In much the same way that you're either a cat person or you're not, I think you're either a book reader or you're not. Along those lines for some reason, very few men who like to read books belong to book clubs.

An exception is 81-year-old Bob Guerin. He usually reads two books a month, and reading is his major hobby. He's also the only remaining original member of a Mount Pleasant men's book club that started in 1995. There are presently eight men in the group and they meet once a month at the Atlanta Bread Company in Towne Centre.

For years, meetings were held at various members' houses. That stopped because some of the guys refused to RSVP and it caused a few problems when the host member and his spouse would prepare to feed eight people, and only four might show up. These days, the ones who decide to attend drink their coffee and discuss their recently read books in a quiet corner of the restaurant.

There's a major difference in the format of how this club conducts its business, though. The members don't read the same book; they each read a different one and tell the others about it at their monthly gatherings.

History and mystery

The members of this club are retired, primarily from different sectors of corporate America. One worked for Timex, another for IBM and there's a retired career Army guy thrown in to make sure nobody forgets their marching orders.

The most popular books this group reads seem to fall into two categories: murder mystery and history. One former member would read nothing but books about World War II. At each meeting, each man gives a small book report. Some guys take only a couple of minutes, others essentially tell the entire story.

Very few of the books they read are current best-sellers. Guerin, however, admits to giving a report on "Fifty Shades of Grey," leaving many of his buddies blushing. (Gotta believe that turned some heads in the sandwich line, too?)

Guerin keeps a book with him at all times. If he's waiting on an oil change, he reads his book. If his wife is shopping, he'll find a bench and his book will keep him company until she's finished. For most of the guys in this club, reading is their major pastime.

The library also is a friend. Very few in the club buy their books, unless a grandchild has recently given them a gift card to Barnes & Noble.

Discuss and debate

I'm not sure why book clubs are primarily the province of women. Guerin readily offers that the first 20 minutes of every meeting is spent solving the problems of the town, the state and the nation. Only after that is done, do they give their book reports. It gives them a seriousness of purpose as well as the safety of friendship and fellowship.

Some of the members read two books at a time. In Guerin's opinion, if you can do that, then neither book is very good.

This group is moving its meetings to Thursday mornings at 9:30. It's not necessary to RSVP; they tried that before. If you love to read and socialize, it might make for a good fit. If not, just drink some coffee and smell the bread.

Reach Warren Peper at 937-5577 or