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book club selections :: 2010-2011

September 29, 2010

About six months ago, I wrote about how I was wanting to start a book club in hopes to branch out a bit more from my usual go-to authors and book genres.  My schedule was also a little more free those days and I hadn’t been a part of a book club in over two years!  I was missing the regular times of meeting together for the purpose of discussing good books with good friends.

My book club began the following month and is comprised of nine women who meet together every month to discuss our most recent literary assignment.  I love these friends and their unique personalities!  I always learn more about the book we’ve just read while listening to their impressions of the characters and plot.

We have some women in our group who average reading about a book a week.  I do not fall into this category.  Sam does not allow me to fall into this category!  However, I benefit so much from the breadth and depth of their literary expertise.

I have had a handful of people ask me to keep them updated from time to time on our group’s reading schedule and any additional activities we do together as a group.

Our schedule looks a little bit like this:

We meet together in my living room for about 2 hours, once a month, on the last Monday of each month.

I always try to serve refreshments that played some sort of role in the book. For instance, when we read Same Kind of Different As Me, I served blackberry cobbler.  When we read Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey, I served Buffalo Chip Cookies (those poor Pioneer women had to cook with real thing!).  Next month, our book is The Good Earth and I plan on having a full Chinese feast around our dining room table with chopsticks.

Our reading schedule began last April, so we selected enough books to carry us through April of 2011.  At our first meeting, we were each assigned to bring five book titles, one from each of the following genres:  Fiction, Non-fiction, Biography, Children’s classic (or Newberry winner), and the last was a freebie!  We threw the book titles in a bowl and began drawing out titles.

Here is our current reading schedule:

April: Same Kind of Different As Me by: Ron Hall and Denver Moore

May: Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey by: Lillian Schlissel

June: The Help by: Kathryn Stockett

July: The Giver by: Lois Lowry

August: Cutting for Stone by: Abraham Verghese

September: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by: Betty Smith

October: The Good Earth by: Pearl Buck

November: My Antonia by: Willa Cather

December: The Scarlet Pimpernel by: Baroness Orczy

January: Ivanhoe by: Sir Walter Scott

February: Blood Brothers by: Elias Chacour

March: A Little Princess by: Frances Hodgson Burnett

April: Sarah’s Key by: Tatiana de Rosnay


I also want our group to go to a musical or play together.  We just read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and all really enjoyed it, so if this play every comes to Minneapolis- we will be there!

Another idea I have is for us to read a book by a local Minnesotan author and invite them to our book club, or at least go as a group to hear the author speak at a book signing.

For all of you who are in book clubs right now, what are you reading?  What things have you done together as a group that you have benefited from?  I’d also love you to share any book recommendations.

If you are not in a book club, I would highly encourage you to join one or start one yourself!  It doesn’t have to be a big group, even three people would be a great size in my opinion.  It’s a great way to deepen friendships and stay connected with others.  I’m even thinking about asking my dear friend, Betsy, (who currently lives in England) if she would like to join us via Skype!  What do you think, Bets?

Happy Reading!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Karla permalink
    September 29, 2010 8:47 am

    I joined a book club a few months ago and now we are reading The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. It is about a woman who can taste the emotions of the bakers of food. Interesting concept.

  2. Liz permalink
    September 29, 2010 11:29 am

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our book group!!! Thanks so much for letting me be a part of it!! Can’t wait for next month and no, I haven’t started the book yet….

    Thanks for being our leader!! 🙂

  3. September 29, 2010 11:44 am

    JEN! Did you just invite me to join your book club?? I am all about it! Except I’m six hours ahead of ya’ll–what time do you meet?

  4. September 29, 2010 3:36 pm

    LOVE this idea, and I love that you plan a book list ahead of time & that there’s a good mix of classics in the list. I was a part of a bookclub a few years ago, but it kind of fizzled…now it’s “sort of” re-starting, but it’s more of a book exchange — we meet every other month & just bring books we like and just chat about what we thought & then exchange them with eachother. Fun, but not quite the same as a book club. 🙂

  5. September 29, 2010 3:44 pm

    Fun to see your list! This month my group is reading Original Sin by Alan Jacobs, which has been great. Other favorites from this year have been Tending the Heart of Virtue and Portrait of a Lady.

    Ivanhoe in one month! We usually don’t do more than 300ish pages per month, so if a book is significantly longer we split it up into two months (because no one finishes it otherwise).

  6. Sandy Smith permalink
    September 29, 2010 8:47 pm

    This sounds fun and so interesting. the refreshments to accompany the theme of the book. When I retire, I hope to read something besides the teacher edition of our new reading series.
    You ladies keep on reading and I’ll keep reading about your great book club.

  7. September 30, 2010 1:48 am

    Interesting to read your post and see your list of books! Book clubs can be so stimulating as well as lots of fun. I recently started a blog for our Catholic book club which has been going tor about 19 months now. I’d love you to stop by and have a look!

  8. October 1, 2010 3:13 pm

    Loved book club! And yes, Bets should join! Only, that would make it 12:30 her time to join us.

  9. Kayla Rigney permalink
    April 26, 2014 7:41 pm

    Jenny! I love that I find new stuff on your blog every time I explore it. I used to read a lot when I was in JH/HS, but lost the time in college. Since being married (and living in a one bed room apartment) I have found that I love getting lost in a book while the hubby does something else. Anyway– I love these lists! I will definitely read some of them.

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