“On the same page” is a regular series that features Utah book clubs. Editor's note: 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.

HOLLADAY — When JoAnn Mecham moved to a Holladay neighborhood in 1971, she was delighted to discover a thriving book club there. Established in 1957 by young mothers in what was then a brand-new subdivision, this book club has been going strong since, with two of the original members still attending. Most of the members are over the age of 75, and one attended until she was 101.

This book club focuses on nonfiction books and instead of having everybody read one book and discuss it together, individual book club members give monthly presentations on books they have read. The book club members then decide whether or not to read the presented book.

Mecham spoke with the Deseret News and made it clear that while she loves the opportunity to read and learn, the real treasure of being a part of a book club is friendship.

Condoleezza Rice writes about her childhood and early life and the family who shaped her into the woman she is today.
Condoleezza Rice writes about her childhood and early life and the family who shaped her into the woman she is today. | Penguin Random House

Deseret News: Tell me how the book club uses its dues.

JoAnn Mecham: We started having (donations) as the dues and used (them) for flowers if someone’s sick … that kind of thing. Then we decided that it would be just a fun thing to donate (the money) and use it to buy books for children. So we’ve sent (books) over to Third World countries and to different libraries, and we have a couple of school teachers and a principal in our area, so we’ve donated to them. It’s fun. … If it’s to a school we usually get a little thank-you note with all the kids’ signatures and stuff, so that's been fun.

DN: Do you have a funny memory of something that’s happened in your book group?

JM: There is a lot of laughter. I think one time we sat there and waited and waited and waited and the (guest speaker) never came — we kept calling her and she just didn’t come. I don't know how funny that is to anybody else, (but) we got a good laugh out of it and just sat and visited for the evening. I don’t know, we’re kind of getting to that age where people are a little more forgetful. Anyway, it’s just a good time to laugh and to share.

DN: What have you learned from being in a book club?

"Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project" tells the story of a Polish woman who smuggled Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto.
"Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project" tells the story of a Polish woman who smuggled Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto. | Long Trail Press

JM: We’ve been together so long. … We’ve lost husbands and people and grown up together. … We’ve supported a lot of ladies through these things. … After that many years, you just develop a friendship. … (We've) lost children, and we’ve had tragedies around us that you just draw close from. … You watch some of these women and the life experiences that they’ve had and you get strength from each other.

This Holladay book club recommends:

"MAKE YOUR BED: Little Things That Can Change Your Life … and Maybe the World," by Admiral William H. McRaven, Grand Central Publishing, 144 pages (nf)

"WINSTON CHURCHILL: A Life," by John Keegan, Penguin Random House, 208 pages (nf)

"EXTRAORDINARY, ORDINARY PEOPLE: A Memoir of Family," by Condoleezza Rice, Penguin Random House, 368 pages (nf)

"OLD SCHOOL: Life in the Sane Lane," by Bill O'Reilly, Henry Holt and Co., 192 pages (nf)

"LIFE IN A JAR: The Irena Sendler Project," by Jack Mayer, Long Trail Press, 396 pages (nf)

"CODE NAME: JOHNNY WALKER: The Extraordinary Story of the Iraqi Who Risked Everything to Fight with the U.S. Navy Seals," by Johnny Walker, William Morrow Paperbacks, 304 pages (nf)

"Epicenter," by Joel Rosenberg, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 432 pages (nf)

"THE WASHINGTON HYPOTHESIS: A Modern-day Investigator Explores the Possible Connection Between the American Covenant, Latter-day Temples and George Washington," by Timothy Ballard, Deseret Book, 272 pages (nf)

"I SIT ALL AMAZED: The Extraordinary Power of a Mother's Love," by Steve Mikita, Deseret Book, 128 pages (nf)

"I SHOULDN'T EVEN BE DOING THIS!: And Other Things That Strike Me as Funny," by Bob Newhart, Hachette Books, 256 pages (nf)