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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Life + Arts

BOOK CLUB: Literary minds enjoy local gatherings

In celebration of National Reading Group Month, the Houston and Harris County Public Libraries are hosting the 8th annual Books on the Bayou program.

As part of the program, Houstonians are encouraged to read a selected work of literature and then gather for an organized discussion about the book.

In prior years, the program featured books including Ellen Foster, an Oprah’s Book Club-selected novel by Kaye Gibbons, and Riding the Bus with My Sister, a memoir by Rachel Simon.

This year, the selected reading is Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Exalted as a defining milestone of the Harlem Renaissance, the novel features an African American female protagonist who recounts the difficulties of her life and her complicated marriages to three different husbands.’

Several events related to the novel are being held at local libraries throughout Houston this month.’

Lucy Anne Hurston, the niece of Zora Neale Hurston, kicked off this year’s program Oct. 3. when she visited the Houston Public Library’s central branch to give a presentation on her aunt’s biographical work, Speak, So You Can Speak Again: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston.’

A book discussion was held afterward to discuss Hurston’s work.

Participants discussed literary techniques, such as the use of dialect, first-person narration and symbolism, while also speculating upon the novel’s themes of racism, sexism and self-discovery.

Several movie screenings of the film adaptation of Their Eyes Were Watching God, starring Halle Berry, will also take place at various libraries.’

Literature scholar and Hurston expert Valerie Boyd will speak about the life and works of Zora Neale Hurston on Oct. 31. Boyd will also speak about her own book, Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston.

Students do not have to wait another year for book club opportunities to arise. The Houston and Harris County Public Libraries also host several other book clubs that hold monthly readings and discussions.’

The central branch of the Houston Public Library hosts monthly classic literature and urban fiction book clubs, most recently featuring the Willa Cather novel My Antonia and Nikki Turner’s Ghetto Superstar, respectively.’

Various Houston libraries host mystery clubs. In September, featured titles from some groups included The Lighthouse, Unnatural Selection, The Hundredth Man and Seducing an Angel.’

A weekly family story time session open to all age groups, though targeted toward parents and children, is held at the central branch of the Houston Library.

If you are interested in joining one of these clubs or learning more about the programs, more information can be found on and

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