A social and political meeting of the minds and pages

January 17, 2014

stack_of_booksby Carrie Klemm, MCP Correspondent.

LUDINGTON – As the snow buries the streets outside, the Social and Political Book Club bends a few book bindings and warms up to collective discussion, inviting anyone and everyone to join the conversation.

What began in 2005 as a few members of the Ludington Democratic Party discussing a political book became a gathering of independent intellectual minds over an expanded variety of subjects.

“After a few years we found ourselves bringing up a lot of interesting topics and we began choosing books that offered different perspectives,” said Brenda Reeber of Ludington, one of the group’s original members. “We were interested in the further examination of many issues. What could be a better way than to read and talk about it with each other?”

This past Wednesday, the club met to discuss January’s book of the month, “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe. The 1958 novel follows the life of a tribe leader as he endures banishment from his community, years in exile and the many events after his return. The book was suggested by long time member and book-lover, Wally Cain, who also facilitated the meeting.

“I had read the book in the past and I couldn’t get it off my mind,” said Cain. “I wanted to talk about it with everyone and hear what stuck with them.”

His discussion began by asking if there were any particular scenes in the book that made anyone feel uncomfortable, which lead to a very interesting chat.

Each month, the club selects a book to read then meets for discussion on the third Wednesday of that month. Though books are chosen in advance to allot for planning, the group is open to suggestions. Topics range anywhere from history to science, music to religion, fiction to non-fiction. All that is asked is that it be something to talk about.

“I have to admit that I chose probably the worst book that we have read,” said Jack Bulger of Ludington, referring to “Bob Dylan in America” by Sean Wilentz. “It surprisingly turned into one of our best meetings as we had local musician, Mike Lenich come in and play Dylan songs all night.”

To mix up the conversation, the group will occasionally screen a film that coincides with a movie or take a field trip relating to the book. One month will typically feature the book of the semester chosen by West Shore Community College, see the March 19 discussion.

Throughout its nine year existence, the club has had more than 200 members come and go and come back again, holding a strong mix between locals, summer visitors and occasional drop-ins.  All are welcome.

Upcoming discussions are scheduled as follows:

February 19, 2014 – “Zealot” by Reza Aslan

March 19, 2014 – “The Living Great Lakes” by Jerry Dennis, WSCC Book of the Semester, facilitated by Mike Nagle, professor of history and political science.

April 16, 2014 – “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” by Henry Louis Gates Jr., facilitated by John Thorpe who helped found the Ferris State University Jim Crow Museum

May 21, 2014 – Morning field trip to the Jim Crow Museum, lead by John Thorpe

June 18, 2014 – “The Next American Revolution” by Grace Lee Boggs, facilitated by Frank Joyce, friend of the author and well known activist.

Unless otherwise specified, meetings begin at 7p.m. in the back room at Luciano’s Ristoranti in Ludington. For more information contact Jack Bulger at [email protected]

 

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