This week I’m really excited to interview Sheila from Book Journey about her book club of almost 10 years! I met Sheila this year at BEA and instantly connected with her. Enjoy this peek into her book club!
How long has your book club been in existence?
We started in August of 2001
Does your book club have a name?
How many people are in your book club?
Is your book club open to new members? How do new members end up in your book club?
For the first time in January we put a freeze on members, we were just getting too big and limiting ourselves as to where to meet.
When do you meet? Is it a set day every month, or do you work it out so it’s on a different day but convenient for everyone?
Second Tuesdays of every month
What kind of books do you read?
Because we are so large we try to stick to newer releases so we can all find copies easy. We read a mix of genres. Every October we read a Classic.
How do you choose books?
We vote. Each member is allowed to bring one suggestion. They nominate it, share what it is about, and then we all go around and each get two votes. (No idea why we stick to two votes each but we have always done it that way since we were a small group of 5 so that’s what we do
Which book generated the best discussion?
Over the years we have had some good ones. We need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver brought out emotions I didn’t know our book club members had. We were all over the place on how we felt about that one. Summer house by Jude Deveroux is particularly memorable because we had a wonderful discussion on the road not traveled and I think we all cried during that meeting.
Do you invite authors to join your discussion when you discuss their book? How do you handle having the author in on your discussion if some or all of the members didn’t absolutely love the book?
Not as often as I would like. We take turns choosing where we will meet and sometimes the area we are meeting in is hard to accommodate a phone conversation, although I would love to do more of that.
Do you have one person who moderates the discussion?
I usually create the discussion questions and keep us moving.
Have you ever had a professional moderator moderate one of your meetings?
No, but that sounds cool.
How long does the discussion last?
We always do dinner with out meetings so we are usually done with dinner, book discussion, and chatting in 2 hours.
Do you eat food at your book club meeting?
We do. If we meet at a restaurant we order there, or if we meet in a member’s home we potluck and try to theme our food to the book.
How do you decide where the meeting will be held?
We hand out a schedule at the beginning of each year and someone different is responsible to choose a place each month.
Is there anything else about your book club you’d like to share?
Being such a large group we do events to keep things exciting. Every July we have our Queen Event (you can see that on my blog – we just had that in July) where we dress up in formal wear and do speeches or rhymes, songs or whatever, on why we should be Queen. It is a lot of fun – everyone participates and we vote in a Queen for a year. The Queen breaks all ties on book votes and chooses our next meeting place if the member who is supposed to choose is not present. It’s all in fun and builds great community. This event came out of the book Same Sweet Girls by Cassandra King.
If a book we read becomes a movie we try to organize going together.
In December we have a Christmas party, do a gift exchange and potluck at one fo the members homes. We try to read a Holiday type book as well.
Thanks for sharing, Sheila! Your book club sounds like a blast!
Leslie, my friend from high school
Ti from Book Chatter and her Valencia Library Book Group
Kelly from Yannabe and her OPRA Book Club
Heather from A Lifetime of Books and her book club Storie delle Sorrelle
Helen from Helen’s Book Blog and her TWO book clubs
Elisabeth from The Lit Chicks