Start a Raceme in Your Neighborhood
- an elongated cluster of flowers along the main stem in which the flowers at the base open first, as with orchids, snapdragons, etc.
- a local offshoot of The Wolfe Pack
through which you can hold book discussions and events in your neighborhood
If you belong to the Wolfe Pack and would like to start a "raceme", we will help you make initial contact with other Pack members in your vicinity. We will send mailings to members in your area, post a notice on the web page, write and print notices for distribution to local libraries and bookstores, etc.
General suggestions for forming a book discussion group
One member of the raceme must be the coordinator, responsible for arranging a location (probably a local restaurant) with a separate space, relatively quiet (no loud heating system, A/C, dishwashers). Food, drinks and separate checks are desirable (required). Other possibilities are the library or a book store.
The meeting should be open to members, guests and prospective members. The coordinator must be a member.
Probably five book discussions per year is a good target. We hold meetings in September, November, January, March and May – every other month. Most restaurants are slow on Mondays, so it's the day we've chosen (third Monday of the month, except when holidays or other circumstances intervene). It is very desirable to have a set day, date and month so members can plan ahead and develop the habit of attending.
Books should be discussed chronologically as written or as published — starting with Fer de Lance (1934) through A Family Affair (1975). A book containing 2 to 3 novellas is covered at one book discussion.
There should be a book moderator (not necessarily the coordinator, although he/she will probably moderate on occasion) for each book. The moderator should reread the book, make some notes, and start the discussion with a 10-15 minute presentation. It is probably best to rotate the book discussion moderator.
What did the moderator like about the book? The characters? The plot? Rex Stout's use of language? What wasn't so likeable about the book? The moderator should avoid a retelling of the plot as it is assumed all those who attend have read (reread) it.
Attendees and moderators should review and try to follow the suggestions on the book discussion guidelines page.
Over the years, book discussions have ranged over trivia (in the early books, Archie always gets a parking spot right in front of the house; the cheap price of a taxi ride) and serious matters (Mr. Wolfe's view of women, lawyers, police).
The moderator should encourage comments and questions. There will be differing points of view, which makes for a fun evening. Set a time limit – 7pm to 9pm works fine for us.