The Nematomes

The NEMATOMES (a sniglet from the words nematodes and tomes—bookworms) first met in May of 1991. We met once a month on the first Thursday evening of the month at 7:30. We rotated the meeting place among the various members’ homes. We had members from around the triangle, including Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Apex, and Fuquay-Varina.

We read mostly fiction. Generally, near the end of each year we planned the schedule for the following year. Each member chose a book they’d like to lead the discussion on and which month they’d like to have their meeting. It was highly recommended that you only place a book on the schedule that you had already read. When it was your book, you led the discussion and brought background information on: the author of the book, its publication history, and some critical reviews of the book. We strived for a wide variety of books each year and usually included at least one mystery, one classic, one science fiction selection, and perhaps one best-seller or a book by a local author.

Our meetings were very informal and we tried to make them fun. Over the years, we had a letter to our book club from an author and one author to attend our meeting. The letter was from Kaye Gibbons in response to a letter a member had written her asking for a reference clarification, and the author who attended our meeting was Margaret Maron.

We had slide shows (on a character’s pyloric valve problem), did quizzes (match the characters to their descriptions), and played Jeopardy (“I’ll take Ayn Rand’s Architecture for 300, Alex!”) all based on the characters or plots of the books. If we were short a book, we were inclined to all go to a movie together and discuss it over a cup of coffee afterwards. We also did a “dramatic reading” of a Shakespearean play at one of our meetings. And, finally, each year we voted on the best book of the year and the best meeting of the year.

If you’d like to see the kinds of books we read over the years, here are our schedules: