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.
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 town 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.