The Pillars of The Earth

One Book Loving Club!

Kiwanis is an international club that focuses on volunteerism, with clubs and activities for all ages.  Most clubs share an emphasis on charity that benefits children.  The club in Waynesville is no different.  Each year they give away $25,000- $40,000 to benefit children in Haywood County, which additional funds supporting other Kiwanis projects worldwide.  The local projects most often focus on education and recreation for young people.

The money is raised in several ways, in addition to the financial generosity of their members, present and past.  Kiwanis members are responsible for the flags displayed on holidays in downtown Waynesville and for the distribution of flags during Folkmoot.  Businesses (like Blue Ridge Books) play a yearly fee to Kiwanis to have a flag in front of their business.  Each year Kiwanis has a BBQ, delivering lunches throughout town for the convenience of working folks.  We always buy tickets for whoever is working that day.  Always delicious! Their newest annual fundraiser is a spelling bee that will be held on Friday, April 17th at 7:00 pm at First Methodist Church in Waynesville.  It’s not the spelling bee that you remember from grammar school, speller s compete in teams of three write the word on paper—no standing at a microphone.  (call us and we’ll tell you how to sign up!)

Local schools and non-profits apply for grants from Kiwanis and the money has been given for a wide variety of creative projects through the years, but one need arises again and again—the need for books for children.  Kiwanis regularly gives books to Head Start.  Kiwanis has given books for special school projects, for classroom use and for school libraries.  The members also provide about 600 personal dictionaries for third grade students in Haywood County.  A Kiwanis sponsored county-wide spelling bees for 5th graders is another project that stresses literacy.


It’s no wonder that Kiwanis so often gives books, because so many members love to read.  One of my favorite programs when I was a member of the Kiwanis was when club member Jim Hoyt talked about a few of his favorite books.  Jim knows how to tell a great story and we all came away wanting to read one of Jim’s recommendations.  One of his favorites was Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth.  This was years ago.  Jim was reading Follett before he was one of the most popular authors around.


I recently heard that Jim was doing another book review program for Kiwanis, (he’s done several through the years).  He talked about some of his favorites; then he recorded some suggestions from other Kiwanis members, too.  I thought it would be fun to share the Kiwanis list, so here they are.   

Waynesville Kiwanis Club Suggested Reading List



Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet

Epic story of the building of a cathedral in 12th century England    


Still Alice by Lisa Genova

A woman’s struggle with early onset Alzheimer’s disease


Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland

Story of the woman who designed most of the iconic Tiffany lamps


The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth

Thriller about the attempted assassination of Charles De Gaulle


The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva

Suspense novel about a Former Israeli intelligence operative



Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II's Most Audacious General by Bill O’Reilly

An examination of the mysterious circumstances under which Patton died


Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand

A universal underdog story of a crooked-legged horse with a sad tail


Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

by Daniel James Brown

Working class boys experience Olympic triumph in Nazi Germany


Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East  

by Scott Anderson    

World War I in the Middle East and its effect on the world today


Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

Discussion of how medicine can improve life and also the process of its ending


The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America  

by Erik Larson

Two men’s obsession with the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair—its architect and a murderer


The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II  

by Denise Kiernan

Incredible true story of the top-secret World War II town of Oak Ridge, Tennessee


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