Toronto Public Library Book Club: Review

Gerrard Ashdale Library in Toronto is closed on Good Friday.
Gerrard Ashdale Library in Toronto is closed on Good Friday.

I have recently joined a Toronto Public Library Book Club. The book club is held at my local Toronto Public Library in Leslieville. In case you’re wondering how popular these free books clubs are, I waited eight months before a spot was available!

We meet on the last Thursday of every month for an hour. There are about 11 members in the book club including Sarah, the librarian (although not everyone shows up each time) so this allows everyone a chance to speak about the book we’re reading. Most of the members of this book club are longstanding: many have been members for four years or longer!

The members of this book club are very civil. No one interrupts anyone else while they are speaking and the members seem to really listen to each other. We also ensure that everyone gets a chance to voice their opinions about the book.

I had several concerns before joining this book club, the first being whether I would have time to read each of the books! There is no point in joining a book club if you don’t read the book, right? Anyway, in August, the librarian emailed us a list of the books we’ll be reading for the upcoming year so I was able to start reading them right away and I already had two of the books read before our first meeting at the end of September.

Gerrard Ashdale Library in Toronto
Gerrard Ashdale Library in Toronto

I was also concerned that the books chosen would not be to my liking. I was wrong! These are well chosen books, many of them shortlisted and/or winners of The Giller Prize and CBC’s Canada Reads. I have a tendency to read Canadian fiction so I was eager to break out of my comfort zone and be exposed to authors from other countries.

So far, we have read:

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabelle Allende
We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir by Samra Habib

I enjoyed both of these books since the Allende book partially took place during the Spanish Civil War, of which I knew hardly anything. Habib’s book taught me more about queer lifestyles and Islam.

Our next book is No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod. I read this book at least 15 years ago and enjoyed it. I have just finished reading it for a second time so I’m way ahead of the game since our next meeting isn’t until the end of November.

Do you belong to a book club? If so, how long have you been a member? Have you thought about joining one?

You might be interested in reading, “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo Opens at Crow’s Theatre: Review“.


  1. It has been so long since I was in a book club. I read so many wonderful books. I must add these books that you mention to my reading it. Since I love to discover new authors to read.

  2. Oh boy, it has been awhile since I’ve joined a book club. Still, there’s so much love there that you never forget it.

  3. I was a member of book clubs during my college and university days! I cancelled the membership when I moved to another city for work and never joined a new one since then. Glad to know you are enjoying it.

    • I’m impressed! I didn’t have any spare time during my university days, plus I was an English major so I was reading a ton of books for school! Thanks! I am definitely enjoying the experience! Cheers, Lori

  4. This is a great book club. The fact that it takes a long time to get in gives it value. I was once in one, but the woman who ran it was too controlling. She wanted to do everything. The books were good, but I left because of her.

    • Hi Lois, Yes, I agree. I felt that because there was a waiting list, it must be a popular book club. Too bad about the woman who ran your book club. It’s important for everyone in the club to be able to offer input. Cheers, Lori

  5. How wonderful that the selections are books you enjoy. I haven’t joined a bookclub since my school days, but I am not adverse to it.

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