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Books and brews: Buffalo Men's Book Club

When you think “book club,” perhaps wine, women and an excuse to be social come to mind.

While women may comprise the majority of book clubs, there are men in Buffalo who defy the stereotype — men so dedicated to their book club that they even created a logo and T-shirts for it. Meet The Buffalo Men’s Book Club.

This group of seven men have been meeting monthly since their group launched in 2010. During that time, they’ve become more like brothers than book club members, says Robert Kubiak, president of the club and one of its founding members.

“We have really thoughtful discussions around literature,” said Kubiak. “It’s funny because over the years when we would talk to people about it, their first response oftentimes is, ‘You’re in a guys book club? What do you do, just sit around and drink?’ That is part of it, but it’s really about good, thoughtful discussion.”

Buffalo Men's Book Club | Buffalo Magazine

They’ve forged bonds through discussing books ranging from classics like “The Great Gatsby,” their first pick, to more contemporary titles like “The Shack.” December’s pick, for example, was C.S. Lewis’s “The Screwtape Letters.” Their discussion started at 7:30 p.m. and lasted until 2:30 a.m. at The Blackthorn Restaurant & Pub in South Buffalo.

“That particular book really hit home with a lot of guys,” said Kubiak, who lives in Orchard Park and works as a marketing manager. “You kind of correlate it back to events or people in your own life, personal relationships with family or friends or coworkers and that whole dynamic of good versus evil.”

How do they pick books? Members choose on a rotating basis. Whomever chooses the book also picks the location, but they always patronize a local establishment. Other meeting locations have included Cole’s on Elmwood Avenue and Gabriel’s Gate on Allen Street.

The men are in their 30s and 40s and from eclectic professional backgrounds. There’s a school counselor, high school teacher, customs and immigration officer and brewery owner, among others. Each brings their own perspective, whether it’s more down-to-earth, cerebral or spiritual, to the books discussed, says Kubiak. And whatever the book’s theme, the pattern is this: It serves as a bridge to talk about real life issues going on in their own lives.

“It’s an opportunity for us to bond as men and have discussions that maybe sometimes men don’t have,” said Kubiak. “It’s a space where we’re not afraid to be ourselves and open up to topics that may be difficult for men to express among other men.”

These include things like work-life balance, being a first-time father or getting married.

“We’re like seven brothers,” said Kubiak.

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