In the early days of this blog, I featured the Kansas City Science Fiction & Fantasy Society (KaCSFFS). In addition to hosting ConQuesT, did you know they also have an off-shoot Kansas City book club? It’s called the Kansas City Science Fiction & Fantasy Literati. You should check them out, because who doesn’t love adding another title to their TBR (To Be Read) list? Read on to find out what role a Hugo Award-winning author played in the group!
What is the name of your Kansas City book club?
Kansas City Science Fiction & Fantasy Literati
What is your name and what is your role in the group?
I’m Beth Welsh, the Facebook page admin. Carol Doms is the current group leader.
How would you describe your group?
We are a book discussion group for fans of science fiction and fantasy. Our goal is to read a variety of books, usually recent but occasionally revisiting old classics. Because of our association with KaCSFFS and their annual fan convention, ConQuesT, we make a point each year of reading a book by the current convention’s author guest of honor.
When was the group founded?
We think it was around 1989.
What made you want to join the group?
I and my husband joined in 2008. We’re both lifelong SF readers, and were interested in joining a group dedicated to our favorite genre.
How big is the group?
The number of attendees varies from around four to twelve.
How often do you meet?
Once a month, on the fourth Monday (except for May and December), at 7pm.
Where do you meet?
Barnes & Noble at Oak Park Mall, second floor.
What do you do at your Kansas City book club meetings?
We always begin the discussion with “The Questions”:
- Who started the book?
- Who finished the book?
- Who’s going to finish the book?
- Who liked the book?
- Who didn’t like the book?
- Who liked the book, but with reservations?
The Questions set the tone for the discussion; the smallest group among the likes/dislikes gets to start the ball rolling. Sometimes we’re of a similar mind on the book and the discussion lasts only ten or fifteen minutes, and sometimes we have meaty discussions that last an hour. If it’s a short discussion, we usually move on to talking about movies or TV, or other books.
Every three to four months, we select books for the next few meetings. Since we meet at a bookstore, we all pick out a few books and pile them all up, then one person reads the blurbs for each book and we vote for our favorites, narrowing down to one book for each month.”
What do you love about the Literati?
We have a good group that enjoys each other’s company and enjoys sharing thoughts and opinions about the books we read. I particularly enjoy the discovery of titles and authors that I might not otherwise pick up on my own.
We’re proud to claim Hugo Award-winning author Pat Cadigan as one of our own. She was one of the founding members of the Literati while she was residing and working in Kansas City.
Tell us about a particularly memorable moment in the group.
I was not present for this moment, but it is legendary in the group’s history: After reading a book which shall remain nameless and authorless (come to a meeting if you want the details!), the loathing for this book was universal. One member reported that she’d read the entire book — even though she hated it — just so she could tell the group how terrible it was! In addition, the person who had suggested that book wasn’t at the meeting, earning him similarly-universal scorn.
What future plans lay ahead for the group?
Same as always: discover new books and authors, and have a good time discussing SF and fantasy.
Where can someone find more information about your Kansas City book club?
Anything else you’d like to share?
Anyone is welcome to come to a meeting. There’s no formal membership or member fee. The current book list is always available on our Facebook page and in the cover photo. Visit whenever you’re able and be ready for a good discussion.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Do you belong to a Kansas City book club, geek-related or otherwise? Give your group a shoutout in the comments!