Book Clubs Are All the Rage in Las Cruces
Written and photography by Cheryl Fallstead
The saying usually goes, “So many books, so little time,” but in Las Cruces it could well be, “So many book clubs, so little time.” In fact, we’re listing here only some of the clubs currently accepting new members. It’s by no means an exhaustive lst. Each club has its own culture and methods of selecting and discussing books. Visit some and see if, like Cinderella’s Prince Charming, you can find the perfect fit.
Sonoma Ranch Book Club
This club began just last year when Marisa Macy moved from Pennsylvania and decided to form a book club. Each member suggests several books to be read in the upcoming year, including a range of fiction and non-fiction titles. Marisa says, “SRBC offers a way for residents of the Sonoma Ranch community to get together over books. It is a fun way to explore literature and get to know your neighbors. We meet once a month, and have a members-only Facebook page where we can connect with each other about what we are reading as well as a Pinterest board.”
Banned Book Club
Where: Nopalito’s Galeria, 326 Mesquite St.
When: Third Sundays, September – March, 4pm
Recent/Upcoming Titles: The Devil’s Highway; Fallen Angels; Things Fall Apart
Contact: Patricia Gallegos, email@example.com.
Patricia Gallegos started this club as an art event and it attracted members who are interested in books that have been banned in this country and others. She says, “We discuss the book’s plot, character, themes, and reasons why the book was banned or challenged at the time it was released and how that relates to today. Participants are avid book readers, but we also have participants who like to attend for the discussion and are reading regularly for the first time.”
Where: Branigan Memorial Library, 200 E. Picacho Ave.
When: Third Tuesdays, 6:30pm
Recent/Upcoming Titles: Above All Things; The Little Paris Bookshop; H is for Hawk
Contact: Outreach Librarian Mark Pendleton, 575-528-4000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This book club was founded 11 years ago as an outreach program of Branigan Library and has been going strong ever since. Leader Mark Pendleton says it is often the highlight of his month. “Mark is super,” says club member Lucia Zimmitti. “He knows how to encourage and expand discussion without monopolizing it. Each meeting is an exciting exchange of ideas and impressions. I’ve participated in many book groups over the years, and I can sincerely say that this one, hands down, is the most stimulating and well-run of all, and also, the selections are thoughtfully chosen and wonderfully varied.”
Cultural Connections Book Club
Where: Branigan Cultural Center, 501 N. Main St.
When: Third Wednesdays, September through April, 2pm
Recent/Upcoming Titles: Black Indians: Hidden in Heritage; One Night in America
Contact: Museum Education Manager Garland Courts, 575-541-2292 or email@example.com
The Branigan Cultural Center’s club discusses books related to the culture of the Southwest. Garland Courts says, “The Cultural Connections Book Club meets to learn about the different people who have made the Southwest the unique place that it is. With both newcomers and long-time residents, we have rich conversations about the cultural history and identity of our region.”
Morning Star Book Club
Where: Morning Star United Methodist Church library, 2941 Morning Star Dr.
When: Third Mondays, 3pm (except December)
Recent/Upcoming Titles: Capitol Dames; Italian Shoes; In the Company of the Courtesan
Contact: Dixie Felipe, 575-571-5848 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Although this club meets at a church, they don’t focus on religious tomes. Members are both women and men who enjoy reading. In October, everyone suggests books for the following year and the group votes. Then, the person who suggested the book leads the discussion. In December, they meet for lunch at a restaurant and, appropriately enough, exchange gifts of books. Club member Dixie Felipe says, “If you love to read, please share your favorites, rave about what you are reading, accept challenges, have fun, and make friends while you are at it.”
Rail Readers Book Club
Where: Las Cruces Railroad Museum, 351 N. Mesilla St.
When: Third Wednesdays, 11am (except April, August, and December)
Recent/Upcoming Titles: Women Marked for History; Down Riverside Road; Railway Detective series
Contact: Curator of Education Joanne Beer, 575-647-4480 or email@example.com
The club focuses on books appropriate to the Historic Railroad Depot where meetings are held. Joanne Beer says, “Rail Readers Book Club consists of a group of people who enjoy discussing books. We read a variety of books—mysteries, biographies, local history—and enjoy lively, unstructured discussions about the books we read.” Club member Lynn Moseley adds, “Not only do we read fiction, but we’ve read historical novels, and about the building of the first Transcontinental Railroad, Harvey Houses and the Harvey Girls, and the history of how the West was won because of the influence of the railroad. That’s why I like it. Everything is related to the railroad in one way or another.”
Reading Art Book Club
Where: Museum of Nature and Science, 411 N. Main Street
When: Second Wednesdays, 2:30pm
Recent/Upcoming Titles: Michelangelo: A Life in Six Masterpieces; The Edge of Taos Desert: An Escape to Reality.
Contact: Education Curator Stephanie Abdon, 575-541-2217 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Beverley Pirtle, 575-647-2780 or email@example.com
Where: Munson Senior Center meeting room, 975 S. Mesquite St.
When: Third Wednesdays, 10am
Recent/Upcoming Titles: Plainsong; When Breath Becomes Air; Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill
Contact: Librarian Mark Mumper, 575-528-3406 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This club began as an adjunct of the main library’s club and is a service of the Munson Branch Library. They read a wide range of works from fiction to non-fiction, classics to newer releases. Mark Mumper says, “We are a group of readers with diverse interests and tastes who enjoy reading and sharing our thoughts about what we’ve read. If you have a lively curiosity, enjoy exposure to different viewpoints, and are willing to listen to others as well as express yourself, then you’re a perfect fit for the Munson BookClub.”