Sally Gracie TwispBy Sally Gracie

Members of the Buttermilk Book Club met last night (Sept. 2) at the home of Sarah and Mike Salmon to discuss the100th book they’ve shared since the club formed 10 years ago. Sarah Salmon, an early member of the club, chose the book for September 2013: Alice Hoffman’s 2011 novel, The Dovekeepers.

Nine original members of the club are still actively participating: Tom and Linda Cornish, Jan Ford (who has diligently kept the record of books), Dick and Anna Heathman, Carol Hebert, Nancy Palagruti, and Janet and Ken Shannon. As most of the original members live in the Twisp River valley, they named themselves “Buttermilk” as “Twisp River” was already used by another group. Presently, the Buttermilk Book Club has 17 members.

All of the original members are or have been members of the Methow Valley Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of Washington (MVBCH). Their first title was, appropriately, a book about a horse. In July 2003, the club read Seabiscuit: An American Legend. Since then many selections have been by western writers or have treated western themes: The Whistling Season and This House of Sky by Ivan Doig, A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella Bird, and Sally Portman’s A Smiling Country. Sarah Salmon vividly remembers being inspired by the third book that the club read in 2004, A Pioneer’s Search for an Ideal Home by Phoebe Goodell Judson.

Over the years the group has read fiction as well as non-fiction, and their list of 100 titles ranges from contemporary best sellers – Marley and Me and 1,000 Splendid Suns – to the classics, such as Anna Karenina and The Pearl.

Each of the valley book clubs has its own traditions. Buttermilk meets in the afternoon, and the person who recommends the monthly selection leads the discussion, which is generally low key and cordial, according to a member. Refreshments are not central to the meetings but are part of them, and a Christmas potluck and movie have become a tradition.

North Central Regional Library does a great job providing multiple copies to the more than 20 valley book clubs. Paula Walters at the regional office works closely through our librarians to meet the clubs’ requests.

The Pasayten Quartet featuring Laura Love will close out the summer of Wednesday jazz in Twisp River Pub’s beer garden on Sept. 11. The quartet features Terry Hunt on guitar, Lynette Westendorf on keyboard, Steven Sanders on bass guitar and Mike Conrad on drums.

After sitting in to play his guitar on one of Laura’s gigs at the pub, Terry asked if Laura might like to try singing with his quartet. Though she’d always loved the jazz standards, she “never had the inspiration to learn them,” Laura says. That changed when Terry handed her a list of 15 songs to learn.

The jazz gene has probably always been there. Laura’s parents were jazz musicians. Her father Preston Love played sax with Count Basie and other big bands, and her mother was, for a time, a singer in Preston’s own jazz band.

Since her first appearance with the group in early summer, Laura has been adding to her repertoire. “It’s the most fun thing I’m doing right now,” says the singer, who built her career singing folk and funky tunes.

 

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