You Go Girl's African American Book Club celebrated it's fifth anniversary September 1998. Jean Weathers, our founder, read an article in Essence magazine on book discussion groups. The Essence article provided a contact person, Ms. Linda Fleming Willis, of Columbus, OH. With the information Ms. Fleming provided, Jean sent letters out to her friends and co-workers to determine if there was an interest in establishing a reading group to discuss African American fiction in this area.
Five (5) years later You Go Girl's have approximately twenty-four active members and five honorary members. The membership was originally from the western suburbs of Chicago (Bellwood, Broadview, Maywood, and Oak Park, IL). However, the club can now boast of members from many neighboring western suburbs and Chicago. The club's honorary members are as far away as Arkansas, Ohio and Louisiana. The membership consists of teachers, contract specialist, college students, computer specialists, postal workers, housewives and authors. We also have some future authors and some self-published authors as members. The most well known published author the club has had as a member was, Robyn Williams, author of Preconceived Notions. Ms. Williams is no longer a member of the club as she is currently busy promoting her book and writing.
You Go Girl publishes a quarterly newsletter, published by Ruth Fulton. The newsletter provides minutes of the last meeting and highlights of the book discussed. It also provides reviews of at least three newly published books and an interview with a different club member each quarter.
The club collects dues of $5.00 per quarter to defray the cost of postage and printing of the newsletter, and a donation for our meeting space. During the Christmas season, dues and other donation are collected to be given to a charity voted on by the club.
The club meets quarterly (Third Saturday of March, June, September and December) at Afri-Ware, in Oak Park, IL. Afri-Ware is owned by Jill Bunton. Jill provides, at a discount to members, the books the club selects to read. Members present selections or choose from a list provided by the bookstore. These selections are then voted on. Members volunteer to present a synopsis of the author's life and experence as a writer, the main characters of the book, and the meaning of the title of the book. Book discussions have included, Ugly Ways, Falling Leaves of Ivy, Knowing, Lesson Before Dying, Crystal in Mist (by our own Connie Bradley), Ehoes of Mercy, Little Yellow Dog, The Wedding, In Search of Satisfaction, When Death Comes Stealing, Only Twice I've Wished for Heaven, Preconceived Notion, Sisters and Lovers. The Between, Tumbling, My Soul to Keep, How To Sleep In the Bed you've Made and The Kindred
The club members have enjoyed meeting numerous authors, such as Tina McElroy Ansa, Walter Mosley, Roslyn McMillian and Connie Brisco, Dawn Turner Trice and Yolanda Joe. These authors have been at book signings at the Afri-Ware bookstore and our 5th Anniversary celebration. We had brunch with Tananarie Due, author of The Between and My Soul to Keep. Florence Ladd, author of Sarah's Psalm, heard about the book club through Pat Neblett, our networking friend and founder of Black Women's Literary Guild of Massachussets. Ms. Ladd requested that her book be one of our selections for discussion and that we provide our comments to her. We read and throughly enjoyed her book.
You Go Girl's book club was referenced in Ms. Pat Neblett's recently published book "Circles of Sisterhood". This book provided guidance for starting your own book discussion group. Our club also participate in a Story Time at neighboring libraries. This is in partnership with the VISTA volunteer group.
Our ultimate goal is to keep reading and enjoying books. Check this cite often for updates.
For more information about " You Go Girl" book club you may send your e-mail to address below
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