Book Clubs at McNally Robinson

bookplate falling leaves The McNally Robinson Bookstore, being appropriately discreet, couldn’t help me prove my hypothesis that there are more book clubs per capita in Winnipeg than in any other city in Canada. But they do run three book clubs out of the store.

Facilitator Wendy MacDonald’s two book clubs—one in the afternoon and one in the evening—are offered through the store’s Community Classroom.

Books for 2014/2015 include Joseph Boyden’s Orenda, Graham Green’s The End of the Affair, and Based on a True Story by Elizabeth Renzetti.

Check these clubs out at

Phone: 204-475-0483, or by email:

(As I post this, Wendy’s afternoon session is full, but there are still places available in the evening.)

But if, like me, you have commitment issues, Joanne Kelly’s book club could be right up your alley. You don’t have to actually “belong”. You can come for one meeting or every meeting. Joanne wasn’t sure that the concept would work. At the first meeting in 2011, she says,

“I was so nervous when I first started the book club that no one would show up. But the first meeting had about 20 women! I was thrilled (and relieved). Since then we have had anywhere from, say nine or 10 if the weather is bad, up to almost two dozen. There is a core group of women who have been there from the start, who have never missed a meeting, and people who come and go when they can.”

Joanne chooses the books for the club and pushes herself to select titles that stretch her own horizons.

“I don’t want to choose books from my list of favourites, or from my comfort zone. I do a lot of research, read a lot of reviews and browse a lot of bookshelves. I try for a mix of fiction and non-fiction and a mix of genres. Finding humorous books is the hardest.”

The club meets the last Tuesday of the month, and the book for October 2014 is Francisco Goldman’s, Say Her Name.

An interesting fact about Joanne’s club: the turnout is almost exclusively female. Doing an informal survey of my friend’s clubs, I find that women predominate. A question for another day.


2 thoughts on “Book Clubs at McNally Robinson

  1. An interesting confluence took place this summer. There were three movies based on books: A Most Wanted Man, The Drop, and Walk Among the Tombstones.

    And all three books are available on Kobo.

    I started reading A Most Wanted Man Sunday afternoon, went to the movie that evening, and finished the book Monday. It was interesting to see the movie with the book in mind and then finish the book with images of Philip Seymour Hoffman and the other characters in mind.

    So interesting that I did it again with The Drop and The Walk.

    Maybe there’s a place for a book club in the lobby of a movie theatre.

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