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Meet Our Neighbours: Betty King - Book Club Extraordinaire

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Life + Learning

  • group of people at book club, discussing a novel together

Veronica, Queen's Square | September 9, 2020

I adore books. I love how they smell, their gorgeous covers, and how they feel in your hands. It always amazes me how easy it is to get drawn into a good book. Books also have this ability to help you connect with other people. I cannot count the number of times I have had a book conversation with a stranger at a book store, coffee shop, or author event. On a few occasions, these conversations have led to book friendships that I have to this day. I have been looking for more ways to connect with fellow bookworms. I decided that starting my book club was one way to do this. I had no idea where to start when it came to forming my book club and decided to get guidance from Betty King, our resident book club expert.

When I first met Betty a few years ago, I knew that I met a kindred spirit that loves books just as much as I do. She was thrilled that I wanted to start my book club and help me organize my scattered ideas into something that makes sense and would appeal to others. Betty is a wonderful person and is always looking for ways to promote reading and books within our organization.

I asked Betty to tell me more about herself and her love for books and book clubs: 

"When I retired twenty-four years ago, I moved from working with children’s books to exploring adult literature. Now, I mostly read fiction - new fiction as well as classics. I love historical fiction, literary fiction, dabble in science fiction, but stay away from mystery and horror. I also enjoy biographies, and books on world faiths. 

I am fascinated with book covers, and love when they draw you into the book and you find in the story what was promised on the cover. I have read many books because the cover was so inviting. 

I never feel that a book is fully appreciated until you have had a chance to discuss it with one person or many. And so, I searched out book clubs, beginning in Richmond Hill when I was on a library outing with my grandchildren who live there. I was delighted and enthralled by the discussions there, and searched for similar experiences closer to home.

I also love to travel and, in a local book club, I found the perfect traveling companion for book experiences. We discovered Book Women, an American group that took ‘books on the road’. We began to travel with a group of women to various locations where we met authors and discussed books set in that location. The best of those experiences was in Bath, England. My friend and I also found reading weekends in Canada: Banff Book Weekend, and Kootenay Book Weekend in Nelson, British Columbia.

I always belong to three or four book clubs and when COVID-19 appeared, the book clubs all moved to Zoom. We support each other with mental stimulation and friendship.

As libraries are responding to other needs and interests of the community, I feel that they need to continue to shine the light on books and authors.  Book clubs belong in libraries as well as in homes and community centres."

Some of our book clubs are meeting virtually this fall, check out the dates and time on our monthly calendar.

Looking for you next read? I would suggest checking out NovelList Plus. It’s a great resource to find that next great read.

Here are some of my favourite book bloggers to follow, The Baking Bookworm and Girl Well Read.


Meet Our Neighbour series is all about introducing you to local businesses, makers, performers, and community members, as well as some additional resources from our collection.