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"Basically, it's an excuse to watch a movie," says Josh Thomas of the I Read That Movie book club series at the Memphis Public Library. Folks read a book and then gather monthly to watch a movie based on the book. A discussion follows.

Thomas, who works in the Humanities Department at the Central Library, says there are several criteria for the book club. The most important (and obvious) is that there must be a movie made out of the book. The second, he says, is that the library must be able to obtain a free or super-cheap license to screen the movie to a crowd. The last is that the library must have copies of the book. To that end, the library is looking for a community partner to help with book purchases, maybe some candy for the guests.

The next screening is Hidden Figures, based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly about black female mathematicians who helped astronauts get into space. Thomas says he looks for books that folks may not normally read. Past book/films include Divergent, Slaughterhouse-Five, and The Astronaut's Wife. He notes that this is a series for adults, though they have dipped into YA.

click to enlarge Read it, watch it — and join the club
  • Read it, watch it — and join the club

Regular meetings draw about 15, though popular titles like The Color Purple may get up to 30. The conversations often center around the film. Coming up are Shutter Island and The Natural.

"People who are interested in borrowing books that we select should check at the Humanities Department desk on the second floor of the Central Library," Thomas says. "I usually will collect the books there each month for people to check out."

Thomas says that despite the notion that the book is always better, there are plenty of folks who swear they prefer the movie. One more thing to note: No wine at this book club, but there is popcorn and cookies.

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