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Ballantyne Magazine covers news, events, real estate, restaurants, shopping, health, schools and business in the upscale Ballantyne Area of Charlotte, NC.

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Turning Pages Ballantyne Book Club Focuses on Literary Fiction, Building Friendships By Michael J. Solender Photos by Ray Sepesy GROWING UP IN WESTERN INDIA, Rush Shah enjoyed a steady Charlotte Ballantyne and a growing membership that today has diet of literary fiction. That fed his interest in exploring the world close to 40 people on its mailing list. Monthly group discussions through the eyes and words of both classic and experimental usually draw eight to 10 participants, and the club is free and authors. When Shah, a software engineer for Premier in Ballantyne open to the public. Corporate Park, moved to Charlotte in 2001, he was surprised to ���We are very casual and friendly,��� Johnson says. ���The goal of the find many Americans didn���t share his literary tastes and seemed group is to build a sense of community and friendship amongst instead to favor genre fiction. people who share similar interests. It is really a great opportunity to He made it his personal mission to start a book club and expose colleagues and new-found friends to the allure and the power of a good novel such as Charles Dickens��� ���David Copperfield��� or F. Scott read books you might not ordinarily read and get to hear and learn from others��� perspectives.��� Several recognizable and popular novels have made it into the Fitzgerald���s ���The Great Gatsby.��� In January of last year, Shah launched the Ballantyne Book Club, a monthly gathering of avid readers who read one book per month and meet to discuss their impressions in a relaxed, after-work atmosphere. ���I was brought up on the notion that the novel is the heart of modern culture,��� Shah says. ���When I first arrived here, I tried on more than one occasion to get a book club going, first with the main Charlotte- reading queue over the past several months, The book club is a monthly gathering of avid readers who commit to read one book per month and meet to discuss their impressions. including, ���Naked��� by David Sedaris, ���The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks��� by Rebecca Skloot, and ���The Tiger���s Wife��� by T��a Obreht. Members collectively decide which books will be read from the group���s suggestions. Themes such as young adult fiction and memoirs allow for subgenres to be targeted. Shah serves as an informal meeting facilitator and helps with keeping the discussion focused on character motivation, author intent, literary style and the like. Mecklenburg library and then again at ���While it is all about having fun and enjoying Davidson College. I was never really able to get traction. When I books,��� Shah says, ���we do aim for serious discussion. My favorite took the idea to Bissell Cos., they thought it was a great idea and aspect of the club is learning others��� reactions and seeing how helped spread the word through the park.��� people relate circumstances found on the page to what we find in Shelly Johnson, digital media specialist with Bissell, was quick to sign on, and soon the fledgling book club had a tab on the Go-Ballantyne website, an inviting monthly home at the Aloft our own lives.��� Who knew reading could be so much fun? Shah did, and the Ballantyne Book Club does, too. BALLANTYNE BOOK CLUB FREE, OPEN TO ALL Meetings: Last Wednesday of the month, 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Location: Aloft Charlotte Ballantyne, 13139 Ballantyne Corporate Place. Details: The book club meets each month in the hotel���s bar area, the conference room past the bar to the left or outside in the ���backyard��� depending on weather. More information: Go to Select ���Tenant Activities��� from the top tabs; then choose ���Ballantyne Book Club��� from the drop-down menu. Book club founder Rush Shah (center) leads a monthly meeting. From left are Diane Carter, Suzanne Zeitouni, Shelly Johnson, Shah, Diane Meirowitz and Joshua Glessing. SPRING 20 1 3 BALLANTYNE MAGAZINE 65

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