Village People: You Go Girl Book Club Turns 25

Sunday, December 30, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Featured image: Jean Weathers, center, the founder of  the You Go Girl book club, with club members during a recent 25th anniversary celebration. | Courtesy Jean Weathers/Facebook  

This year, the You Go Girl African American Book Club celebrated its 25th year in existence. Founder Jean Weathers recalled the club’s origins in a recent Facebook post. Her statement has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity. 

On how it started 

The club started in 1993. I read an article in Essence magazine on book discussion groups. I sent a letter to my friends and coworkers to determine if there was any interest in establishing a reading group to discuss African American fiction in the western suburbs of Chicago. The rest is history! 

On membership 

Our members mostly come from the western suburbs of Chicago, including Maywood, Bellwood, Broadview, Westchester, Berkeley and Oak Park; however, the club can now boast of members from many neighboring suburbs. The membership consists of civil servants, postal workers, housewives, nurses, retirees and authors. 

On club activities 

Our club meets quarterly. We have a very diverse group of readers. Therefore, our reading selections must be well thought out. Books are put into four categories: relationships, mysteries, science fiction/horror and male authors. 

By doing this everyone is guaranteed to like at least one of the selections per year. We pick at least three or four books from one genre and print a synopsis of the selections on our website and vote on them at the next meeting. Members are urged to submit books for consideration to the selection committee

Meetings

The club meets quarterly (the third Saturday of March, June, September and December). We meet at Afriware Books in at the Eisenhower Tower in Maywood. 

Nzingah Amo Nommo is the proprietor. We discuss the book’s title, characters, and the author. Everyone is given a chance to give her view of the selected book and rate it from 1 to 5.

New Initiatives

Our club has formed subgroups such as the Community Involvement group. This group will find activities in the community to participate in or donate to. Our donation this year was to the children of St. Jude Hospital. One of our many donations were to Barbara Cole’s Youth Mentoring Organization in Maywood. The hospitality group will provide welcome packages and the by-laws for new members; and the activity group provides information and plans activities for the club.

Recognition 

You Go Girl book club has been featured in Pioneer Press newspaper, the Express and Black Issue Book Review. In 1999, we received the William H. Frazer Award of Excellence from Operation Uplift of Maywood. In 2004, You Go Girl was presented the Community Service award by the National Book Club Conference in Atlanta, Ga. by it’s organizer, Curtis Bunn. VFP

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