Intimate Conversation with Fourth Sunday Book Club
A Book Club wrote a book about The Journey of a Book Club. The six authors of Fourth Sunday – The Journey Of A Book Club, Francesca Cook, Chyla Evans, Clarita Frazier, Allita Irby, Donna Neale, and Yolanda Yates are members of a book club based in Maryland. They have been featured in various publications, showcasing their decision to write their own novel. Add Fourth Sunday – The Journey Of A Book Club to your list of books to read! What happens when a real life book club decides to write their own novel? The result is a fresh, fun story about a group of women who have more in common than just the books they read.
FOURTH SUNDAY written by B.W. Read (aka “Because We Read” ) is the tale of seven women and their journey towards friendship by way of a simple book club. Over time, their friendship grows beyond books, as their lives, relationships, careers, and families become one. The core group of women—Gwen, Natalie, Allana, Brianna, Camille, Destiny, and Adriane—shares not only their love of books at these monthly meetings but their life experiences as well. During a two year period, the women undergo a number of trials within their own lives as they confront divorce, illness, romantic highs and lows, sexual experimentation, and career challenges. Throughout the good times and bad times, their book club family provides support, encouragement, laughter, and love.
Written by six women of a real-life book club who no longer wanted to read about characters they could not identify with, FOURTH SUNDAY is the answer for the everyday woman. FOURTH SUNDAY is timeless cosmopolitan literature. The novel incorporates intellect and riveting facts about medical, political and small business state of affairs while balancing playfulness and sensuality. It is funny, it is sad, it is contemporary, but most of all it is real.
BPM: Give us a little history on the 4th Sunday Book Club.
The 4th Sunday Book Club was founded in the 1994 by six professional African-American women from the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area . These women shared a desire to read books of quality and substance and formed a loosely structured book club simply referred as “the book club”. The objective was to read books written by African-American authors. Over time the club diversified to include at least one non-fiction book per year and has grown beyond solely African-American authored works.
The book club, which met on fourth Sundays, soon found that contemporary literature did not reflect them or their lives. Motivated by this realization, the club began writing its own book. The result is Fourth Sunday: A Journey of Book Club, which was written under the pseudonym B.W. Read and published in May 2011 by Strebor Books for Simon and Shuster. In honor of the success of the book, “the book club” was renamed “4th Sunday Book Club.”
The 4th Sunday Book Club has grown in membership and purpose. The club now has 13 active members. However, it remains an unstructured, intimate club where books are our connection and our bond is our strength.
BPM: In your opinion, why is reading important in our lives?
Reading is important because it exposes us to experiences and information we may not otherwise encounter. Reading helps us to become more educated and well rounded. Books, like "A Wrinkle In Time" by Madeleine L'Engle, influence lives at an early stage and have lasting effects.
BPM: What types of books does your group read? How do you select the featured books?
The club reads11 books per year. At least one non-fiction and a book with a romantic theme or undertone are read each year in February. The club meets only once during the summer months of July and August, for a co-ed meeting where spouses or significant others are invited is held. Books are selected at the January meeting and are selected by consensus.
BPM: What are you reading now as a group? How did you come by this selection?
This year’s co-ed book is “Before I Forget” by Leonard Pitts. The club attempts to select co-ed books that are (1) fiction with contemporary stories and themes that may appeal to the male perspective or (2) non-fiction and address contemporary issues and subject matters.
BPM: What are your all-time favorite book selections?
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, everything written by Tananarive Due, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Red Tent by Anita Diamante, and Topping from Below by Laura Reese to name a few.
BPM: Are you satisfied with the legacy books written by African American authors will leave our future generations?
NO and NO. For the past 20 years or more, books written by black authors that are profiled or placed front and center by bookstores and the media are classified as “Urban Literature.” Most often found under this classification are books that reflect the urban hip-hop culture, baby mama drama, hustler, or mad black woman perspectives that feed the majority’s opinion. Contemporary books are capturing the moment, the flavor of the month, sometimes for shock value. Only a few of these books will be classics 20, 30, years from now.
Books of depth and substance are painted with this broad monolithic “Urban Literature” brush and are too often looked over when books get promoted. They are ultimately lost to the readers and we are left with a legacy of more widely read black books that stereotype us, our lives, and our desires.
BPM: Is there anything you would love to see more of in books?
YES. More diversity including, but not limited to mixed race couples, gay characters that aren't caricatures or stereotypes, people doing meaningful things with their lives that make them happy, and people being accountable for the decisions (good and bad) they make without blaming society, lack of money or their parents.
Interview submitted by Allita Irby, Fourth Sunday Book Club