My adventure with an on-line book club

I’ve never been a part of a book club; even though I love to read. I guess I didn’t know how to become a member of one or didn’t know where to look for one (forgetting that the library would be a good place!). Our church has a once-a-month women’s book club. I meant to start going to that two years ago, but never did.

Through various blogs that I read, I found out about an on-line book club—She Reads. It is geared toward women (thus, the name) and has a Christian undertone, but the books that are chosen are not necessarily faith-based. I joined the She Reads book club in March (though I read their February selection on my own). I have thoroughly enjoyed each book I have read through this group. I have read three of the four selections, choosing not to read one of the books because it didn’t interest me. This month’s selection also didn’t interest me initially, but then I found the first two chapters on-line for free and read them and I was hooked. So glad I didn’t go with my initial feeling.

On the She Reads web-site, the purpose of the group is explained this way:

We believe that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart. And for that reason we began the She Reads Book Club in September of 2009 in order to share the novels we love with the largest audience possible. Since then we have introduced dozens of novels to thousands of voracious readers. Our readers are smart and loyal and charming. We love them very much. We prefer to read and promote debut novelists and those writers who are not receiving the attention they deserve.

The moderator of the book club discussion group posts a reading schedule at the beginning of each month. Then on the 7s of each month, she posts questions over our “assigned” reading passages. Laura has given us some good questions to ponder and, for me, has caused me several times to re-read over certain passages because I really hadn’t thought about them the same way she had or I wasn’t getting out of my reading what she was asking.

Sometimes, conversation goes back-and-forth between those of us on the forum. That is a lot of fun—seeing what others got out of the book or the different ideas coming from reading the same passages.

I have always loved to read. As a young girl, books showed me the outside world and allowed me to escape for a little while and pretend I was on the prairie in the 1800s or in the big city. I still love the escape that books can give me. Like the current book we are reading on She Reads, I may not purposely go to live in the swamps of Georgia, but I can experience that through this book.

I love character-driven books. I love how good authors can get us to picture what the person looks like and get us inside his/her head. Often, I place myself as the main character and live vicariously through that person. Rarely do TV shows or movies do that for me.

I am one of those people who said I’d never give up holding a real book in my hands. I love the feel of books and the smell of libraries. However, I now read mostly from my lap-top. Lazily, it is easier to download a book than to drive to the library or a book store. Though, if I can get the book for free, then off to the library I go!

I’d like to recommend the four books I’ve read through She Reads. If you read them, let me know what you think.

Far From Here by Nicole Baart—This book caught my attention right away because the author is from Iowa just like me. Her main character lives in a town called Blackhawk which was the name of the county I grew up in. However, my hometown is in northeastern Iowa, the book is set in northwestern Iowa.  Here is the description of the book from Amazon:

How long do you hold on to hope? 

Danica Greene has always hated flying, so it was almost laughable that the boy of her dreams was a pilot. She married him anyway and together, she and Etsell settled into a life where love really did seem to conquer all. Danica is firmly rooted on the ground in Blackhawk, the small town in northern Iowa where they grew up, and the wide slashes of sky that stretch endlessly across the prairie seem more than enough for Etsell.  But when the opportunity to spend three weeks in Alaska helping a pilot friend presents itself, Etsell accepts and their idyllic world is turned upside down. It’s his dream, he reveals, and Danica knows that she can’t stand in the way. Ell is on his last flight before heading home when his plane mysteriously vanishes shortly after takeoff, leaving Danica in a free fall. Etsell is gone, but what exactly does gone mean? Is she a widow? An abandoned wife? Or will Etsell find his way home to her? Danica is forced to search for the truth in her marriage and treks to Alaska to grapple with the unanswerable questions about her husband’s mysterious disappearance. But when she learns that Ell wasn’t flying alone and that a woman is missing, too, the bits and pieces of the careful life that she had constructed for them in Iowa take to the wind. A story of love and loss, and ultimately starting over, Far From Here explores the dynamics of intimacy and the potentially devastating consequences of the little white lies we tell the ones we love.

Faith Bass Darling’s Last Garage Sale by Lynda Rutledge—this book is full of quirkiness. This is probably my favorite, so far. It deals with the on-set of Alzheimer’s in a very interesting and thoughtful way. Here is the Amazon description:

On the last day of the millennium, sassy Faith Bass Darling, the richest old lady in Bass, Texas, decides to have a garage sale. With help from a couple of neighborhood boys, Faith lugs her priceless Louis XV elephant clock, countless Tiffany lamps, and everything else from her nineteenth-century mansion out onto her long, sloping lawn. Why is a recluse of twenty years suddenly selling off her dearest possessions? Because God told her to. As the townspeople grab up five generations of heirlooms, everyone drawn to the sale–including Faith’s long-lost daughter–finds that the antiques not only hold family secrets but also inspire some of life’s most imponderable questions: Do our possessions possess us? What are we without our memories? Is there life after death or second chances here on earth? And is Faith really selling that Tiffany lamp for $1?

The River Witch by Kimberly Brock—this is what I am currently reading and we are discussing on She Reads. The main character (Roslyn) has lost a lot—her career as a ballerina (from an accident) and her child (still-born). She heads to an island in Georgia to recuperate and heal. She meets a young girl, Damascus, whose mother died and her father ignores her. It has been a very interesting character study. The Amazon description:

Broken in body and spirit, she secludes herself in the mystical wilderness of a Georgia island. Can she find herself in the sweetness of old songs, old ways, and the gentle magic of the river people?

Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister. This is the book I read without being a part of the forum. I really loved this character-driven book. It is about a woman who invites six friends over for dinner to celebrate her recovery from cancer. She challenges each of them to do something they are afraid of and if they do she’ll do the one thing she is afraid of–white-water rafting. The things Kate chooses for her friends to do are fascinating. I liked it so much I read her other book The School of Essential Ingredients. If you like cooking or watching cooking shows or dreaming of taking a cooking class, this book is for you.

If you’d like to join the book discussion club at She Reads, go to shereads.org.

Those are my thoughts for today.

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2 comments on “My adventure with an on-line book club

  1. Pingback: Top 10 Dos and Don’ts of a Successful Book Club | 21C Woman

  2. Pingback: Book Review: The Lost Art of Mixing | Teresa's Thoughts for Today

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