Book Clubs Abound in Ferndale

(Crystal A. Proxmire, 1/11/2011)

Even though the Library is closed for repairs following a water storage tank leak, the people of Ferndale who value a good book are still finding ways to get together and share their literary love.

Book Parties at the Emory, a regular extra-library activity, is back on Thursday, Jan. 20.  There is also the Nerdy Book Club at Detroit Comics on Jan. 21.And a new tradition is forming with the emergence of the GLBT Book Club which will meet at Como’s on Tuesday, Jan. 25.

The Library’s ‘Tween Book Club and The Science Fiction Book Club have taken a temporary break.  The Library is expected to re-open in late February.


“Books, good conversation, snacks, and drinks make for a great night.” that’s how Program Coordinator Darlene Hellenberg describes Book Parties at the Emory.  “It’s also a great way to show the community that The Ferndale Library isn’t the stereotypical library. We want to be a part of the community and partnering with a local bar is something that really works in Ferndale.  We really want to celebrate reading and get people together to do so.”

Those with a Library card (any library card will do) get a free well drink, draft, or house wine between 7:30 and 9:30 PM, and there are usually between 15-20 people mingling and talking about the selected book.  Not to worry if you haven’t finished the book, there are always people there talking about what chapter they are on.

“Please feel free to come if you haven’t read or finished the book. It’s a party not a club and we want people who love books to meet other people who love books,” Hellenberg said.

The book this month is The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, which the Program Coordinator is now reading.  “So far, I’m really enjoying it. Pearl S. Buck is a great storyteller. I can’t say I like the main character but I think that’s part of the appeal. I want to keep reading. It’s also interesting to read about another time and another culture. The people in the book are farmers, in China. Their lifestyle is nothing like ours.”

Hellenberg recalled The Big Read event which started it all.  The Big Read celebration was funded with a National Endowment for the Arts Grant through The Ferndale Public Library.  They held several book discussion groups throughout the city, along with other book-themed events like an art show, author talks, and a dramatic reading of part of The Maltese Falcon.  The Big Read captivated the city the entire month of March 2010, and The Book Parties at the Emory were an integral part that carried on after the initial program was done.

Here are some of The Ferndale 115 News stories on those events:

March is Full of Maltese Falcon Themed Events as Ferndale Catches Big Read Fever ~ http://www.ferndale115.com/19p3bigread.html

Big Read Book Party Packs Emory ~  http://www.ferndale115.com/20100401bigread.html

Art About Books at Paramount Bank is Another Chapter in Big Read Event ~ http://www.ferndale115.com/19p15gallery.html

Loren Estleman Shares Views on Mystery as Part of The Big Read ~ http://www.ferndale115.com/20100401writer.html

“When we started the Book Parties we were only planning on having four meetings and that was it. I’m so happy that the participants and The Emory wanted to continue having them,” Hellenberg said.

She also gave hints that another big reading event might be coming up in Ferndale this March.


Ann Cox and Jackie Walker, members of Metropolitan Community Church, are the founders of the GLBT Book Club.  The group will meet at Como’s Restaurant on the NE corner of Woodward and 9 Mile. (22812 Woodward) on Tuesday, Jan. 25.  There is no obligation to purchase food and anyone is welcome.

The first book selected for the group is Zeitoun by Dave Eggers, about a man who struggles to survive Hurricane Katrina only to be arrested and detained by military police who abuse him and call him a terrorist before finally releasing him to be with his wife and children, to then face the devastation of the storm.

Just 4 Us“Ann and I had both read this book and liked it.  It’s pretty popular and since it took place in New Orleans during Katrina, it’s got lots of things to discuss,” said Walker, who has been with MCC “off and on” since 1975.  “We’ve had book clubs before at that church, but we thought having one at Como’s might be a nice way to have a nice night out.”

Walker said she belongs to other book clubs, but hopes this can be a good one for the GLBT community.  “I like book clubs because you get to share what you’re reading with your friends.  You get to learn from their different perspective.  Plus it’s just a nice thing to do with friends.”

To keep up with MCC events, add them on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/MCC-Detroit/48856695073.


Detroit Comics (23333 Woodward) is all about giving the nerdiest of readers a place to feel at home!  Their Nerdy Book Club meets once a month to talk about graphic novels of any sort.  For January they’ll be reading Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea, the macabre story of a propaganda comic working for a totalitarian state.  On January 21 from 7-9pm The Nerdy Book Club will meet at the comic shop and chat about the work.

{ NOTE:  The Ferndale 115 News has done two articles on The Nerdy Book Club, one was a feature by Brita Brooks and another was an interview with Mouseguard Author David Petersen.  Unfortunately both links were lost in the transition to the new website layout, and we’d like to apologize for this gap.  Hopefully we’ll find them and get them added soon. }

If you know of any other book clubs to be added to this article, please contact us at editor@ferndale115.com.