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On the same page: Book club goes through life, death together

Robin Thorn of the Book Club recommended these eight books.
Robin Thorn of the Book Club recommended these eight books.
Hannah McDonald, Deseret News

"On the same page" is a series featuring Utah book clubs and will run every other week.

If you have a book club and you are interested in being featured, please contact us at features@deseretnews.com. Please include your name, your contact information and one or two sentences describing your book club.

Robin Thorn is one of the co-founders of the Book Club, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

How did this book group start?

Robin Thorn: We started in May of 1987 with 11 members. My friend and I started it. … Her mother was in a book club and she said we should start one, but with friends our age. … As young mothers, especially young working mothers, it was really fun to have an outlet for a passion. We went through everything together — raising our families, having our kids grow up and have weddings. Now we’re at the stage where we’re having funerals for our parents. … We’re a solid group.

What are some of your most memorable book club experiences?

RT: Sadly, two of our original members passed away when they were barely 40. One passed away from ALS, which was a really hard thing. I remember when she first found out she had it and how scared she was and how worried she was for her family. But then we got to watch her courageous journey through that horrifying disease and how well her family handled it. I would go and pick her up for book club every month and her husband would carry her out to the car with her wheelchair. Her young teenage daughter would come with us and she was like an honorary member at that time. … It turned out to be a really precious and special experience for our group to go through that with her, and when we lost her it was very hard. And then we had another member that had breast cancer and we lost her, too. It’s very bittersweet to be so close to someone and then go through that with them. But it was also a privilege as well.

What standalone book do you think deserves a sequel?

RT: We just read “A Man Called Ove,” which we all adored. I personally read it three times in a row. I closed the book and then just started it again because I didn’t want to leave the characters. I fell in love with all the people in the book and I didn’t want them to go away. I don’t usually re-read a book, but that one I ended up reading over and over again because I just loved the characters so much. It made me laugh; it made me cry. It made me happy.

What have you learned or gained from being involved in this book group?

RT: I think what I would really like to reiterate is that each of our members is unique and amazing in their own way. They all add so much that I feel almost unworthy to speak for them. … Everyone just contributes. They’re all such amazing women. I would be so much less without having had this association with these women for the last 30 years.

Robin Thorn of the Book Club recommends:

"Follow the River," by James Alexander Thom, Ballantine Books, 416 pages (f)

"A Man Called Ove," by Fredrik Backman, Washington Square Press, 337 pages (f)

"Life and Death in Shanghai," by Nien Cheng, Grove Press, 560 pages (nf)

"The Power of One," by Bryce Courtenay, Ballantine Books, 544 pages (f)

"Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage," by Alfred Lansing, Basic Books, 357 pages (nf)

"The Book Thief," by Markus Zusak, Alfred A. Knopf, 592 pages (f)

"Peace Like a River," by Leif Enger, Atlantic Monthly Press, 320 pages (f)

"The Winter Sea," by Susanna Kearsley, Sourcebooks, 544 pages (f)