Local barista serves new book club in Royal Palm Beach

Brianna Strickland invites you to join Brie’s Book Club, which meets on Wednesdays at the Starbucks at Southern Palm Crossing.

The Starbucks at Southern Palm Crossing, located 11081 Southern Blvd. in Royal Palm Beach, is the new local hotspot for avid readers. Twice a month, on Wednesdays, the public is invited to participate in Brie’s Book Club at 7 p.m.

Barista Brianna Strickland was inspired to start the book club last November while working on her own reading goals.

“I have always been an avid reader. My grandmother [Royal Palm Beach resident Agnes Buchman] is a retired teacher, and she always brought books for me to read,” Strickland said. “So this past year for 2023 I had a goal to read 100 books. At work, my colleagues asked how I was doing with my reading goal. Then my colleague Ellen Seidman said, “You should start a book club.”

Strickland received approval from her store manager and began distributing flyers at other local Starbucks locations. The first book she chose was The Lonely Hearts Book Club by Lucy Gilmore.

“I thought it was really fitting that it was about a book club that we read as a book club,” she said, adding that she had regulars and friends to talk to about books and that she thought a book club would be fun. “Every month I have three or four books planned that we vote on as a club. Author Julie Donofrio contacted me after joining the club and asked if we would be interested in reading her novel The Curist.”

Club members were so excited to read the work and support a local author that it was easily chosen as the February reading book. Donofrio even joined the last meeting of the month for a question and answer session just for Brie’s Book Club.

The club is free and members can use the medium of their choice for each book. Stickland explained that some people prefer audiobooks, some people buy the books and some go to the library. She thinks the most important thing is that everyone feels comfortable. “It’s just a fun way to make friends, hang out and talk about books,” Strickland said.

She was thrilled that 30 people attended the first meeting and is looking forward to seeing how the club will grow in the coming years. When asked about her favorite books, Strickland said she went through a phase where she didn’t read at all.

“Then, in seventh grade, I heard about it The mortal instruments series by Cassandra Clare, and that brought me back into the world of reading novels. Growing up, I was always drawn to fantasy and adventure. Now that I’m in college, I’ve become really interested in novels,” she said.

The 22-year-old student was born at Palms West Hospital and attended Cypress Trails Elementary School. She is now a graduate of Royal Palm Beach High School, attending Florida Atlantic University and will graduate in the fall as a health major. Strickland plans to continue her education to obtain her nursing degree.

“I really want to do travel nursing. “On my bucket list is traveling across the United States,” she said.

Strickland has proven her drive for success, especially after reaching her goal of reading 100 books by 2023. So, of course, her goal for 2024 is to read 105 books.

There is no charge to participate in Brie’s Book Club. Simply use the QR code provided to go to the GroupMe link, where members can sign up and get more information. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 13, where the first half will take place Dead romantics by Ashley Poston is up for debate. If you can’t make it, the next one will be on Wednesday, March 27.

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