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Book Club Ditches Required List

Marta Campbell, Judy Wyllie and Jo Dutcher weren't sure where the evening's conversation would take them as they sat together in the Westport Library's reading room. Books would drive the topics, but which books was anyone's guess.

The discussion quickly became random and conversational and no matter where the topics roamed, they were still on track. "We want to make this a pressure-free experience," said Campbell as she packed up the laptop she used to blog the night's events.

Campbell is the driving force behind the library's Stop and Swap Summer Adult Summer Reading Club. The concept was simple enough: unlike most book clubs there are no required readings; people just come in and talk about what they've chosen to read.

Wyllie, a Stamford resident who stopped by the Westport Library, left with more books than she intended. As the conversation tumbled forward with random offshoots she added more books to her must-read list. "It's a lot of fun once you get talking and sharing," said Wyllie. For Campbell, that is largely the point.

As the discussions evolve, Campbell makes notes and posts them to the blog. She generates reading lists and emails them to the 150 registered participants in the program. Wyllie just dropped in to check out the group, but she left as a member.

The Stop and Swap Summer Adult Reading Club meets every Monday night and Tuesday morning and the groups are usually small. Campbell said the most they have had in the room at once was eight. Every session creates a unique list, with one exception. "I think 'The Help' has been mentioned at every one of these I have been to," she said.

The blog postings and registration information are available on the library website .

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