Book Club | For Those that Love Reading in and with Community

I am a casual reader.

I am interested and conscious of my self-growth and self-awareness as a result I read up a variety of materials, for education, edification, and general understanding.

I read more times that not in areas and on topics I come across that span beyond self-help books and into a variety of genres. Usually I read material in areas when and where I lack understanding of my own and or want to broaden my current knowledge.

I hardly ever read fiction unless someone I admire and trust suggests to me it is a must read. I’d quicker watch a movie over a fictional read. The last fictional read, the Twilight Saga, I actually picked up and could not put down was over 10 years ago.

I read multiple books at one and rarely from cover to cover and if I do it’s hardly in order of first chapter to last. There are very few books I take in the traditional way, cover to cover and one at a time.

I read a combination of hard copies and e-books. I love to read while I wait in lines, wait by the doctor, read at night or have moments during my day that allow for it.

So there, that is me.

If you follow me on instagram you’d know I frequently post about what I am reading and the parts that resonate with me. The latest post on this topic I shared with chai tea in my coffee and my latest read. It opened up a dialogue about books and book clubs and I received interest in getting started with a new book club but I was more curious about the history of book clubs, what book clubs were already operating locally and of their workings.

I joined a garden club last year, I’m co-host to a supper club that got started this year and I have always wanted to be part of a wine club.

I am now for the first time consciously formulating if I were to be in a book club what would that look and feel like. Naturally the Engineer in me, got to figuring that out.

On instagram Grae and Ranjeet: Recommended BookOfCinz

Her bi reads #CaribbeanGirl Reading the World. With a goal of 200 books for 2018. She is a top good reads reviewer and at the time of this writing she is currently reading “She would be King | Everything’s Trash But it’s all ok.”

She writes regularly on her blog.

From here I discovered the HashTag #readwhatyouown. This resonated with me as I am a firm believer or doing with what you have, at least until better can be done.

I have seen her post about book reviews, books she’s currently reading and what she thought of them, I’ve seen her share the new books she copped and she asks questions that relate to same. Last question I saw her post on Instagram was “What’s the one area of your life you need help with the most?” For her it was her finances. I am over here raising my hands to this, both hands, also.

She highlights her reads on her IG highlight real this year and it is over 100 and counting. She shares a photo of each book in a new, refreshing and seemingly un-staged, real and doable way.

For me she makes reading that much in a such a short space look like a doable act.

She is goal oriented and a goal setter and strives to achieve her reading goals which can only be a positive thing if this your aim to read a particular number of books in a defined time frame. The inspiration she shares as she keeps going is real and consistent. I see this can help anyone on a similar goal oriented reading journey.

I believe you can tell a lot about someone by the books they read. If you take a peak of my shelf you’d definitely get a great sense of my life. On my shelf there are books I read to learn about sex, love, relationships, orgasms, plants, photography. There are academic books. Then there are those I purchased to see, hold and smell in real life just to garner inspiration because I want to one day create a coffee table book series that sits all over on tables inspiring others with simple, touching and soul nurturing imagery.

Then on the shelf there are books from when I was a child: encylopedias, dictionaries, how to study books.

Books that were obtained as hand me downs ‘cause in my library are books that are/ were my mothers and fathers. I love that. I feel like I know my mother in ways she never ever told. She got plant books, books on baby names, karma sutra, a pilot diary.

Daddy, I suppose, was the one who collected the biographies, the technical ones and all the serious political reads. His final year University work sits next to mine.

I’ve got probably every last one of the Rich Dad Poor Dad Books.

I think I need to be recognized in some way for this. I laugh. I remember the time in my life when I was introduced to Robert Kiosaki’s game Rich Dad Poor Dad and learned about his books. It was round that time I had to devour each and every piece of material he wrote. See I grew up in a family that didn’t do business, never really did, and were academic professionals, the Engineer, Lawyer, Doctor types. Being a business owner and being actually a part of the working class was like fantasy and reality to me. The former didn’t exist in my realm and I wanted to learn and know all I could at the time. Hence the ridiculously large number of books in this genre on my shelf.

Another recommendation I received on Instagram, from @curlycaroline27, was of a Facebook reading group. A reading challenge where the host picks 10 categories and everyone one chooses a read and then everyone reviews their book after that read.

@photosandfitness suggested that @mrsandigrant has a book club called Literal Hotties. You can see a list of Literal Hotties best reads here.

@vernetteoutloud espresso ninja favorite book is The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips. Have you read it?

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One of my fav local potters @artbygretamichelle and all round creative and business woman @rachelrochford recommended the local tea shop, “All My Tea Shop”. They both confirmed that the shop has a book club.

I contacted All My Tea Shop to learn about their club. Here is what I learned: They run an open book club. Anyone can join. They choose a new book at a meeting in the shop. Every month one member chooses 3 options for the club to read from and the group members pics one out of those three. A month is allotted to read. And then the following meeting and so it goes. You can read in the tea shop or where ever you choose. The meeting and discussions are held at the shop, the last Tuesday of the month, at 5pm. I find this really interesting and love the structure, it would be perfect for those who love structure, love books and tea in community. You can message them if you are in their location and interested in joining.

The best coffee painter I know @neala_luna mentioned her favorite read being the Jane Austen Book Club. Have you had a read of this one?

Tracey, recommended @rebelwomenlit, it’s out of Jamaica, Kingston and Manchester, JA. On instagram @rebelwomenlit’s bio reads: “Trans-inclusive and Black AF”. This month, October 2018, they are reading, "Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta”. They occasionally share their favorite reads with pics of those books, and quotes from their favorite books. I particularly love the series on Banned books, did you know? that they share on. It appears that their book club is a meeting in person at a broadcasted location and time, with an opportunity to rsvp via email. I contacted @rebelwomenlit and here is what I learned: They are an open book club, and anyone who reads the book and attends can join.They tend to read a lot of books by women, and books with characters from marginalized and lesser heard communities. They do not read self help books but everything else is fair game.

Their club started just over a year ago and being an open book club persons read and attend when they can. They’ve have meetings up to 30 persons and some with 3 persons. It is super flexible. They have two meeting locations as I mentioned previously and at the moment are reading one book a month. The books are selected by members based on prompts selected at the beginning of the year.

Ai,@aiseeyou, mentioned that she’s in an epic book club. I am like, really? Her use of words excited me. She explained they read one book a month, then a themed dinner and booze to talk about it. It sounded simple, to the point and really lovely to me.

The club is called B.A.D Club (Books and Dinner). Whoever chooses the book hosts the dinner. Guests, half of them, would bring a bottle of wine.

Sometimes the host would make a signature dish. Sounds like a good time to me so far.

Their last book was The Great Alone, which was set Alaska. So they made an Alaska Cocktail Recipe. The club comprises members who are all close friends who also take a bi-annual trip to places like Cabo San Licas, Las Vegas, Virginia and many local California Destinations, since they live around that area. The book club is 9 years strong now.

Shiva @beascycle, mentioned to me “Ancient club” where members knock out others hoping the reserve the book the want. Ha, I love it.

Also @junkollage.gypsycaravan has a reading nook, @cyanleah told me about this one. It is more of a book initiative/ book exchange where books are free and you can also drop off your books to the nook.

During a quick google search I read here that Washington is an interesting place for book clubs. I liked the concepts raised at this source as it is in keeping with my preference if I’d join any book club. I’d prefer a relaxed book club environment without pressure to complete reading as if it were home work. I feel there are so many pressures already, and deadlines, must do’s that I would not comfortably sit with consciously adding another one to the list of life.

In a book club I’d want persons to read what they wanted. I’d want a space where persons can engage in meaningful discussion around their readings and part take in the reading experience of others.

So for me the ideal book club that would attract me is one where:

“Everyone can read whatever they want and report on it to the group.’ And once we did that people would say, ‘Hmm, that sounds interesting, can I borrow that?’

To avoid this as has happened in the Bethesda book club:

According to the National Association of Book Clubs of America Society, an organization I just made up, only 37 percent of book club members actually finish reading the assigned book in time for the meeting. Perhaps that’s why the Bethesda book club that Dot Hartley belongs to ended up where it has.

@builtwithouthands mentioned that she’d love a reading schedule, with probably some live sessions for discussion.

@thereadinggardentt is on the brink of launching a book club and I can’t wait for those details to be live.

The book club that would attract me is one where there would really be no real deadlines to sharing and should have a facility for one to share their book club readings, reviews in an open way for anyone to receive and engage in when and only when their time is right. Allowing the reader the joy of sharing and the reviewer the joy of receiving freely.

  1. I’d like something social that moves into a physical space for those who could make it when and if they could. I’d think with technology a hashtag would work perfectly here.

  2. Using this hash tag and a photo you’d identify your current read. You can also explain how you are reading this particular book.

  3. During the course of your read you would share quotes, how you are progressing and summarize the book online using the hashtag.

  4. Persons in the book club would follow along and interact, be inspired and engage, while sharing of their own reads.

  5. Readers can host in person club meetings in their locations, say the last Sunday of Every month, in the same manner and feature the book they, the host, is currently reading. Persons who can attend, attend. There can also be an open share and discussion around each attendees read. It is possible that the book club would have multiple meetings in various locations on the same day.

  6. Here is an example of the book club title and hashtag:

    #globalbookclubcommunity

@ancestral_memory, Jenissa Sullivan, is host to a book club, @papyrusbookclub, The paper.us Book Club. This book club is a gathering where queens stylishly indulge in great books & good vibes. I hope to share more with you about this club soon.

That’s all for now. With love from Freeport.

Chan

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