Looking to lose yourself in a book? There’s a library book club for you.

reporter photo

With the new year in full swing, people may be looking for ways to get back into reading and one way to do this is through book clubs offered by area public libraries. 

This year is the start of a new book club at the Wallingford Public Library called the Hibernation Book Club.

Cindy Haiken, readers’ advisory librarian, said this new book club was inspired by questions made by people who attended the Classics Book Club last year.

“A few people last year said, ‘You know, do you think we might ever read something really long and complicated?’” Haiken said. 

Haiken replied by saying that with how the Classics Book Club operates, they wouldn’t have enough time to discuss a very long novel. The Classics Book Club meets three times a year and its next session is Feb. 2 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Collins Room and via Zoom. They will be discussing the book “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte.

Haiken didn’t want to change how the Classics Book Club is run because some people who attend the Classics Book Club may not want to read a long novel. So, she created the Hibernation Book Club, a book club that will pick one book a year and discuss it over six sessions that will take place every other week through the winter season. The first session is Jan. 10 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Board Room and over Zoom. 

“Something really big and complicated and break it down into sections,” Haiken said. 

When Haiken came up with the initial idea of the Hibernation Book Club, she sent out a survey to the Classics Book Club attendees, asking them if they liked her idea, how often they would like to meet, what time of day would they like to meet and what book, out of some suggestions, they would like to read. 

The first book the club is reading is “Middlemarch” by George Eliot. Haiken said “this was the overwhelming favorite of the survey responses.”

“That’s almost a 900 page book, but when she wrote it, she wrote it in eight books, eight separate books so none is more than 120 pages long,” Haiken said. 

For the first meeting next week, Haiken said everyone will just need to have read the first book, which is 105 pages. For the next meetings, Haiken said participants will need to read one or two of the next books, depending on how she set up the meetings. 

“So that’s not intimidating,” Haiken said. “... People have been really responsive to it. There’s a lot of people who have not come to any other book club that we offer and have said, ‘I want to try this.’” 

The idea of the Hibernation Book Club is to be a way to help people read long books that they have always wanted to read, but have been apprehensive about starting because of its length. 

“‘Middlemarch’ is commonly referred to as one of the great classic novels of all of English literature, but it’s very intimidating if you start it,” Haiken said. “... I think there’s also a feeling that reading something really complicated with a group of other people will help make it easier.” 

All of the book clubs offered through the library are hybrid, meeting in person and via Zoom.

Along with the Hibernation Book Club and the Classics Book Club, the Wallingford Public Library offers a Thursday Night Book Club, which will be meeting Jan. 19 at 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Collins Room and through Zoom. The club will be reading “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett. 

There is also a Mystery Book Club meeting Feb. 1 from 3 p.m. to 4:14 p.m. in the Community Room and Zoom. The group will be reading “The Maltese Falcon” by Dashiell Hammett. To join, email cshmurak@gmail.com. 

Lastly, the library offers a Truth Be Told Nonfiction Book Club that will be meeting Jan. 26 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Board Room and Zoom. The group will be reading “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau and a discussion will be moderated by Educator Susan Gomes. 

To join the other book clubs — Truth Be Told, Hibernation, Classics and Thursday Night, email Haiken at chaiken@wallingfordlibrary.org. 

Meriden Public Library

 The Meriden Public Library has two book clubs taking place this month. 

The first one is called “What’s Next” where they will be discussing “The Lions of Fifth Avenue” by Fiona Davis. The meeting will be on Jan. 11 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 

The other book club is called the BookTok Book Club and the meeting will be on Jan. 17 from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. At this meeting, the group will be discussing “A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas. 

Both of these book clubs had their inaugural meetings in the fall. 

Jane Connolly, reference librarian, said that the BookTok Book Club discusses “books that have trended on social media, including TikTok and Instagram.” 

She said that while the BookTok club is geared toward younger people, anyone can attend any of the book clubs that are offered at the library.  People can register on the library’s website to attend the meetings. 

Southington PublicLibrary

According to the Southington Public Library’s website, there are two book clubs meeting this month. 

On Jan. 10 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m, the Reading with Pride book club will be meeting in the library cafe to discuss “Gideon the Ninth,” the first book in Tamsyn Muir’s Locked Tomb Series. This club meets monthly to discuss LGBTQIA+ books, while also forming connections with members of the Southington community. 

The other book club, The Historical Fiction Book Club, will meet Jan. 13 in the library cafe from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. to discuss “A Thousand Ships,” a book written by Natalie Haynes. 

Registration can be done online, through the library’s website

Cheshire Public Library 

Lauren Gledhill, head of adult services, said the Cheshire Public Library offers three book clubs — Books Over Coffee, Books Over Cocoa and Murder by the Book Mystery Book Club. 

Books Over Coffee and Books Over Cocoa read the same book, with Books Over Coffee taking place during the afternoon and Books Over Cocoa taking place in the evening. This is because Books Over Cocoa will give people who work during the day the opportunity to get to join a book club. Books Over Cocoa started in October. 

These two book clubs are reading “Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times” by Katherine May. Books Over Coffee will meet Jan. 25 from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. and Books Over Cocoa will take place 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in The Loft. 

The Murder by the Book Mystery Book Club will be reading “Light on the Bone” by Kathryn Lasky and will meet 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. on Zoom. Barbara Ritchie, a Cheshire community member, is the host of the book club. 

For all three of the book clubs, registration is done through the library’s website

Gledhill said that Books Over Coffee is a popular book club at the library and it started in April 2019. 

“For some reason the daytime book clubs people really like in this community,” Gledhill said. “I’ve tried doing evening ones and weekend ones myself over the last year or so and very few people showed up to them.” 

Therefore, Books Over Cocoa is getting a slow start. Gledhill said the library might shift the format of it, but for now, it will be reading the same book as Books Over Coffee. 

“Books Over Coffee is definitely our number one, our flagship book club,” Gledhill said. 

jsimms@record-journal.com203-317-2279Twitter: @jessica_simms99


More From This Section