Making A Book Club Work

I love book clubs and have belonged to a few over the years. When the phenomenon began back in the 90’s (seems like yesterday), I was single and had plenty of friends to join me as we navigated this new way to discuss books. I often left these get-togethers with a new opinion of a character or different viewpoint of a plot line that I hadn’t uncovered myself. Since each member was able to choose a book, in turn, I then read books that I would have never chosen for myself which opened my eyes to new ways of thinking. Over the years, I’ve joined more book clubs but was a married mom, so it was never as easy to get a consistent group together. Throw in full time work and travel for business, the group of potential book club members shrunk while my Mother joined a book club that has been going strong for years, giving me hope for future camaraderie.

Of course, during that time, I published Finding Out and had the joy of joining readers through Skype to answer questions, share little-known facts of WWII, and backstory based on years of research. During all this, I struck up a newer friendship based on a mutual fascination of WWII novels with someone I’ve known for years who lives right down the street from me. She’s also a working mother with limited time, so we started choosing books for the two of us to read and we text our thoughts to each other. Keeping the ‘group’ small makes it simple and we never text without asking which page the other is on, so there are no spoilers. It’s been such a great way to strengthen a friendship and share a love of reading, it’s a positive aspect of my life and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to build a community when time is limited.

The most recent novel we read is The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck. The novel showcases the details of three women’s lives during and after WWII. What’s most refreshing about the novel is that the women’s lives are not marginalized against the mens WWII activities. Their relationships, needs and secrets are examined against the backdrop of war and the roles women traditionally played during that time showing that even the ‘smaller’ stories during that time are worth examining. I’m now attending an author event for Jessica Shattuck on May 7th and can’t wait to ask her some of our prevailing questions which I’ll share with you all. If you have any comments to share on the novel, I’d love to hear from you as well!

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