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BackCountry - Wild at Heart

Read a book. Make a friend.

by | June 16th, 2015

Once a month, between 10 and 14 women gather at the Sundial House—ostensibly to talk about the book they’ve read, but more importantly, to deepen their sense of community.

Danni Holland, the founder of the BackCountry Book Club, wants to make clear that the doors are wide open to everyone in the community.

“We usually have one or two newcomers each meeting,” says Danni. “And we’d love to keep growing.” No intellectual posturing required—this is a friendly group open to all BackCountry residents, where the time splits naturally between book chat and pure socializing. Books usually don’t get overly lofty, and include both fiction and nonfiction, since one of the goals of the group was to help lure each other out of their reading comfort zones. They vote on book selections every couple of months.

Sundial House great room

The group’s diversity makes it all the more interesting, says Danni. “Our members range in age from mid-30s to 80s. The difference in life experience and perspectives adds so much to our discussions.” She says the book club has also very much facilitated friendships. In fact, she met her closest BackCountry friend at the first book club, not realizing that she actually lived just four doors down from her. Others have experienced the same, forging friendships that include walking together and other get-togethers. Not too surprising, given that “there’s a lot of neighborliness at BackCounty in general,” says Danni. “We have lots of outgoing, friendly neighbors around us,” she says. “I think people move here because they want to live in a neighborly community. The kind where there aren’t fences and there’s a good level of trust.”

If you’d like to drop in sometime and make a few new connections of your own, the book club meets on the first Wednesday of each month from 7pm-9pm in the Sundial House community room. Look for the blurb in the monthly community newsletter that lists the current book title. (July’s is The Residence by Kate Andersen Brower, a nonfiction account of the lives of the people who serve those in the White House.) Bring a bottle of wine or appetizers to share around the fireplace. (Occasional field trips also occur. One time a member hosted the club at her house, serving a French meal in honor of the book choice, The Paris Wife.)  And don’t stress if you don’t have the time to finish the book. As Danni says, “We come together around a book, but we stay together for the friendships.”

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