There’s a new book club in town, or should we say in the region. Talking Service Book Club started at the Ashe County Public Library in the summer of 2019, and is going hybrid to connect with Wilkes County veterans. The group meets to reflect on short, powerful writings about military service by some of the world’s greatest authors. Participants are encouraged to share insights, build on each other’s comments and challenge assumptions through lively, informal conversations.

When COVID-19 restrictions prevented in-person meetings, the group continued meeting monthly via Zoom and membership expanded across state lines. Connecting the book club across county lines seemed a natural progression when Suzanne Moore left her job as Ashe County librarian to become Wilkes County librarian.

In service, soldiers develop friendships with comrades from across all 50 states. As veterans, place of residence or branch of service doesn’t matter. The common experience of military service is the uniting factor. Talking Service Book Club is for veterans, their families, friends, service providers and caregivers.

Book club members have read selections from “Standing Down: From Warrior to Civilian,” an anthology published by the Great Books Foundation. They range from Homer’s “Iliad” to memoirs by veterans of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Other books have been suggested and veteran authors have been invited to share their published works. The readings serve as an entry for veterans to talk candidly about their experiences.

Meetings are the second Friday of each month at 10 a.m. Ashe County veterans are looking forward to meeting Wilkes County veterans at the next meeting, on Aug. 13. There will be simultaneous in-person meetings at the Wilkes Library and Ashe County DAV headquarters connected on the internet via Zoom. Veterans wanting to join from home or other locations can call 336-838-2818 to register for a virtual invitation.

The selection for August is a short story by Ken Rodgers titled “Post Traumatic,” to be published in the Limberlost Review. Copies can be picked up at Wilkes County Public Library or emailed on request. Rodgers served as a Marine in Vietnam. He has been part of the Talking Service Book Club, zooming with the group from Boise, Idaho. He will visit the area in-person in November to screen his documentary, “Bravo! Common Men Uncommon Valor.”

August events

For children and parents:

Wilkes Fresh Story Time & Mobile Market, noon at the Traphill Branch and 2 p.m. at Ronda Town Hall Aug. 5, 12 and 19;

Join the Art Party and create a new art project each week, outdoors at Wilkes Library, 4 p.m. Aug. 3, 10, and 17;

Baby’s Easy Safe Sleep Training at the Wilkes Library, held in partnership with the Wilkes Health Department; 10 a.m. Aug. 11 and 5:30 p.m. Aug. 23. This one-hour class teaches the safest sleep practices for babies to reduce SIDS. To attend, you must be at least 30 weeks pregnant or a parent of an infant under 1-year-old. Attendees receive a free Pack ‘n’ Play for attending (one per infant). For more info, call the health department at 336-651-7469.

For adults

Computer Skills Classes at the Wilkes Library. This class will help you meet your computer-related goals. Sessions are 1-3 p.m., Aug. 11 and 18. Call 336-838-2818 — Option 2 to reserve a spot;

Chix with Sticks (guys are welcome also) meets at 5 p.m. every Tuesday for crocheting and knitting fun. All skill levels;

Silent Book Club, 5:30 p.m., Aug. 3, at Dom Bakeries, quiet reading with atmosphere;

VAYA Health-led program on coping techniques for depression and anxiety from 2- 4 p.m., Aug. 6 at Wilkes Library;

Wilkes Friends of the Library monthly book sale at 611 Cherry Street, North Wilkesboro, 5-7 p.m. Aug. 12 and continuing 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 13 and 14;

Talking Service Book Club, for veterans, their families, friends, service providers and caregivers. Hybrid group meets at 10 a.m. Aug. 13 in Wilkes Library and via Zoom;

the Library Book Club meets at 4 p.m., Aug. 17 to discuss Elin Hilderbrand’s book, “28 Summers.” Copies available at the library. Newcomers welcome;

Wilkes Genealogical Society meets at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 23 in the Wilkes Library’s Local History and Genealogy Room. Newcomers welcome;

Wilkes Library Jam Band at Traphill Branch from 2-4 p.m. Aug. 28. Old-time, bluegrass, and country music. All pickers and grinners welcome.

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