Brouhaha offers lively discussion of books over drinks

Wil Petty

April 6, 2014

Each month, a lively discussion called a brouhaha is hosted by the Ashe County Public Library at Boondocks, as a way to discuss literature in an environment away from work.

“The meaning of brouhaha is German for lively discussion,” said Suzanne Moore, county librarian. “So we have our discussions at a brewery over books.”

The discussions start at 5:30 p.m. on the last Monday of every month, and the discussions are not limited to one book or genre.

Adult Services Librarian Kim Grindrod said it was coincidental that the monthly meetings started taking place at the Boondocks Brewery.

“The space is one of the largest ones in the town that we could use for the meetings,” she said. “So everything worked out.”

Since beginning the event in last summer, attendance at the Brouhahas has continued to increase. During its February meeting, Moore said the event had its highest attendance, with 20 people discussing books.

Attendees of the Brouhahas read all genres ranging from fiction to nonfiction and from business to politics.

“We discuss whatever we have been reading lately,” Moore said. “People have been discussing such a wide variety of things, so it is fun to hear what everybody is currently reading or to get recommendations.”

In addition, the Brouhahas are not similar to a book club. Everybody reads what they want to read and there is no pressure to attend every meeting.

“That’s one of the beautiful things about it…you don’t put all of the effort into reading some book and miss your one chance for a discussion of that book,” Grindrod said. “You can save it for the next time you are there, not to mention people come with stacks of books they have been reading.”

During the meetings, Moore takes notes of the books which are discussed that night. The next day, those books are then put into the Library’s “Lib Guides” under a special Brouhaha books tab.

“Whatever people talked about goes there,” Moore said, mentioning library users can then go see if the book is available in their library district.

Books discussed are put on the page based on different genres and specific to which meeting they were discussed at.

“It is a great way to hear about books that you wouldn’t normally investigate because it isn’t your go-to genre to read,” Grindrod said. “Somebody talks up a book (at a meeting) and suddenly, you’re reading all sorts of different things.

The library works with several counties in N.C. to help bring books one county doesn’t have to another library free of charge. If a book is not in the Ashe, Watauga or Wilkes libraries, it is still possible to check the book out.

The next meeting of the Brouhaha will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, April 28.

Wil Petty can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @WilPetty.