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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

SPOTLIGHT: Derrick L. Briggs, President of "Books Are Sexy" Book Club

Derrick L. Briggs
26 years old
Began book club in August 2003

Almost four years ago now, Derrick L. Briggs says he began the "Books are Sexy" campaign, because he felt like something was missing. That is a big admission, since in New York there is so much to do.

The name of the group just seemed to fit automatically. When he was deciding what his book discussion group would be called, the answer just kind of fell into place. "I knew it was going to be a fun way to promote the book club," Briggs told the Conversations Book Club recently during one of its regular meetings. "You're competing with so many other projects and activities that you have to make yours stand out if it is going to survive. Then it came to me: Knowledge is sexy, so books are sexy."

Briggs started it all with five guys and a website. Now he has been able to weave together a network that is felt all over the country---and the teasing moniker has done much to turn attention to books.

Where does his drive come from? "I am a leader at heart, " he told us. "I contribute my strength to men like Malcolm X and other influential people in my life like my mother."

The love of books had escaped him for a time, however, when he began to read again he felt the need to share it with his friends.

One way that Briggs has been able to reach people all over the place from New York is through his blog. While talking with the discussion group he said that through blogging, it is so easy to write and convey thoughts and information now.

One interesting fact about Briggs is that he had never attended another book club, but this was a true plus in his opinion because he wasn't influenced by anyone else's ideas. He wanted to be set apart from the way he decorated for the events to the authors that were discussed.

Speaking of authors, they have run the gamut of the entire spectrum. "Books are Sexy" has read books by Toni Morrison, Zane, Barack Obama and others. "We don't want to be put in a box," says Briggs. "We read and discuss all kinds whether it's gay, straight, confused...whatever."

His advice for others when it comes to starting discussion groups about books? "You have to lead by example. You can't force information on people, it has to come naturally. Make sure to get others involved. Ask people what they like. Communicate."

For more information, visit www.derricklbriggs.com or http://thenewderrick.blogspot.com.

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