Three local book clubs in and around Iowa City suggest their picks of books to read during spring break.
With a week off from stressful college classes, students can take the opportunity to read books other than their textbooks – escaping to another world during spring break.
There are many book clubs in the Iowa City area, including one on the University of Iowa campus in conjunction with the Stanley Museum of Art. The Stanley Reads Book Club was launched in September 2020, when the museum was trying to connect with its audience. Each month the club reads a book centered on one of the museum’s art collections.
Right now they are reading thousand acres by Jane Smiley — a book chosen especially for the 175 of the University of Iowaand birthday. The novel is set in an imaginary county in Iowa and follows a family as they navigate between generations. Since the Stanley currently does not have an exhibit due to moving to the museum’s new space on W Burlington Street, the club has chosen to read books that represent Iowa.
Kimberly Datchuk, Curator of Learning and Engagement at Stanley, runs the Stanley Reads Club. For her, a book to read during spring break should be something light and easy, and offer a little escape from everyday life.
“If you’re escaping to a beach or somewhere warm and love to read a romantic comedy, I love Jasmine Guillory,” Datchuk said. “They’re lighthearted, it’s going to have a happy ending, but it also deals with bigger issues in the books.”
She also recommended reading Kate Spencer’s new novel In a New York minute, which comes out on March 15. The book features a “cute encounter” in New York City on the subway in another classic rom-com story.
The Iowa City Public Library’s book club, BYO Book, meets once a month at various restaurants to discuss the monthly read. Since COVID, they’ve been meeting virtually via Zoom, but as the weather warms up, they’re hoping to find outdoor venues soon.
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This month, BYO Book read a new biography about Polly Adler titled Mrs by Debby Applegate to celebrate Women’s History Month. The book tells true stories of his life breaking the rules in Jazz Age New York.
Candice Smith, a librarian in the public library’s adult services department and co-founder of BYO Book, thinks spring break is a great time to read something you’ve wanted to read but haven’t quite found it. time. She also finds it interesting to read books related to where you are going if you are traveling for vacation.
“A lot of the students we have here are from the Chicago area, so I would recommend Eric Larson’s Devil in the white city,said Smith. “It’s about the days in Chicago when they had the World’s Fair, and it happens to have this prolific serial killer.”
At the Coralville Public Library, they have two book clubs – It’s a Mystery and Novel Conversations. Mike Jorgensen, the Adult Services Librarian, helped start Novel Conversations around 2013. They read many different styles of books, from classic to contemporary.
Jorgensen recommends reading Dunes by Frank Herbert during Spring Break, a recent pick from their book club. The first half of the story was recently adapted into a movie starring actors such as Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya.
“It’s an epic sci-fi book, but it has a broader appeal than just science fiction,” Jorgensen said. “A lot of sci-fi gets mixed in with this gritty stuff, and it puts a lot of people off, but it’s more about a young man coming into his own.”
Spring break is often used as a time to relax or party with friends, but it can also be a great time to pick up that book that’s been sitting on your shelf all semester. Whether you’re on a sunny beach, in a bustling city, or staying in Iowa, the reading possibilities are endless.