More than a Book: Scarritt Bennett Center’s Book Club For Women

By Chandra Allen

Scarritt-Bennett Center offers a free book club for women.  Women of all ages, faiths, and ethnicities are invited to become members of the Scarritt-Bennett Center More Than a Book Club.  The book club provides a wonderful opportunity to meet new people, enrich your experience, and expand your knowledge of the issues that are facing women.  At More Than a Book Club we read a variety of authors and genres – a combination of new releases, classics, and hidden gems.  This summer we read:  Kindred by Octavia Butler, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, The All of It by Jeannette Haien, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.

If you love reading and are interested in discussing women’s issues, then More Than a Book Club is for you!  I look forward to our Book Club each month, because it is a time to share stories and insights about the books we read.  I am always amazed at the variety of perspectives we have after reading the same book.   Another wonderful thing about the book club is that it challenges me to read books that I may not have chosen on my own and many of them have become fast favorites like Kindred  by Octavia Butler that we read in June.  Whether we all like the book or not – the conversation is always rich.  I invite you to join in the conversation the second Monday of each month.

Our upcoming books are:

November 2014: The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert in October


In The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker—a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry’s brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father’s money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma’s research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction—into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist—but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life.

December 2014: Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple


Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle – and people in general – has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence – creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a daughter’s unflinching love for her imperfect mother. (

The December book club meeting will also include a book swap! Bring a wrapped new or gently used book to participate.

Date: 2nd Monday of each Month (November 10 & December 8)

Time: 7pm-8:15pm

Location: Fondren Hall, 2nd Floor

Contact: Chandra Allen – or 615-340-7473

Happy reading!