I love book clubs.
As a reader, it’s just tremendously fun to have an excuse to get together with friends, chat about stories, drink wine and eat tasty food all night.
As an author, it’s nothing short of a huge honor to have your story be the one that a group of smart, creative, thoughtful people are discussing. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to be a part of book clubs — both in person and online — ever since I released my debut novel, According to Jane. It quickly became one of my favorite perks of being a writer.
One of the most memorable book-club experiences I’ve ever had was when another Chicago-area book club read Friday Mornings at Nine and, because they’re such clever and hilarious women, they decided to surprise me by replicating the fairytale-esque, grownups-only Halloween party from the middle of the novel. I walked into their meeting, idly wondering why there was a big orange jack-o-lantern poster on the front door — in mid-May, LOL — only to find several of the members actually dressed in Halloween costumes, having made some of the wacky dishes I’d created for the story (i.e., “Jack & the Bean Dip,” “Three Bloody Pigs in a Blanket,” “Headless Gingerbread Man Cookies”) and even taping miniature candy bars to the walls, like my characters had done. It was so amazingly cool — I was floored and still laugh when I think about it!!
But I’ve also enjoyed being a part of some fantastically fun book clubs online and via conference call. No real candy or costumes were involved (although we’ve never been short on virtual treats!), but we’ve had some great discussions, too. I just finished a month-long book club for The Road to You at The Reading Frenzy (here are the links to the Opening Interview and to Week One of our chat, if you’re curious about how it worked ;). And I’m about to start another month-long book club, this time on Goodreads as part of the Women’s Fiction Writing Association. We’ll be reading and discussing A Summer in Europe throughout March. It’s open to the public, by the way, so anyone who’d like to join in the group read/chat is welcome!
How about you? Have you ever been part of a book club — either as a reader or as an author? Did you get together in person or through some sort of virtual means, i.e., Internet, telephone, Skype? What was a novel you enjoyed discussing with the group? I’d love to hear about your experiences!!
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.