book clubI recently attended a local book club meeting. Our population is small and the group was small. We shared a meal and talked about the book selection made by the hostess.

I wasn’t there as an author or even a member, only an invited guest. Membership is limited and word is someone must die before new members are invited to join.

Not that I wish death on anyone, but I had a lovely evening with the ladies. Their book selection was The Namesake: A Novel by Pulitzer Prize Jhumpa Lahiri, which chronicles an Indian family’s transformation into America culture.

Not a book I would have chosen to read on my own. It’s a literary novel and I read mostly commercial fiction.

FYI: The difference being literary fiction and commercial fiction is that literary novels center on the protagonist’s personal growth or destruction while commercial fiction (sometimes referred to as genre fiction) has a big hook plot that propels the story forward. I’ll be talking more about the differences in an upcoming blog.

Back to my book club experience, I found The Namesake a fascinating read. It’s a story about identity, cultural assimilation, and Gogol Ganguli’s name, which is a yoke from the past.

With a first name spelled Judythe, I could relate to Gogol. Fortunately, I don’t  have to deal with cultural assimilation and identity. Only having people spell my name correctly.

Before you say book club choices are the reason you don’t participate in book clubs, let me say that’s the very reason to join a book club.

Book clubs expose some fantastic stories among the wide variety of choices available. And, you get to meet some wonderful people who like to read as much as you do.

If you don’t have a book club in your community, why not start your own? It’s easy-peasy. Follow these eight steps.

  1. Invite your reading friends.
  2. Set expectations: adults only, serving a meal or only snacks, rotate homes
  3. Pick a place – a home, a restaurant, a library conference room. Size of your group and budget are the main considerations.
  4. Pick a day and time…and keep your schedule.
  5. Pick a book – literary or commercial fiction – well in advance
  6. Decide how the book discussion will be conducted. Sometimes publishers include discussion questions
  7. Send out meeting reminders-a phone call, postcard or use
  8. Mostly have fun.

Here are some links for additional help:

Book Browse 

Random House Book Reader Guides

Harper Collins Reader Guides 


If you’re not into group meetings, there are on-line options.

  1. Oprah’s Book Club 2.0  “We cover books in depth, and even offer the first chapters of those we feature on our iPad edition. The club is a great way to create a community and a global conversation while promoting one of the greatest pleasures: getting lost in an amazing story,” said O Magazine editor-in-chief Susan Casey.
  2. American Christian Fiction Writers Book Club is an on-line group that offers inspirational Christian choices.
  3. Goodreads offers the perfect place to discuss your favorite book and interact with other readers. Click on the link and search book clubs. You’ll be amazed at how many choices there are
  4. Set up your own group on Facebook. Options are now available to make groups private. Great way to involve long distance friends.

I hope you’ll consider participating in a book club soon. In my experience book clubs are a great way to socialize with other readers, discover amazing stories, and just plain have fun.