By Wendy Brown, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public AffairsJanuary 22, 2020
SAGAMIHARA FAMILY HOUSING AREA, Japan (Jan. 22, 2020) -- Members of the Book Club for Adults at the Sagamihara Family Housing Area Library like to keep drama and intrigue confined to the pages of the books they read.
"Everybody's laid back and we're all fun," said Amy Snyder, an Army spouse who has been a member since the club began in August 2018. "It doesn't matter what anyone says or if they like the book or they don't. We just respect everybody here."
The club meets once a month, and although there is no rule against nonfiction, club members choose their own books and have always read fiction, said Jim Lacombe, supervisory librarian. The library orders the books three months in advance to ensure they're always ready.
At the Jan. 21 meeting, nine members met to discuss "Ask Again, Yes," a novel by Mary Beth Keane about two families who live next door to each other in suburban New York. The library provides food for the meetings, and this month it was pizza.
The discussion included the characters, the basic storyline and what everyone thought of the book as a whole. The meeting was an hour long, and discussion lasted the entire time.
Carmen Davenport, who has also attended since the club began, said she enjoys it because it expands her reading horizons.
"I like it because it introduces me to new books," Davenport said. "It introduces me to books that I probably would not pick up. We read 'The Nightingale,' and it was really good. We've been reading a lot of murder mysteries and I really like that."
Everyone in the club can suggest a book, Davenport said, and there is no specific theme.
"We just kind of pick what people want to read," Davenport said. Next month the group is discussing "Sharp Objects" by Gillian Flynn.
While some members ask questions of the group during the discussion, the group has no set discussion questions, Davenport said.
"There are no rules," Davenport said. "We just discuss."
Also, participants should not worry if they haven't finished the book before the meeting, Davenport said.
"Even if you don't like the book and you don't finish, you're still welcome to come … because there's some books I did not finish either, but you're still welcome to voice your opinion," Davenport said.
Snyder said potential members should also know they're welcome to bring their children.
The group meets at 6 p.m. in the library, and during the Jan. 21 meeting the members' children read and played together in the children's room, occasionally running in to check in with their mothers.
Snyder said her favorite book that she has read in the club so far is "The Silent Patient," a psychological thriller by Alex Michaelides.
"It was just a very interesting read," Snyder said. "Very mysterious. So you had to figure it out, or you tried to. It kept you in the pages."
Snyder said she recommends the club to others.
"It's just a fun place to come if you like to read and be around friends," Snyder said.
In fact, during the discussion, when Davenport suggested that maybe the characters' lives in "Ask Again, Yes," wouldn't be so dysfunctional if they had outside interests, fellow club member Maigen Bosch had an idea.
"[The characters] need a book club," she said. "That would have saved everything."
Lacombe said the library is considering starting another book club centered on nonfiction books about history, military history or Japan, for example.
For more information or to make a suggestion, contact Lacombe at DSN (315) 263-5267 or (COMM) 046-407-5267.