2009 National Book Club Conference Contest Winning Essay

Circle of Color Book Club from Jackson MS

Circle of Color Book Club members Margaret Bullocks-Matory, Karen Ayers,  Patricia Oluade, Kimberley Coleman, Anne Lovelady, Yvonne Steel and Barbara Williams.

Circle of Color Book Club, Jackson MS

The following statement by a longtime Circle of Color Book Club member provides a good introduction to how important our club is to us:  Since being in this book club I have gained sisters in reading and more.  I have noticed that I plan my activities around my book club.  It is a wonderful feeling to be involved with a group of wonderful women and I always look forward to our monthly meetings.

In our daily lives, and in a variety of ways, we make decisions.  For book lovers, whether or not to join a book club is not only a decision of whether or not to join a book club but also a choice of deciding which book club is the right choice.  Just as sharing a meal is far more satisfying than eating alone, belonging to the right book club is fulfilling in ways that extend beyond simply reading books.

We, members of the Circle of Color Book Club, lead busy lives that revolve around family, church, work and our Book Club.  As stated by one of our members:  To me my book club is not just getting together once a month to discuss a novel, it means spending time with my sisters who have the same love for reading as I do.  Being a member of COC has introduced each one of us to new authors and different styles of reading. COC is not just a book club, we are family.

Circle of Color Book Club members with AALBC founder Troy Johnson The Circle of Color Book Club
2009 National Book Club Conference Essay Contest Winner: Why My Book Club is Important to me

Plaque and $100 AALBC Sponsored Prize presented to Margaret Bullocks-Matory, Yvonne Steel, and Anne Lovelady by AALBC.com President Troy Johnson

As a family, our book club means...

Discovering other sides of issues raised in books.  No one can see it all or know everything, and discussing differing views of narrative and characters reveals layers of interpretations that would otherwise be missed.

Expanding our network of community involvement.  No one can do it alone, and having a circle of like‑minded sisters who are committed to community service provides a broader base for reaching out and giving back.

Learning to accept and appreciate ourselves and others.  No one can be fully human without the love of others.  Underlying our focus on reading African American authors is a commitment to each other and to our personal growth and development.

Laughing out loud.  No one can be relieved from the sorrows of living without laughing, loudly and often, about the joys of life.  Creating and sustaining an atmosphere to discuss books also provides a healthy environment for letting our hair down having our say in a way that is accepting, loving, and often very funny. 

We believe that book lovers who decide not to join a book club deprive themselves of a life‑enhancing experience.  For, just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a book club to really read a book, and that is what our Circle of Color Book Club means to us.

A younger member of our book club summarizes how we all feel about reading African American authors and about our sisters and brothers: Being a part of Circle of Color Book Club is being a part of knowledgeable family. We all contribute to each other by sharing our interpretations. There is no right or wrong in the group setting which brings about a sense of importance to everyone present. Our community involvement ensures me that we not only read about our brothers and sisters but that are indeed "our brothers and sisters keepers."  This is a wonderful book club.



The Circle of Color Book Club (COCBC) was founded by Margaret Bullocks-Matory and Yvonne Steel on January 26, 2002. Our common bond of reading motivated us to form a book club to share our love of reading with others. We read books by African-American writers. COCBC currently has 10 members that meet the 4th Saturday of each month, January - October. Members include:

Yvonne Steel, President and Co-Founder
Margaret Bullocks-Matory, Vice-President and Co-Founder
Anne Lovelady
Karen Ayers
Alice Collins
Barbara Williams
Kimberley Coleman
Kimberly Belser
Patricia Oluade
Rosalind Garner

Last Updated: Monday, September 18, 2017

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