Is This the Longest Running Book Club Ever?

It’s not easy to belong to the Briarcliff Book Club. Started in founding member Marion Sader’s living room in 1964, the success and longevity of this club seems to be a result of the strict rules set forth by its members. There is little small-talk, except when tea is served right near the beginning of each meeting. Members are invited on a trial basis, after which they are assessed on their compatibility by the other members and then either invited to become a full-time member, or released. They must read the books (or mostly read them, if their schedules allow), and they must attend meetings on a regular basis. The rules haven’t swayed too many people, though, with many members belonging to the group for more than 30 years.

1399581389000-TJN-0424-bookgroup(Photo: Carucha L. Meuse/The Journal News)

The members still meet on a monthly basis,  and read anywhere from 10 – 12 books a year. And they read everything—novels, short stories, non-fiction and memoirs. It’s all about finding interesting books and having lively discussion. Several members are in their 80’s and 90’s, and still enjoy the books, so it’s very inspirational to those that attend book clubs at a much younger age. They tend not to discuss their personal lives, preferring to debate the books they read, rather than moan about health issues and the like. Doesn’t that sound great?

You can read more about the Briarcliff Book Club here. A 50-year-old book club is an amazing accomplishment. Wouldn’t you like to belong?

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