Poughkeepsie Book Club

About Us

The Poughkeepsie Book Club was founded in the summer of 2003 and consists of a small group of friends who live in the Poughkeepsie area. We nominate and vote on books to read, we read a book every month, and we meet once a month to discuss the book (and usually every other non-book-related topic under the sun).

We read a wide variety of genres, we usually have a great time getting together, and we're not very serious about anything at all.

If you think you'd be interested in joining us, please check out our facebook group.

A Brief History of (Our) Time

"The book club was started today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know. I got a telegram from Wappingers Falls: "Book club founded. Meeting tomorrow. Faithfully yours." That doesn't mean anything. Maybe it was yesterday."
-- Albert Camus, "The Stranger" (paraphrased from memory)

While cosmologists and theologians continue to debate the origins of the Universe, only the regulars of the Poughkeepsie Book Club enjoy the unique pleasure of knowing exactly when their own little galaxy of prawns came into being.

Through a careful analysis of the Hudson River's surprisingly weak background radiation, and a brief chat with the founder, the crack research squad of the club has been able to narrow the dates of the very first meeting to sometime around the summer of 2003, give or take a week. It was around this time that a highly intelligent but somewhat bored young IBMer, Jocelyn Muhl, was beginning to realize that Poughkeepsie was not the charming little hamlet described in all those glossy recruitment brochures. The locals (and we mean that in the nicest sense possible) have their own colorful expressions to refer to the city which we, unfortunately, cannot print here, as it would result in the designation of this Web page as obscene in most states south of New Jersey. (Especially in Alabama. But especially in Texas.)

All the while, our heroine was trying to figure out how to make the most of her new life. Fresh out of college, brimming with spunk and vigor, Jocelyn's dream of living out the exciting 20-something lifestyle had run headlong into the reality of the Lower New York drainage basin. Realizing that kayaking and raising cats would only keep her occupied part of the time, Jocelyn decided to start a book club.

Though only small gatherings of a few of her friends at the beginning, the club slowly grew into a respectable way for a bibliophile to spend one evening a month. Everyone was happy -- or so it seemed. Upon closer inspection, it would have been clear that all was not well in Poughkeepsie town. A dark cloud of discontent slowly gathered over the book club, unleashing powerful forces that would end up changing the face of the group leadership forever. These forces eventually manifested themselves in the fairly predictable combination of corporate downsizing, UNIX and hot pants.

Although it was relatively popular among the citizen-readers of this would-be book lovers' paradise in its early days, some members complained about the book selections and lack of pizza-based refreshments at group gatherings, many people (understandably) being unwilling to spend an evening discussing the latest pulp fiction without a few slices of the delicious Southwestern Delight pizza.

As time went on, these complaints intensified until a small, but brave, cohort of counter-revolutionaries started distributing pamphlets calling for change. Indeed, by the time her group grew wide enough to include a number of troublemaking UNIX developers, Jocelyn's kingdom was on the decline. In March of 2004, Muhl was forced out in a bloodless coup (it's true -- all smotherings) staged by John "The Jackal" Hare and his co-conspirators. Under the leadership of John I, a democratic process emerged in which all were allowed to vote for the next book and all readers were equal. (Party members still get all the best seats, though.)

While Jocelyn's present whereabouts are unknown, visitors to Portland, Oregon have often returned with tales of a mysterious "Society of No Hares" and complimentary copies of "The Five People You Meet In Heaven". At present (ca. April 2005), our small staff at the Ministry of Truth is diligently working to strike all records of Jocelyn's existence from written documents. We expect the efficiency of the operation to increase dramatically once the planned pneumatic tube system is completed and the courier mice have been trained.

Leadership has continued to change over the years from Jocelyn to John to Frank to Stephanie (who currently presides, ca. 2014); who knows what lies ahead.

- Yan