Books, Beans & Brews: Make solitude sociable with book clubs

Plus this week's pairing, inspired by the upcoming Black History Month!

By Samantha Jacquest

Samantha Jacquest is the owner of Blue House Books, Kenosha's full-service independent bookstore in Downtown Kenosha. Sam loves sharing her love of books with the community and bringing in popular and local authors for events. When not at her shop, Sam enjoys traveling and spending time Downtown with her friends, family, and rescue dog Flash.

Hello, readers! I hope you’re all starting off 2024 rocking your reading goals or just enjoying a great new book. I have finally finished my first physical book of the year and I can’t wait to start something new!

The book I just finished is the current Blue House Book Club title, The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly! I read this book years ago and I was so excited that it was chosen as our book club pick. I loved it just as much the second time around! This book has everything: history, mystery, murder, scandals, love, success, and everything in between. I can’t wait to talk about it during our book club meeting on Tuesday, January 31st.

Book clubs are a fantastic way to make a solitary–and sometimes lonely–hobby a sociable event. Readers are often so passionate about their books, but it’s easy to get lost in another world and find yourself secluded in real life. 

At the Blue House Book Club, we have a great group of core attendees and several people who rotate in and out as they like. Some members prefer to stay quiet and enjoy listening to the discussion, and others can’t wait to talk about the plot twist or the characters they loved (or hated). At our book club, while we do go off on the occasional tangent, we stay pretty well on task by discussing the book. Some groups only talk about the book for a few minutes and use the rest of the time to chat about their personal lives. Others don’t even have a specific book they talk about, they get together to talk about whatever it is they are reading and use the group as a check-in to find great new titles or as an accountability measure to make sure they are meeting their reading goals. Some don’t even talk! Silent book clubs, where people get together somewhere like a coffee shop, library, or bookstore, just get together and read their own books.

Whatever your socialization preferences, I highly recommend joining a book club. There are several here in town, including at Blue House Books and Kenosha Public Library. There may be a book club at your job, at a community organization you are a part of, or even in your neighborhood. There are also several online book clubs you can join if your introverted side is taking over or you have a hectic schedule.

It may take some time to find the right book club fit for you, but there are a ton of options out there! I may be biased, but I personally think the Blue House Book Club is a great place to start, because we won’t force you to speak if you don’t want to, or if you do want to, everyone is welcoming and excited to hear each other’s opinions. 

If you want to join us, we have just selected our February book club title, Beloved by Toni Morrison, in honor of Black History Month! Our selections sometimes correlate with heritage months or holidays, and sometimes it’s something completely random! This allows for a great variety of books that you may not have otherwise ever chosen to read yourself. We always meet the last Tuesday of the month, which means our February book club meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 27th at Blue House Books. While you’re enjoying this modern classic novel by a highly celebrated Black author, be sure to enjoy a drink from BLAK Coffee, the only Black-owned coffee shop in Kenosha! I personally will be having a Lois Latte, a drink named after another well-loved Black woman, owner DeShaun’s aunt! I personally had mine with a shot of caramel, but you can ask the fantastic staff at BLAK Coffee to help turn your Lois Latte into any type of drink that will keep you energized and warm while reading this beautiful novel.