Bibliophiles, food enthusiasts gather at book clubs

Groups in Moscow, Colfax meet monthly to discuss interesting literature



Writer Rachel Clark discusses the Moscow Good Food Co-op book club Thursday afternoon at BookPeople of Moscow. Clark said she has been running the group since about 2012.

If you made it your New Year’s resolution to read more, you’ve come to the right place.

Several local book clubs have made it their mission to meet regularly and discuss literature, whether it’s just for fun, about a specific topic or to serve a bigger purpose.

Moscow Food Co-op

For readers with a penchant for food, the Moscow Food Co-op’s book club will be reading “The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People” by Dan Buettner this month.

Writer Rachel Clark is the volunteer who leads the group. She said they generally choose books about food and try to serve food related to the book of the month when they meet.

“The whole reason we’re doing this is to build and create community around food,” Clark said.

She said she has been leading the book club since 2012, but members were meeting regularly under different leadership for years before then.

“We have a group that became very cohesive very quickly,” Clark said. “One of them is a chef, one of them is a farmer … something magical happened, it was just like this glue bringing everyone together.”

Many of the books they have read are about farming or sustainable agriculture solutions, such as “The Dirty Life” by Kristin Kimball and “The $64 Tomato” by William Alexander.

Clark said the discussion at her book club is usually “organic” — no pun intended. They go into their meetings with no set questions and go around the circle discussing their perspectives on and inspirations coming from the text, she said.

“We’ve had some folks who […] got invested in the ideas and they actually didn’t have time to come back to book club because they were so busy farming or having rural or urban food plots,” Clark said.

The group doesn’t always just stick to the book; Clark said some meetings they will watch the movie adaptation. They also had a cookie party in December to choose the books for 2020, she said.

“It’s not that easy to get away from our phones and reading on our phones,” Clark said. “Book clubs are so great because there’s a social element that is alive and out loud.”

The co-op group normally meets the last Sunday of every month, but this month they will meet on Feb. 2 from 4 to 5:30 p.m., Clark said. Interested participants should email for directions to the meeting location.

Colfax Branch of Whitman County Library

To kick off the new decade, members of the Colfax Public Library’s book club will be reading books from the decade they were born.

Public Services Librarian Sarah Phelan said some of the participants will be discussing books from as early as the 1940s.

The group has been meeting monthly for the last year and twice annually members will all read different books, Phelan said.

Normally the group has a formal discussion where they share their favorite thing about the text and then discuss a set of questions, she said. Since people are reading different things for the January meeting, they will share a summary of their chosen book without spoilers and share information about the author or genre.

Phelan said they try to choose a “heavier” book to discuss every other month.

“If you’re reading something dense […] or something with a big moral dilemma, that’s something you might want to discuss with someone,” she said.

For the February meeting, the group is reading “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” by Heather Morris.

“I think it’s really good to talk about these important issues, to talk about the history and the effects,” Phelan said.

This month’s meeting is on Jan. 27 at 5:30 p.m. in the Tech Center at the Colfax Branch of the Whitman County Library. The library is located at 102 S. Main St. in Colfax.

“I think it’s just a good place for bibliophiles to share their love of books,” Phelan said.

Other groups

Neill Public Library hosts a monthly book club at 6:30 p.m. the first Thursday of every month in the Hecht Room of the library. For February, they are reading “The Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah, according to their website.

The Latah County Library District also has several book clubs operating out of the Moscow Public Library, including an afternoon tea group, one that meets on the second Monday of each month and a group for readers looking to venture out of their usual genres, according to the library’s website