The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

April 9, 2013

Fulton Book Club celebrates 40 years

FULTON, Ill. — For four decades a group of area women has fostered friendships and sharpened their wits through their love of reading and intelligent conversation.     

The Fulton Book Club, which was founded by Barb Mask in 1973, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.   

Mask said the inspiration to form the Fulton Book Club came when after completing her master's degree she decided to stay home to take care of her two sons.  

"Searching for an opportunity to maintain the adult interaction and intelligent stimulation of discussing good literature was the impetus in organizing the book club," Mask said.

Three of the clubs' original members, Mask, Nancy Kolk and Jane Orman-Luker, are still active members. Dotty Leininger, who is a current member, joined a few months after the club's inception. Other members are: Sharon German, Connie Koehn, Sister Theresa Judge, Carol Kolk-Klimstra, Beverly Berzinski, Kathy Wolf, Pat Ohsann and Mari Sanders.

New members have joined for various reasons, but most do so because of the enlightened discussion and a chance to augment their love of reading.

“It is a wonderful opportunity for a group of intelligent women to meet and discuss good writing and enhance one’s appreciation of fine literature," Berzinski said.

Members take turns hosting the book club, which meets every month for nine months out of the year. They do not meet during the summer as many of them enjoy traveling.

Each member chooses one book a year to read, researches the background of the author and reviews of the book and leads the discussion. Everyone in the group is expected to read that book.   

The current 12 members agree the format of their club played a major role in its success and longevity.  

“I like the variety and different styles of writing and reading that being a member of a club offers to individual readers. I read many authors for book club that I otherwise would not choose," Leininger said.  

Members most recently read "The Welsh Girl," a novel written by Peter Ho Davies about a German Jewish refugee who is sent to Wales to interview Rudolf Hess and also about a 17-year-old living in North Wales who meets an 18-year-old German corporal in a POW camp outside of her village.  

Next the group will read a mystery novel.  

“What I enjoy most about being a member of a book club is that it exposes me to many books that I would otherwise not read. It forces me to be a disciplined reader," Mask said.

The likeability of the book does not indicate the level of discussion, Mask said. The characters and events in the book will spark lively and engaging discussion, despite any qualms members had about that particular selection. It's that discussion that strengthens the connections between members.  

“I like reading books that are chosen by members, but the discussions of a book really add to the enhancement of being a book club member. I also enjoy the bonding that comes with the regular meetings and continuity of the Fulton Book Club," Wolf said.  

The question "what is your favorite book?" has become ubiquitous for members. However, the women are reluctant to answer. Each discussion fosters a new appreciation of the book, making it impossible to pin down just one of the hundreds they have read over the past 40 years.  

Through the years, the group has celebrated the events of one another's lives. Most notably, Mask remembers bringing her 1-month-old daughter to a club meeting in 1975. Members showered her daughter with books, many she still treasures today.  

Mask also hosts an anniversary dinner and gives members a gift every five years. It's during these times that members often reflect on the loss of past members, all of whom have either moved or died.  

"The most difficult times have come with the loss of each member when one has moved out of town, but most profoundly, when one of our members has been lost to us through death," Mask said. "They are still remembered, however, when we reflect back on various books that they had chosen and shared with us and, especially, during our milestone anniversaries every five years."

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Medicaid paid $12M for Illinois dead

    The Illinois Medicaid program paid an estimated $12 million for medical services for people listed as deceased in other state records, according to an internal state government memo.

    The memo dated Friday, which The Associated Press obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, says the state auditor compared clients enrolled in the Medicaid database last June with state death records dating back to 1970. Auditors identified overpayments for services to roughly 2,900 people after the date of their deaths.

    April 19, 2014

  • Ohio couple married 70 years die 15 hours apart

    A couple who held hands at breakfast every morning even after 70 years of marriage have died 15 hours apart.

    Helen Felumlee, of Nashport, died at 92 on April 12. Her husband, 91-year-old Kenneth Felumlee, died the next morning.

    April 19, 2014

  • Prince reaches agreement with music label

    Prince now owns the rights to the music he recorded on Warner Bros. Records after years of disputes and battles with the record label.

    Warner Bros. announced Friday it had reached an agreement with the pop icon, who was signed to the label from 1978 to the mid-1990s, during which time he released key projects like "Purple Rain," ''1999," ''Diamonds and Pearls" and "Around the World in a Day."

    Financial terms weren't disclosed.

    April 19, 2014

  • Ill. GOP officials who wanted Brady out replaced

    A crop of Republican officials who wanted to oust former Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady for his statements supporting same-sex marriage have been replaced in their party positions.

    Illinois Republicans across the state held elections for all 18 state central committee member posts this week, replacing six of the seven officials who signed on to a letter last year to hold a vote on removing Brady as chairman. The seventh person to sign the letter, Mark Shaw of the 10th Congressional District, was re-elected to a four-year term.

    April 19, 2014

  • Iowa gets nearly $72M in yearly tobacco payment

    Iowa received $71 million this week from tobacco companies — its annual share of a 1998 landmark legal settlement in which tobacco companies pay states for smoking-related health care costs.

    The Iowa Attorney General's Office says that since 1999, the state has received more than $960 million in tobacco payments.

    April 19, 2014

  • U of I burn center sees jump in ammonia burns

    The University of Iowa Burn Treatment Center is reporting a higher-than-normal number of patients suffering from anhydrous ammonia burns.

    The center says it has treated five people in the last two weeks. The center's medical personnel say they usually only see one or two cases each year. Official say the high number of patients in such a short amount of time is concerning.

    April 19, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 4.44.15 PM.png Paint, doodle and sketch: 3 apps for art lovers

    In the absence of a palette of watercolors and a sketchpad, these three apps can fill in as your art supplies of choice.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 19, 2014

  • Way of the Cross photo The Way of the Cross By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer The Way of the Cross

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Hood A year after 'chaos'

    It happened two hours after John Hood finished his run. Like many, he thought the loud boom was just the sound of cannons going off, something that shook the ground. It was odd, but Hood — a 1989 Clinton High School graduate — tried to make it logical, associating the noise with another good happening at the Boston Marathon.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video