Thursday, February 23, 2023

A Visit to the East Village NYC Book Club

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy

The February meetup of the East Village NYC Book Club is reading a recent EV classic: Ada Calhoun's "St. Marks Is Dead." A group of Club members is setting up at Hekate on Avenue B to discuss the book over non-alcoholic beverages. 

After the event, I talked with founder Sunny Cervantes about why she started the book club, how it works, and what's up next. 

On the origins:
The book club started with a post on the East Village Neighbors NYC Facebook page. Someone had posted asking about a local neighborhood book club. The post eventually became a long thread with many people asking about the same thing: if anyone had leads. 

I got tired of waiting, so I created a book club for the East Village. Jenny Allen told me to open a page on, and from there, we had our first meeting last year [on March 9]. 
The book club didn't have a space when I created it. Then, I remembered that Abby Ehmann had just opened Hekate Cafe and Elixir Lounge, and I asked her if I could have the book club there, and we’ve been there ever since.
On the club's goal:
The goal of the book club is not only to encourage and foster a love of reading but also so neighbors can meet each other and develop a relationship to strengthen the community. We now have members from Chelsea, the Lower East Side and even the Upper East Side. We currently have 328 members! 

We meet on the first Monday of every month. Usually, eight to 12 members join the monthly meetings, depending on the book we discuss. We don't have virtual events; we prefer them to be in person so that we can meet our neighbors. 
We also plan to include other activities outside our monthly meetings, like an author’s night to highlight local writers and a summer picnic in our local community gardens.
On the next chapter:
Our next book for the March 6 meetup is "Crying in H Mart" by Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast. I don't choose the books; members recommend them and then vote. The only one I've chosen personally was our first book, John Carreyrou's "Bad Blood," the story of Elizabeth Holmes. After that, the members decided on every book that we discussed. 

You can join the book club here.


John Penley said...

Some of my photos are in this book.

Simon E said...

What a great idea!

arts+projects said...

For avid readers in need of another book clubbing event, NYPL on E 10th between A & B holds a book club last Tuesday of every month.

Anonymous said...

The owner of Book Club’s last name is Cervantes? Awesome. Love this place.

Anonymous said...

Does Hamilton Fish have a Book club?

Wexlerrules said...

St. Marks Is Dead is an excellent book. I highly recommend it.

Simon E said...

Thanks arts+projects for that info, helpful!

Anonymous said...

This looks like fun and I'd like to join this group but don't have a Facebook. Is there another way to join? Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

The name of the book club is East Village NYC Book Club. You can join the book club through this link: The bookclub site is not on Facebook.

Anonymous said...

Great, thanks for the link, Anonymous.