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Best Book Clubs On The Peninsula

There is no need for reading to be a solo pursuit when there are numerous opportunities for book lovers to hook up on the Peninsula. There is more to book clubs than just the latest bestsellers. Special-interest clubs offer something for all interests and ages and are organized through community centers, book stores and libraries. Well-established and newly-formed book groups are all open to new members. Clubs are great for readers who like to share their opinions with others, try books they might otherwise miss on the shelf or who don't have a group of friends or classmates to share a particular passion for a genre or theme. Here are five clubs open to new members in the Peninsula.

PJCC Book Club
Book club discussion at the PJCC (credit: Elizabeth Stone)

Peninsula Jewish Community Center
Jewish-themed Books in a Box
800 Foster City Blvd
Foster City, CA 94404
(650) 212-7522

Price: Free
Hours: Third Tuesday of the month at 10:30 a.m.

The Peninsula Jewish Community Center (PJCC) discusses Jewish-themed books led by a professional facilitator, Jim Van Buskirk. Jim brings his books to the discussion in a box and loans all of the books to members. A recent reading was "The Plot Against America" by Philip Roth. The club will focus next on works by the Pulitzer-Prize winner, Wendy Wasserstein. Upcoming readings are "Shiksa Goddess: Or, How I Spent My Forties" and "The Sisters Rosensweig."

Mystery Book Club

San Carlos Library
Mystery Book Club
610 Elm St
San Carlos, CA 94070
(650) 591-0341

Price: Free
Hours: Fourth Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m.

A small group of devoted mystery readers meet each month for discussions led by librarian Rhea Bradley. The group has recently discussed "Gone" by Mo Hayder, "The Devotion Of Suspect X" by Keigo Higashino and "The Ranger" by Ace Atkins. Bradley says the group has been meeting for several years but hopes new members will continue to join. So mystery buffs unite to join in the enthusiastic conversation of some of literature's best head scratchers.

Related: San Francisco's 5 Best Comic Book Stores

Mother Daughter Book Club

Pacifica Sanchez Library
Mother/Daughter Book Club (ages 8-11)
1111 Terra Nova Blvd
Pacifica, CA 94044
(650) 355-5196
smcl.orgPrice: Free
Hours: Second Wednesday of the month at 7 pm

If mom's not available, girls are welcome to bring a female adult friend or relative to this monthly meeting to discuss contemporary books for pre-teens. Upcoming selections include "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson, "Scat" by Carl Hiaasen, "Island of the Blue Dolphins" by Scott O'Dell and "Gossamer" by Lois Lowry. The library provides plenty of books for group members to borrow in advance of each meeting. Make this a fun mother-daughter event where you can grow and experience together through the power of literature.

(credit: Thinkstock)

Kepler's Books
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025
(650) 324-4321

Price: Free
Hours: One evening a month. Check website for date and time. Walk-ins welcome.

Kepler's is a large independent book store located near Stanford University and offers an abundance of different book clubs for literature lovers. Whether you are a native Spanish-speaker or working on improving Spanish reading skills, Kepler's provides a club focusing on Spanish literature which is led by a Spanish-speaking facilitator each month. Booksellers choose the selections but welcome any input from members.

Related: Best Books For Kids Of All Ages

Blood, Bones and Butter
Gabrielle Hamilton's book 'Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef' is the May 2012 Pick. (credit: Random House)

Books Inc.
1375 Burlingame Ave
Burlingame, CA 94010
(650) 685-4911

Price: Free
Hours: Second Friday of the month at 7 pm

Books Inc. just began a new club devoted to foodies called The Hungry Bookseller. Monthly selections are books about food or cookbooks. The group is facilitated by the store manager who offers book clubmembers a 15% discount on books purchased for the club. In May, The Hungry Booksellers read "Blood, Bones & Butter" by Gabirelle Hamilton. Join the club and open up your mind and palate. You might even learn some new recipes in the meantime.

Elizabeth Stone has a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. She's a consultant and freelance journalist from the San Francisco Bay Area and co-author of the book, "Part of the Group." Her work can be found at

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