Since, the onset of the Kindle and e-readers, palpable, hand-held books have been in danger of becoming obsolete, but true book-lovers in Miami have found a way to preserve the sanctity of real books.
Last month, 27-year-old Isis Miller started the Wynwood Book Club, dedicated to spreading the love of reading around town and giving book-lovers a place to mingle.
"Although starting the book club was a random idea that came into beautiful fruition, it just felt, well, necessary," Isis said. "In a place like Wynwood, where art is flourishing and being noticed, there was not as strong of a literary presence as I felt there could be."
Everyone who takes their reading seriously knows how frustrating it can be when you get to a great part in a novel or biography and there's no one around to tell. Sometimes, it's hard enough just to find someone who even cares about books at all. Isis created Wynwood Book Club with you in mind.
"A book club is accessible, inspiring, motivating and fun," Miller said. "As an avid reader, there are many times where I wish I could discuss what I am reading with someone else, as a way to deepen understanding, or even simply to share the pleasure of a good read. It also opens doors to meet other readers who bring new ideas and perspectives to your life."
Wynwood Book Club founder Isis Miller poses with Drown author Junot Diaz.
Miller started both the WBC and the poetry/open-mic event at Panther Coffee to engage the literary community as both a writer and a reader.
"I believe that literature (and) poetic expression should be part of the conversation about the art and artists coming out of Wynwood and Miami as a whole," she said. "The book club seemed the next logical step, and certainly the most fun."
Miller hopes those who are part of the book club find themselves motivated to read more.
"I am all too aware of how life and responsibilities get in the way of the simple joy of leisure reading," she said, "even for those who consider themselves voracious readers. But with (the book club), you get something to look forward to. You get to meet with people and engage in delightful, interesting discussion."
The book club turns what is usually a singular experience into something that is shared between friends. Relationships at WBC are built on the common ground of loving books.
WBC first read Edwidge Danticat's Claire of the Sea Light. Other books on their list include Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski, and Junot Diaz's Drown. They are currently reading Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. Books are read at home and then discussed at the bimonthly club meetings.
"As for the discussions, they are always enlightening. There are always things I've missed that others pick up on, giving the book far more meaning and depth. And there is an eagerness to fuel the discussion from everyone in attendance, so the result is a lively exchange of ideas and perspectives. We each relate differently to the narratives, as our membership ranges in age, gender, race, education and walk of life. It is refreshing to respectfully disagree about passages or plots. More than that, it is often just gratifying knowing people still read. Which may be laughable, but in time where most people are too wrapped up in what celebrities are wearing or procreating, it is just a lovely reminder that there are readers left."
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The Wynwood Book Club meets every first and third Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Sprout, 2563 N Miami Ave., Miami. For more info about the club and the books on their reading list, check their Facebook page.