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HICKMANS CROSSROADS — It’s nice to get out of your comfort zone and be introduced to a new book you’ve never read before, said a woman who is new to Brunswick County.
She was one of eight people who gathered at the first meeting Sept. 4 of the new As the Page Turns Book Club at Hickmans Crossroads Library.
“This is what I love, y’all — I’ve missed this,” said library manager and meeting facilitator Christi Iffergan, convening the meeting.
Sunset Beach resident Carol Aspy Johnson was among charter members in attendance.
“I never knew somebody put a library way out here,” she said of the county library branch in a building that previously housed a perfume factory near the Hickmans Crossroads intersection.
The ladies — since it was just ladies in attendance at this introductory meeting of the new book club — introduced themselves.
Most seem to be transplants from other areas who have discovered new retirement-era lives in Brunswick County. Their other common, not surprising denominator is a love of books and libraries.
Local author Joan Leotta was one of two of the day’s participants who moved to the area in 2005, the year the county library branch opened. Growing up in Point Breeze, Pa., she used to walk to the Pittsburgh-area Oakland branch library.
“And my dad would pick me up,” she said. “I couldn’t wait until I couldn’t use the young adult room anymore, till I could go into the stacks.”
Another option for getting back home was to take the bus, Leotta said.
“But I was too cheap to spend the quarter,” she said. “That was for candy.”
Former schoolteacher Liz Trimble said she also loved going to the library.
“I could read whatever I wanted to,” she said.
Iffergan distributed a handout outlining upcoming books to be discussed in coming months through December. At the club’s last meeting for 2013, she said they’ll decide on books to discuss for next year.
“If you’ve read a book or know of a book you’d like to read, let me know,” she said.
Iffergan tries to choose books book-club members don’t have to buy, ones that are available through the county library system and on audio, too.
The club goal is to read a variety of books, both fiction and non-fiction, to “stimulate the mind and some lively discussion.”
The inaugural book featured at the club’s first meeting last week was a best-selling novel, “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand,” by Helen Simonson.
The story is set in a village in Simonson’s native England, where proper, retired Major Ernest Pettigrew strikes up an unlikely friendship, then more, with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, a Pakistani shopkeeper, sparking the attention of the locals.
Drama ensues and, As the Page Turns Book Club members may well ask: “Can this relationship survive the risks one takes when pursuing happiness in the face of culture and tradition?”
Upcoming monthly meetings and book topics for 2013 of As the Page Turns Book Club, at 3 p.m. on scheduled dates at Hickmans Crossroads Library, 1040 Calabash Rd NW, are as follows. The public is invited.
Oct. 2 — “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot
Nov. 6 — “On Agate Hill” by Lee Smith
Dec. 4 — “Christmas Mourning” by Margaret Maron
For more information, call Hickmans Crossroads Library at (910) 575-0173 or email library branch manager Christi Iffergan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email email@example.com.