By DEVIN WEEKS
COEUR d’ALENE — Give ’em a T! Give ’em an H! Give ’em an I-R-T-Y!
The 3Cs Book Club celebrated 30 years on Wednesday, toasting champagne and enjoying a pleasant gathering in the Hagadone Event Center.
"It’s all of you, you lifelong learners who make our meetings so vibrant and fascinating,” book club moderator Suzy Jolley said, getting a little choked up as she addressed the crowd. “You are the sweethearts of 3Cs Book Club.”
These local literacy-loving ladies comprise the largest book club in Idaho with nearly 150 members. They meet at The Coeur d’Alene Resort nine months of the year and welcome regional scholars to present the monthly book and engage in discourse about the books that have been read.
“This is always the highlight of our year. They’re the best ‘class’ ever,” said Spokane Community College English literature professor Andrea Reid, who helped lead the discussion about Sarah Jane Stratford’s historical fiction novel “Radio Girls” during the celebration meeting.
“They read, they’re excited, they’re intellectual, curious and they want to participate,” Reid said. “You could not ask for a better class.”
“I have never met a more engaged, enthusiastic, well-informed group of people to talk about books,” said Reid’s colleague who also led the book discussion, SCC teaching and learning center coordinator Angela Rasmussen. “Their life experiences and their perspectives on things make for a great conversation.”
Jolley, who has been a member for 18 years, said there is a beauty in this multi-generational group of women who come together to share themselves and their lives with each other.
"We all have this common bond that we love to read and discuss," she said. "It's more than just reading. The discussions are so vibrant and that's what makes it so interesting."
The members cherish all the learning moments they experience when they're exposed to new ideas, other viewpoints and when they have special guests join their meetings. Jolley said when the group read Gregg Olsen's "The Deep Dark: Disaster and Redemption in America's Richest Silver Mine," which tells the story of the 1972 Sunshine Mine disaster, a wife of one of the mine's superintendents attended the meeting and shared stories from her life.
“We get a little piece of history from individuals that incorporate our discussion," Jolley said.
The ladies can read digitally or print, or even listen to books on audio, and the outcome is the same — pieces of literature devoured and critical thinking to be done in good company.
"You don't have to like the book, but it's so interesting to attend," Jolley said. "Sometimes people say, 'I think I'm going to read it again with a different perspective,' so that’s the other part of it. It’s kind of a surprise."
The book club is one of the many activities of the 3Cs (Cancer and Community Charities) organization that puts the "fun" in "fundraising." The book club, which has an annual fee of $45, has raised thousands of dollars for local charities through the years.
Starting the 31st season in September, the ladies will be reading books such as Candace Millard's "Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President" about James Garfield's rise to the White House and his assassination and legacy; a period piece about psychologist and investigator "Maisie Dobbs," by Jacqueline Winspear; Jennifer Egan's historical novel "Manhattan Beach;" and more.