Books on Tap Brings Lovers of Literature and Beer Together

Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 8:43 am
By: 
Christopher A. Wardell

Photo: Jessica Spengler on flickr

If your idea of a book club involves beer or any other alcoholic libations, you may be in luck. The East Lansing Public Library’s “Books on Tap” combines both outside a traditional settings like a book store, or someone’s home.

The group meets the second Tuesday of every month at Jimmy’s Pub, with a meeting on tap for tonight, June 12. Jimmy’s Pub is located at 16830 Chandler Road.

“The idea for Books on Tap came from a past Adult Services Librarian,” says current Adult Services Librarian Annie Gordon. “The group started in 2009, and I took it over in 2014. It's a group of community members who come together once a month to discuss the selected title, which is a rotation of fiction and non-fiction, over drinks and dinner.”

Books on Tap is comprised of nearly forty members, and the group is currently reading Outcasts United by Warren St. John. Outcasts United tells the tale of a refugee youth soccer team and the transformation of a small American town, Clarkston, Georgia. Clarkston was a typical Southern town until it was designated a refugee settlement center in the 1990s, becoming the first American home for scores of families in flight from war zones around the world including Liberia, Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The group selects their own titles through voting.” Gordon said. “Throughout the year, members submit their suggestions to me and I compile a poll and all members get to vote. Every year we read the One Book, One Community title which is My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor for this year, and Books on Tap will read it in August.”

If you want to catch up with what the club has read this past years, past titles include: X by Ilyasah Shabazz, Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil-Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age by Kevin Boyle, Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng, as well as Ireland, a novel by Frank Delaney.

While all the titles the group has read have been great reads, one in particular stands out in Gordon’s mind.

“My personal favorite, so far this year was X,” Gordon said. “Everyone in the group has their own favorites for a variety of reasons. I don't know about the most popular since inception, but since my involvement with the group, people really enjoyed Quiet by Susan Cain.”

Upcoming books include Contact by Carl Sagan.

There is no cost to join the club, and the Library can order and hold a copy of the current book for anyone, on request. Schuler Books also carries each month’s book at their book club table.

If the idea of a book club meeting at a pub isn’t your thing, the Library has four other book clubs including, Books and Bagel, the Social Justice Reading Group, Out of This World Book Club, and the Better Living Book Club.

You do not need to be a member of the East Lansing Public Library to attend a particular book club as all are invited.

While Books on Tap may sound like a beer lovers’ dream, Gordon points out it’s not the only beverage the book club members enjoy.

“Everyone has their own favorite beverage. At any given meeting, you will see beer, wine, soda, cider, water, tea, coffee, or even hot chocolate depending on the weather,” Gordon said.