We hope this new series will make Milwaukee smile. When Nicole Matke started the Cream City Book Club, she wanted to create something different. Most book clubs consist of women who already know each other and meet to chat about life, drink drinks, and discuss literature. Often in this order.
Although Mattke supports reading groups of all kinds, she wanted to curate a group with people of all genders, ages, and backgrounds who enjoy ebooks, physical books, or audiobooks.
And so I did.
Kareem City Book Club It features about 40 members from different demographics who did not know each other before attending.
“I felt it would add a special insight to book discussions if they were open to anyone in the community and you never know who you’d be sitting next to,” says Matke.
Members also range from non-readers who want to get into reading and light readers who want to read more to routine readers of books, tablets or audiobooks.
“I also wanted to create a book club that would welcome all types and levels of readers, with questions I would make to be fun, challenging, and engaging for everyone—not just ‘literary’ types,” says Matke.
The Cream City Book Club meets on the second Wednesday of each month from 7-8:30pm at The Starling, 102 N. Water St. How a Whale Talk: A Journey into the Future of Animal Communication by Tom Mostil. February.
Tickets are available at Eventbrite for $20 and include a glass of wine. Additional drinks and sometimes food – depending on the month and The Starling staff – are available for purchase.
Get a ticket here.
“It begins with the author’s real experience of being kayaked and landed by a breached humpback whale – and surviving,” Matke says.
Matke selects myriad genres including classics, mysteries, thriller fiction, character-driven literary novels, and new/busting titles.
“To be selected for a book club,” says Matke, “the book has to be interesting or deep enough to allow me to write layered discussion questions that everyone would enjoy talking about. I also try to pick titles that won the most of the attendees.” The choices are exciting.”
Not only does a book club gather people from different walks of life, Matke says, but it also inspires them to read beyond the usual genres.
“We can easily get caught in reading frays, and book clubs open up many great titles and group ideas that the reader wouldn’t have come up with on his own,” she says.
Mattke posts her picks at least two months before the meeting so that people have time to pick up books/audiobooks from their local library, bookstore, or online.
“The Cream City Book Club is open to anyone in the community, and discussing books with others we don’t know brings unique insight into the texts and more fun for reading,” says Mattke.
Matte, an avid lifelong reader who also served as Pfister Narrator from 2017 to 2018, is looking to expand his Brew City Book Club in 2023 and is particularly interested in recruiting members in their 20s and 30s.
“I hope anyone with a passing interest in reading will give Cream City Book Club a try. It’s a really unique and lively collection,” she says. “I love that we’re building a community of people who love and prioritize reading and have the blessing to discuss books and ideas with anyone.”