“On the same page” is a series featuring Utah book clubs and will run every other week.
Editor's note: If you have a book club and you are interested in being featured, please contact us at email@example.com. Please include your name, your contact information and one or two sentences describing your book club.
SALT LAKE CITY — The Altrus Club started out in 1915 as group that knitted socks for World War I soldiers.
“They decided they ought to be doing something when they’re knitting besides talking with each other, so they decided to have somebody share a book, and that’s how it got started,” said Jean Eldredge, a 50-year club member who currently keeps the group’s records.
Now a century later, the club continues to knit together the communities of Roosevelt, Neola and Myton as the group meets monthly to work on personal handicraft projects and listen to a club member's book presentation.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Deseret News: What kind of books do you read?
Jean Eldredge: Whatever the person responsible wants to do; totally up to them. They can do a travel report or they can do a book that they’ve gone through and condensed, and sometimes they do a video presentation, but it is mostly books. And nobody chooses; they can just do something that’s been important to them.
DN: What have been some of your most memorable book club experiences?
JE: We have dues for the year and we use that money to purchase books for the library. ... That’s been continuing for 100 years; that’s quite a few books, and probably that — doing positive things to kind of expand and give opportunities to people. We’re pretty remote out here. ... This year, because it was our 100th year, we were able to get some publishers to help us and we donated 100 books to the hospital nursery and made them a little bag of goodies for newborns with the emphasis on parents reading to children.
DN: What have you learned or gained from being involved in this book group?
JE: I’ve gained access to many books I would not have had time to read myself. I taught school 29 years and raised six kids, so reading wasn’t always my privilege, so that allowed me to enjoy these that I could do without that moment. And just the community involvement and of course the contemporaries, to meet with women I didn’t otherwise see during my daytimes, and always learned from them.
The Altrus Club recommends:
“Little Britches” by Ralph Moody, Bison Books, 260 pages (f)
Mitford series, by Jan Karon, G.P. Putnam's Sons (f)
“The Silver Chalice” by Thomas Costain Doubleday, 533 pages (f)
“One Soldier’s Story” by Bob Dole, Harper Perennial, 320 pages (nf)
“The Greatest Stories Never Told” by Rick Beyer, Harper, 224 pages (nf)
“1776” by David McCullough, Simon & Schuster, 400 pages (nf)
“These is my Words” by Nancy E. Turner, Harper Perennial, 416 pages (f)
“The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls, Scribner, 320 pages (nf)
“The Hometown Weekly” by Bruce Lindsay, Covenant Communications, 127 pages (nf)
“Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom, Broadway Books, 240 pages (nf)
“Snow Treasure” by Marie McSwigan, Puffin Books, 208 pages (f)
“The Children of Topaz” by Michael O. Tunnell and George W. Chilcoat, CreateSpace, 82 pages (nf)
“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson, Hachette Books, 272 pages (nf)
“Silver Boxes” by Florence Littauer, Thomas Nelson, 168 pages (nf)
“Embraced by the Light” by Betty J. Eadie, Bantam, 147 pages (nf)
“Rumors of War” by Dean Hughes, Deseret Book Co., 500 pages (f)
“Charles Kuralt’s America” by Charles Kuralt, Anchor, 304 pages (nf)
“Sweetgrass” by Jan Hudson, Puffin Books, 176 pages (f)