Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Book Clubs

By Debby Giusti

Today’s the first day of summer so grab a cup of coffee or a glass of iced tea, take your tablet or laptop outside to soak up the sunshine and join me in talking about one of my favorite subjects—book clubs! If you love to read, analyze characters and discuss theme, moral premise, symbolism or motifs, you’re probably in a book club. If not, you need to be.

My Book Club! We've been meeting for over a decade.
Oprah Winfrey is often credited with the rise in popularity of book clubs. The talk show hostess started her own television book club in 1996 and encouraged women to read books she chose, beginning with the club’s first read, The Deep End of the Ocean, by Jacquelyn Mitchard. Oprah picks invariably soared to the top of the bestseller charts, and even classics, such as John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, gained a new resurgence of notoriety due to what has been called the Oprah Phenomenon. Over a span of fifteen years, members read a total of 70 books until the club ended in 2011.


This great group of ladies hosted me at their first
blook club meeting. They started out with four
people. Now they have more than a dozen members.
Everyone wants to be part of their group.
Carroll Pelligrinelli, second from left, is a Villager!
Pamela Burger, in her article, “Women's Groups and the Rise of the Book Club," claims that women’s clubs in vogue in the late 19th century--when ladies gathered to discuss literature and the arts--actually gave birth to the concept of the modern book club.

Katie Vu goes back even farther. In her article, “The Book Club Phenomena,” Ku attributes the beginning of book clubs to Puritan Anne Hutchinson, who first gathered women into a reading circle in 1634. Margaret Fuller supposedly sponsored the first bookstore based club in 1840. Some sixty years later, avid readers received selections in the mail thanks to the Book-of-the-Month-Club and The Literary Guild.

Our read this particular month was Kristin Hannah's
The Nightingale.

Today virtual book clubs abound. Word of mouth book promotion has turned digital with readers sharing information online about authors and their books. Goodreads provides a forum for its more than 20 million members to discuss and review their favorite reads. Facebook reading groups interact with authors and discuss their stories in a number of forums, including Q & As and author chats.

Schools, libraries and even communities host monthly reads with such programs as One City, One Book that started in Seattle in 1998. The National Endowment for the Arts sponsors The Big Read, and since its kickoff in 2006, more than $18 million in grants have been given to fund reading events across the country.
Inevitably, everyone congregates in the kitchen!
No matter how or when they started, books clubs seem to be a permanent part of our American culture. In 2014, BookBrowse interviewed women who read more than one book a month and found that 56% were members of book clubs. The majority of clubs—89%--meet in person and read an average of 9 to 12 books each year. The books are selected from various genres with the classics and bestsellers being the most frequently chosen as monthly picks.
L to R: Sandy Marvin, my daughter Mary and Sandra
Kirkpatrick chat before our book discussion.
The book club in which I’m a member started more than a decade ago with a church retreat. After the weekend religious gathering, many of us wanted to continue to meet monthly. We started reading inspirational non-fiction but quickly evolved into a fiction reading group. The second Wednesday of each month finds us gathered in one of the member’s homes. The evening begins with appetizers and beverages as we socialize for an hour or so. The hostess provides a light dinner or heavy hors d’oeuvres and dessert.  After eating, we turn our focus to the monthly read. Questions in the back of the book sometimes provide a springboard for our discussions, and it’s rare that a story doesn’t leave us with a thoughtful insight or takeaway that we can apply to our daily lives. At the end of the evening, the hostess announces the next month’s read. Each December, we have a book exchange with the January selection chosen from one of the gift books.

Great discussion at our May meeting.

Four Basic Steps to Form a Book Club:

1. Choose a book to read.
2. Meet with friends, food optional.
3. Discuss the book.
4. Select a story to read and discuss at the next gathering.

I enjoy visiting book clubs and greatly appreciate having my story selected as their monthly read. The conversation flows, and book club members invariably have questions about where I get my ideas and who creates the cover art and the back of the book blurb. In addition to answering their questions, I also provide a behind the scenes look at publishing and the writing life. 

Shelba Jean Carroll won my gift basket
the month my book, Plain Truth, was
her book club's selection.. 
I asked the Seekers to share their book club experiences and received the following input:

Sandra Leesmith was invited to a luncheon hosted by a book club that read her book, Price of Victory (Montlake publication). What interested her the most were the questions asked about things in the book she wasn’t even aware were there. She deduced that since readers bring in their own experiences, they relate to the plot and characters in relation to their own lives.

Janet Dean recounts this lovely story:

“I’ve spoken to several book clubs. All have been gracious and fun. They had read my book and were eager to discuss it. Some even asked me to bring other books to sell. But it was my first book club encounter that blew me away. Members had read my debut Courting Miss Adelaide and had prepared the dinner Adelaide served Charles. They had decorated the living room with hats and gloves in honor of my milliner heroine. Their efforts touched my heart. Plus the meal was delicious. Afterward the discussion of the book was lively. One member questioned Adelaide’s refusal to accept Charles’s proposal. Others jumped right in to support her decision, saying Charles had not yet returned to God, and Adelaide knew Charles wouldn’t find peace until he came to terms with his past. It was my first experience of readers defending my character’s action for me."

Mary Connealy had this to offer:

“I was told a book club somewhere far off, like Seattle, was reading my book and asked me to send book marks or such things. Which I did. Then they invited me to Skype into the book club. I said no because I just didn't know how. Then on the day and hour of the book club, I happened to be looking on my laptop at Facebook and here's this post from the lady in charge of the book club saying, "We're doing it now, live! Stop in." Not aimed at me but at her Facebook friends. So I clicked on a link to find out more, and BAM, I'm at the book club. My face is on their laptop right in the center of the ladies. Well, I was NOT camera ready. My goodness, was my hair even brushed? So I clicked on the camera icon to cut off my picture, but I stayed on and talked to them. I could see them, they just couldn't see me. It was fun and so unplanned that I didn't have time to worry about it.”

Missy shares information about her own book club:

“I belonged to a book club before we moved last year. We had a small group of women in our church who often shared about good books we'd read and finally decided to form a book club. We met monthly at a member's home. We took turns picking a book for the month, and read from several different genres. We often used the discussion questions in the back of the book, but usually ended up off topic pretty quickly. :) When life got crazy (several had young children in sports), we just got together for a movie and dinner and discussed the movie (which was actually based on a book in a series we had loved). So there's a lot of flexibility for a group of readers who love talking about stories!”


Now it’s your turn. Tell us about your book club or any reading programs with which you’ve been involved. Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for the first book in my Amish Protectors series, Amish Refuge, along with a two-in-one that features Plain Danger, from my Military Investigations series, and The Shepherd’s Bride, by Patricia Davids. The winners will also receive a copy of The Reader’s Prayer.

Happy reading!

Wishing you abundant blessings!
Debby Giusti


AMISH REFUGE
By Debby Giusti

HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT

Miriam Miller barely escapes the ruthless attacker that killed her mother and kidnapped her sister. Running deeper into the woods, she’s running out of hope…until she falls into the arms of an unlikely bodyguard—a peaceful Amish farmer. Something about Abram Zook inspires her trust, but even in bucolic Willkommen, Georgia, Miriam faces danger. Both from the men pursuing her and from her growing feelings for the caring—though guarded— widower who protects her. Because if she falls for Abram she’ll have to embrace his Amish faith as her own—or lose him. With each minute, her abductor creeps closer, pushing Miriam to an inevitable choice: stay and risk her heart…or leave and risk her life.

Order HERE!






105 comments :

  1. I have never been a part of a book club, real or online. It sounds like those who have, have had a lot of fun and made great friends from it! I like the idea of serving a dish from the book if it features food, that would certainly bring the book to life :-)

    Mary, your book club story was funny! I'm camera shy so yeah, I'd have had the same reaction you did.

    Thanks for a fun post Debby about book clubs. I live in a very small town and don't know of any that host book clubs in Christian fiction. I'm not sure if I would be interested or not, guess it would depend on the book :-)

    Please put me in the draw for the giveaway you're offering, thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good morning, Trixi! You're in the drawing. If you have any interest in book clubs, you ought to start one. They really are fun and a great way to form close friendships.

      Delete
  2. I'd like to be in a book club and have even considered starting one but I worry the members would feel pressured to choose my book. AND honestly, I'm at a point in my life when I almost cannot read a book I don't want to read.
    I can see myself showing up like a naughty piano student who didn't practice...Uh, no, I didn't read it. Please don't give me a quiz.
    So I just worry and then forget the whole thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary, we have a yearly contest at church where the judges are required to read a book a week for four weeks. Some of them have trouble with the pace. Some could read all four in a week.

      Delete
    2. I'm laughing because I confessed below that I have yet to read one of our book club books... but we don't do one/month, we talk about other things, too, and the women don't hate me for being short on time. And sometimes they don't get a book done... and everyone is fine with it... I think I just love book-loving company!!!

      Delete
    3. Mary, I understand completely. Some months, especially if I have a looming deadline, I don't have time to read the story. Early on, I made the rule that my club won't choose one of my books. But everyone comes to my book signings and they always encourage me to continue writing. :)

      Delete
    4. Terri, I would love to devote more time each week to reading. Regrettably life gets in the way! :)

      Delete
    5. Ruthy, I didn't know you were in a book club. I enjoy getting together with the other ladies and always look forward to our monthly gathering.

      Delete
    6. Mary, I totally get that! I have a mantra "life is too short to read bad books" :)

      Delete
    7. Terri, I was actually lurking on your book club's FB group. I enjoyed watching you cat herd. LOL

      Delete
  3. I have never done this, but gosh I love deconstructing books so it would be fun. My fear is I wouldn't have the book done in time. I am so tardy. Like Mary, it would be a problem if it was a book I couldn't get into. I cannot make myself read a book if it's not a grabber.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funny how people are different. I rarely find a book I can't read.

      Delete
    2. The book club selections are sometimes books I wouldn't have read if not for the club. It does help me stretch a bit, and it's rare that a chosen book is not an intriguing read.

      Delete
    3. Terri, I'd say I only make it through about half the books I start. It's about chapters 2-3 that I lose interest. If I get up to switch laundry and get distracted, the book is doomed. I'm easily bored...I do love, and finish Debby's books. Seriously...

      Delete
    4. Thank you, sweet Connie!

      Do you find that you're becoming a more discriminate reader? I do think that when we're so focused on writing our reading likes and dislikes change. I mentioned in one of the comments that I now read like an editor, trying to determine how an author handles a certain situation. When time is tight, I can easily put a book aside that doesn't strike my fancy. In my youth, I finished every book I started. The years and lack of time have made me more selective.

      Delete
    5. Debby, I do dissect the books and notice if authors break the rules now. But I've always had an easy time putting books down. I don't even think I'm that picky, I just don't want to be bored.

      Delete
  4. I have never been in a book club. I spoke at one. Sounds interesting, but I have to agree with Mary and Tina, if the group picks a book I'm not into it would be tough. I have a hard time getting to a writer's group so time could be a problem too. Online might be easier, but I don't always link up on time either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tina, for me, the social aspect is important so an online group wouldn't hold the same attraction. Although lots of folks enjoy that type of club.

      Delete
    2. There you go. Social aspect is a total turn off for me. I like the deconstruction. I've been deconstructing movies since THE BIG CHILL. Books only recently..although I guess all those papers I had to do in honors English on Beowulf and other such horrible stuff is deconstruction.

      Delete
  5. In 13 months and 10 days I get to join a book club! The old day job will be history and I'm looking forward to joining this group.

    My sis and several friends are members. They discuss the book and if a movie is available go see it on a different day. They just read Rebecca and then went to see the movie. They did the same thing with The Circle.

    My niece is in an online group. All friends from their college days. She is such a sweetheart, she made them read my book at Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debby, no need to put me in for Amish Refuge. Read it, loved it, reviewed it.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for your kind words about Amish Refuge, Terri! And a special hug for leaving a review. How thoughtful of you.

      You mentioned your niece's group of college friends. That would be fun, even if they have to connect online. And how delightful that they read your book. I know they loved it!

      You're not counting down the days until retirement, are you, Terri? :)

      Do you feel that you don't have enough time now, while working, for the book club?

      Delete
    3. Sadly they meet during the day while I'm at work. But even if it was at night, I don't feel I have enough time to get everything done.

      Yep, you caught me counting down. But I'm enjoying every minute of the remaining days. Life is too precious not to make the most of each day.

      Delete
    4. So true, Terri. We need to live in the moment.

      Delete
  6. I have never been part of a book club. I'm not counting family here, but I suppose there are enough of us sitting around discussing books to qualify.

    Count me in thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like you have an informal, undeclared book club, Mary Preston! It's always fun to talk about the stories we love to read.

      Delete
  7. If I were going to join a book club, it would definitely be yours, Debby. I'm in Tina's camp. I'd be nervous that I wouldn't finish the book on time. Great photos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Believe me, there's no pressure in my group, Jill! Even if I can't read the book, I always enjoy the discussion. I've learned a lot about what grabs a reader's attention and what keeps them turning the page. Maybe I could call our book club gatherings a form of research! :)

      Delete
  8. I belong to a wonderful book club, The Hilton Readers Guild... and I've yet to have time to read one of the chosen books. But that doesn't stop me from wanting to talk about books, to chat with the other members and set aside time each month to meet with them...

    So how odd is that?

    And it's got nothing to do with book choices, it's simply time-related. I'm writing and working part time, and life with a big family is always my first priority. So I feel bad that I don't participate the same way all the other gals do, but they like me anyway!!! :)

    They're a wonderful group and I love knowing them.

    Deb, I love your book club stories! And this post makes me smile, because you simply shine in all you do. I would join your book club in a heart beat! I wouldn't read the books, but I'd be there in spirit and to eat cookies.

    I can always be counted on to eat cookies!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ruthy, remember when our group read your book. The first Franciscan release about the immigrant heroine and her young sister. Refuge of the Heart! Everyone loved it and some of the gals have mentioned reading some of your other books. That's the added plus, readers find new authors and continue reading their subsequent stories.

      The desserts at our gatherings are always yummy! :)

      Delete
  9. Good morning, Debby! I've never been a part of a book club -- sounds like so much fun to get together and share insights on books you've all recently read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glynna, I know you don't have an extra moment in your busy week with your day job and writing. But book clubs are fun for folks who have some extra time and like to read.

      I wish I were a faster reader. I think I read like an editor...not with a critical eye, but analyzing how the author creates his/her story. I want to read every word slowly, to savor the sweetness...

      Delete
  10. Debby thank you so much for featuring my book club. I'd like to add one of the ways we find books. I belong to several publishers' newsletters, and am always scouring for the next book club selection. Many times if it's a new author you can get a Kindle version of the book for $2.99 or less. Sometimes they are even free. The reason you can get such a good deal on a book is they want you to review their book, which helps with further promotion. Another very important reason is that they hope you'll fall in love with their books and want to read more. Just like your books Debby, once you read one, you've got to read them all!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carroll, thanks for your kind words about my stories. I love how you research books for your book club. We try to keep the cost down for our members, as well. Some of the ladies get their books from the library. A number of them get the digital copies for their Kindles at a reduced price, just as you mentioned. And we always pick paperbacks. If a book can only be purchased in hardback, we put off selecting it until the following year when it comes out in paper.

      You have a great group! And the food is always so delicious! Thanks for selecting two of my stories. Such an honor for me.

      Hugs!

      Delete
  11. Hi Debby, what an interesting post. Where I am in small town Kansas, no one is doing this, but I am thinking of getting something started in my church. Authors that are friendly to book clubs are such a great asset. Thanks Debby and Seekers for doing these things. Fun and book promotion at the same time. Win-win.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cindy, I'm excited! Yes, gather some folks and start a book club. There's one at our church that studies religious reads and is very popular. Let me know if you do start a group...I'll consider it as good fruit produced from this post...and I always pray to produce good fruit.

      Hugs!

      Delete
  12. Oh, Debby, I LOVE book clubs!! My favorite one EVER was hosted by a good friend of mine, Nora St. Laurent of Book Fun Magazine at the LifeWay store where she worked. WOW!! I had a blast answering questions (actually we closed the store down, I think, because I tend to go on and on ... ;)) But, OH sooo fun and such a great way to meet reader friends.

    I've had a number of Skype book clubs that were really fun, too, although one had a few disgruntled readers who didn't like my level of passion in my books, but they were still nice. :)

    Hugs!!

    Julie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How great about Nora's group...and sad about LifeWay closing their stores.

      I haven't done a Skype event, but I've loved the in person groups that I've been privileged to attend. As you mentioned, the readers always have such interesting questions. Usually they're excited about meeting an author and enjoy hearing how the publishing world functions.

      Funny about those who thought you had too much passion in your stories! :) I guess the old adage holds true that you can't please everyone. But, I think a Julie Lessman read should please everyone because your stories are always so good!!!

      Delete
  13. I don't know of any book clubs in my small town. But I am a member of several street teams In some of them there is always a discussion going on that I participate in every day, I tried one on goodreads but I got overwhelmed trying to read their selections when I have so many books already crying out to me. I am expecting at least 4 books to arrive in the mail in the next couple of weeks from authors needing me to read. I will merge them in with all my other currently reading books which take up a whole bookcase. I guess it is good I love to read.

    I do enjoy being a part of the street teams and all the discussions in those.

    I will admit that this year I am behind on my reading due to losing my mom at the start of the year and then with all the rainy weather which causes the vertigo and dizziness that sometimes makes it difficult to read.

    The Lord is so good and seeing as I got the shingles vaccine on Monday and not knowing before hand that I would need to stay home for two weeks because I am highly contagious for not only children but also pregnant mothers or anyone with a compromised immune system. I am not bored and have plenty to do that I love reading, writing, and even a little watercoloring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, Wilani, I didn't know that about the shingles vaccine. Interesting!

      Delete
    2. Wilani, like Myra, I didn't know about the vaccine restrictions either. Goodness. I'm sorry you'll be home bound. Enjoy those books though.

      How special to be on street teams, Wilani. I know the authors must appreciate all you do to help spread the word about their books.

      Blessings!

      Delete
    3. I didn't know that about the shingles vaccine. My husband got it and I don't think he was told that.

      Delete
  14. Hi Debby. What a fun post! I am in a book group. We started as a summer book club--19 years ago this month! We are still going, although there are only five of us who are regulars, including a 93-year-old!

    We started by reading the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. We enjoy reading series because then we can always come up with another book. We are pretty much a Christian fiction group. We have done some Seekers' books. We have read some of Julie's books and Skyped with her twice. We have also read a book of Mary's once and plan to again, and in August we are reading Ruthy's book First Gift. I will have to see how many other Seeker books I can get in there! :)

    We meet for breakfast at a restaurant one Saturday a month (except May and December). In the past we have done lunch, but on a Saturday we have found it easier for people to come before they start their busy Saturday. Often we are more a social club than a book club, and don't get into a lot of details about the book sometimes. We mostly just discuss what we liked and didn't like about the book and why, and we have fun discussing the characters.

    I am in charge of the group--meaning I send out reminders to people when we are meeting and send out the reading schedule. We try to schedule our books a year in advance. I don't think I could do it by the month. I choose books I like and share possibilities with the others and ask for their input so I'm not the only one choosing the books. I definitely love my book group!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sandy, thanks for sharing info about your book club. I've heard of other groups that give their members the list of titles for the entire year. I can see how that would be good in certain situations. I also like your breakfast gatherings. Great idea for busy ladies!

      My group read Francine Rivers' Redeeming Love and, of course, LOVED it. Has there ever been anyone who didn't like that story? I must read the Mark of the Lion. I keep hearing wonderful things about that series.

      We have a member who sends out info about where we'll meet and keeps a log of the books we've read. She keeps us on track.

      God bless you for keeping your club moving forward for 19 years! That's such an accomplishment.

      Hugs!

      Delete
    2. Debby, we also read Redeeming Love. It is a wonderful story. My biggest regret about my book group is that I have not kept track of the books we've read. I wish I would have done that.

      Delete
    3. When I was young, I kept a list of the books I had read. Somewhere from high school to college, I stopped making that list. How I wish I could look back at all the books I've ever read. Wouldn't that be interesting?

      Maybe it's time we both starting making a book list. :)

      Delete
    4. SANDY!!! I SO loved our Skype get-togethers, my friend, and very much appreciate you reading several of my books for your book club.

      And, Debby, you're right -- I can't imagine anyone not loving Francine's work, but I will say that I LOVED Mark of the Lion series, actually more than Redeeming Love, if you can believe that. :)

      Hugs!
      Julie

      Delete
    5. Julie, we have enjoyed Skyping with you. We are reading Isle of Hope in September, so maybe we can do it again.

      Delete
  15. Hi Debby, Thank you for sharing your book club experiences. Several of my friends belong to book clubs and it sounds like so much fun. Maybe one day when I stop traveling I will be able to do that also. Thanks to all the book clubs who have selected my books. It is really fun to share.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sandra, thanks for sending your input for this blog. I would have thought the RV crowd would have book clubs. Is it because folks don't stay in one place long enough? Do you belong to an RV organization that could choose a book a month for the entire membership, no matter where folks are traveling? Perhaps that would be too difficult. I'm just musing...

      Delete
  16. Mary, that is so funny about your Facebook experience. I've done that before. I had combed my hair, but forgot about the fact they could see what was in the background--like my messy office. LOL Next time, I hung a curtain behind me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sandra, the messy office gives the full ambiance of a writer! :)

      Delete
    2. Aren't writers supposed to have messy offices? :)

      Delete
    3. I think we need another post on views of writer's offices! I enjoyed the pictures and would even enter mine this time.

      Marcia

      Delete
    4. Marcia, I'm looking around my office, grateful you can't see mine! At least, not today! :)

      Delete
  17. Debby, your bookclub looks like such fun. I wanna join! I've been a part of a few in the past but none have really lasted. I do participate in the ACFW bookclub online and that's been good but I think there's something extra special about having one on one in person sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sharee, I like having in-person gatherings, as you mentioned. You need to start a book club...if you have time, busy lady who's winning so many awards! :)

      Delete
  18. DEBBY, I've never belonged to a book club. Sounds like lots of fun!

    I brought French Toast to share!

    Have a WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Caryl, thanks for the French toast. YUM!

      Wishing you a happy first day of summer. It's raining in GA...part of that tropical storm hitting the Gulf!

      Delete
  19. Hi Debby:

    Wow! When did you write the "Reader's Prayer"? I have your Military prayer up under my clock in my home writing area and copies of your Writer's Prayer, from my office, somewhere still in the moving boxes! It's probably going to take a prayer to St. Anthony to find them! (Praying to find prayers! Isn't that kind of like meta-fiction?)

    I think what would be really special next is an "Editor's Prayer" that writers could include with their submissions. "Lord let me not edit things to make them the way I would write them but rather let my writers' voices be heard in all their God given glory...etc." You know, add all the things a good editor is supposed to do and not do. You might want to add the other two prayers to make it part of a series and not seem like a hidden message to the editor. :)

    Book clubs remind me of the movie "The Jane Austen Book Club". I'm not sure a man would be comfortable there. The few book clubs I've checked into had read more books in the past that I would not have wanted to have read than books I would actually have read. Also, as far as I could tell, the clubs were more about the social event than the books themselves.

    Maybe I could do a post on who should not join a book club>: Men are so competitive they would be trying more to show the other men were wrong in their assessments than what the merits of the books actually were. You know, more like a philosophy graduate seminar. :)

    Don't get me wrong, I think book clubs are great for the folks who should be in them.

    Do you start your meeting with a prayer? I think that would tell a lot about a book club.

    Vince

    P.S. I'm sure I have all your books either in hand or on order but I'd like a copy of the "Reader's Prayer" if you've printed them up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vince, I recently read about a local book club that had been in existence for 60 years. In the beginning men were included but ended up having arguments over the books and the ladies tossed them out. Proof of your assessment. :-)

      Janet

      Delete
    2. HI Vince,
      I'm laughing at Janet's comment. But, you're right, Vince, the social part of the book club is as important as the book discussion. So we get a win-win, so to speak.

      We pray before we eat and that's before we discuss the book, which means "yes" to your question about praying.

      I wrote The Reader's Prayer for last year's Christian Fiction Readers' Retreat. Those who attended prayed it together. We'll do the same again this year.

      A Prayer for Editors! What a creative idea. Would that guilt an editor into working hard on a particular manuscript? Just wondering...

      Yes, I'll send you a copy of The Reader's Prayer. Thanks for you support over the years, Vince. Hugs to Linda!

      Delete
  20. I love being in the company of women--we offer one another the instinctive compassion and nurturing that is usually timely for our needs. I don't belong to a book club, but I've belonged to a sewing group for 27 years. Once my creative "projects" turned from counted cross-stitch and smocking to character backgrounds and first drafts of manuscripts, my friends decided I was just cross-stitching in another format, which was sweet. I still relax with them and enjoy the fine company of women I've known a long time. I get to promote inspirational romance authors as a benefit! Love your stories, Debby!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so talented, Darlene! How special to hand smock and cross-stitch. Although I know your time is focused on writing these days...and your stories are wonderful! I'm waiting for LI to make that call!

      I bet you have stormy skies in your part of Georgia too. This doesn't seem like the first day of summer! :) Perhaps I should turn my three-way lamp to HI and pretend it's sunshine streaming through my office window.

      Stay dry! Hugs!

      Delete
    2. You're too kind about my talents, but I'll take it. Yup, we have gray skies and constant rain or drizzle--both yesterday and today. Staying in the office a lot!

      Delete
    3. I'm honest, Darlene. Always!

      Delete
  21. Delightful post, Debby! Your book club sounds lovely, and what fun reading about everyone's experiences!

    I've been the guest author at a few book club meetings, and I enjoyed them all. However, it was rather scary being the center of attention--partly because so much time passes between completing the book, publication, and then the book landing in readers' hands! After working on several new books since then, could I remember enough about that particular story to answer their questions coherently???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Myra, I can relate. I reread my story before the book club. Usually I'm about three books ahead, as you mentioned, and can't even remember the hero's name!!!

      Delete
  22. Debby, I loved hearing about your book club and seeing your pictures! I've belonged to two book clubs. One ages ago when our kids were babies. The best part was just getting out of the house at night. LOL I belong to a book club now. The books selected and the great discussion always broadens my horizons.

    Janet

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure the book club when your children were little was fun, especially getting out of the house for an evening with friends. Plus, book talk is always enjoyable.

      I agree about the discussions being good. Also the selections chosen are often books I never would have picked on my own so I get to experience new authors and new topics as well.

      Delete
  23. Debby, my small town library has a book club. I joined, but the reading choices were some I could not get into, and I haven't been back since. I know what I like, and read what I like. Recently, it's been mostly craft books and different sub-genres of romance.

    Please enter my name in the drawing. I would love to read Person of Interest and Plain Danger. You write such inspiring prayers...ever think about writing a book of them?

    Blessings,

    Marcia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I forgot to say, Debby, I would love to join you outside for some lovely iced tea, but today it is supposed to reach the 120's here in Nevada!!

      Delete
    2. Marcia, sorry about your heat wave! We lived in the middle of the Mojave Desert for two years so I understand how the temp can climb that high! Stay cool!

      It's rainy in GA due to the tropical storm. So no iced tea on the deck today. Let's rendezvous when the weather improves. :)

      Were your library selections more literary? I like contemporary fiction, suspense, Christian romance, mysteries, thrillers...

      Literary reads not so much!

      I have thought about a book of prayers. Thanks for providing confirmation. :)

      Delete
    3. Debby, the only author I remember trying to read was C.J. Box...I've read everything you mentioned, but long ago--I grew up reading Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, Ellery Queen, Mary Stewart, et al. Literary fiction makes my throat swell. lol

      Delete
    4. I don't want your throat to swell, Marcia! Stay with the favorites! :)

      PS: I always loved Mary Stewart!

      Delete
  24. I've never been in a book club, though I did form a book writing club with my friends one winter where we would meet every week and talk about the books we were writing. It disbanded once the summer months came around and we could go outside and play again. I'm the only one who ever finished my book. As far as I know they don't even write anymore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nicki, good for you starting a writing club! And you finished the book. You've got writer written all over you. :)

      So glad you're part of our Seekerville family!

      I'm always surprised to find people who don't like to read. Not many, but enough to be surprised. Glad you continued writing. Keep it up!

      Delete
    2. I've had to stop being surprised about finding people who don't like to read, over half my friends don't like to read. Sigh.

      Delete
    3. That's amazing, Nicki. And disappointing. Any idea why? Could it be social media perhaps? Or the ease of accessing movies and videos? I wonder...

      Delete
  25. Love this, Debby! I wish there was a book club close to me. The closest one that I know of is about 30 miles away, and they are an amazing group of ladies.

    The Hickory Book Club was formed many years ago... maybe in the 1940s-1950s. Okay, maybe not that long ago, but they've been together a long time. It's very active with a bunch of ladies. I had the pleasure of speaking to them a couple of years ago. It was a blast.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a treat, Pam. I'm sure they loved your book! That's a long-lived book club. Good for them!

      Delete
  26. Oh, Debby, I love the ladies in my book club. They provide such varied life experiences and widely varied tastes.

    Our book club doesn't all read the same book and discuss it. One of us does a 15-20 minute presentation on a book she's read ... it doesn't have to be a recently-published book. Then there's a Q&A session, with members who have read the book contributing their thoughts. Then we let each other know about any books we've read, and whether or not we would recommend them. Lots of discussion. It's particularly fun when two people have very different opinions about the same book. Hearing their reasons behind their opinions has provided the writer in me with a lot to think about.

    I should add that the book club began in 1924. None of the original members are still with us, but one of our members is 102 years old ... will very soon be 103!

    Thank you so much for praising book clubs. A lot can be learned as a writer as well as a reader.

    Nancy C

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How wonderful, Nancy, to be part of that group. I like the way you discuss books with a designated speaker. You always go home with new suggestions.

      There's a very old...as in years of meeting...club in the neighboring town, but they don't do just books. And like your group, one member presents a program, which can be a book. The club has been meeting since the Civil War. I did an article on the group for Southern Lady Magazine, and it was a joy to attend one of their meetings and interview the ladies. They have scrapbooks that date back to the first gatherings. All so special!

      Delete
  27. Hi Chill N:

    Sounds like your club system is ideal. It seems a lot like a Tulsa ACFW chapter meeting. You might enjoy those meetings if there is a chapter in your area. It is really an inspiration to have two authors sitting at your table who have 100 books published between them and have them ask you how your WIP is coming! In any event I can see why you've been around since 1924.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi Debby:

    Some romance writers, who really like mystery/suspense, have moved over to just mystery. I'm thinking M. C. Beaton and Janet Evanovich. Do you think this is something you might like to do? I think there is a market niche, need?, for an Amish detective. It could be a woman and could involve Amish mysteries or even Englisher mysteries.

    Really great mysteries are more about the detective and setting than they are about who done it. I think you could do it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What an interesting idea, Vince. I've always enjoyed suspense more than straight mystery stories, but the Amish twist would be fun!

      Maybe it's something you should think of writing!

      Delete
  29. How lovely! I've never been a part of a local book club, just an online one here and there, but being able to discuss a book in person sounds like fun! Thank you for sharing your and the other Seekers' experiences!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Natalie. It's always good to see you!

      Delete
  30. What a fun post, Debby! I'm not in a book club but after reading this I think I need to start one. :)
    No need to enter me in your drawing since I have your wonderful books already!
    Thanks again for sharing today - - you still amaze me with ALL you accomplish!
    Hugs, Patti Jo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Start a book club, Patti Jo. You were love it! And you have so much to share with others.

      Delete
  31. I'm not in a book club either, but I wouldn't mind being a part of one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gather some women...or men, Boo, and start your own group! One of the groups mentioned today meets at a local restaurant for breakfast. How easy is that! Or meet for coffee, or dessert, or just meet. You'll enjoy getting together and talking about books. What could be more fun?

      Delete
  32. Debby, thank you for sharing the wonderful book club stories! I loved your photos from your book club. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sending info about your book club, Missy!

      Delete
  33. Debby, I'm not part of a book club. We always enroll our kids in the summer reading program at our local library, but that's not the same as a book club. It sounds like a lot of fun, and I do know of a book club recently formed in my neck of the woods. Sounds like a fun evening, but with me, one of the main reasons I've never joined a book club is my husband's schedule is rather varied and I'd hate to miss more meetings than I attended. But thank you for letting us share in the positives of a book club experience today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love summer reading programs for kids. You're building readers for the future, Tanya! Way to go!

      Hugs!

      Delete
  34. Debby, I really enjoyed this post about Book Clubs. I have a group of ladies at church that read my books...among others...and starting a book club to meet each month sound like a fun way to introduce then to other authors & give them insight "behind the scenes." Thanks for sharing! Sandy Elzie (Sandra McGregor)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How special to have those readers in your church community. The folks in my church support me, and their encouragement is always a blessing!

      Delete
  35. Our library has a monthly book club and we try to select books that are available in the kits that our state library offers for loan. These kits have 15 books, one audio book, 1 large print and a leader discussion guide. This is a big help for the members who are on a limited budget. If we find there are more books needed, we try to Interlibrary Loan.
    I would personally like to get a group started in our church.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How wonderful, Connie! Love what your library is doing. Yes, start a group in your church. You'll be blessed, I'm sure!

      Delete
  36. Hello, Debby! A few years ago, I was shocked to learn that I was the only member of my book club who'd read Jane Eyre, one of my favorite books. These women are all serious readers, too. I invited them to my house to view the 2-hour movie. (I have 5 or 6 different versions!) Most of them enjoyed the evening. At least now they know the story! Fun post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amazing that they hadn't read Jane Eyre...one of my favorite reads! Thanks for helping to further their education in literature!

      Delete
  37. Well done, Debby! I enjoyed the article! And especially the authors' experiences you gathered.
    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Thanks, Phyllis. Blessings back to you!

    ReplyDelete