I was talking to my mother-in-law the other day and she mentioned that she and a few friends were going to start a book club, “You know, that kind that reads books,” she clarified.
“As opposed to the kind that SAY they’re going to read books, but really get together for wine and camaraderie?” I asked, and we both laughed.
And let’s be honest, there is nothing wrong with either kind. I’ve actually been a part of both in the past. I’ve found book clubs are a great way to stretch my reading awareness. Books that would not normally catch my attention are assigned in book clubs and that makes me read outside my normal genres. Usually that is a good thing. But if I didn’t like a book that was chosen, well that just means the discussion will be much livelier, right!
Barb Malek (WriteLife author of Soft Like Steel) and her husband have been in the same book club for 24 years! She says, “The focus of the group is classic literature. We will be making our annual trip next week to a charming bed and breakfast where we will discuss Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens and work on next year’s list. Good friends, good food, and a great book can’t be beat!”
Book clubs are great for authors as well. BQB author John Daly (From a Dead Sleep) had several positive experiences when local clubs selected his book and then he was able to attend their meetings. Of the experiences, he says, “The most amazing meeting I ever went to was held at a private residence. To my surprise, the host had gone to great efforts to create an atmosphere in her house that was themed after my novel. It was a surreal experience.
“Practically every character in my book (even bit characters) had a creatively prepared appetizer named after them, complete with printed labels. The sight of her kitchen table, overflowing with gimmick food, was truly astonishing. There was crime-scene tape, depicting a scene from my book, stuck to her dining room floor, and she even created a matted piece of artwork for me (an imprint of the first page of the book) as a gift.
“The hospitality was overwhelming and very appreciated, and so was the sense that I had written a book that people truly enjoyed. From talking to the club that night, I found that many members felt like they were a part of the story while reading it, and that was what led to the party setting that surrounded me.
“As an author, it was one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.”
Here is a food photo of the amazing themed buffet. I’m definitely impressed, but still not sure I could eat one of those fingers!
So tell me… What is the best book your club has ever discussed?