The group met in the newly refurbished media center at the high school and welcomed local Random House au-thor Susan Gregg Gilmore as the guest speaker.
A local community book club, the “Not So Rapid Readers,” was also present as guests. Gilmore said she and RHS English department head Mark Pierce discussed the idea for a book club in an effort to provide a creative out-let for the students.
“I wanted to create an environment without the boundaries of a classroom,” said Gilmore. “Teachers are al-lowed to come, but there are no tests or quizzes or homework. We want the kids to just read books they enjoy and then get together and talk about them and discuss them just for fun.”
Gilmore’s first book, “Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen,” was the book of choice for the first meeting. She opened the meeting by speaking about her struggles as a reader at an early age and followed by describing her experiences and her journey as an author. She then opened the floor for discussion.
“Salvation,” which is set in Ringgold, is described on her website as being “rooted in summer vacations spent with her paternal grandmother and grandfather, a revival-bred preacher, who after church on Sundays always took his granddaughters to the Dairy Queen.” Gilmore said the town gave her a perfect foundation for the story.
“I need a setting, when I start a book, that speaks to me and fits what I want to say,” said Gilmore. “Ringgold was just perfect. It’s a town that has been wonderfully consistent, and I don’t mean that in a negative way, like stagnant. It’s just wonderfully rooted. I also liked the concept of a “ring” of “gold.” That kind of kept playing through my mind.”
Gilmore lives in Chattanooga. “Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen” and her second book, “The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove,” can both be found in local bookstores. Her third book (title unconfirmed) is in the process of being published and will be available soon.
The RHS book club is open to teachers and students and is scheduled for the first Thursday of every month in the media center from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.