What better way to spend a few hours than to gather with a group of friends who love to read, and talk about books? I belong to a book club that meets at my church, but as an author I often get invited to area book clubs when they read and discuss my novels. If I have time and it isn’t too far, I love to go.
I’ve been to neighborhood clubs, clubs that meet in churches, in libraries, in schools, and in seniors’ centers. Big clubs and small clubs and everything in between. In July, I returned to my home town in New York State for a family reunion and visited with the book club that met in the library where my mother used to work. We discussed my book, Candle in the Darkness.
Last Monday evening I “met” with a book club in Wisconsin via telephone as they got together. I wish I could have been there in person but it was an enjoyable evening for me, just the same.
Last Wednesday, I drove to the library in Yorkville, Illinois to meet with “The Lunch Bunch” and members of two other book clubs that meet regularly at the library—along with some of their friends and neighbors who love to read. What a wonderful group of ladies!
I like to ask each club which books they’ve read this year—which ones they loved and which ones they didn’t. And why. Then I go home and read some of their favorites. I’m keeping track of my own picks on Good Reads. And my publisher, Bethany House, has a wonderful program for book clubs called An Open Book. Stop by their website and sign up for free and you’ll get to hear about some great, new books.
Writing is a solitary job, sitting alone all day with no one to talk to but my fictional friends. When I finally type “the end” and send the manuscript away, I often wish I could visit all the places that the finished book goes, and watch my readers’ reactions when they finish reading. Sometimes I feel like a chef in a bakery, creating and decorating beautiful cakes that will be enjoyed at weddings and birthday parties—but never getting to join in the celebrations.
Unless I’m invited to a book club. Ah, then we all get to taste the cake—I mean, book—together. I know that not all of my readers feel the same way about each of my books, just as some cake enthusiasts like chocolate and others don’t; some like buttercream frosting, others whipped cream. But that seldom matters to me. It’s celebrating together that makes it fun. “The Sister Circle” book club of North Providence, RI, made this delicious-looking cake to celebrate their tenth anniversary–and their novel for that evening was All Things New.
Which reminds me… that’s another thing I love about getting together with area book clubs–the food! I never go away hungry. This is the lunch that the Yorkville book clubs shared with me. I couldn’t resist going back for seconds.
One creative club I visited tried to match the evening’s snacks to the book they were discussing that night. This group also kept a scrapbook with pictures of all their meetings along with items to remind them of each book—a ration card for a story about WWII, for example.
Later, when I return to my solitary writing life (a few pounds heavier), I often think of the wonderful people I’ve met with and laughed with at book clubs. And it makes it a little easier to sit alone and write, knowing that there are some very delightful ladies out there who love to read and are waiting to see what I write next. I think about their comments—what they like about a good book and what makes them want to toss a book across the room. And I remember some of the stories they’ve told me about their own lives, which give me ideas to use for my novels. (Warning: don’t ever tell me a story unless you don’t mind it showing up in a book!)
The Sister Circle Book Club
So enjoy your next book club meeting and think of me. And I promise I’ll keep writing if you’ll keep reading.
If you belong to a book club, what was your group’s favorite book this year?