ABINGDON, Va. — Read a good book lately?
Half the fun may be gathering with friends to discuss it.
There’s no need to read alone, said Sally Jones, head of information services at the Washington County Public Library.
According to her, book clubs are just as popular these days as they were decades ago.
“I know of several clubs in the county that have been meeting for more than 10 years,” she said.
“Book clubs build community and friendships while exposing members to books they might not normally read. They also spark great discussion and analysis about a variety of topics.”
As a service to local book clubs, the library is offering book club kits — everything needed to get started with a book club discussion.
Curated by the library’s Collection Development Department, the kits include a mix of genres, topics and interests in fiction and nonfiction. Each kit contains nine books and one audiobook, when available. Additionally, the library provides access to one e-book and one downloadable audiobook for each title, when available.
Loan periods are four weeks. Kits can be sent by courier to library branches.
“The advantage of book kits is that members don’t have to buy copies of the book, which can get expensive. Another advantage of the kits is clubs don’t have to deal with storage issues after books are read,” said Jones.
“Book club members in the county are thrilled about the service. In just the last month, we have reserved eight kits for members who are planning their selections in advance.”
Currently, there are 11 book club kits available for checkout. Jones hopes they can continue to expand the selections. The list includes classics as well as books released within the past few years.
Selections include “Between the World & Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates; “Rebecca” by Daphne Du Maurier; “The Stranger in the Woods” by Michael Finkel; “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne; “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman; “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones; “The Girls of Atomic City” by Denise Kiernan; “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng; “Cold Sassy Tree” by Olive Ann Burns; “The End of Your Life Book Group” by Will Schwalbe; “Ramp Hollow” by Steven Stoll; “Rez Life” by David Treuer; and “Educated” by Tara Westover.
Jones will conduct a discussion on the book “When the Crawdads Sing” from 2 to 3 p.m. on April 11 at the Abingdon library. Following the discussion, the book kits will be available for reservations.
Book clubs that meet at branch libraries include Second Monday Book Group, which meets at 1:30 p.m. at the Abingdon library, and Passawatami Book Club, which meets from 6 to 7 p.m. the last Tuesday of each month at the Glade Spring Library.
Visit www.wcpl.net/book-club-kits/ to learn more about borrowing guidelines.