IF ONE of your New Year’s resolutions is to read more, E. Shaver, Bookseller is here to help you make good on your promise.
The five book clubs at E. Shaver cover a wide variety of interests and are open to any book lover.
“We really wanted to have book clubs here to make the community more a part of the store,” explains general manager Melissa Taylor. “We have a lot of tourist business, but we really wanted to bring in locals.”
The first book club at E. Shaver was Lost in a Great Book Club, created by Frank and Victoria Logue, who simply came in and started it up.
The selection for Lost in a Great Book is award-winning books across all genres. January’s book is “Hello, Universe” by Erin Entrada Kelly, a Newbery Award book.
“They read children’s, science, non-fiction, everything,” explains Taylor. “That one will stretch people’s boundaries of what they like to read. We get people reading outside of their comfort zone, which is awesome. A lot of people in that club are really hesitant when it comes to sci-fi, but those books end up being the best discussions—they get a lot out of it.”
The Graphic Novel Book Club arose out of a unique partnership.
“We’re on the same square as the sequential art building at SCAD, Haymans Hall,” says Taylor. “My husband was in the sequential arts department as a grad student, and the daughter of the owner of the store went to Savannah Arts and is into illustration and animation, so they started it together.”
January’s book is “Usagi Yojimbo Saga Vol. 1” by Stan Sakai.
“We all put ideas into a hat and pick out things,” says Taylor. “We read everything from super literate graphic novels to kids’ graphic novels to superheroes, and we just run the gamut. The caveat is that we do read things that are sometimes more mature—people think comics and graphic novels are very kid-friendly, but not a lot of the time.”
The Feminist Book Club’s book for January is “Not Just Jane” by Shelley DeWees.
“We read all sorts of things—nonfiction, fiction, poetry, essays, all kinds of stuff,” says Taylor. “That one’s really good, and the discussions sometimes get a little heated. It’s a good kind of safe place where people can discuss things without being judged.”
Taylor herself leads the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Club, whose book for January will be “Lexicon” by Max Berry.
“Last year, I had picked a lot more classic science fiction and fantasy, and this year I’m leaning more towards newer things,” she explains.
Rounding out the clubs is the Happy Hour Book Club, which didn’t always go by that name.
“We wanted a book club that was solely non-fiction, and we billed it as non-fiction, and people just weren’t coming,” remembers Taylor. “So we were like, ‘Hm, okay, let’s change it to Happy Hour.’ We all read the exact same things, but added Happy Hour to the title and people have started coming, which is hilarious. If I have to read Noam Chomsky, I’d better have some wine.”
The Happy Hour Book Club’s book for January is “The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby” by Tom Wolfe, but Taylor notes that the subject matter can get a little heavy. Previous books have included “Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America” by Jill Leovy and “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” by Matthew Desmond.
Taylor adds that the store is always accepting ideas for other book clubs and would love to include a club for young adults.
“We’ve tried to do a Young Adult book club, but were just weren’t getting people in,” she says. “We were hoping to get a younger audience of people, and we’d be happy to do one if there was an audience for that.”
As an added incentive, in-store purchases for book club receive 20% off, and there’s also a frequent buyers club.
“All you have to do is show up,” says Taylor. “There are people who come that haven’t read the book, but it definitely helps if you have—you can participate in the discussion a little more.”