“On the same page” is a regular series featuring Utah book clubs.
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LAYTON — There are many reasons Alyson Farmer and others in her neighborhood love their Layton-based book club. Before her phone interview with the Deseret News, Farmer emailed other members to compile a list of their favorite things about book club.
When asked what they love about the club, members of this Layton-based book club wrote that some of their favorite aspects are:
1. They stay on topic: "We can discuss books for hours," Farmer told the Deseret News.
2. They read a large variety of books.
3. They have men and women in our book club.
4. "Every August we have … a book-themed dinner," Farmer said. "Sometimes we even will dress up and the food is based on the book. I think it's the highlight of the year for everybody."
5. Their annual Christmas party: "We play book-themed games and do a book exchange," Farmer said. "Every year, I make ornaments for everybody based on who's participated, so we all get one or two ornaments every year that are book-themed."
6. They've become good friends.
Deseret News: When and how did your book club start?
Alyson Farmer: It started as a way to get young moms out of the house, kind of an interest group, and then it's just evolved in the past 16 or 17 years.
… There aren't that many of us who have young kids (anymore). The group is just in our neighborhood. It's not an exclusive group, so we get new people. We have some men that come regularly as well. One used to come with his wife but she doesn't come as much but he still comes and he's been coming for years.
DN: What are you reading right now?
AF: We just finished reading "Why We Sleep: Unlock the Power of Sleep and Dreams," by Matthew Walker. It was great. We had an awesome discussion.
DN: What book are you doing for your August party this year?
AF: This year the book is going to be "Funny Farsi: A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America," (by Firoozeh Dumas). I have not read it. I always wait until right before book club so I don't forget what the book's about to read them. So, I haven't actually read that one.
I did make a list of a lot of the other ones that we've done. Last year we did "Chocolat," by Joanne Harris. And our pork was chocolate rubbed and all of our salad had little bits of chocolate pieces in it.
The year we did "Harry Potter," (the host) had lights hanging up and hanging down. One of the ladies that comes is a ceramics teacher, and she made us all Harry Potter mugs.
We did "Letters of a Woman Homesteader," (by Elinore Pruitt Stewart) and had all Dutch oven food and dressed up in clothes. We actually had a guest speaker at that one come.
… Probably our favorite one though was "The Miracles of Santo Fico," by D. L. Smith and had an Italian meal. That was super awesome.
DN: What does a typical meeting look like?
AF: Whoever hosts will be the one who leads the discussion. It usually … starts with "what did you think of the book?" We'll all go around and talk about it. And (then) they'll ask questions. We've gotten lately where we're starting to have treats themed on the book. … We did a book, "Finding Oz," (by Evan I. Schwartz) — it's all about L. Frank Baum who wrote "The Wizard of Oz." … We had a dessert based on every character in "The Wizard of Oz." It was amazing. It took a while to even eat the treats because it was just so well done.
DN: Is there anything you've learned or gained from being in this book club?
AF: I think these are some of my best friends. It's evolved into a really good group of friends. I think because we do talk about the book so much that usually we come home having learned something from the book. I think really good friendships have been the best thing, but also just even a greater love of books and literature and the power of books.
DN: Do you have a favorite book to movie adaptation?
AF: (The Netflix adaptation of) "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society," (by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows). That's one that was (recently) recommended — we read it years ago. (Also,) "Chocolat." I mean, a lot of us have seen the movie before the book.
DN: If you could invite any writer to your book group who would you want?
AF: Now, that is a hard question. Well, I might say Mary Roach but I don't know if my book club would agree with me just because her books are about disgusting subjects that she doesn't take too seriously and makes so interesting. I think a lot of them would say J.K. Rowling, but that's probably pretty common. … Actually, I'm going to change my answer. Can I say Ruta Sepetys? If I were a writer, that's the kind of writer I'd want to be. She takes little-known facts about history and turns them into these just amazing stories.
This Layton book club's recommendations:
"WHY WE SLEEP: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams," by Matthew Walker Ph.D., Simon and Schuster, 368 pages (nf)
"GULP: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal," by Mary Roach, W.W. Norton & Company, 352 pages (nf)
"THE MIRACLES OF SANTO FICO," by D.L. Smith, Grand Central Publishing, 368 pages (f)
"THE GRAND SOPHY," by Georgette Heyer, Sourcebooks, 384 pages (f)
"A MILLION MILES IN A THOUSAND YEARS: How I Learned to Live a Better Story," by Donald Miller, Thomas Nelson, 257 pages (nf)1 comment on this story
"QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking," by Susan Cain, Penguin Books UK, 352 pages, (nf)
"BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY," by Ruta Sepetys, Penguin Random House, 384 pages (f)
"GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance," by Angela Duckworth, Simon and Schuster, 353 pages (nf)
"THE NIGHT CIRCUS," by Erin Morgenstern, Penguin Random House, 528 pages (f)
"GLOBAL MOM: Eight Countries, Sixteen Addresses, Five Languages, One Family," by Melissa Dalton-Bradford, Familius, 320 pages (nf)