By ABBY BELDEN

abelden@dailynews.net

Steve Leonhardt had a little bit of free time. So, he picked up a book and, with the help of his wife, Judy, began the Hays Area Book Club.

"I had nothing better to do with my time, " he said. "So I decided to do a book club."

Eight months later, the Hays ABC has seven members and meets every three weeks from 1 to 2 p.m. Thursday at Hays Nutrition Center.

"We take three weeks to read our books, and then we go over them, review them and do questions on them," said Leonhardt, Hays. "Then we choose another book at that meeting so we know what our next book is going to be before we ever get it."

For each review, Leonhardt prepares a PowerPoint presentation, which includes questions about characters and storyline.

"I try to stick to mainly how we relate to the characters, what our favorite character in the book is," he said. "How, if the situation happened to us, how we would handle it."

Meetings last approximately an hour, and members are encouraged to chime in -- and awarded for participation with an achievement award.

"Pretty much everyone joins in," Leonhardt said. "When there is nothing else to say, the quiet ones perk up."

Each member of the club also takes a turn at selecting a book to read, which ensures a variety of genres and authors read.

"What we do is go around every three weeks and each person will pick a book. ... It's just whatever book they decide to pick and that is what we read," he said.

The club is free, Leonhardt said, noting books are supplied by Hays Public Library and interlibrary loans.

The group has read a variety of books, including "Heaven is Real" and "Mistaken Identity."

Leonhardt has a few favorite authors of his own.

"My very favorite is Stephen King. ... I like some independent authors," he said. "They always seem to come up with the best stuff, I think."

Leonhardt hopes to get a handful of new members to push the club to 10 or 11 people.

"The people in the book club are just so fun to be around," he said. "They are awesome people. ... They make the book club what it is."