Most book groups are an intimate affair, but when the special guest is the governor of Massachusetts it attracts an auditorium full of eager listeners.
Thursday morning, Gov. Deval Patrick read from his book "A Reason to Believe" after being invited to Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown by the school's Elder Reading Group.
"I have never seen a book club so big, and I have never been to a book club with TV cameras recording what is going on," Patrick said.
The book club, which meets monthly at Perkin's Braille & Talking Book Library, read Patrick's book in May 2012, and one member was so impressed that she thought every junior and senior high school student should read the book, said Kim Charles, director of the Perkins Library.
The group wrote Patrick a letter, which was read Thursday by Elaine Saunders of Needham, one of the group members.
"We admired your fluid writing style and skills as a narrator," Saunders said. "We felt we got to know you as a person, not just as a politician. We were struck by your sincerity and genuine caring principles."
Patrick said the letter was so nice, he had to come. The book was not meant to be a typical politician's tome.
"Most books by politicians are kiss-and-tells or laying the groundwork for future campaigns, but this book is neither of those," Patrick said. "It is a gesture of gratitude to the moany people - some I know well and others I hardly know - who have given me optimism and idealism."
One of the places that played a big role in his childhood was the Cosmopolitan Community Church in the neighborhod where he grew up in Chicago. He particularly remembers the old ladies who attended the church.
"They enourages others even when their own spirit was in need of renewal," Patrick said, reading from his book. "They would congratulate me for good grades even when their own grandchild had slipped into a gang. Their ability to love selflessly was constant and certain."
One thing the book group liked the book was that Patrick read the book himself for the book-on-tape version, Saunders said. Patrick said he debated whether to read it himself, or find someone who "sounds like James Earl Jones."
He said that the size of his book was the butt of a joke when he appeard on "The Daily Show" with John Stewart.
"The first thing he said is 'Will it get bigger when it gets older?'" Patrick recalled.
At the end of the event, the Braille & Talking Book Library presented the governor with a braille version of his book, which was a tad bigger than the print edition. It filled three binders.