I love to read. And it has always been that way. Some of my fondest memories of childhood involve trading Nancy Drew mysteries with my friends or curling up to start a new book after the book mobile visited our neighborhood. I took my love of reading with me throughout my life journey. There is no doubt about it, books have taken me to places I could never have gone without them.
Several years ago, my daughter and I decided gather a few friends each month for a book discussion. We each invited a few friends who liked to read and soon we had a book club. Our members range in age from 35 to 73.
Now, almost seven years later, we number 15. We meet once a month, rotate houses, and, we actually DO discuss the book!
All but two of the original twelve members are still active in the group and we have a good turn-out each month.
Here are some of our secrets to success if you are thinking about starting a book club.
** Invite people of different generations to join. Having women from several different age groups has added an interesting element to our discussions and stimulated conversations we would not have had without the age diversity.
** Decide on a time and date for meetings and keep to the schedule. For example, we meet on the second Tuesday of each month - no exceptions. This eliminates the need to constantly decide on a day and time when everyone is free.
** Allow for socializing at the beginning of the meeting, followed by the book discussion, followed by more socializing and then a wrap-up (about the book) Our meetings run about two and one half to three hours.
** We meet in someone's house, and with 12 or more members the task of entertaining comes once a year or less. The hostess chooses the book(and the wine)
** Choose books that stimulate discussion and provoke opinion.
** Use email to communicate. I send out a reminder about two weeks before the meeting, with the name of the book, and the place where we are meeting.
** We have our December 'meeting' in a restaurant to celebrate Christmas and another year of reading. At the Christmas dinner, we discuss our favorites from the previous year and vote on the top book of the year. We begin to plan the coming year and some years we do a book exchange. Everyone who wants to participate brings a book that they have read and liked for a grab bag.
Some of our favorite books and the discussions that resulted were:
'Unbroken' by Laura Hillenbrand
'One Thousand White Women' by Jim Fergus
'Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini
'Room' by Emma Donoghue
'Still Alice' by Lisa Genova
'Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' by Rebecca Skoot
'Book Thief' by Markus Zusak
'The Secrets of Mary Bowser' by Lois Leveen
'Poisonwood Bible' by Barbara Kingsolver
'The Paris Wife' by Paula McLain
At our next meeting, we are discussing a book called 'What Alice Forgot,' a story about a young woman who forgets the previous ten years of her life. I can hardly wait to talk about it!
Do you belong to a book club?