Monday, February 17, 2014

Book Clubs Rock!

My first REAL introduction to "book clubs" was as an author. I have had the privilege of speaking to several book clubs, of answering questions, and finding out what readers thought of my book, Feisty Family Values.  I'm not a big joiner, but I must say those folks seemed to have a great deal of fun. And each time I've been tempted to ask if I can join their club.

Last year I joined a book club. We meet once a month and I've only really enjoyed reading a couple of books on their list so far. They seem to gravitate toward the dark stories. Deep. Sad. Traumatic. When someone suggested something fun for Halloween, a witch bounty hunter, I was ALL in. And it was great fun to read. But the other books, not so much. The gals are great. We have a lovely visit and talk about the stories and characters, family and spouses - which I do enjoy. But...

A week ago I visited one of our local independent book stores (Watermark Books) for their annual book club event. Not only did we get free books, we got delicious cookies and a discussion with a global pub house editor. Great stuff. Watermark has a Chick Lit book club that was reading The Language of Flowers, which just happened to be on my "to be read" list (actually on my bookshelf waiting, in fact). I read it and LOVED it, but the night of their meeting landed the day after a huge snow storm and I decided to stay out of the muck. So disappointing.

I was at Watermark this past Saturday to cheer on Lois Ruby, a YA author buddy of mine, who has a new book out Rebel Spirits. Having arrived an hour early I grabbed a delicious lunch and chatted with Ann, who is the Chick Lit book club leader. We both loved The Language of Flowers. She asked me if I thought the main characters (who are terribly flawed, but endearing) would stay together. "We always like to speculate on that," she said. Laughing, my response was yes, they spoke the same language - the language of flowers.

What I love about book clubs is the shared experience of the book we all read. When we share our reactions and thoughts, the story opens up, becoming even bigger and better. We each find something that resonates (or not) with us and our experience, and it's nice to be able to share that with others who may have felt the same way. Often we disagree, but it's wonderful to hear the "why."As an author I am really into the "why." The emotions and stories that one small word generates can inspire is amazing.

Do you belong to a book club? What was your latest book club read? What books do you recommend? 

I have such a backlog of lovely books on my shelves that Ann suggested I begin my own book club and read through it. What a great idea? Who wants to join?


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Bonnie,

I see you are also an early riser! Your book club makes me want to join. I think it's a wonderful idea to connect with others who enjoy reading so you can discuss books that you enjoy together. Reading as well as writing is usually an isolated activity. It's a healthy way to relate to people with similar interests.

Bonnie Tharp said...

Hi Jacquie. Thanks for the comment. Although reading and writing are solitary I find that talking about them with like minded folks make them less so. Have a great week.

Susan Oleksiw said...

I've been in two small book clubs over the years, and thanks to them I read books I would not have looked at otherwise. Listening to how the others felt about the characters and their behavior was fascinating--always interesting and edifying. I'm not in one now but your post makes me wish I were.

Bonnie Tharp said...

Hi Susan, You are so right that book clubs open up the world of books you might have missed on your own. Thanks for the observation - Good one!

Nancy J. Cohen said...

I've always preferred the idea of a book club where members share their recent reads, rather than force everyone to read the same book. Life is short. While it's meaningful to discuss the merits of a story together, I'd rather read a book of my own choosing.

Bonnie Tharp said...

Nancy, I think you've hit upon something there. Good idea! Life is too short to read books you don't enjoy. Have a great week.