My 4 Book Clubs

Welcome to The Bookspired Linkup! Each month we share posts that fit The Bookspired Linkup theme: exploring how a book has inspired you. You can read about my inspiration for starting the linkup here. My post this month is a little different – rather than exploring how a book has inspired me, I’m sharing one of the ways I stay inspired to read … by belonging to book clubs. Check out the linked-up posts through the blue inLinkz button at the bottom of this post and add your own, or participate through the comment feature.

When we moved to New Hampshire, I knew I wanted to join or start a book club. Since I was the new girl in town, my options were limited. Should I join one at the library, which I assumed would be made up of people much older than me? Invite the couple of people I was getting to know and hope they would bring interested friends? Put a sign out on my mailbox?

While I pondered these questions, I became involved with some online book communities through Facebook. First, I joined a one-time discussion of Mrs. Dalloway hosted by Laura Tremaine of http://www.hollywoodhousewife.com/. I really enjoyed it, but Laura’s Read Great Books discussion series is currently on hold, so it’s not something I could count on for a regular fix. Slowly but surely, though, as I poked around the interweb literary circles, I found groups that were doing just what I hoped … casually, intelligently, politely discussing books. So I joined them. All of them. And now here we are: me and my four book clubs.

The Red Couch Book Club

An online book discussion group for readers of SheLoves Magazine, this club gathers to discuss a new book every other month, with some pop-up chatting in between. There is an emphasis on books of a spiritual nature, which I like. I enjoyed the thoughtful discussion about Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward and am looking forward to discussing I Am Malala with the ladies this month.

The Deliberate Reader Book Club

Sheila Craig, creator of http://deliberatereader.com/, leads an online book club with a new book every month. I like the way Sheila formats the discussion; she posts questions throughout the month rather than lumping the entire discussion into one night or a few days. It’s less overwhelming that way, and you can jump in late if you are still working on the book, which is what I did with this month’s pick, Robert Galbraith’s (AKA J.K. Rowling) The Cuckoo’s Calling. I also appreciate the way Sheila includes a series of basic questions, such as how you read the book (e-reader or hard copy) and whether or not you liked the cover – these questions warm up the discussion and encourage people to participate.16160797

The SortaLiterary Traveling Book Club

This is a spinoff of a spinoff group. Fans of the Sorta Awesome podcast started discussing books and reading in the SortaLiterary group, and one of the members shared her experience in a traveling book club, and it sounded so awesome that the SortaLiterary Traveling Book Club was born. Here’s how it works: In small groups of six to eight people, each person picks out a book and a small notebook, writes a bit about herself and why she chose the book in the notebook, and mails the book and notebook to the next person in the group. (The group organizer collects addresses and assigns who mails books to whom.) That person then has two months to read the book, write her own thoughts in the journal, and mail the package off to her designated person. Basically, each book and journal travels around the group until they reach the original person. It’s an old-fashioned, paper-and-snail-mail book club. Isn’t it romantic? Below is the book I chose to mail, Olive Kitteridge, and the first book that was sent to me, What Alice Forgot.

The We Still Read! Book Club

In case you were feeling sorry for me that I only have friends online, you can relax. A new friend in Layout 1town recently invited me to join her in-person book club. I was so pleased to be asked to join a real live book club in my own town. The group only met once before I joined, and I’m jumping in with them for our next pick, My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. I’m looking forward to talking books with these ladies.

So that’s the scoop on my four book clubs. It’s been fun to get involved with these communities online and in real life. I don’t feel any pressure to read every book every time – I do what I can and enjoy what I do. I’m grateful that I live in the 21st century with plenty of opportunities to connect with other people about books.

The 4 Books I Finished in June

* Linking up with Anne Bogel at Quick Lit *

Don’t forget to check out and join The Bookspired Linkup on July 20th!

In June I read two books I loved, one book I liked, and one not-so-thrilling thriller. Not a bad run, eh? I’m going to jump right in with the four books I finished in June.


No One Knows  by J.T. Ellison

My Thoughts: This was the not-so-thrilling thriller. Aubrey, whose husband disappeared the night of a friend’s bachelor party, is still struggling five years later after he is eventually declared dead and, through various encounters with suspicious people, wonders whether her husband is really gone. It is a page turner, but I was hoping for a big payoff at the end, and I felt let down. I know a few people who have really enjoyed this book, so I would recommend it with the caveat that it’s a good story but not a thriller. I liked it better than The Girl on the Train (which I didn’t like much at all) but not as much as The Good Girl and Gone Girl (both of which I really liked). If you have any thriller recommendations, please send them my way … I like this genre, but my thrill threshold is high!

Length: 368 pages

When I Read It: May 31-June 10, 2016

Where I Found It/How I Read It: Bought it at Gibson’s Bookstore; read it the old-fashioned way.

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

My Thoughts: I resisted reading this book for a while, even after hearing people I trust gush about it, because I didn’t love Rowell’s big hit Eleanor & Park, so I thought her writing just wasn’t my style. Well, I was WRONG. This book is absolutely delightful. I found myself smirking, giggling, and swooning over the story of Cath, an awkward but lovable fan fiction writer, her twin sister Wren (Get it?), and the characters they meet during their first semester at college. This is a perfect book if you need a pick-me-up or want something light but well-written to take to the beach. It’s one of my favorites of the year. And I won’t hesitate before giving Rowell’s other books a try.

Length: 445 pages

When I Read It: June 10-21, 2016

Where I Found It/How I Read It: Placed a hold through the Overdrive app; read it on the Kindle app on my phone.

Memorable quote: “There are other people on the Internet. It’s awesome. You get all the benefits of ‘other people’ without the body odor and the eye contact.”

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You Learn By Living by Eleanor Roosevelt

My Thoughts: When this book went on sale for $1.99 on the Amazon Kindle deals, I snatched it up. I’d heard it was a flying-under-the-radar great book, and I really enjoyed learning more about Eleanor Roosevelt and pondering her nuggets of advice. It’s a very short book and not an amazing literary work, but still, I’d highly recommend it. There’s some great wisdom to soak up.

Length: 211 pages

When I Read It: June 10-June 26, 2016

Where I Found It/How I Read It: Bought it from Amazon; read it on the Kindle app on my phone.

Memorable Quote: “I wish with all my heart that every child could be so imbued with a sense of the adventure of life that each change, each readjustment, each surprise–good or bad–that came along would be welcomed as part of the whole enthralling experience.”

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The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See by Richard Rohr

My Thoughts: This is the second book I’ve read by Richard Rohr, and I’ve come to realize he’s one of the great religious thinkers living among us. In The Naked Now, Rohr shows us how we can move beyond our typical human issues into a higher level of spirituality. I turned down many pages of this book to mark my favorite passages. (I would have used a highlighter, but my kids take them and wreak havoc.) I can’t wait to read more of Rohr’s work. I need to space them out because it’s pretty heavy reading that takes some time to process.

Length: 187 pages

When I Read It: May 31-June 29, 2016

Where I Found It/How I Read It: Bought it at Gibson’s Bookstore; read it the old-fashioned way.

Memorable Quote: “The enormous breakthrough is that when you honor and accept the divine image within yourself, you cannot help but see it in everybody else, too, and you know it is just as undeserved and unmerited as it is in you. That is why you stop judging, and that is how you start loving unconditionally and without asking whether someone is worthy or not.”

I mean, really. It doesn’t get much better than that.

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You can friend or follow me on Goodreads for the latest updates on my July reading progress.