Writers love book clubs. We are frequently asked to speak to book clubs, and occasionally a club will pick one of our books to study. This both enables us to sell books and to promote our books by word of mouth.
But how many writers belong to book club? I suspect it is more than you’d think.
I belonged to a book club in New York State long before I even contemplated a writing career. Then we moved and I was unable to find another. Correction, I found some that existed but they had a closed membership. Apparently once you get in, you are in until you die and only then will they replace the vacancy with a new member.
Not wishing an early demise on anyone, I bided my time.
Then, a few years ago I was asked to speak at a newly-formed club. I am a writer, but I am first and foremost a reader, so I asked if they were still adding members. They said yes. I asked if I could join Again yes.
I love this group of savvy women. They include teachers, administrators and a couple of pastors. As you can imagine, we take quite a while getting through a book because each paragraph stimulates a lively discussion. We digress. We share personal anecdotes that may or may not relate to the story. Often the discussion takes on a spiritual tone and I leave as revived and refreshed as if I’d heard a powerful sermon.
We are currently reading a book about a young chef’s journey from India to France. The book is filled with vivid and colorful descriptions of food–Indian and French cuisine–from the selection of the vegetables, fish, and meat to their preparation and serving.
Because of the book’s subject, we held our last meeting at a local ministry where the emphasis in on mind-body-spirit wholeness. There we were treated to a demonstration of how to prepare healthy meals. Our lunch consisted only of things grown on God’s Earth. It was delicious.
We ate on a deck overlooking a serene pond ringed with flowering plants and trees garbed with the soft green of early Spring. The sky overhead was a clear Carolina blue. Songbirds supplied a musical accompaniment as we talked about the book. The section we studied told about a woman’s transformation from greed and envy to a desire to help the young chef.
Description. Internal conflict and change. Two essential tools a writer needs in her kit. But my friends weren’t reading the book to analyze why it worked, as a craft class might have done. They just loved the story.
Every writer knows the joy is in the story. And what greater joy is there than sharing it?
Do you belong to a book club? How has it helped or changed you as a writer?
Leave a comment and I will pick one at random at the end of the week. The winner will receive a free copy of his or her choice of “Angels Unaware,” “The Lunch Club” or “The Almost Bride.”