Just in time to celebrate October as National Reading Group Month, a new reading group has been started in Ramona.
The inaugural meeting of the Ramona Book Group will be in Ramona Community Center, 434 Aqua Lane, from 11 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. on Oct. 25, In the spirit of Halloween, the book selection is Mary Shelley’s classic, Frankenstein.
Sponsored by The Reading Chair Bookstore, a new online bookseller based in Ramona, the Ramona Book Group is open to any who wish to participate. The group’s goals are to help foster reading in the community, camaraderie among neighbors, and fundraising for Ramona Town Hall renovation efforts.
Roots of The Ramona Book Group and The Reading Chair Bookstore started growing three years ago when Taniya Barrows, owner-manager of The Reading Chair Bookstore, moved to Ramona with her family. Her husband is a Ramona native.
Barrows works full time and commutes to Poway every day. She was frustrated with the difficulty she encountered trying to meet her new neighbors and getting to know her new community.
“Between being a working parent and a daily commuter, it has been hard to find the time to get to know the town I now call home and the people who form our community,” she said.
Barrows decided to use her passion for literature to give back to the community and make a few friends along the way.
Pursuing a dream career path, she started looking into the bookselling industry about a year ago and decided opening an independent bookstore was the answer to both her community involvement desires and career enhancement.
The storefront she envisions, preferably on Main Street, is a number of years away. However, Barrows has not let the delay of opening a storefront stop her.
In February, she established The Reading Chair Bookstore as an online bookstore with a small inventory. She specializes in special order books.
She then took inspiration from the “One Book, One City” reading programs around the country and decided Ramona could benefit from an expanded version of the annual “One Book, One City” program.
“There’s nothing like reading a book with a friend,” said Barrows. “Sharing the adventure that is contained within the covers of a book and then discussing the different points of view, experiences and reactions you each had while reading the story enhances the reading experience.”
National studies have identified the drop in recreational reading among the majority of Americans. The Ramona Unified School District is doing its part to help school children develop a love of reading, and Barrows’s intent is to enhance their efforts by creating an outlet to read as a community.
“There is a high priority placed on helping kids become lifelong readers but few literary encouragements for Ramona’s older students, adults, and families,” she said. “I want to encourage families to find the time for recreational reading, especially for those like me — commuters who are unable to participate in activities that occur in the middle of a weekday.”
Ramona Book Group will start as a monthly event with a variety of book selections. The selections for October and November are examples of the variety of titles sought. Shelley’s Frankenstein may appeal to a more advanced group of readers. November’s book is a charming piece of children’s literature, The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo.
Despereaux is coming out as an animated movie this holiday season. It is a delightful tale the children of the house, and the children at heart, can enjoy and read together, said Barrows.
December’s book has not been selected yet and nominations will be accepted at the Oct. 25 meeting.
Frankenstein and The Tale of Despereaux are available for sale from The Reading Chair Bookstore. A purchase from The Reading Chair Bookstore is not required to participate in the Ramona Book Group. However, it is encouraged as a portion of the proceeds from sales of the current month’s selected title will be donated to the Town Hall renovation efforts.
To make a purchase, or for more information, visit www.readingchairbooks.com or call 760-440-9934.