Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Loosely Bound: Tales from my Literary Life, Book Clubs

Loosely Bound: Tales from my Literary Life
Book Clubs

Every year I seem to do a few little tweaks to my blog and some changes stay, others fall by the way side. All in all, I have always tried to stay true in reviewing the books I read and chit chatting a little about my life. For those of you who read it, I mentioned in my Year End Wrap Up that I wanted to share more stories and adventures with you all about my life in the literary world.

I thought I would start that now. My friend Rachel came up with the clever title, Loosely Bound for my posts. I'm loving it. It's appropriate.

For those of you new this blog, I will share with you a bit about myself. My 11 year run in book retail at one of the large chains ended a year and a half ago due to a lay off. That experience not only furthered my passion for reading, it taught me a lot about the book business. I learned how to run author events giving me the opportunity to meet many wonderful authors and some not so lovely. I learned how books are marketed and sold. I was given the opportunity to work with many people in the book business; from publishers to literary agents to buyers. The greatest thing I think I got out of it, however, was that I became incredibly comfortable and grew to be very passionate about recommending to other readers.

This passion of mine, when my career ended there, sort of sizzled. I felt like an actor without a stage. It sounds silly but true. My husband and family and friends had all heard my rants, my declarations of great literature findings and frankly, they had enough! Yeah, sure they were readers but not like I was. I can safely say that my good friends, Cheryl and Trever, are the only two friends of mine that match my enthusiasm for reading. Cheryl is probably the only person I could really talk to about books for HOURS. Sorry Trev!

I needed another outlet.

So this is why this blog was created and its been my voice and my continued "stage" to act out my book love.

I have been blessed also to now work at my local library, a completely different beast than book retail. This has been a wonderful surprise addition to my life and now I get to recommend once again, face to face with readers. Coupled with my blog, I am in literary heaven.

So now that you know a bit about me or have received a little reminder, I will move on to the real purpose of my post. One of the things that has been a staple in my literary life for about 6 years now is my participation in book clubs.

Many years ago, when I lived with my friend Cheryl, we would attempt to read the same books at the same time and discuss ( a mini book club, perhaps?!). This was pulled off ....hmmm...maybe three times in the few years we lived together. We would always pick something huge and adventurous and then we would both fall flat on our faces. Or...well, I would fall on my face. Example: The Autobiography of Henry the Eighth by Margaret George. Yeah...that didn't happen for me. Ask Cheryl, it was a lovely book, in her opinion. She is still waiting for someone to talk to her about it. :)

I digress.

Book Clubs. About six years ago, a good friend of mine started up a book club. We had roughly six to ten gals at any monthly meet up. Those that attended took turns picking the books and we would meet at different restaurants or cafes and chat for maybe an hour or two. This group was nice because I read a grand variety of books; from Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert to How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill. However, it proved to be really difficult to get schedules lined up and most of the time the majority did not read the book. This began to tick off the hostess, rightly so, so it disbanded.

One of the gals, and another good friend of mine, decided to take over. This is the one I am currently involved in. We have been doing it for about 3 years now. We have on a good month 8 ladies join together. Sometimes it's just four. What I like about this group is that it is really laid back. We are pretty easygoing and honest about our busy lives. So if you read the book, GREAT! If not, that's okay too. There is always a few who have read it and there are always a few that haven't. We just roll with it. We then lapse into talk about our lives, our kids, our partners, our careers, and we drink wine and eat treats. We meet each month at someone's home (much more relaxing and cheaper) and we each bring a few choices to pick for the next month.

Though I read books last year for my book club and posted what I was reading on my blog, I never reviewed them. I just realized that this month. Hmm? I said. Why is that? Is my brain so compartmentalized that I didn't even factor in my BOOK CLUB into my BOOK BLOG? Hmmm? I must have a toddler on my brain. Yes, that's it.

So I am putting an end to that silliness. I am going to post every month a book club post; what we read, if I read it and my review (i'm gonna be honest now, I'm NOT going to read them all), and the ladies reactions. We have never had a "name" for our book club. A few of us have simply said, "We are getting together with the Ladies". So, I am officially naming us The Ladies Book Club. Michelle at The True Book Addict has been kind, once again, to be my button queen and create one for my posts. Thank you, Michelle. And, might I saw, what a lovely name you have.

Stay tuned. I will have a 2010 Book Club Wrap Up post coming soon and this Wednesday we meet to discuss The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. I am looking forward to hearing what they thought about THAT one.

How many of you are in a book club?

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Tales of Whimsy said...

What fun! I love the button. I hope you love it :)

I'm in a Christian Fiction Book Club.

Teresa said...

I was in a book club for awhile, then things just got too hectic and it fell apart. I haven't found a new group yet, but I'm on the lookout.

Leslie said...

I started a book club in '04. We still meet and sound very similar to your group only we meet at Panera because we homeschool and we are tired. We joke about maybe talking about the book for maybe 10 minutes after all the other stuff is out of the way.

Julie@My5monkeys said...

curious on what the other ladies thought about dragon book. I finished the series and I love the character of Lisbeth. She made the series, and she such a different herone.

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

I have been wanting to organize a book club for years, but it never seems to work out. I like the way yours sounds. If I do it, it will be laid back like that. Maybe when I finally get this new apartment organized, I will get one together...finally!

And you're welcome about the button. So glad you like it!

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

I have been wanting to organize a book club for years, but it never seems to work out. I like the way yours sounds. If I do it, it will be laid back like that. Maybe when I finally get this new apartment organized, I will get one together...finally!

And you're welcome about the button. So glad you like it!

Carol said...

Sounds like a fab group to belong to.

I love the idea of being part of a book club, but would not be able to fit it into my chaotic life.

Looking forward to seeing what you read, and review, with the club this year

Jenny said...

I love this feature! Working in a book store sounds like so much fun. I just always assume all authors are awesome, (LOL) so I'm always so curious when I hear they're not!

I would love to be in a book club but it just doesn't seem realistic with the people I'm around, LOL.

Anonymous said...

I'm in two book clubs. When I worked at our local library, I was the staff member who moderated the two book clubs and even after I resigned from my job there, I moderated them as a volunteer. I stepped down from that duty in December, but I will probably remain as just a member of at least one of them (the mystery group) and may attend the other one if the book interests me.

I'd love to read posts about your book group and their reaction to various books. We read DRAGON TATTOO in my mystery group and had a great discussion last year.

StephTheBookworm said...

This is awesome! I've always wanted to be in a book club. I will live vicariously through you! :D

Trev said...

Cheryl can have the hours long discussions, I have too many kids for that these days! But I did push you into blogging, I begged and pleaded for you to start actually, please don't forget that when you are world famous and telling Oprah or Ellen all about it! Oh and Cheryl, I read the Autobiography of Henry the Eigth by M. George and LOVED it!

Misha said...

I love the title - "Loosely Bound".
I don't belong to a book club though I really want to. Sadly, no one around me seems interested.

Unknown said...

My book club the the No Name Book Club. It was going to be named after the school where we teach (we are all teachers), but then we had friends from other schools join, and we never came up with a name. There are eight of us if everyone is there. We meet at someone's home, as well. We do almost always read the book, but we spend very little time actually talking about it. We mostly gossip about work with about 10 minutes of book talk thrown in. I wish we did more book talk, but I seem to be in the minority. At least I have my fellow bloggers! :)

Elisabeth said...

I started a book club 14 years ago next month. We are also laid back and have fun talking about books and just about everything else. We also enjoy movie nights and trips. We are called The Lit Chicks!

Gina said...

Great title...I agree whote heartedly. I love the glimpse into your bookish life history...just enchanting (as in dreamy....by bookish work is only officially part time). As for book clubs, honestly I don't believe there are any in my actual area and not enough of those around would be interested in an actual gathering for that purpose so for me the blog it is. I do look forward to living vicariously through your monthly posts on your book club though! Happy reading!

Christine said...

I'm in an online book club, does that count? We've only read one book and this month is our second.

I have a few friends who are in different book clubs, but the books they read tend to be very serious, heavy subject matter and I prefer to read more uplifting stuff, so I've avoided them.

Lisa said...

I do love having time to talk to the ladies in my book club--it's the one night of the month that I really know I'll get to talk to smart people. That didn't sound right--the people in my house are certainly smart but dang, almost all of the people I work with are morons!