The St. Paul of the Cross Book Group
The St. Paul of the Cross Book Group meets on the last Mondayt of each month and was started in 1997, when a former associate pastor, Fr. Bob Barron, gave a talk at the parish on his newly published book on St. Thomas Aquinas. One of the parishioners at his talk was a former Chicago school teacher and administrator, Dudley Nee. Dudley suggested starting a book group at the parish that could discuss books like Fr. Barron's. In addition, he had friends who belonged to a book group at St. Gertrude's in Roger's Park and thought that a similar group might be successful at St. Paul of the Cross in Park Ridge. We had our first meeting in March of 1997 and have been meeting ever since.
One of the distinctive characteristics of our parish book group is the diversity in ages and backgrounds of our members. We have a mix of working and retired members and our backgrounds range from school teachers and principals, librarians, artists, former journalism and literature majors, marketing specialists, medical professionals, stay-at-home-moms and aspiring authors.
We've read a wide variety of books over the past fourteen years – fiction, non-fiction, classics and biography. One of the common things that people in our group mention is that they are glad to have read something they otherwise wouldn't have known about and wouldn't have picked up on their own. The only choice we avoid is a current bestseller, because those titles are unavailable to reserve at the library and we don't want members to feel obliged to purchase a book each month. One of our members communicates with our local library each month to reserve copies of our book choice in advance and have them available there for our members.
We've chosen our books in a variety of ways over the years. One year, we picked a genre for each month. For example, we had Irish fiction for the month of March. The most frequent way we choose our books, however, is to vote on a title each month. Several members will bring in a title to recommend and then the group will vote on their favorite choice. We meet each month, September through June. We choose a lengthier book that we couldn't otherwise finish in a month to read over the summer and then meet in September to discuss it. Thus far, our group has read 130 books and we look forward to reading and discussing many more!
All are welcome!