There’s a book club for everyone

One Book Chelmsford LogoOnce upon a time a book group sat in a semi-circle surrounding a fireplace. The book group leader inquired, “Well, what did you think of the book?” “I liked it,” said one gentleman. “I liked it too,” said the woman beside him. “What did you like about it?” the leader asked. “I liked the plot and the characters and the ending.” “I did too,” said another book group member.

And they all agreed that they liked the book. The End.

Not a very exciting story is it? But that is what a book group often can be like if everyone agrees. A good discussion needs strong opinions and the occasional disagreement. So, are you contrary, irascible, stubborn? Will your epitaph say, “I may not have always been right, but I was never wrong?” A book group may be just the niche you have been looking for.

As folks have been reading Richard Russo’s Empire Falls – the community reading book chosen by Chelmsford voters last fall – they have been voicing their opinions.

And those opinions have been varied.

“I don’t like the ending.” “I thought it was hilarious.” “I didn’t think it was funny at all.” “I felt hope at the end.” “I thought the whole book was sad.” “I loved the characters; they felt just like people I know.” “I don’t know anyone like the people in that book.” “I don’t get why this book won the Pulitzer Prize.” “I can see why this book won the Pulitzer, the writing is great.”

One of the hallmarks of a book worth reading is the reactions it gets from its readers. And those reactions do not all have to be positive. A few Chelmsford residents erroneously believe that they should not come to a book discussion if they didn’t love the book. Don’t make that mistake! And if you love the book, as so many do, we need you to come tell us why! We need to hear your thoughts. And our discussions promise to be lively and interesting if there is some controversy.

Book discussions will begin in April. They will be held at both the center library and at MacKay, the Senior Center, Chelmsford High School, the Town Offices, restaurants, coffee houses, and churches and at senior citizen housing. Click on the One Book logo at for more information or drop by the library and pick up a book discussion schedule.

If you haven’t started reading Empire Falls yet, what are you waiting for? Books are available around town and in the library. Come and get your copy now!