A tale of five book clubs

Many book lovers prize reading as a solitary activity, an opportunity to escape their day-to-day routine and become immersed in others’ travels, troubles, romances, families and adventures. Others prefer the sociability and camaraderie involved with exchanging opinions and ideas about a book with others in a book club setting.

We don’t know how many book clubs exist in Archuleta County, but we do know that there are a lot – and that they are an important part of the lives of many avid readers in our community.

One such group calls itself the Retro Book Club because its members wanted to focus on the classics, from “Wuthering Heights” to “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” – although they occasionally will choose a current bestseller. Initially made up of 17 women when it was formed four years ago, it became moribund during COVID and then resurfaced with a more manageable membership of seven. 

Each month the host picks the book and cooks a one-dish-meal dinner like lasagna or shepherd’s pie while guests bring their own beverages. Book discussions are wide-ranging and stimulating, and it is a rarity when someone can’t participate in depth because she hasn’t read the assigned book carefully enough.

“I’ve been very impressed by how intelligent everyone is and how involved we all get as we talk about the plot, the characters and the other details of the books,” said Chris Pike, a founding member. “We’ve become really good friends through our love of reading and our respect for each other.”

Another local club known as the B3 Book Club has been in existence for 12 successful years – although the meaning of their name is known only to insiders. Like most book clubs, they meet monthly at a member’s home. The host picks the book and prepares dinner matching its theme – for example, a Hawaiian meal when they read “The Book of Molokai.”

Robin Brobst, a founding member, said everyone tries hard not to miss a session, just like you would arrange your schedule to be sure you could attend a family reunion.

“We’re like a large, close-knit family. Our ages range from mothers in their low 40s to women in their mid-70s, and everyone’s varied experiences bring a depth to the  discussions that greatly add to our understanding and enjoyment. 

“We read books with a wide variety of subjects, but it’s interesting to note that we often gravitate to stories featuring strong women.”

If you want to participate in a book club without having to organize and host one, consider joining one of the three available at your library:

Our adult book club has been around for almost 10 years. Named for the library’s namesake, Ruby’s Book Club meets on the second Tuesday of each month, alternating between fiction and nonfiction titles. Members nominate books for the year and then vote to decide the final list. Discussions are stimulating and can become heartfelt when participants relate personally to a topic, as happened recently with “Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting.” 

Next in longevity comes our teen book club for sixth-12th graders that began more than five years ago. Although COVID affected attendance, the boys and girls who are members say it is a good way to find new books they like and also to make new friends. 

Our newest book club is Junior Page Turners for elementary students in grades three-five that will debut Tuesday, May 2. Their first book will be “Wish” by Barbara O’Connor, an engaging story of family, childhood friendship and an adopted dog.     

Whatever your choice – reading alone, participating in a book club or some combination – we are glad you are reading. As Dr. Suess said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Library fundraiser this Saturday

Saturday, April 15 is the second annual Library Affair fundraiser for our building campaign to expand and renovate your library. This elegant event happens at 6 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts and features an auction of 20 different table settings designed by some of Pagosa’s most creative artists. 

Book themes for the tables range from delightful children’s stories such as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” to adult classics like “The Great Gatsby.” Food will be courtesy of Todd Stevens and the Pagosa Springs High School culinary class with acoustic guitar music by Steve Blechschmidt. Tickets are $50 each, on sale now at the library (cash or check only) or online at pagosalibrary.org. 

Lifelong Learning tonight

A new free spring series of Lifelong Learning lectures in April and May begins tonight, Thursday, April 13 from 6-7:15 p.m. when we will welcome Roberta Strickland teaching us about Zentangle, a simple art method that is also a form of relaxation. April 20 features Bill Hudson discussing Northwest Coast Native American art. April 27 showcases Jenifer Doane talking about the amazing honeybees and other native Colorado bees.

Art fun for kids tomorrow

Little Picassos takes place tomorrow, Friday, April 14 from 10-11 a.m. for artists aged one to four using art to teach literacy skills. Participants should come ready to get messy at this free event. All materials are safe and nontoxic.

Legal clinic tomorrow

This month’s legal clinic on civil issues is by appointment tomorrow, Friday, April 14 from 2 – 3 p.m. Come to the library to meet privately via Zoom with our volunteer attorney. To schedule an appointment, at the beginning of the month send an email titled “Sign-up for Free Legal Clinic” with your first name and phone number to ruby@pagosalibrary.org, or phone 970-264-2209 or stop by the library.

Paws to Read tomorrow

Friday, April 14 from 2-3 p.m., youngsters from K-fifth grades are invited to share their favorite books with Muppet, a therapy dog who loves stories, at a free Paws to Read session.

Powerhouse fun

Grades K-5th grade will enjoy hands-on STEAM projects tomorrow, Friday, April 14 from 3-4 p.m.

Book buddies Saturday

Grades K-2nd grade will celebrate favorite book characters with books and art Saturday, April 15 from 10-11 a.m. at this free event.

Makerspace on Saturday

Kids, tweens and teens are invited to a free Makerspace session on Saturday, April 15 from 11 a.m. to noon when we’ll provide the materials so you can build, design and create.

High school academic help

A free academic assistance program for high school students happens Monday, April 17 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. to provide extra support, study time and homework assistance.  

Music fun

Pagosa Unplugged is free from 4-6 p.m. Monday, April 17 for amateur musicians who would like a safe, supportive, non-bar setting to play, sing or both with other people.  Anyone under age 18 is welcome with a signed parental permission, available at your library.  For program information contact Susan at 970-946-3396 (not the library).

New beginner computer class

Join us from 1-2 p.m. for a new free four-week beginner computer class Mondays and Wednesdays aimed at adults who want to learn practical skills related to PC use, emails, and creating new documents and folders. Registration is required.

Adult DIY

At the free in-person adult DIY next Tuesday, April 18 from 1-2:30 p.m., you can make a woven placemat using colorful yarn, all supplies provided.

Spanish conversation

Practice your Spanish in a free group setting on Tuesday, April 18 from 4:30-5:30 p.m.  No minimum skill level needed.

Online author talks

There will be one more talk this month in our free online virtual series featuring New York Times bestselling authors. You will have an opportunity to ask questions. Thursday, April 27 at 6 p.m. showcases William Kent Krueger, author of “Ordinary Grace.”

Poetry challenge

A new all-ages writing challenge was posted April 10 on the library’s Facebook page. In honor of Poetry Month, we’re asking you to write a poem in 15 words or less.

Homework and tutoring help

Free homework assistance and elementary tutoring are available for K-fourth grades on Wednesdays from 3:30-4:30 p.m. There is a registration packet for parents and guardians to fill out to enroll your child that you can get by emailing the library or coming in. 

Family storytime

Wednesdays from 10-11 a.m. join us for free in-person children’s stories, games and plenty of reasons to get up and move.  

ESL classes

Free in-person evening classes take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays with 4-5 p.m. reserved for beginners and 5-7 p.m. for both intermediate and advanced students. Please help us spread the word about these classes to others in our community who would be interested, and contact us by phone or email if you have any questions.  

Las clases de ESL

Las clases nocturnas gratuitas en persona se llevan a cabo los martes y jueves de 4 a 7 p.m. Los estudiantes principiantes asisten de 4 a 5 p.m., estudiantes intermedios de 5-6 p.m. y estudiantes avanzados de 7-8 p.m. Por favor, ayúdenos a correr la voz sobre estas clases a otras personas en nuestra comunidad que estén interesadas, y contáctenos por teléfono o correo electrónico si tiene alguna pregunta. 

PALS/GED adult education

Mark is available for his free PALS sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 – 8 p.m. to help with high school equivalency, GED, college prep, financial aid, tutoring and more. No registration required.

Tech Time

Free in-person slots are available from 10 a.m.-noon Tuesdays and 2-4 p.m. Thursdays. Judy will help you with basic questions relating to computers, smartphones and tablets and also provide assistance in accessing any of the library’s online resources. You do not need an appointment for these drop-in sessions.  

Downloadable books 

CloudLibrary has a wide variety of downloadable e-books and audiobooks for all ages. To access this free digital collection, download the cloudLibrary app, answer a few simple questions, select AspenCat Union Catalog for the name of your library, then enter your library card number and 4-digit PIN. Library staff are happy to help you set up your device if you need assistance.

Short stories about the outdoors

“Wilderness Tales” compiled by Diana Fuss is a collection of 40 short stories about North American outdoor life – both classics and contemporary pieces – by authors from James Fenimore Cooper and Jack London to Washington Irving and Margaret Atwood.


“The Librarian of Burned Books” by Brianna Labuskes is an historical novel inspired by the true story of a World War II organization founded by booksellers, publishers, librarians and authors to combat censorship. “Arch-conspirator” by Veronica Roth re-imagines Sophocles’ “Antigone” in a place in the far future. “The Queen of Dirt Island” by Donal Ryan is a story of four generations of women in Tipperary. “The Last Kingdom” by Steve Berry is a Cotton Malone adventure centering on the discovery of a lost historical document. 


“Enchantment” by Katherine May is an invitation to rediscover feelings of awe and wonder in an anxious age. “Invention and Innovation” by Vaclav Smil draws on science and history to reevaluate the over-promise of many inventions like supersonic flight.             


Our thanks to LPEA for the generous monetary donation, to Jeanne Wilkins for the six new chess sets for our Chess Club, and to Rosalea Connor, Linda Lutomski and John Prutsman for their materials donations. 

Quotable Quote

“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” – J. P. Morgan (1867-1943), American banker and philanthropist. 

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.