Sunday January 08, 2017

A book club for two, still going after 35 years — on the phone

Sara Haddow (left) and Amy Cserni (right) have been reading entire books out loud together for 35 years.

Sara Haddow (left) and Amy Cserni (right) have been reading entire books out loud together for 35 years. (Provided by Amy Cserni)

Listen 17:37

They met on the first day of a Grade 12 ancient history class at Brantford Collegiate. 

Amy Cserni, a quiet fifteen-year-old, tried to make herself invisible in the back row. Which was hard to do when Sara Haddow, a short, brazen 26 year-old mother and former high school dropout, sat down at the desk in front of her.

Despite very different lives and an 11-year age gap, the two became almost inseparable — and began to do something that would come to define their friendship.

They began to read aloud to each other. Entire books.

Over the course of their thirty-five year friendship, Amy and Sara have read an astonishing list of books together. War and Peace. Middlemarch. Ulysses.

When they both lived in the same city, getting together for their read-aloud-book-club was straightforward. It became more challenging when Amy moved to Ottawa, but they were determined to continue. Which they have — on the phone. 

Their latest?  Anthony Trollope's 1857 novel, Barchester Towers.

Here's Alisa Siegel's documentary, "Telephone Books."

Click the button above to hear the documentary.