Today I am featuring my own book club, The Bookies of Brainerd, Minnesota. I am doing this because as of current, I have interviewed everyone who has expressed an interest in this Wednesday Feature spot. Many of you have emailed me or left comments on the Book Club feature spot telling me how much you enjoy it. Thank you for that – it has been fun doing it. However, if readers who are in book clubs (offline or on) do not let me know they would be interested in being reviewed for this spot, this will be the final Book Club feature until there are book clubs to interview.
How long have we been meeting? Our first meeting was August of 2001, so 8+ years. December of this year will be our 100th meeting.
How often do we meet? We meet monthly on the 2nd Tuesday of each month.
Where do we meet? It changes month to month. Each member has a month to choose where we meet. W e have met at restaurants, homes, coffee shops. We try to keep it fun. Last month we were at a members home in her backyard and we grilled and had a bonfire. I love that we do this stuff!
How many members do we have? Currently if everyone made it, we have 18. We never all make it though so a usual meeting is around 12 to 14.
What age group do we represent? That’s a tough one as I am not good at guessing ages…. I would say we have mid 20’s to maybe 65? We are all women although it was never a criteria… just happened that way. Some of the husbands we refer to as “behind the scenes Bookies” as they read many of the club books as well but do not attend the meetings.
What genres of books do we read? We are all over the board. Women’s literature, fiction, the occasional non fiction, Classics, historical fiction, mysteries…
How do we choose what we will read? Each month after our review we have a time where each member can nominate a book. We limit it now to one book per member as it is easy to want to recommend 2 or 3 and the list of choices gets too long. Most months we ask that the book is fairly new so we can find enough copies for all of us. It also needs to be in paperback/over sized paperback format to keep our cost down. Each member recommends the book they choose and a bit about the book. When all nominations are in, we go around the room and we each get two votes. Highest number of votes wins. In the event of a tie, the Queen chooses – but that’s another story. In October we always do a Classic, December we try to keep it Christmas related, February is a romance and July is free read month where we meet and potluck.
What was one of the best discussions and/or a favorite book we read as a group? Oh there are so many! One that comes to mind is last years read of Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl. I think that is the first time we almost all gave it our highest rating…. we loved it. I asked everyone to trace back to some of their ancestors for this review and we had a lot of fun with that!
Another review, more recent was Meg Waite Clayton, The Wednesday Sisters. While the book over all rated an average read – the discussion that came out of it was fantastic.
How do we keep things fun? We sometimes have potlucks at homes centered around the book theme. Last September we read Wicked and everyone brought something to my house for the potluck that was green. I had made green egg salad sandwiches (with food coloring), we had green almond bark, green soup, green chips and dips, apple martinis, and more. In another book we celebrated a birthday of a character by actually having a birthday cake with her name on it.
Of course there is always the July Queen event where we all dress up in formal gowns and have speeches to be the Queen of Bookies. The nominated Queen reigns for one year, receives the royal throne, crown and scepter. She breaks all ties in voting and chooses where we meet in the event the member who is suppose to choose is absent.
Have we done anything outside of our monthly meetings? We have attended a few movies through the years of books we have read. We once had a movie showing at my house of a book we had read. Some of the girls this last December went to see the play Wicked in Minneapolis. I wanted to go so bad but I was in a wedding on that same day. A few of us have also attended an authors tea.
What advice would we give to other book clubs? Don’t give up and keep it lite and fun. We started 8 years ago with 3 members. It took a while to grow. We keep things light, we discuss the book, we theme the book…. in the future we have discussed having a favorite fiction character party. Just do what you love… read books and hang out with friends! I have met some great people through our group.
If yo are in a book club and would like this feature spot, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I will then send you interview questions and request a picture or two of your group. You send back the questions and I will give you a date as to which Wednesday you will be featured. If you have a blog, I will link it your review.
Thanks everyone – that was fun! 🙂