By Colleen Flaherty
Fort Hood Herald
Fort Hood's newest offering for families - a book club - debuted last week at the Spiritual Fitness Center.
A collaboration among Casey Memorial Library, Fort Hood Family Housing and the Spiritual Fitness Center, the Jan. 31 meeting offered something different and enriching to do, participant Holly Gaconnet said.
"It gives a spouse something to do besides stay at home, or go out shopping," she said. "We've got a lot of readers, so why not get readers together with other readers to mingle and gain insight on those books that everybody is reading?"
Nieomi King, property management and community services coordinator at Fort Hood Family Housing, said spouses of deployed soldiers suggested a book club during a housing-sponsored activities brainstorming session last summer.
Housing and the library worked together to make it happen and the Spiritual Fitness Center, which offers plenty of space and child care, became the location, she said.
"Spouses need something to engage them in the community," said King. "A lot of times, the biggest trouble they'll have is that they feel like they're alone. (Clubs like this) can bridge the gap between them and the surrounding community so they realize they are, in fact, not alone."
The first meeting was a success, with seven attendees, King said.
The group will cap at about 20, she said. Attendees who bring friends to the next meeting may be entered in a drawing for an e-Reader.
Gaconnet, the Kouma Village mayor, said she'd never heard of the club's featured book, Randy Pausch's "The Last Lecture," before attending the hourlong session, but she is hooked on it now.
"I really like this book," she said. "I've got another (friend) who's going to read the book now when I'm done with it."
"Last Lecture" is the written version of the author's final lesson delivered to his students at Carnegie Mellon University before he resigned due to terminal pancreatic cancer in 2007. He died in 2008, but his message - not to give up on childhood dreams, even in adulthood - continues to inspire readers.
Group leader and Casey Memorial public services librarian Erica Stiner said she selected the book because it was relatively short but worthwhile. Readers, and a few attendees who hadn't yet gotten a chance to read the book, had a lot to say.
"There are a lot of passages that contain wisdom about things going on with individuals and families that they could kind of tie into their lives," said Stiner. "(Conversation) naturally flowed."
Stiner said she's looking forward to watching the club evolve. "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking" will be the topic of the Feb. 28 meeting.
Gaconnet encouraged others to get involved.
"It's a good way to get to know other people," she said. "This was the first book club I've been involved in, and I'll definitely go back."
Contact Colleen Flaherty at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7559. Follow her on Twitter at KDHFortHood.
Book club meetings
The Casey Memorial Library and Fort Hood Family Housing book club meets on the last Tuesday of each month.
Participants will discuss "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking" by Malcolm Gladwell at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Spiritual Fitness Center.
Free copies may be available at Casey Memorial. Sign up at the library by calling (254) 287-4921 or emailing email@example.com.
Child care is available at Kids on Sites for $4 an hour per child, prepaid at Parent Central Services, Building 121, but free for Fort Hood Family Housing residents. Children must be registered with Child, Youth and School Services.