The Hermitage recently sent out a call for all book lovers and especially those who want to compare notes, pick brains and figure out plots, theses and interpretations.
The Hermitage launched its Virtual Book Club the first week of July, and it will last through December. Already past, the featured July book was “Oliver Twist.” September’s book is “Killers of the Flower Moon, and October will feature “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelly. November’s book will be “This Land is Their Land” by David J. Silverman, and the December book will be “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens.
The Hermitage vice president of marketing and communications Ann Dee Jones said this is the first time for a virtual book club.
“Our schools coordinator, Patrick Martin, proposed the idea as a way to engage with visitors, Hermitage fans, etc. during our closure,” she said. “We wanted a fun and interesting way to keep people interested in us, both locally and nationally, even when they couldn't visit us.”
She said readers 16 years old and older are invited to hop on a monthly Zoom call and discuss a work of literature with the club.
The book selections will include both historical and modern pieces of fiction and nonfiction.
June was the first month of the book club, and members met the first week of July to discuss the book, “Oliver Twist.”
What’s so fun is the Zoom participants are able to see and speak to each other.
“This will encourage lively conversation about the month’s book selection,” said Jones. “We even encourage participants to submit questions ahead of each meeting.”
A member of the Hermitage staff will lead the discussion.
She said a Hermitage team picks books each quarter.
“One selection that was published during Jackson's lifetime, one fiction and one nonfiction,” Jones said. “We try to make an effort to highlight the lives of the enslaved and Native American history, as well.”
Participants must get their own copy of each book. They try to choose books that are widely available on a multitude of platforms.
Participants can join anytime, it’s free, and anyone can join for one monthly discussion or all of them.
Jones said since the club started, there was great participation, and as word gets out, they welcome many more participants.
Jones said it was important to offer such a respite during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even though stay-at-home restrictions have eased in the Nashville area, that’s not necessarily the case everywhere in the country,” she said. “We wanted to find a way to bring history buffs and avid readers together and to foster a sense of community. Reading and discussing thought provoking books has proven to be a great way to achieve this goal.”
What’s really unique, because the book club is virtual, they can welcome readers from across the country and around the world.
To participate, register at thehermitage.com/bookclub. Participants will be sent a Zoom link before the meeting starts.