twist at the end that readers didn't see coming," Withers says. "They were blown away. Some were a little frustrated about the ending, though, which brought up many unanswered questions and was good for our discussion."

Next assignment: "Firefly Lane" by Kristin Hannah

Patti Ghezzi, for the AJC

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Contact Patti Ghezzi at ajcbookclubs@yahoo.com