Local Barista Serves Up New Book Club In Royal Palm Beach

Brianna Strickland invites you to join Brie’s Book Club, which meets 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 enthusiastic readers. Twice a month, on Wednesdays, the public is invited to join 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 nana [Royal Palm Beach resident Agnes Buchman] is a retired schoolteacher, 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 co-workers would ask how I’m doing on my reading goal. Then my coworker, 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 are reading as a book club,” she said, adding that she had regular patrons and friends to talk about books with and thought a book club would be fun. “For each month, I have planned out three or four books that we vote on as a club. Author Julie Donofrio reached out to me after joining the club and asked if we were 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 read. Donofrio even joined the last meeting of that month for a question-and-answer session just for Brie’s Book Club.

The club is free, and members are welcome to utilize whatever medium they prefer for each book. Stickland explained that some people prefer audio books, some people buy the books and some go to the library. She feels the most important thing is that everyone feels comfortable. “It’s just kind of a fun way to make friends, hang out and talk about books,” Strickland said.

She was thrilled to have 30 people attend the first meeting and is looking forward to how the club will grow over the next few years. When asked about her favorite books, Strickland said that she went through a phase of not reading at all.

“Then, in seventh grade, I heard of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, and that kind of propelled me back into the world of reading novels. Growing up, I always gravitated toward fantasy and adventure. Now that I’m in college, I really have gotten into romance novels,” she said.

The 22-year-old college student was born at Palms West Hospital and went to Cypress Trails Elementary School. Now a Royal Palm Beach High School graduate, she is attending Florida Atlantic University and slated to graduate in the fall as a health major. Strickland plans on continuing her education to get her nursing degree.

“I really want to do travel nursing. My bucket list includes traveling the United States,” she said.

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

There is no fee to join Brie’s Book Club. Simply use the QR code provided to reach 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 of Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston is up for discussion. If you can’t make that meeting, the next one will be on Wednesday, March 27.