Second Wednesday Book Club members will discuss “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead at their next meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 10. [Image courtesy of Penguin Random House]

One of the many pleasures of being in a book club is the exposure to titles, or genres of which you otherwise may not have heard, or read. That’s often been the case for members of the Second Wednesday Book Club, which meets monthly at the Grand County Public Library, 257 E. Center St.

For example, the group once broke tradition by reading a graphic novel titled “March: Book One,” by civil rights activist and Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia; Andrew Aydin; and Nate Powell.

“We found it educational; the story itself was awesome,” longtime book club member Maggie Corson said.

The book club “informally” alternates each month between fiction and nonfiction “to cover everyone’s tastes,” Corson said. Members schedule their book selections three months in advance to allow time for the library to publicize the meetings and order extra copies of the books.

“They need a heads-up to get that process in motion – most members don’t buy the book; we count on the library (to get copies),” Corson said.

At their next meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 10, members will discuss the Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning novel “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead. The club gathers in the library’s meeting room.

The Second Wednesday Book Club evolved from book discussions started by the Utah Humanities Council in August 1985. The council provided the books as well as guest speakers. When that program ended, Moab residents formed their own book club. Cynthia Smith has attended book club meetings since the beginning.

“Book Club has broadened my tastes,” she said. “Book Club has made me look at memoirs, biographies and nonfiction more,” said Smith, who prior to joining the book club read mostly fiction.

And nonfiction fans have learned to love novels.

“It’s one of the reasons that people attend,” Smith said.

“What It Is Like to Go to War” by Karl Marlantes was a book that Smith said she read as part of the group, but never would have picked up otherwise.

“It was fascinating; really interesting,” she said.

Members bring to meetings title suggestions and book reviews, which they keep in a box until it’s time to select the next book.

“The books lead us into a wide range of topics,” Smith said. “They spark a lot of discussions. People bring their life experiences into the discussion.”

The book club is informal and open to anyone. While there’s a core group of individuals who have been coming for years, others rotate in and out of the group.

“It’s a very personable group,” Corson said. “A lot of us keep coming because we like the interacting with this particular group of women,” – although men are welcome, too, she quickly added.

“We had a treasured male member when I joined, who has since passed away,” she said. “Every once in a while, a man shows up because he’s interested in a particular book (scheduled for that month) – and that’s fine.”

Literary classics are thrown into the mix every once in a while, as well as a “short and sweet” book for the month of December, when people are busy with the holiday, Corson said.

“It’s eclectic, for sure,” she said. “One of my favorites in the last two years is ‘The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey’ by Rinker Buck, a nonfiction book about two mismatched brothers and three ornery mules who decide to recreate the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon. The writing is delightful. I learned a lot of western history through this adventure.”

Second Wednesday club welcomes new members, drop-ins

“The books lead us into a wide range of topics … They spark a lot of discussions. People bring their life experiences into the discussion.”

Where: Grand County Public Library, 257 E. Center St., in the library board room

When: Wednesday, Jan. 10, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Information: or 435-259-1111

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