The 19th century saw an explosion of the public’s exposure to books. Developments in printing, pulp paper and elementary education combined to create a literacy rate never seen before. By the 20th century, book clubs were bringing together diverse folks around every subject. With modern information technologies, books are still a vital part of the culture. For Southlanders, there is no shortage of book clubs, but they have evolved into meeting both in the “cloud” and in the community.
1651 W. Temple St.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Founded in 2009, Nonfiction Bookworms explores everything from Greek philosophy to the foundation of the major religions, and from history to human psychology. Recent and upcoming group meetings have included discussions of Plato’s “The Republic,” “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” “Walden Pond” and “The Mismeasure of Man.” Reading lists prepare members for vibrant talks and online discussions continue in the weeks between meetings.
West LA Book Club
Los Angeles, CA
Fifty current members network via e-mail on a wide variety of books from an extensive list. Lesser-known writings by classic authors, like Sinclair Lewis, are contrasted with current nonfiction authors. Recently, Robert Sapolsky’s “A Neuroscientist’s Unconventional Life Among the Baboons,” a semi-autobiographical review of his two decades in unspoiled Africa, was reviewed. “Room” by Emma Donoghue, a serious novel of a young women’s abduction that mirrors recent headlines, was read and discussed in past months. And there are many more engaging books to be discussed by the West LA Book Club.
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Fabulous Divas’ Book Club!
The Fabulous Divas’ Book Club! welcomes women in celebration of black life and culture. The wide range of African-American authors, past and present, fiction and nonfiction, are the center of discussion. The group meets at public and private locations monthly for socializing and sharing impressions. The group seeks, as well, to promote new authors in the area by reviewing and examining young talents. Eric Jerome Dickey, Nora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright and Toni Morrison are among writers appreciated by the Divas’ Club. Every background and personality is represented and welcome to join.
The Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army!
Los Angeles, CA
Adult geeks come together for fun and discussion. It’s an unofficial fan book club centered on fanciful works like “Star Wars” and “Star Trek,” including “Lord of the Rings” and the more recent “Hunger Games.” Started in 2009, the group originally began as a “Harry Potter” fan club, but it soon realized that the genre could be expanded and explored in many directions. The Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army takes a less-than-serious look at popular literature; it’s all about fun!
Reading Science in LA
2800 E. Observatory Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
The public is often fascinated by science but intimidated by academic books. Reading Science in LA takes a serious look at science writers that bridge the gap between the arcane and common understanding. With public lectures and discussions at places like the Griffith Observatory, book club members discuss astronomy, physics, natural science and more.
Los Angeles Public Library – Online Book Clubs
630 W. 5th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90071
The Los Angeles Public Library moves into the 21st century with an online book club. Open to readers of all ages, members can choose any genre, receive reading selections via e-mail and then decide what books to check out at their local library branch. Members can also purchase books at great discounts. From fiction and nonfiction, readers will enjoy mysteries, thrillers, romance novels and much more. The endless selections are made available from one of the largest library systems in the world.
Robert Cuthbert is a freelance writer covering all things Los Angeles. His work can be found on Examiner.com.